Telling it like it do be.

In the New Yorker, a great article.*

It’s about six – as word limit. Our life stories as a sextet.

Why shouldn’t biographies be brief, abrupt? Our life spans so short, overall.

Diesel makes me think of Nepal. A shawl, long skirt and sandals. Stepping around beggars, breaking my heart. Geography, it seems, determines class, station. Why should I be so lucky? Millions of others are going without.

Brad taught me compassion, understanding, love. People think he’s unable to be patient. But he’d wait for me forever. Red reminds me to make demands. Arnie helps me forgive, move on. We are a pack, a family. We are happiest as a foursome. Wagging tails and laughter, being outside.

I hope to see Marit soon. And Lizzie – I’m proud of her. And Mavis, so capable and kind.
I’ll spend the weekend with Megan. She and I find humor everywhere. I miss her, our hiking conversations.

I’m thrilled to go to Boulder. Always full of promise and possibility. Running along shady streets, up Flagstaff. Bouldering at that spot I like; above the Monkey Traverse, less crowded. At least, it was back then. I remember one evening with Rolo. He was quiet for a minute. A mountain lion chased a rabbit. I didn’t know to be scared.

So much changed when fear entered. Not just mountain lions, but everything. I’m different now, more careful, hesitant.

Just yesterday, I thought of “Go.” The shortest sentence in our language. It’s another coincidence, perhaps, this article. To read it today, fate maybe. As I’m struggling for words, headlines. As I’m trying to create meaning. To be relevant and clever and pithy. As I write and overwrite, explaining.

A concept shouldn’t require an asterisk.

Hemingway, famous for his brevity, wrote: “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Powerful, with more weight than words. He, a master of concision, prevails.

*I was nearly halfway before realization; each sentence has just six words. Of the article, of the report. Brilliant, this author, such smooth writing. I wondered how she did it. Did she write a “regular” sentence? Then return to whittle and rearrange? To create a revised six-word summary (as I have with this sentence)?

Or did she write each exactly? Six words only, more or less. The occasional forgiveness of a colon; perhaps a semi-colon or a dash.


English is Funny.

I saw this on a sign in front of someone's house yesterday:

"Woman and Man Alterations"

Either this person is a tailor, a chi adjuster or a life coach.


A Shout Out from the Left Coast

I've been tagged by the delightful Cindy who pens an outrageously worthy blog.

The topic: 5 things about me.

1. I absolutely love clothes shopping, and usually like to go alone, all day, when I can take as long as I want to prowl through sale racks. I've found some timeless gems that way, including a black cashmere Dolce & Gabbana cardigan for $29, a rare-print Lilly shift on the clearance rack and $49 Frye Campus boots (yeah, they were a size and a half too small, but I wore them for a year anyway).

2. I love crossword puzzles, Sudoku, Scrabble and most other word or mind games. LOVE. But I hate playing cards. Feels too seedy.

3. I proudly subscribe to "smart" magazines with "good" writers and "important" articles, but the only novels I read are situated firmly in the chick-lit category. And I love reading them.

4. I adore dancing (especially hip-hop and NIA) and would like to do it everyday. As it is, I only dance in the kitchen with socks on, because I can slide around on the floor. We're heading to Boulder in a week, though, so maybe I can go to a NIA class or two there.

That was a nice way to close out the Friday of a very long week. I tag: Marit and Paige.

HA! Edited to add:
5. I'm not good with numbers. It's quite apparent, I know, but really, I can surround myself with words and pictures all day, but the moment numbers come along, I throw my hands up and run away screaming. Thanks, for keeping me honest, Cindy!


What a coincidence.

There’s a hilarious article in the current issue of the New Yorker. Entitled, “Call Me Loyd,” it’s an introspective look at nicknames – why we use them, what they represent, why they’re good.

It struck a chord with me, because I’ve been using nicknames like crazy lately. I don’t know why or what sparked it, but I just can’t seem to use real names at all. Bud, pal, big guy, mouth (for Arnie at the dog park), sweetie, doll, friend…you name it. You nickname it. Heh, heh.

This is something that my dad and his friends do, use nicknames. It’s a sign of familiarity and admiration, yes, but in my dad’s case, it’s also because he forgets names a lot. You can be sure that if my dad greets you as “guy” or “kiddo,” he’s probably wondering who you are, how you know him or why on Earth you’d be talking to him.

