Category: nostalgia


trees drool. deserts rule.

April 11th, 2011 — 11:51pm

I’ve had this weird feeling lately. It started as nothing—so faint it was hardly noticeable. But it grew. And then it was strong enough that I could name it. So I did. And goodness knows once you name something it sticks around.

I miss Utah.

It’s almost comedic, isn’t it? How life changes you so slowly and subtly. Like wind against rock. Until it’s suddenly shocking when you finally notice how different you’ve become.

It’s those dang mountains. I crave them. I miss living right at their base before they jut off into the sky. I miss having them tower over my head. I miss the comfort of those massive, steady landmarks, always in view no matter where you turn.

I have an old friend who’s a dyed in the wool Utah soul. She lamented the claustrophobia-inducing trees of Connecticut and the gaping emptiness of the mid-west’s plains. “There are no mountains to keep the sky up off my head!” she’d say. I didn’t get it. Now I do. Those mountains.

Plus there’s this:

Southern Utah. Glowing, gritty, sandy red rocks.

‘Nuff said.

It’s more than just the landscape I miss. You know, there was something cool about finally making my peace with the crazy culture. It was an awesome accomplishment. It wasn’t just that I appreciated the endless comedic fodder (and don’t get me wrong, it truly is endless). But I grew to really love the good parts. I learned to notice them, and see them more often. And I learned to make the best of the rest.

I haven’t forgotten that lesson. Washington is amazing. Breathtaking. I love this place. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m going to start loving it even more, now that I don’t have to work nights and weekends.

But isn’t it weird that moving to this gorgeously green state was what showed me I’ve become a desert girl? Me? The one who always maintained that no place is as beautiful as my green, rolling Connecticut hills. The one who would drive around the back roads of Provo and Salt Lake looking for tree tunnels that I could drive under and squeal, “It looks like home!”

And here I am. Nostalgically browsing through old photos. Reading Utah blogs and salivating. Fantasizing about Goblin Valley, Spiral Jetty, Antelope Island.

Sunbeams, verga, and big sky. Canyons, aspen groves, and a compass built right into the landscape. Tumbleweed, road trips, and all four seasons. Mexican food, carefree college nights, and the disgusting awesomeness of the Great Salt Lake.

Yes. Those are bugs. Love that salty lake.

I guess if I give it a couple years, I’ll probably be writing a post like this about the Pacific Northwest, too. But right now, even though I am terribly happy where I am, it’s a pretty nice feeling to have something to be nostalgic about. I’m a little homesick for my second home.

1 comment » | good things, nostalgia, pictures, the great outdoors, travels, we live here now

taking stock

December 5th, 2010 — 7:32pm

In the past year:

  • We put everything we own into boxes and moved to Washington.
  • We celebrated Christmas in an apartment furnished with nothing but a giant, undecorated Christmas tree and a leaky blow-up mattress. It turned out perfect.
  • I went back to school.
  • Bryant started a new job (which he loves).
  • I started a new job (which I love).
  • We hosted dear friends and family from out of town seven times, for a total of 35 days!
  • Bryant was hospitalized for a week, and survived.
  • We watched New Year’s fireworks at the Space Needle, and we watched 4th of July fireworks over Lake Washington.
  • We took trips to North Carolina (and Virginia while we were at it), Utah twice, Colorado twice, and Illinois.
  • My 2010 bald eagle sighting count grew to six.
  • We experienced the full range of Seattle’s three seasons, which are as follows: [1] three and a half months of sun with 70-degree weather*, [2] eight and a half months of rain, and [3] three days of light snow, when absolutely everything will shut down and your husband will spend seven hours on a bus on a bridge over Lake Washington.
  • We got an adorable new niece.
  • Bryant managed to squeeze out a year of living in a new state without getting a new driver’s license.
  • We found our favorite Indian-food place, Mexican-food place, gelato place, creme-puff place (come on, everyone needs a favorite creme puff place), and we’re still working on the rest.
  • We bought some real, grown-up furniture, which will be delivered next weekend, and I can’t wait.
  • We had a three-year anniversary, I turned 26, and Bryant’s 32nd is just around the corner.

It’s so odd how all this stuff packs itself into the year without you noticing it. Sometimes, when I’m not thinking, I feel like I’ve wasted so much time and think I must be useless because there are still so many things left to do on my list. But then I take a minute to make a list like this and I realize, life fills itself into the spaces whether you’re aware of it or not. There’s always more to do, but look at how much you’ve done!

2010, thanks for everything. You’ve been very good year.

*except for when it’s more than 70 degrees.

5 comments » | for my amusement, good things, lists, nostalgia, travels, we live here now

a permanent imprint

November 12th, 2010 — 2:39pm

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with my parent’s wedding rings. Any chance I could get, I’d pull their rings off and put them on my tiny fingers, twirl them around on my thumbs, run my fingers over their once-sharp edges, now smooth after decades of living.

