Skiing with Polly and Mira

And Red and Arnie and Brooklyn and Greta.

I love it when the dogs outnumber the people.

I drove to Summit Park today to tour around with Polly and her entirely precious little MiraGirl. Fortunately, when I arrived, Polly allowed me ample time to hold the baby, cuddle the baby, talk to the baby and watch the baby scoot about on her little quilt on the floor, all the while marvelling at how this beautiful child is really very special. I mean, considering that Handsome Brooklyn (the friendly lab pictured here with his elegant sister Greta)

frequently wandered past Mira and licked her aacross the face - without Mira minding a bit - I think she's obviously a future Dog Whisperer at the very least.

We skinned from the house, which was superb. Up one peak, down again, over to another and down that, all without starting a car.

The boys had a great day, too. (As I write this, they're sound asleep by the fire. In fact, only Brad is nearer to the fire than they are.) Nearly five hours moving through deep snow, and neither of them slowed down at all. I'm very proud. Arnie wsa obviously very tired at the end, though, because he let his guard down and actually made eye contact for, like, the first time ever.

Well, he makes eye contact with me all the time, but seldom with anyone else, and never with the camera. He's like an indigenous villager who thinks that cameras steal souls. (Is that unPC? You know, to suggest that indigenous villagers don't know what cameras are? I mean, only say that because it's sort of true in my experience.....but if you're offended, I apologize. But, well, I guess, get used to it, because this is my blog. How bitchy!)

At the top of one peak, Polly decided that Mira should wear her goggles for the big descent:

What a Park City grom - sheepskin hat, down outfit, paparazzi shades. She's ready for Sundance.

Tired of waiting for me to make photo, the dogs took charge of the group and discussed the path of descent.

Red's impatience with me continued.

Even Arnie was getting bored. Can you see him sighing in this picture? He was.

I can see their point. It was getting late and weather was moving in. The boys needed treats, a couch and woodstove. I felt the same.

But I found time for one more Arnie portrait. I call this one Arnie Make Havoc. Get it?

Thanks for a great day, Polly!


Well, it's a little slow today.

So I make funny.

Love this woman's stuff; makes me want to go home and doodle.

And watch the Family Guy.

Today is a rest day - those calms between the pain storms that are supposed to be well-received but usually just leave me feeling restless and frantic. I'll be grateful for the recovery time tomorrow, though, and the following three days. Yes, I plan to SKI LIKE MANIAC over the upcoming 4 day weekend.

And watch the Family Guy.


Need more of this.

No, not rolling around with polar bears.


I have been super lazy about doing yoga lately, and I think I can tell. I feel shorter and slouchier. Less focused.

I was a Bikram fanatic for years - loved it wholly and practiced religiously. But I think I'm ready to move on to a different practice now. Mostly because I can't bear the thought of the hundred degree room. And working out next to smelly, sweaty people.

So I think I'll start practicing here. I love the studio, all brick-walled and naturally lit. I love the anonymity of not being surrounded by mirrors (I mean, after 12 years of downward dog I can tell if my form is ok or not without visible assistance).

Maybe I'll go tonight.


Lessons from the Doctor

But the lesson here is that even though I’m envious of those other skier people (the star bellied sneetches, as it were), I don’t want to be them. I don’t want to blindly follow someone around the bc and just believe them when they say that the slope is safe to ski. I want to make that decision for myself – to be able to make that decision for myself.

Maybe I should take another avy course. Or maybe I should just start skiing more with the exceptional resources in the Wasatch – the men and women who’ve skied these shots for decades.

Something I know for sure: I probably shouldn’t tour so much with Brad. As much as I love and adore him, the differences in our skiing abilities and goals are so great that they compromise our time together. While he knows the Wasatch intimately, I get lost trying to find the elusive (not really) Powder Park. While I’m trampling shrubbery in Big Cottonwood (still looking for Powder Park), he’s doing boulder problems in ski boots to gain access to a ridgeline.

Plus, he’s bored on the tours I enjoy (most recently, my favorite tour was Spruces to Reynolds Trees to Big Water to Reynolds Shoulder to Tom’s Hill to the Weather Station and back to Spruces – he might have died of boredom had he been along. As it was, he was lapping Days Fork).

I took part in the aforementioned tour on Sunday with these ladies:

Susan and Lizzie are two of my very favorite new friends (Lizzie is the mother of Moxie, who many of you know), and it occurred to me on that tour that had I been with Brad, I’d have cut our time short. I’d have caused some sort of scene and demanded that we bail early.

