Category: travels

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

brighter than a lucky ::sniff:: penny

May 4th, 2010 — 9:24am

Um, so you probably shouldn’t read this post unless you’re my mom or something, because it’s one of those obnoxiously happy ones that makes you want to gag. Sorry. You’ve been warned.

I’m a little stressed. Life is this series of small fires needing to be put out. Nothing big and blazing—they’re all little things. But it’s getting old to constantly be running from one fire to the next. It’s hard to get ahead of the game. I’m behind on my reading; I’ve got a quiz today; supposed to have all the major blood vessels memorized by this afternoon; we’ve got this mysteriously appearing & disappearing swarm of fruit flies plaguing us (gah! I hate those things!); I have to register for summer and fall quarters in less that a week—definitely haven’t planned that far ahead yet; I’ve got two big, stressy exams next week—haven’t started studying; and I have to teach in church this weekend—haven’t organized my lesson. And I know when these things have passed, there will be more little things to worry unnecessarily about.


Somehow, I feel so happy. I’ve got good friends coming to visit over the next few months. Bryant and I just planned a summer trip to spend on the beach with my family. The stars have miraculously aligned and on that same trip I get to get to spend some time with my soul sister that I haven’t seen for seven years. We spent the first sixteen years of our lives joined at the hip and have only gotten to see each other once a decade since. (Though I guess technically, there has only been one decade since…) But still, it’s been a long time, and I couldn’t be more excited. I love where I live. I’m making good friends. I love what I’m studying. I’m married to the best man. And we had a giant thunderstorm last night—first one since moving here—and I love a good thunderstorm.

Is this possible? It seems like it’s not allowed for things to be so good.

Admittedly, my moods still swing like a pendulum. But things still are good.

I know these kinds of posts are the last thing in the world a sane person wants to read, but I just felt so satisfied and happy that I wanted to get these feelings down. That way in thirty minutes, when I’m in a bad mood again, I can remember that, yes, things are good, and yes, I am happy.

2 comments » | good things, travels, what's inside


April 7th, 2010 — 8:54am

Absolem from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

So this might be considered old news, since the movie’s been out for more than a month now, but this past weekend, Bryant and I went into Seattle and saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It was wonderful. I’m totally enamored with it. You all probably already knew how awesome it was because you’re not weird like us and wait a month to go see the movies that look good. But if you haven’t seen it yet, go now!


We saw it in 3D, which was fun, as you can clearly tell by the expression on Bryant’s face.

In other news, we finally got Washington plates and new drivers licenses, so it’s like we’ve officially moved in. (Though, technically Bryant is still waiting on his.) The thing is, having Utah plates kind of felt like a protection—a valid disclaimer. When I was driving someplace new, it was almost excusable to be driving like a lost soul, pausing a little too long before turns, driving just a touch too slow to figure out where the heck I am. Or anytime I did something stupid on the road (unrelated to being new, just related to being a bad driver), I would say, “Sorry! Utah driver!” and I felt somehow justified and protected from ridicule. But now it’s official. We live here. No excuse for driving slow or crazy. I’m supposed to know where everything is. Supposed to know what I’m doing. Feels kind of like taking off the training wheels.

Moving Out

8 comments » | for my amusement, pictures, travels, we live here now, what i watch

life in washington

April 2nd, 2010 — 9:23am

The most hilarious thing about living in Washington is the weather segment of the news. They always try to say something suspenseful to keep you watching through the commercial break, because seriously, you do NOT want to miss the report about what big weather event is coming our way. But in reality, all they ever say is that it’s probably going to rain today. And it’s probably going to rain tomorrow. And the next day. Then they act like it’s a huge surprise. Also, they don’t say “sunshine.” They say “sun break.”

Also alarming was pulling up to the drive-in at Dairy Queen the first week we lived here. Instead of listing Blizzard prices by size (S, M, or L), they list them by calorie content (bad-for-you, really-bad-for-you, or you’re-going-to-die-young). Mm, I think that’s something I didn’t want to know.