What intrigued me even more, however, was my parents’ actual fingers. I couldn’t believe the imprint left behind once the ring was removed. The skin there was so smooth, with a deep ridge where the ring stopped and the rest of the finger continued. I was amazed at how a simple piece of jewelry could actually change a person, or at the very least, change the shape of a person.

I remember sitting next to Mom in church, clutching her wedding ring in one hand and examining her fingers with the other. I remember feeling amazed at how her skin, already so soft, could be even smoother where her wedding ring lived. My dad’s imprint was particularly impressive to me, since his hands were so big and rough (my mom always says he uses his hands like hammers). There on these thick, strong hands, hidden away on my dad’s ring finger, was this incredibly smooth patch. Soft, as if nothing harsh had ever touched it. Protected for years and years by his wedding ring.

I’m not exactly sure why these indents on my parents’ fingers captivated me so much, but there was something enchanting about it. It gave me this feeling of permanence, endurance, and safety. I liked that.

A couple weeks ago Bryant and I celebrated our three-year anniversary. Yesterday I slipped off my wedding rings to give them a little scrubbing, and I noticed something on my hand.

Can you see it? It seems I’m working on an imprint of my own. Three years and counting. I feel pretty happy about that little patch of skin. I’m excited to see what it looks like a few decades from now.

3 comments » | hopes, nostalgia, pictures

forever ago

August 12th, 2010 — 2:03am

I just found this:

I happened upon some of my old journal entries from many years back, during some of my darker days when just being alive was hard work, and this was one of the things I found.

It’s so strange and funny, and sometimes shocking, to read things written in the past. Because I don’t think I always realized what I was saying… how true and real the things I hoped for could be. How now, years later, I’d still be me, but be so different. That I’d have such a new view. That Me Now would be reading these words from a place that Me Then would have wanted to be. That it’s possible to grow. That those growing pains back then were just a part of the whole, long, messy process. They were a part of my “failing and continuing on anyway.” They were—in some terribly inconvenient and uncomfortable way—a part of my dream.

3 comments » | hopes, nostalgia, what's inside

we can't even think of a word that rhymes

June 5th, 2010 — 2:11pm

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Alice Cooper – “School’s Out”

School’s out. Finished the quarter. Happy with the work I did. Amazed at how much I learned. Thrilled to be done.

I always get “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper stuck in my head at this time of year. Cooper was once asked what the greatest three minutes of his life were. His response:

There’s two times during the year. One is Christmas morning, when you’re just getting ready to open the presents. The greed factor is right there. The next one is the last three minutes of the last day of school when you’re sitting there and it’s like a slow fuse burning. I said, “If we can catch that three minutes in a song, it’s going to be so big.” *

What’s funny is even after all these years, that feeling doesn’t change. Those last seconds, when you gather your bag, walk to the front, hand your exam to the professor, and then float as you push open the door of the lecture hall and walk into the sunlight… the release is unbelievable. And now, two days after my last exam, I keep getting that feeling of guilt for not using my time to catch up on reading, coupled with the surreal realization that there is no more reading to do.

Suddenly the things that were at the very bottom of the to-do list get promoted to the top. You never had time to do them before, and now they’re the most important things in front of you.

I like it a lot.

*I read that story here, which is the most reliable source in the world, I know. But it’s still a good story.

Comment » | for my amusement, music, nostalgia, quotes

piles of boxes

December 7th, 2009 — 12:25pm

boxes everywhere

I’ve got this list telling me I should be packing. There’s a big mound of empty boxes next to me, waiting to be filled. I’ve stacked them up into a (somewhat) orderly pile so they won’t be in our way. Maybe I shouldn’t have; they’re a little too easy to ignore when they’re out of the way.

Our stuff gets picked up and shipped to Washington this Friday. We hit the road Saturday morning. I’ve gone over the schedule so many times that it’s almost lost its realness. It’s as if I’m just telling a story.

I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like to arrive in our new city. Our little home in Salt Lake City will be behind us for good.

2 comments » | nostalgia, pictures, we live here now

roll the window down (hit play: passenger seat)

September 25th, 2009 — 11:42am

I was the only one on the road for miles. No lights shone before or behind me, only the stars above and the glowing half-moon. No lamp posts lit my way ahead on the curving canyon road, only my own cockeyed headlights.

Death Cab’s “Passenger Seat” began to play (listen to it in my player over there on the right), and I rolled my window down. Cold, night air poured in. I turned on the heater. I know it might seem ridiculous, but I couldn’t ignore the necessity of an open window as I drove through the deep night in such a tranquil canyon with music like that playing. And since the autumn mountain air is a bit nippy, a blowing heater takes just the right edge off. It’s a method my roommate and I perfected on stressful college nights when we needed a release. Call me crazy, but try it sometime and you’ll understand why I do it.

There was no stress tonight, though. I felt deliciously content. Happy. Beautiful dark mountains, changing seasons, the freedom of a full tank of gas, and the irreplaceable feeling of someone waiting for me at home.

