Monthly Archives: November 2012

food, travel, family (not necessarily in that order)

I had the distinct pleasure of eating two Thanksgiving dinners this year. I have a terrible memory, but I don’t think that’s ever happened before. One year I almost didn’t get to go to a Thanksgiving dinner. But then I did. The first one this year was the weekend before Thanksgiving with Z’s family in Utah. I’m not sure if it was just the first turkey of the year, but the food was especially delicious and the pies went on forever. I am from a relatively small family and panic at the thought of feeding more than a few people at once, but his is a huge family that really knows how to feed a large group of people.

Thanksgiving in Utah

These pictures are all from our first Thanksgiving dinner in Utah, and although there is no photographic evidence, the second Thanksgiving was with my family in Oregon during the actual holiday. Years ago, I used to make the trip without much effort. Now, I think I’ve reached my saturation point for that stretch of freeway, and all of my favorite albums and podcasts don’t seem to make it much better.

Thanksgiving in Utah

On Thanksgiving day, we all converged at my mom’s house, and then sat around waiting for my nephew to arrive (he was with his mom). When “grandpa” finally brought him home, I crouched down as he climbed the porch steps. “Can I have a hug?” I asked. He grinned and put his arms up for me to lift him. We hugged tightly, and I couldn’t see his grin, but Mom took a few pictures of it. We hadn’t seen each other in several months (he’s only two and a half), and I wondered if he would feel shy and if he would have to warm up to me.

I was with him all summer and cared for him during the days while everyone else was at work. It was a wonderful time, but completely exhausting. Living away from him means that I treasure our time together.

Thanksgiving in Utah

Happy Thanksgiving. May we eat all of the turkey. (But not really.)

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irony: lolz, am I right?

I tried to read this article a day or two ago. I couldn’t get into it. When enough people reposted it on Facebook, I thought I should give it a closer look. I finally had the chance to read the whole thing this afternoon, and it really resonated with me. I am a part of the hipster culture (not in a douchebaggy kind of way I hope!). It’s just that it has invaded fashion and popular culture so much that it would be difficult to avoid it’s grip. Like most of my peers, my sense of humor and conversation is deeply influenced by hipster culture (nerdiness, obscure references, et al). At first glance, you probably would not think of me as a hipster, and I am certainly not an extreme version. Nevertheless, t I can see it’s influence in very intimate aspects of my life.

Leif Parsons

This article helps draw light on the impact that the hipster (or irony) culture has on our lives. Art does not succumb easily to popular trends. When I think of my “creative writing,” I don’t think that it overtly follows a hipster sensibility, but I can see an influence in that contemporary writing in it’s…quirkiness.

The article made me think of this blog. As of right now, I don’t share it with people I know in real life, and I think that it’s notably lack of irony is one of the reasons I like to keep it private. For the most part, I share my thoughts, concerns, reflections–real life stuff that is not ironic. Sometimes I am funny, but mostly I’m just honestly working through my ideas here and that sometimes makes me feel more vulnerable that I like to be with the people whom I know. Complete strangers? Somehow that’s much better.

mesmerizing

 

As last weekend’s massive snowstorm came to an end, we braved the roads (which were clear by then) up to the University of Utah to attend a concert by one of my boyfriend’s friends. The performance was one of two concerts that he will have to do for his Masters degree. He performed several pieces, many of which would have been too complicated for me to follow without the help of the program. He performed primarily on the marimba (often pairing it with the piano), but also performed on other percussion instruments, including an amazing piece on a snare drum. The speed was unbelievable.

Image

Libby Gardner Concert Hall at U of U

The concert was inspiring. While I’m not creatively drawn to making music (although I do still want to take piano lessons at some point) I think that any creative performance can inspire creativity of all kinds. Lately, I’ve wanted to write more. In fact, I have been writing more. Last weekend I was reminded that one of the best ways to inspire art of any kind is to expose one’s self to art.

After the concert, I wanted to go home, read, think. Maybe the concert would serve as a catalyst to more writing. Instead, Boo wanted to get coffee and food with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. While my impulse was to go home for introspection and to absorb the (very moving) concert, I also knew that getting together with the family was the right thing to do. I do love these people after all, and I can go home and think my thoughts at any time. At least that’s what I told myself. And besides, it’s not every afternoon that I can’t justify a cherry pie (served warm) with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Being with family and having people to talk to is important to me, especially since, as an introvert, it’s something I can easily neglect. My bigger realization from the weekend is that being in a relationship means that I don’t always do the thing that is my first choice, but that my first choice is not necessarily the best thing for me anyway. A relationship means that, more frequently, I’ll be pulled in two–usually equally good–directions. Of course, I worry that I might lose the alone time that I thrive on, but I suppose that concern is small and does not have to correlate to having a boo (who also happens to have a big damn family). Seriously, you could spend your whole life cycling through them having pies and ice cream and just when you think you get a break, it’s time to cycle through them again.

