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.

But Speaking of Goats (See Post Below)...

Fainting Goats - the cutest things in the world. Maybe I'll give up copywriting and start me a goat farm.

Still Very Upset.

Well, my heinous work situation isn't getting any better, but in honor of you, my kind-hearted and lovable readers, I'll refrain from yelling and screaming and jumping up and down.

It's time to celebrate the 24" of settled snow in the mountains, the first fire of the season and trips planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'm filled with ideas for art and knitting and sewing projects right now. I'm loving the running temps and I swear fall in Mill Creek is as beautiful as it is on the East coast.

UGH. But even though things are great and I'm psyched about so much, I just can't get the sourness of this whole work thing out of my mind. It feels like I'm the scapegoat for the shortcomings and failures of the chumps who are making six-figures to do nothing but insult me.

Sigh. Hate and Anger. Not nice.


An addendum.

Ok, look: I know I’m far, far from perfect.

(Like, if perfect is in this field over here, by the angels and wild roses and golden retriever puppies, then I’m across the highway, below the overpass, knee-deep in piss-filled Mountain Dew bottles and dirty diapers. Ok, well, maybe not that bad, but still...far from perfect.)

I know I need an editor and proofreader. I know my writing sometimes falls short of expectations. I acknowledge and accept these things as widely understood facts.

But the reason I was so upset earlier, when I wrote the post below, was that no one bothered to say, “I think you misunderstood the product.” All I got was, “are you stupid?”

I know that I’m not owed anything, but it’s common kindness, isn’t it?

After leaving the office for an hour for lunch, I feel a little better, but it still stings.

So mad it hurts.

Having worked at companies with no more than ten employees for most of my adult life, I walked into my current job completely unprepared for the clash of personalities, communication styles, attitudes and posturing. I was dealt a stomach-punch this morning, in the form of an annoying client’s continued unhappiness with my work. On the phone, discussing a recent draft, the client told me that I “don’t possess the brain capacity” to understand his product, and therefore couldn’t be “expected to write well.”

Right, ok, well, how about FUCK YOU? How about I show you my resume? My CV? How about I scratch your car with my PHI BETA KAPPA KEY you self-important piece of trash?

I would beat that man over the head with one of my MANY PUBLISHED WORKS if he happened to be cowering in front of me right now.

But the thing is, it doesn’t matter. He wins. He can say whatever the hell he wants, because he’s the client, and he’s RIGHT.

And as hard as it is, I have to sit here and take it. I have to accept the fact that whatever the reason – my inability to understand the concept or his just being a jackass – I’ve failed. I can’t do the work correctly.

And it sucks and I want to quit and run from here to Park City along the ridges I can see out my office window. I want to walk away right now and, I don’t know, wait tables for the winter so I can ski everyday.

These are the times when, hands shaking and eyes welling up, I regret having left the outdoor industry. It’s far from perfect and some of the people are hard to work with, but at least there I understand the products well enough to write about them; at least there I’m well regarded, respected. Not called “mentally obtuse.”