Michael Stipe was telling me about how he’ll take the rain as I drove down the highway and approached my exit. His voice flooded my car. It filled up every possible space, rushed into every corner, to the point of bursting. Nearly.

It was quite possibly a perfect night. The ride up the mountain was just as refreshing as the ride down, as was the company in between.

It’s good for me to change my rhythm every now and again.

Remember being a kid and riding in the car with your friends, the windows down, singing along with your favorite song at the top of your lungs? How come we don’t do that as adults? I hope, many years down the road, after much more life has happened to me, I still find occasion to sing at the top of my lungs with friends in my car.

3 comments » | hopes, music, nostalgia, the great outdoors, travels, what's inside

hit play: brand new colony

June 14th, 2009 — 3:35pm

I can’t for the life of me remember who first introduced me to The Postal Service, which is weird because I usually vividly remember stuff like that. I do know that it was in college. It must’ve been at least by my third year because I’ve got this strong memory of driving north up University Avenue, roommate Star in the passenger seat, windows down, stopped at the light by our sophomore-year apartment, and The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” playing on my stereo. It’s a nice relaxing memory. I think it might’ve been spring time, but it may simply be that the feeling of the memory is so refreshing that I associate it with spring. I don’t know.

But in any event, I love this band’s music. I particularly love the song over there in my sidebar at the moment, “Brand New Colony.” (Check out the lyrics here.) The instant the song starts, I can’t help but smile. The intro reminds me of playing classic old video games as a kid, sitting Indian style in front of the living room TV. And the rest of the song manages to capture all the ultra-shmoopy feelings of love (which I’m a total sucker for) without ever getting sickly syrupy. Or maybe you think it is sickly syrupy, but you have to at least admit that they definitely don’t resort to any overused cliches. I love that.

I’ll be the fire escape that’s bolted to the ancient brick where you will sit and contemplate your day.

Maybe this resonates so much with me because I’ve always wanted to be able to climb out my window onto a fire escape and just sit, like Holly Golightly. Who knows.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

I can also understand the desire to escape the “tethers of this scene” and the responsibilities of life, armed with nothing and no one except for the one you love most… setting out on an adventure to start fresh and new, full of hope and away from life’s cynics (which, unfortunately, sometimes includes me). I suppose we all probably could go for an escape every now and then, and let “the sun… heat the grounds under our bare feet.”

Sounds like a plan. I may not have a fire escape, but I do have a patio perfect for bare feet and sunshine. Out I go!

1 comment » | music, nostalgia, quirks

the nostalgia fog

March 23rd, 2009 — 7:53pm

I sometimes let myself get too nostalgic, and it puts me in this weird haze.

It’s like the feeling when you’ve played a video game for way too long. Your mind feels submerged in that other world, and all you can think about is Donkey Kong and Ditty racing through the mines in a cart.

Nostalgia is like that to me. Reality becomes blurry. These dusty, warped, old memories mix with the facts of present-day life, and I’m left in this funky haze. It’s weird.

And then I’m caught up in this need to reconnect with random people from my past. I just spent the last fifteen minutes looking for an old friend online. Who knows why. I haven’t talked to her since high school. I just felt like I wanted to make sure she was okay. Felt like I wanted her to know that I remembered her. But I couldn’t find her.

It’s weird when people disappear. She’s not even on facebook. Who’s not on facebook? Even my dad is on facebook.

Of course, in this strange, foggy state, I magically find my yearbook open on my lap. (Don’t judge… I know it’s crazy that I still have that thing, and even crazier that I know where it is.) I sift through these amusing old pictures and sappy messages from classmates who have all disappeared. Weird weird weird.

“Keep in touch!” “I’m going to miss you!” “I know you’ll do well.” “You owe me like $1,000,000 in gas money.” (And I probably did, actually.)

Is it pathetic that it makes me feel a little blue? I don’t even know why I feel blue. I love my life now, and I loved my life then (well, I at least love the memories), so I don’t know why nostalgia makes me feel a little melancholy.

Maybe I just let myself soak it up for too long.

3 comments » | nostalgia, what's inside

winter musings

February 20th, 2009 — 7:51pm

I know that by the time February rolls around a lot of people are aching for summertime, but I’m loving this winter.  I’m hoping for a new, thick blanket of snow any time now.

There’s something magical about a snowy night to me. Maybe it’s because the the feeling of snow stuck to my eyelashes is fused in my memory to the hopeful anticipation of canceled school. All I know is there’s something simultaneously soothing and mysterious about the night sky being washed pink. I adore the quiet patter of flakes landing on the ground punctuated by the distant sound of snow plows grinding against the asphalt. Ah, is there anything better?

I did a quick perusal of Flickr and dug up these lovelies.  I love how a snowy night has a way of making the noisy places in our world quiet…

…and making the already-quiet places in our world positively silent.

It’s like the world is holds its breath.

2 comments » | good things, nostalgia, pictures, the great outdoors

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