I don’t know why, exactly, I do that – why I’m less competent and capable with him around. More dramatic and needy. My only explanation is that I’m just so used to him taking care of me – reminding me how to get from one place to another, reminding me of people’s names, reminding me that he loves me no matter how batshit crazy I am at the time…..

The drama needs to stop. I know that it’s important to help one another through things, important to be able to rely on each other, but lately (always?) I seem to have been relying on Brad far more than is reasonable, or expected, or – as is evidenced from being totally fine and psyched on Sunday - necessary.

I am not a star-bellied Sneetch. And that's ok.


“You have to take the superstition out of it,” said Bill.

We were standing on top of Days Fork, and I was coming unglued. Brad and I had dug a couple snow pits, talked about snow conditions and made reasonable decisions based on our findings, but I still felt like the whole mountain could just collapse in a heartbeat. I felt incredible trepidation; like I was just waiting for it to happen.

“It’s not a mystery,” Bill continued, referring to snow science. “You can figure it out. You just have to get in there and look.”

I know.

But the thing is, I can study the snow pack all day – that doesn’t mean I trust it.

I didn’t tell Bill that my fears were bigger than that moment on top of Days Fork, bigger than that particular snow pack. That it wasn’t that day; it was every day. It wasn’t backcountry skiing; it was everything.

It was hearing people I love take a cavalier attitude toward safety. It was hearing people declare, “that slope will never slide,” or “that will never happen,” while looking me straight in the eye.

It’s then that I get all kinds of self-righteous. It’s then that I want to stand on top of a milk crate and scream, “you don’t know!”

Because in my experience, things that “don’t happen” did. Things that “can’t happen” have. And to develop a false sense of safety based on those blind assumptions, well, that scares me.

On the other hand, I seem to be the only one missing out. As I consider the people I see in the backcountry, I’m the only one who seems to stop short of fun because of what might happen. I’m the only one not racking up huge vert because the slope could slide. Do other people even think about these things? Everyone else just seems to be listening to tunes, zoning out and dropping in, concerned with nothing more than the untracked snow in front of them.

There’s a balance, I suppose, and I’ve never been good at balance. Maybe that's why I reference this poem nearly every day:

Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!


Now for the Christmas Funny.

It's well-documented that I don't celebrate Christmas. (The unhealthy foods, the sitting around, the gifts of things I neither need or want, having to be NICE...it's all too much for me.)

But here's my secret: I absolutely love Christmas time. Well, the holiday season, I guess. I adored it when I was growing up. On Christmas Eve, my parents always threw a party for family (it was wonderful to see close family so happy and healthy and all dressed up; and the extended family, well, that was just for comic relief) and friends of the family. I remember my great aunts (Tillie, Nita, Emma and Rose) drinking Fuzzy Navels, sitting so closely to one another you'd think it had been years since they'd last been together. They were actually neighbors. Only one of them drove, so they'd all pile into her white cavalier - with standard issue old lady seat covers and poppy on the antenna, "you know, so I can find my car at the mall" - when they had to go somewhere.

Christmas day was always happy and calm. We didn't go anywhere too early. Until mid-afternoon, it was just the 4 of us, usually in our jammies, opening presents and dressing Tucker Dog up in all the bows. When my paternal grandparents were alive, we went to their house at 3 pm or so. I remember this so clearly, like it was yesterday: my grandmother always put out her black and white platter (it had a big flower pattern in the center) with pickled eggs and beets, celery and carrot sticks and olives. And my grandfather always made a platter of pepperoni and cheese. I can still see him sitting at their kitchen table, slicing the pepperoni. The way he held his knife made me realize that he wasn't always my grandfather, that once, he was actually a tough guy.

Then we went skiing.

Every year, as far back as I can remember.

That's what Brad and I will do this year, too, just as we did last year, although last year we were with Chris, our housemate who died last January. Chris was kind of a beginner at skiing, not super comfortable skinning up or going down, but he was always the first of us to ask, "another lap?" even though he was covered in snow and probably exhausted. We miss you, Chris.

But this is not a sad post! Not a sad! Not a sad!

No, this post is all about the Christmas funny. All about the seasonal reasons to guffaw and hoot and holler.