first snowfall

Today is the first snow of the season, and it is absolutely gorgeous! Boo does not like the cold or the snow. I, on the other, hand love the snow, but only if I don’t have to drive in it. As I type this, I am fully aware that I might not be enjoying snow so much later in the year while I am commuting to work. The drive is not too bad, but the “point of the mountain” is slightly elevated, and I know there can be some extreme weather up there. I just hope that the train is up and running before winter really sets in. (And also that I have started a routine for actually using that train.)

first snowfall

Because it was snowy and there was nowhere to go, we decided to go for breakfast at Village Inn this morning, which is one of our favorite breakfast places. The food quality is nothing fancy, but the atmosphere, the prices, and the people are pretty great.  We both love breakfast food, and I can get good gluten-free options (eggs, hashbrowns, bacon AND link sausage!). We actually live near Finns, which is better and classier, but more expensive and teeming with hipsters. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! We fit right in! But, Village Inn with their affordable prices and unlimited supply of coffee is often more tempting.

Since this was the first snow of the season, I took the opportunity to take a few photos of the first snow fall with my new camera. They are lovely, but then again it’s not hard to be lovely in this weather. I’m still recovering from my cold, so I don’t really have anywhere to go or anything to do but watch it snow from my cozy little apartment.

first snowfall, part two

convalescing

My boo is finally here! (And I am sick.) I was so excited in the weeks leading up to his arrival! I imagined all of the things we would do. The food. The runs in the park. The hot yoga. (Yeah, that’s how I party.) All of those dreams have been put on hold while I convalesce. I had about three days of sinus stuff and that has successfully migrated to my lungs, where it has stubbornly set up camp for the past four days. I keep thinking it should take about ten days to get over a cold, right? Which means it’s almost over. But, today a guy at work said that recently he was sick with a cold for three weeks. THREE WEEKS! I so don’t have the energy for that. Here’s hoping for one of those run of the mill ten-day colds, so that I can get back to loving life, and loving my boo, and running in the park, and doing hot yoga.

things that don’t matter

I’ve spent the weekend doing things that I enjoy, but that don’t matter. First, I’ve been sick. On Friday I woke up with a sore throat. That evolved into a full-blown cold this weekend. I couldn’t sleep very well the last two nights, and I’ve felt feverish all day. I am hoping that tomorrow I’ll start to feel better and that by Wednesday I’ll have made a full recovery. I found some expired Advil Cold and Sinus in my cabinet and am hoping that gets me through the next few days at work.

I did, however, surprise myself by going to Bikram every day this weekend. I’m not sure why I went yesterday or how I mustered the energy to complete the series, but I talked myself into it by promising to take it easy and sit out poses if I needed to. I ended up doing every pose and had a nice, relaxing practice. While I felt somewhat sheepish about attending while possibly contagious, the heat and humidity felt really healing to my lungs. I also told myself that these healthy yogis were completely immune to my little cold…if I was even still contagious.

This morning I woke up after a rough night of mouth breathing, constricted lungs, and congestion. Bikram seemed like the only thing that would soothe me. So, I went again, promising to take it easy on myself. Once again, I ended up completing the whole series! It was a gentle, relaxing class, and my lungs and sinuses felt much better afterwards. Normally, I run three miles a day Friday through Sunday, but I didn’t do that this weekend. I just didn’t feel up to it.

For the rest of the weekend, I was pretty lazy and got to do something I love doing in preparation for big events, such as weddings, date nights, and yes, even job interviews (last year)–that is to stay home and engage in a slow and methodical beautification ritual. The occasion is that my boo is coming home in…three days(!) Now, I started this blog entry by mentioning that these are things that do not matter. They don’t matter to him because it involves a kind of nuance that he (and possibly no other human) would ever notice. The practice involves hair maintenance, including carefully shaving my knees. It involves the kind of pedicure that includes various lotions, and layers of base coats, drying, two layers of color, and drying, and a protective top coat and more drying. I cut my fingernails very short and painted them too, following the same slow, methodical procedure as the toes. I almost never give myself a manicure anymore. I just type and use my hands too much and the polish never stays on. I did it anyway.