Parking lots are also funny places. It’s as if people don’t drive around looking for a free spot; they drive around looking for already-occupied spaces where a shopper is unloading her cart. Then they sit and wait for her to leave. We moved here during the last-minute Christmas rush, so I thought maybe this phenomenon was due to the high volume of shoppers. But it’s been a good three months now, and I still notice people doing this. They’re willing to sit and wait three minutes for you to leave, rather than drive a few more rows down to park in the spot that’s already empty. Patient folks, these Washingtonians.

Another thing. Sometimes the carpool lane is on the right side of the highway instead of the left. Strange. Also, stores have a bucket of complimentary umbrellas for you to borrow at their doors because, yes, it is always raining. A layer of green grows on everything—tree trunks, lampposts, house siding, stop signs. And my college campus looks just like the Dharma Initiative on Hydra island. Seriously.

Oh, and having a dishwasher is complete bliss.

2 comments » | for my amusement, quirks, travels, we live here now


December 25th, 2009 — 11:50pm

tea lights

I’ve got this Excel spreadsheet on my desktop titled “moving list.” It’s a huge, exhaustive list of all the things we needed to do before we could move. It was long and daunting and usually overwhelming. During the past two months the file was nearly always open, waiting for me to check something else off the list.

Tonight I’m sitting here in my living room next to a dozen glowing tea lights in front of my ridiculously bushy (and free, and undecorated) Christmas tree. I’m here with my laptop on the floor, because we have to wait another four days before our belongings arrive, and for the first time in over a week, I noticed that Excel file on my desktop.

I opened the list to have a look and it suddenly struck me: the list is complete.

I’m amazed. Somehow we managed to get everything done/sold/cleaned/packed, get ourselves to Seattle, and get an apartment. Now we’re here. It almost feels like it was simple. How can that be? It felt so complicated at the time.

But here right now, it’s so peaceful. …Goodnight. Merry Christmas.

2 comments » | good things, lists, pictures, travels, we live here now, what's inside

big changes

November 19th, 2009 — 11:50am

Well, I figured it out.

I don’t know how it happened, but something clicked, and suddenly everything is right.

Remember my drought of ideas? How I struggled to muster up my go-power? How I was afraid of leaving my comfort zone? Or how about my inability to make big decisions without stewing over them f o r e v e r first?

I hesitate to say this because it sounds a little foolhardy, but I think I’m over it. At least for now. I know I’m not a different person—I still have the same personality flaws and weaknesses—but in some small way, I am different. Less hesitant, less fearful, more optimistic, more willing to step into the unknown. I found my momentum again. And let me tell you, the momentum is picking up.

Big changes are happening in my life. And what’s better, they’re big changes that I feel excited and confident about. I should probably admit that sometimes my confidence wanes, but those times always pass if I don’t cling to them. And since I’m being honest, you have to know that there’s still a little fear and nervousness with me in all this, but they don’t control me. Plus, I think those feelings are understandable. Especially considering what we’re doing.

We’re moving. To Seattle. That’s a place I’ve never been. We’re going without a place to live or a job lined up. Bryant and I are packing up our little cave of an apartment and simply driving away. I guess we’ll figure it all out when we get there. Oh yeah, did I mention, all this is happening really soon? Cause it is. In just over three weeks. Oh yeah, did I mention, I’m going back to school? Cause I am. Class starts the first week of January.

Oh, and did I mention, I couldn’t be happier. :)

4 comments » | hopes, travels, we live here now, what's inside

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

i left my heart in san francisco

April 23rd, 2009 — 1:27pm

(Sorry for the title… I know it’s terribly overdone… but… I just couldn’t help myself.)

So guess what. I’ve become a flickrer. I’ve just started, so the only thing I have up so far are some of my pictures from San Francisco (which I completely and utterly LOVED, in case there was any doubt in you). If you’re interested, you can see them HERE.


2 comments » | pictures, the great outdoors, travels

weekend getaway

April 10th, 2009 — 6:30am

I’ve got so much to do this weekend, I thought it might be helpful to make a list so I can keep track of it all.

san francisco list

I guess it’s pretty clear that I’m more than a little excited about our trip.

(Psssst… you can make your own cool card catalog images here!)

3 comments » | for my amusement, good things, lists, travels

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