Not that they're always intensionally funny. I think this family just thinks of this as a regular ol' family photo:

(Incidentally, I love that they've adopted the beautiful little Asian kids - or at least rented them for photographic purposes - but do they really need to be dressed like dorks? I mean, why punish them for your own fashion shortcomings?)

All kinds of families take holiday photos. I got this card yesterday:

Sounds like all's well with the Wookie family. Chewy said "AAAAARNGH! AAAAR! AAAAANG! AAAARN!" So that's nice.

Christmas funny isn't limited to photos, either. There are funny cartoons:

More to come.

"The Time Has Come for Someone to Put His Foot Down. And that Foot is Me."

Last weekend – between margaritas and extended bouts of laziness – Brad and I joined Bill for a little tour in Toledo Bowl.

Following a junk show morning that didn’t even start till 11 am (for those of you who know my husband, you understand that our start was so late it might as well have been the NEXT DAY) and included one lost wallet, one tour of a newly finished basement, one missing ski, one boot flex test and one stop for lunch, we parked in front of the Deep Powder House and started skinning toward Pole Line Pass.

My memory of the short walk to Pole Line is a lot like my memory of climbing at the Minimum in Maple Canyon. This summer, after getting on the route 49 one time, I announced, “that thing’s, like, 5.10!” and proceeded to declare that I’d “totally flash it” my second try.

Not the case.

Similarly, as I toed into my Dynafits, I turned to the boys and said, “So we’ll be at the top in like, 15 minutes, so should we ski Cardiac today?”

Keep in mind that as I spoke those words, it was 2 pm. It gets dark at 5 pm. Between the three of us, no one is in particularly awesome shape right now, not was any of us really motivated that day (remember the 11 am kickoff?).

Both men looked at me, looked at each other, and without a word, put their headphones on.

Ok, so that’s not how it exactly how it went down – it wasn’t quite so choreographed. But they did look at me like I was a lunatic.

But that’s not news.

They do that all the time.

We ended up having a good, short tour. It was nice to ski with two of my favorite people, and it felt great to push a bit on the climb.

Here's Brad getting ready to point 'em.

And here's Bill's patented photo pose.


About Goddamned Time.

Yeah, again. I know. I'm getting tired of apologizing for not posting, so I should just, you know, post.

Brad sent me this ad yesterday. He got it from Kolin, one of the world's greatest dog lovers. This ad is the kind of thing I'd love to make someday: witty, catchy, golden retriever-focused.

And then, after I laughed and laughed and laughed at said ad, my office mate realized that it was going to me "one of those days" (when my need to laugh out loud prevents those around me from getting anything done) and sent me this IKEA ad. Oh, the hilarity! What is it about angry accented yelling directly into the camera that so delights me? Again, I laughed and laughed. And then I sent it to everyone I know in an attempt to make them have one of those days, too.

The response from my brother was this delightful number featuring Christopher Walken, who - along with people with accents and golden retrievers - always makes me happy. Good lord, what a multi-talented man.

On the skiing front, I am terribly lame. I bailed on dawn patrol because "it's too cold, the snow is too unstable, I'm tired, I'm sore, I don't wanna." And now I feel like I should be out there skinning. But, hey, it's early in the season, and it's high-time I start listening to my body. It didn't feel right, so I slept in. It's not the end of the world.

But on the topic of the end of the world, how about this story? That's right, everyone. Just when you think all hope is lost, you, too, could be reunited with your monkey. Of course, this "holiday miracle" doesn't explain the presence of a tiki bar in Rockville, Maryland.


I’ve Been Rather Busy

I started my new job last week, hence, no blogging.


Here’s what I love my new job as a copywriter for a big time ad agency:

Arnie gets to come to work with me.

Super nice co-workers.

A Powerbook G4. I know, I’m so shallow.

Being so close to the Aves, where I walk Arnie each day at lunch.

Peet’s Coffee, always on tap. (I know – historically I’ve dismissed Peet’s as poseur joe, AND IT IS, but it sure beats Folger’s crystals.)

My responsibilities, which include all sorts of things I’ve never done before. It’s nice to be learning new things every single day.

Interacting with the company’s other offices, in LA, Phoenix and DC.

Cucina, my new favorite lunch spot.

Arnie warming my feet as I type this.

The old building that houses our offices – kind of like the early days at Backbone.

Studio work.

Studying copy and language choices.

The organic Dancing Deer baked goods in the kitchen right now.

The woodsy out the floor-to-ceiling windows of my office.