Before it is all over, I’ll also wash the bedding, probably the night before since I don’t want to leave my cold germs, soggy tissues, and Vicks VapoRub all over everything (sexy!), I’ll deep condition my hair, and I might even clean the house. These activities do matter to me, I guess, because I simply wouldn’t do any of them if I didn’t have something to look forward to, preceded by a weekend of being too sick to do anything else. It was like having one last girly weekend, wherein I watched all of the Real Housewives of XYZ and painted by nails and applied lotion and pampered myself because that opportunity may not arise again for a long time.

hysteria

bigfoot sighting in provo canyon

I’ve only been hysterical two times in my life. I’m not sure if hysterical is exactly the right word, but it’s the only thing that comes to mind. The first time I was in high school. My parents sat us down on the couch to tell as that my mom had to have a biopsy. When I feel emotional, usually tears well up very slowly. But this time, I immediately started bawling. I would be surprised if tears were splashing everywhere like they do in cartoons. It turned out to be a nonevent. The biopsy revealed there to be nothing wrong. I probably wouldn’t even remember it if not for the weird physical reaction I had.

The second time I became hysterical was when my boo was camping out in the mountains of Utah. If you’ve ever been to Utah, you know that it is home to some of the biggest, steepest, most rugged and beautiful mountains in the US. He was camping alone, with limited supplies. He had hiked in and so there was no quick access to civilization. Occasionally, he could go out and get one bar of cell reception, and he would call and check in. One night I received a very late phone call from him. I was alarmed that he was calling so late, and indeed, he felt that something was not right. He could hear something walking around and sniffing, but it was too dark to see anything.

I had a flashback to my own recent experience camping. Something that sounded very much like a bear walked around the campsite and sniffed the tent. The next morning, a bear sort of confirmed my suspicions by running across the road in front of the car. It doesn’t help that I’ve seen the movie Grizzly Man, and my father, an avid hunter and outdoors man has done his part to instill a healthy fear of predators such as bear and cougars. Having grown up in the country, stories of frightening encounters with these animals is not just lore. This stuff actually happens to people whom I know.

So when I got the call that night, I immediately assumed that what he was hearing was a bear. We spoke briefly, but the tone was uncharacteristically serious. We stayed positive and said comforting things to each other. I think we were both trying to disguise that we were both really freaked out. When he didn’t call to check in the next morning, I became hysterical. While it was not typical for him to call, I thought he would given the nature of our conversation the night before. I stayed in a state of hysterics until I eventually heard from him. It was a completely surreal day. Although I knew it was completely unlikely that he had been harmed, and the chances of being killed by a bear are incredibly slim, I could not be consoled by friends. Not even by my own mother.

That was a long time ago, and he’s fine. But, when this video of a bigfoot sighting in provo canyon was posted online (and reported by major news outlets), I had a flashback to those moments of hysteria. The terrain looks eerily similar to where he was camping. I mean, this could be the exact same canyon. I am really hesitant to indulge conspiracy theories, but I’ll admit that part of me is tempted to imagine that the sounds and eerie presence that night was that of a bigfoot.

a glass case of emotion

Note I stuck to my door after running out of lollipops.

For the first time in my adult life, I had trick-or-treaters last night. I thought that these days trick-or-treating only happened in the context of car trunks at depressing grocery store parking lots. I bought an insufficient amount of lollipops, thinking I would end up eating it all myself. Instead, there were knocks at the door! And cute little kids fumbling to figure out what to say and how to interact. I imagined that each child was overcoming crippling fear, shyness, anxiety, and autism in order to knock on my door, and so I was very kind and told them all that I liked their costumes and to have a good night. I got all teary-eyed imagining the personal struggles and triumphs they were all experiencing. (Yeah, I was probably projecting a little bit.)

Today on my commute, I listened to an interview with opera singer Renée Fleming. When they played an excerpt of her singing, I felt my mouth turn down and tears well up in my eyes. When the excerpt was over I thought, Huh? Weird. I guess that was a fluke. They played several more excepts throughout the course of the program, and it was not a fluke. I was in full-on tears by the end of the program.

Also on my commute, I listened to an interview by author Domingo Martinez. He told the story of his grandmother, a Mexican fieldhand who, widowed as a teenager, when on to meet a man in the tomato fields. They fell madly in love and proceeded to have a life-long passionate and volatile relationship. They were known to sneak away behind the produce trucks to “make love” on the job. They were not always so careful about getting caught or having an audience. Keep in mind, this was back in the day. So, it must’ve been pretty scandalous. As I listened, I thought to myself, “I AM IN A PASSIONATE AND VOLATILE RELATIONSHIP! And, the tears welled up again.

In less than a week, everything is going to change for me. By boo is coming back! That’s right, HE’S COMING BACK! While I anticipate that these changes will be mostly good and involve all of my wildest dreams coming true and so on and so forth, I also know that there will be an adjustment period and that I will sometimes be in a glass case of emotion and will have to do things that I am completely unaccustomed to doing, such as compromise and other gross relationship-y things.