I’m so lucky. I’m really grateful for this opportunity. It’s amazing how life’s scariest moments can really turn into gifts.


Among the many reasons...

I've decided to try being a vegetarian for a while. Lots of reasons. Readng the Omnivore's Dilema. Remembering The Jungle from 9th grade English class (have you read that book? Good Lord, nasty shit in those meat processing plants...). I'm currently reading Skinny Bitch, which is a hilarious look at all the garbage we consume.

(In addition to meat, I've also given up diet soda. That's how seriously I'm taking this.)

But the thing that really did it, the image that really sent me flying head first into veggie territory was this one:


But the cooking was hard.

Well, not the cooking, exactly. It was more the preparation that bothered me. The touching of the bird. The raw body all slappy and cold. YUCK. Seriously, I almost started crying when I pulled the neck out of the body cavity. Jesus, we're a bunch of damn animals, eating this bird. They're not cute, exactly, but does that mean we should mock their deaths by shoving their "parts" inside their bodies, just so we can eat more of them? Good lord.

I know. I'm being a little dramatic. (Just a little? Hell, this is a good day.)

I felt terrible. I didn't like it at all. I don't even like tofu, and I was wishing for a tofurkey. Or a pizza.

It smells good now (I know, I'm a hypocrite. No surprise.), but I think this will be the last time I make bird.

That for which I am thankful.

Laughter. People who make me laugh. People who laugh with me. Out loud and till my face hurts.

Family. Brad. Mom, Dad and John. The Barlages. My two boys (yes, they're dogs).

Friends. When they tell me "everything's gonna be ok," I believe them.

Places that inspire me. Knowing where they are and returning to them again and again.

Frost on the ground this morning. It's about goddamned time.

Tiger balm. I guess I'm getting old.

The woodstove all glowy and warm. Thanks to Brad.

Time to rest, to read, to knit, to relax. Not everyone gets that time. I'm lucky.


Hanging in there.

Just like this guy.

If only I had one of those posters...the kind my 4th grade teacher hung all over her classroom, the kind that scream, "I'M A LONELY SPINSTER!"

But I'm not a lonely spinster, of course. I'm so blessed with a wonderful honey and supportive friends. Thanks to you all for your amazing and uplifting posts.

An update: I was just offered a cool position at a cool company. I'll share more as soon as it's all formalized, but suffice it to say that I was only unemployed for approximately 4 hours. That makes me happy.


Single Income Household.

The shoe dropped and clocked me in the head.

Eliminating redundant positions.

All the corporate things that I was so blissfully insulated from for so long came crashing down today. I was "let go." Well, along with, like, a dozen or so others.

I'm not bummed about the job. It's fine; I understand. It's just business and I know that this is the way it goes sometimes. What I'm sad about tonght, as I sit between my two sleeping dogs, is that I didn't get a chance to say good-bye. It was so clinical and cold and antiseptic.

"Effective immediately."

I didn't get to hug the people I grew to love in my short time at the agency. To wish them well, to promise to stay in touch and actually mean it.

I guess that's how it has to be, though. They have to cut the cord swiftly and completely, otherwise closure would never come.

So moving on now. Looking for a new job, thinking about what I REALLY want to do. Brad, who is wonderful beyond words, is encouraging me to take my time, to enjoy myself and play and climb and ski. He's just amazing. It's hard, though, to relax and have fun when I'm unemployed. Hate that word.

But maybe he's right - maybe that would be better now, for a while.

Ok, relaxing, relaxing....

Well, but before I do that, I'll just ask that if you hear of anything, keep me in mind - a copywriter, a PR maven, a marketer and brander, a critical thinker.

How tacky - using my blog to promote moi.


I'm pretty teary-eyed, though, as I think again of the friends - at the agency - who I'll miss terribly. And that's the heart of it. It's not the job, it's the people.


Me, right now.

Work has been a little stressful for the past few days, so I'm walking around like the fellow in the picture. Whenever someone says my name, I whirl around and say, "WHAT? What is it? What? Why did you say my name? What do you WANT?"

It's a normal part of the biz, I'm told, but still. Wow. I'm a wreck.

That said, I saw this video on Dooce's new website, and just laughed right out loud. Funny, funny, but maybe not appropriate to watch at work. Especially if you live in Salt Lake.

Dooce, by the way, lives right here in the foothills of the Wasatch and is among the funniest writers in the world ever ever ever. I may or may not have tried to locate her home based on the daily photos she posts. Yeah, I know, "speaking of inappropriate...."


The Bunny. She is a Cannibal.

Oh, but what a cute wittle cannibal!



Ed and I raked leaves and pine needles yesterday. Arnie helped by holding down the piles.

He didn't quite understand, though, that we had to keep piling.

Brothers. Together Again.

Today when Brad and Red pulled into the driveway, Arnie was so excited to see his brother that he jumped up on the van and kissed Red right on the snoot. Red kissed Arnie right back and when he jumped out of the van, they wiggled and wagged and sniffed and smiled.

I almost started crying - that's how cute it was.

They missed each other. I can't believe it.

Later, we hiked up Grandeur and I stopped to take a few photos.

Happy boys.

Still happy.

More happy.

I have about 15 more images of the same, but my respect for your time prevents me from posting them. I know you're very busy people. I'm looking out for you.


When Mormons Go Bad

One of our clients just annoyed me into such a state that one of our very kind-hearted, very "good" account managers (you know the type: clean cut, friendly, looks you right in the eye because he doesn't have an evil, shrivled, black heart like moi) said - in an attempt to talk me down, thus convincing me to finish the project - "What a Deushe*."

See, now I feel kind of guilty.

*The spelling error must be forgiven, though, because, after all, can anyone really spell it without looking online?

Wishing I could be like this guy tonight...

But no such luck. Too many leaves to rake, too much laundry to do, too much of the house to clean...hopefully Arnold will understand that his "exercise" tonight = following me around the yard while I rake...poor guy.

Mouse in House, 2

There are more mice in the house. Ed killed one while I was away, and now I'm finding mouse droppings in our cupboards (not where we keep the food, nothing THAT gross, but in the under sink cupboards of the kitchen and bathroom).

I think Brad's annoyed with me because of my refusal to deal with the situation, but the thing is, while I don't like the mice being in our house, and while I worry about the dogs getting sick from them, I can't bear the thought of killing them, of scooping up their rigid, furry-but-blood-soaked bodies and tossing them into the trash can.

(Trash because our recycling bin CLEARLY states, "No Dead Animals." Now, how many people do you suppose tried to recycle road kill before the recycling company had to go so far as to print the rules on the can?)

Just like I haven't been able to eat meat lately, because the thought of hurting an animal breaks my heart (I know, I know, that's the reason 6 YEAR OLDS become vegetarians), the thought of placing a trap for the "critters we dun' got" just does not sit well with me. So Brad will have to deal with it when he gets home.

This is my act of civil disobedience. Well, this and my refusal to wear open-toed shoes in the winter.



Teri , whose blog is delightful, and who values her animal companions as much as Brad and I value ours, tagged me for "6 Things." My "6 Things" will take on the theme of "Katie's Perfect Day."

1. Strong black coffee in the brown stonewear mug I took from my parents' house when I went to college and still have. In fact, Brown Stonewear Mug is one of my oldest possessions, and one of the 2 things I brought into my marriage. (The other was Arnie.)

2. Long run with the whole family - the dogs running beside me, and Brad on his bike, pacing us and singing the Rocky theme song.

3. Healthy, homemade brunch including the careful combination of eggs, potatoes, spinach and cheese.

4. Throwing the Frisbee with Brad, while the dogs run and prance about happily.

5. Climb or ski.

6. Fire in the woodstove, homemade pizza and red wine, Scrabble.

Yes, I know that's more than 6. I sort of shoved a couple together to make it SEEM like 6, but you, my savvy readers, are very shrewd. You figured me out.

I tag you.


Golden Retrievers for Everyone.

This is the greatest story ever:

This little guy, Toby, knows the Heimlich. See how naturally smart and aware Golden Retrievers are? That's why I never bothered to train Arnie; I knew he just SENSED how to behave.

Seriously, this story made my day.

In case you can't read the story (are you kidding me? You MUST READ THE STORY!), here are a few photos of Toby with his mom, whose life he saved by jumping on her chest while she was choking.

The lesson here, of course, is Always Encourage Your Dog to Jump on People.


This makes me surprisingly happy.

This high priest has won many million big ones.

I think it's nice!

In this video, he talks about his plans to establish a school "like Hogwarts" where kids can learn about Shamanism, Wicca and other religions as well as "mundane realm" things like "managing finances."

It's true, you know. When you can transfigure and fly and confer with deities, I'm sure preparing your tax return and balancing your checkbook seem SUPER boring. (Get it? "super?" I know - it was a little forced.)

I mean, don't they have spells for those sorts of things? If so, I want in.

Seriously. All kidding aside. I am really happy for this guy. The video even made me tear up a little. I mean, I know we're all so cool that we think anything other than a healthy dose of atheism - agnostism for the liberals among us - is total bunk.

But really. Here's this caftan-wearing guy who's living his beliefs to the fullest, going so far as to provide another generation with opportunities that he lacked - namely, the chance to worship/chant/study/draw sparkly fairies in a place with like-minded, tolerant people. Free of religous persecution, or at the very least, freedom from being called "fags" by their jock class mates.

Go ahead, naysayers. Mock me. Mock him. But I'm standing by my belief: this guy is cool.

It's interesting, though, because while I have all the patience in the world for a school of witchery, I'd be pissed if the Catholocs tried the same.

Wait, what? There already ARE schools of full of Catholics? And they're conspiring against the rest of us? But, nobody's caling THEM satan worshippers and preventing them from gathering together in a privately-funded facility....OH, right...the CONSERVATIVE thing. I forgot.

GRW - Arnie is not tote-able.

Brad loves to tote Arnie. You know, just walk around with an Arnie draped about his shoulders like a cape. It's REALLY normal behavior. Most people walk around with dogs (who weigh HALF AS MUCH as they do) around their necks.

Arnie's so mellow, though, that he never really minds, especially when he's really stoned, as he is below:

Arnie isn't as into it when Brad tries to get him all fired up. Arnie doesn't do "fired up," which is unfortunate, because Brad doesn't do mellow. Yet, like Bert and Ernie, they get along famously. As you can see.

Oh, and the wetness on Arnie's head, that's making his fur all cowlicky? That's where Brad was biting him.


Sooooooo Bummed to be Missing This.

The aftermath of the Harding Slot. That's Brad's leg. You can tell by his hip-and-happening sock style. That's right, Sweetie - pull 'em all the way up. Protect those ankles.

I'll tell you, though, Little Red sure looks cute with El Cap as a backdrop.


Missing: One Motivation.

Scene: Sunday night.

Katie: "Arnie, tomorrow is going to be a big day. I'm going to the 6 am Bikram class, then going to work, then picking you up for a long run. I'm thinking the Desolation Trail. Sound good?"

Arnie: (wag, wag, wag)

Katie: "Good. I'm setting the alarm for 5 am."

Arnie: (wag, wag, wag)

Scene: Monday morning, 5 am.


Katie: Like hell. (Turns alarm off; returns to bed.)

Scene: Monday morning, 7 am.

Katie: Ok, Arnie, so I didn't make it to yoga this morning. Well, well run after work and then I'll go to the 6 pm Bikram class.

Arnie: zzzzz zzzzz zzzzz

Scene: After work.

Katie: Ok, Arnie, let's go run the Desolation Trail!

Arnie: (wag, wag, wag)

Cut to narrator.
Katie did not, in fact, run the Deso Trail this evening, nor did she make it to 6 pm yoga. Rather, Katie dragged herself along the trail - at a slow pace - then returned home where she crashed on the couch for several hours. She then fell into bed, confused by her lack of motivation but too tired to care.

She wants to believe that she's coming down with something because it's so unlike her to just be tired, but then, it's rare that she succumbs to illness, too.

So for now, she and Arnie will take it easy and rest, not-so-patiently waiting for her energy to come back.

But if you happen to see my motivation, please let it know that I miss it.

What might help, though, is the two week climbing hiatus I'm taking. I haven't been too psyched lately; my muscles haven't been recovering very quickly. So rest for me, for 14 days. I'm not sure how this will affect my upcoming trip to Yosemite, but I suppose there are other things to do there. And there's always Santa Cruz. And Sunnyvale.


Hero Squad.

But there's always humor, and aside from a strong dose of anti-anxiety meds, little else is as effective.

Anyone know the context of THIS hilarious scene?

And then there are these guys:

Among others.

I didn't think it'd be this way.

You go into something knowing what it's all about, understanding how it has to be, but that doesn't necessarily ease the pain of it; that doesn't make it sting any less when you're alone and it's too late to call anyone and you're rendered immobile by saddness.

And the thing is, we all try to be so brave and tough and say it doesn't matter, because to let anyone know that it really, really DOES matter would mean stepping out of character. Like an aside in a play, admitting that sometimes it totally sucks would be showing the audience that we're not, in fact, who we said we were.

And it's hard. It's really, really hard to feel this way and not talk about it, not have a good cry and then just move on. But it's not going to end. Sure, I can cry right now, then go to bed and wake up to the eastern light - a little refreshed, a little clearer - but it's all going to happen again two weeks from now, two months from now and for the rest of my life.

And sometimes I want to say that it isn't fair, but for god's sake, what is? Is it fair, for example, that the people in the park downtown are stabbing each other because they're so strung out on drugs because they fell into a cycle of abuse and addiction because somewhere, somehow, we failed them, hending over drugs and poverty in lieu of the American Dream?

And I try, try, try to not feel sorry for myself, because I have had the World's Easiest Life, but tonight I can't help but feel a little sad, a little left out, a little patronized.

But again, it's not going to end. This is the deal, and I've known that all along. So what good is it to write this entry, to cry myself to sleep, to react in any way at all? I don't react to the moonrise the rain the color of grass the curve of the land. They're what they are. This is what it is. And that's quite enough on the subject.


More on Pepe the Prawn

I know I've already written about Pepe the Prawn, but thanks to the Wyoming Cowboy, I've learned that there's a whole world of funny I haven't even begun to tap into.

Par exemple:
"I will smack you like a bad, bad donkey, okay...."

And fine. If you think I'm a total wingnut for finding fictional crustaceans and talking frogs amusing, I can understand that. But even YOU have to agree that penguins doing the bunny hop is just hilarious.

Just so we're clear...

Those costumed photos from yesterday weren't shots of Arnie. It seems there's some confusion in the blogosphere. While I believe that every golden retriever is beautiful - inside and out - I happen to think that my boy is better looking than the dogs in yesterday's photos.

You know, not that it really matters, but just so we're clear.

Arnie's the best looking.

But it doesn't really matter.


Golden Retriever Wednesday* - Don't do this.

* Yes, Wednesday. Because I was always late for Golden Retriever Tuesdays, I thought I'd give myself an extra 24 hours.

I love Halloween. It gives me endless joy to watch the conservative Christian types take part in a pagan ritual. Believe me, I'll be dressing up and taking part in any and all Halloween-related festivities that come my way. Except one.

By now you know how much I adore Arnold the dog. You're aware that my connection to him rivals that of the crazy cat lady to her herd of husband-substitutes. That said, THIS is not ok:

People, this is not a happy dog! Despite my completely unhinged friendship with my pet, I would never dream of outfitting him in something like this:

because let me tell you, even though Arnie didn't bite me when I was ripping porcupine quills out of his snoot, and even though he didn't even curl his lip at me after he was hit by a car and I had to lift his sore little body up into my truck, I think he'd snap if I ever tried to wiggle him into this:

I mean, how itchy!

Whoever these people are, they're a bunch of sick monkeys. Don't dress your dog for Halloween, people. There's no reason to, as they're already ideally suited for the task of tick-or-treating as is:

Ahem, I will not be taking Arnold from house to house, mostly because our neighbors frighten me, but also because COME ON!!! Haven't you been paying attention? This is sick!

Instead, Arnie and I will hopefully be doing this on the 31st:


This Was Fun.

Sunday, the 21st of October. The first day of the season. We put in 2560 feet at Alta. There were 200 cars in the parking lot by the time we left (noon), and the lifts weren't even running. There were more people skinning and hiking and snowshoeing than I'd ever seen in one place, and everyone was happy and psyched and enjoying the warmish temps and 24 inches of snow.

Brad and I went out with Ed, who took the photos below; we met Mitchell, John and Jaima. Fun day. Can't wait for another, but it looks like all those nice storm cycles have moved on for the time being. That's ok, too; it's still nice to run on the fallen leaves.

Skinning felt great on Sunday, though my skiing was a little rusty. I just love Alta, the part of Little Cottonwood where the road ends and the mountains begin.

Here's Ed, mugging for the camera and the folks on the Eastern seaboard:

Brad and me on top of lap one:

My favorite photo from the day, ripping skins for the first turns of the season:

Again, all photos courtesy of Ed Maginn.


Into the Wild

I downloaded a song – Rise – from the "Into the Wild" soundtrack today. I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m already sort of haunted by it. The trailer brings tears to my eyes; the music is as soulful and moving as any I’ve ever heard.

I read the book when I was living in State College. I spent all my time there, at least post-Asia, dreaming of the West, of the mountains. Back then, “West” symbolized “other,” and I thought, by wanting to be a part of the sub-cultures I read about in books like Krakauer’s, that I belonged in those mountain lifestyle shots I studied in Patagonia catalogs and climbing magazines.

In some ways, now, I see it as an illness – that constant gaze to the next horizon, the next peak, the next sport, the next feat of greatness that will propel you toward…what? Just watching the trailer to this movie, I think of my dead friends who perished in ways not unlike that of Chris McCandless.

I say their names in my head and remember my final conversations with them. I wonder now, was it worth it?

Seekers all, young men who would be in their thirties now.

Married? In love? Fathers? Single and climbing and poor? Professionals with houses?

And I can’t pretend to know what takes them all there, to the very end of their ropes. It’s not in my nature. I always say that I’m just a kid from the suburbs. But then, so were they.

Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack to this movie is completely open-hearted and raw. It is the best music I’ve heard in ages. I am shocked by how evocative it is.


Date Night with Power Tools.

We've been in town the past couple weekends, not necessarily by choice, but because we've had engagements around here. It's a good time of year to be tethered near home, though, because it gives us a chance to stock up on wood for the coming winter.

Left to my own devices, I would probably not spend Friday evenings traipsing through the woods looking for dead trees, aka, future firewood. But the truth is, last Friday, just before dusk, when the air was cool and still, I could think of nothing I'd rather be doing.

We went to Lambs Canyon with Andrew; there was a downed pine near the Samuels-McLean property that needing chopping up. The old green truck climbed the canyon in first gear, and as I creeped slowly forward, I thought back to last winter, skinning up the same incline, thinking that it wasn't all that steep. Maybe Brad's right about that truck not having any power.

While the boys - Brad and Andrew - handled the chainsaws, I stacked wood into the vehicles, watched the light change across the valley and felt greatful to live in the Wasatch. The air was sweet with pine-dust and decaying leaves. I saw moose tracks up the road. The wood promised warmth for winter.*

*Of course, if you know my husband, you know that being warm isn't an issue. More pressing is being so overheated that you start to hallucinate and run outside to bury yourself in snow becaue the house is topping 100 degrees. But for the sake of poetry, I'll keep the text as is.

Before we headed home in our low-riding, timber-filled vehicles, I decided that I should learn how to operate a chainsaw. After all, Brad loves them so much he has one for each hand.

Andrew snapped a few pics of my damage. You'll notice that Brad couldn't even watch my destruction of his beloved Homelite, and I can't say I blame him. Rather than yielding the neat, stackable shape that others seem to produce, my efforts with the chainsaw were rewarded with what Andrew described as a "spiral cut ham."

In fact I didn't actually make it through the log. Once the sawdust cleared and the gentlemen assisted in the cutting, the remaining mishapen hank of wood was relegated to a chew toy for the dogs.

Well, not really. The dogs were scared of it.


Click. Watch. Laugh.


Oh, how delightful.

Courtesy of my brother, who, in honor of the PSU-Wisconsin game today, is rooting for the snake.


White Party

What to wear to a White Party?

Especially (gasp) after Labor Day!!!!

This is trying my preppy sensibilities.

We are going to a white-themed party Saturday night, and I'm not sure how far to take it. People will be in silly costumes, I'm sure, so do I go all out with go-go boots and a wig? Do I have to wear white jeans? Can I just wear regular clothes and don a white accessory, like a boa?

I know we're all about praying for snow, hence the theme, but I much prefer the goold old Ullr Fest, complete with bonfires, drumming, dancing and black clothing.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm done complaining because the woman who handles the problem client made everything better and I no longer have to deal with the heinousness. Props to you, Ms. Account Manager. Many thanks.

Henceforth: a complaint-free blogging venue.


Prancing Arnie

He's like a unicorn.

See the similarity?

I didn't get to post the GRT image yesterday because if I'd been within 10 yards of a computer I'd have thrown it out a window.

On a happier note, I went running before ski conditioning last night, alongside three Golden Retrievers (Arnie, Moxie and Sydney) and one Heeler. Red was very busy keeping them all in line. Everyone I passed smiled at me, saying things like, "What a happy group of dogs!" and "You've got your hands full."

Maybe if I traipsed through the office with the same herd, my client would be nicer to me.... If not, those happy dogs would come down on him like a ton of bricks.