Unless you’re a close friend. Then it’s a sign of affection. See how tricky it can be?

I call Brad a number of things: mydoggydaddy, bird, sweetie, honey. But seldom “Brad” unless I’m referring to him while speaking to someone else, writing about him or mad at him.

I’m telling you this now because you should track down the article (written by David Owen, in the February 11th & 18th anniversary issue) and read it (I’d link to it, but it’s not online yet). It’s super funny – it made me laugh out loud – and very relate-able.

I’m also sharing this because it represents another in a string of instances of my life mirroring – almost exactly – what I’m reading or watching or dreaming about.

Here’s one example: Since I was a little girl, I’ve been dreaming of a house – the same house – every month, year after year. It’s made of dark wood and glass, all windows and asymmetry and shaded southern exposures. It is very precise in my dreams – sunken living room with a two-sided fireplace; 1970 meets Dwell. Yesterday, driving from the shoot location back to the hotel, I saw it. It’s just off Lincoln in Scottsdale, a few blocks from the bell tower that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, on the way to Paradise Valley.

My jaw dropped when I saw it; I mean, it was the same house. Ok, well I don’t know if it has a sunken living room and two-sided fireplace, but everything else was exactly as I’d dreamed it, right down to the landscaping (several sage plants, a rosemary bush and xeriscaping).

This morning, driving to the set, I saw a billboard for jobing.com. I noticed it, because I wondered if it shouldn’t actually be “jobbing.com.” I just feel like the “b” would be doubled before the gerund. I don’t know why. Anyway, I was pondering this for a few blocks after the billboard, when suddenly, on the radio, I heard a commercial for an event at "the jobbing.com arena." (Actually, the event was a Bon Jovi concert of all things.) I know, it’s not that big a deal, but it’s a connection, a bridge between thoughts and life. It made me smile.

Last night, on the phone with my mom, Westinghouse came up (we were talking about unions). We hadn’t talked about Westinghouse for years; my grandfather worked there for 40 years, and my father spent time there in the early part of his career. In the 1970s and 80s, Westinghouse was by far Pittsburgh’s largest employer (until 1988, when it closed its East Pittsburgh plant). I remember Westinghouse-branded watches, address books, notepads, pencils, ball caps, windbreakers, golf balls; Westinghouse was everywhere, but I haven’t seen that blue “W” logo for probably 20 years.

Just now, sitting on the set, I glanced up and saw a Westinghouse decal on the back door of the studio. There’s another one on the window. Wow. Weird.

Now, part of me is thinking that this is an issue of awareness. Because I’d been thinking of jobing.com, I noticed the commercial more acutely than I otherwise would have. Likewise, if my mom and I hadn’t talked about Westinghouse last night, my eye line might have scanned the doorway and window without noticing the logo.

But, I don’t know, I choose to think it’s something bigger, something more connected, more universal. Yesterday, I heard that peyote is legal on Indian Reservations in Arizona. Last night, I caught the last 10 minutes of a documentary about Carlos Castaneda. See? I think there’s something happening…


Shhhhh....Quiet on the Set.

I'm on a tv set now, watching as a commercial I wrote is filmed. Everything, from the location to the wardrobe to the make-up to all the people (there are like a hundred people listening to little headphones watching screens running cameras holding microphones handing me bottles of water yelling things) seems in-motion and rapid and overwhelming. I'm kind of wondering what I'm doing here. There's no reason for my presence, as the actors are just reading my lines.

It's giving me insight, though, into the immensity of the television commercial industry. If this much effort is put into one 30-second spot, think of all the time, money, resources and energy that goes into all the commercials we see. I mean, already - it's noon - I've seen dozens of water bottles in the garbage can instead of the recycling bin. Plus, the fact that we're using water bottles in the first place...wasteful.

As I sit here, killing time on the set of my fairly small scale commercial, I'm trying to imagine how much money is spent on commercials every year. Even this spot, with its anemic budget, commands big money. Larger commercial budgets run into the millions. Imagine if every company cut one commercial from its annual budget and gave the money to a charity, a non-profit organization, me...

No, no, not me. Something worthwhile. And I know this is a silly, immature daydream, but I don't have much else to do, so I'm allowing my mind to run.

And yes, I'm taking issue with the very industry that signs my paychecks and buys me lovely things like the adorable outfit I'm wearing, but I can't help it.

You're Driving Me to Phoenix!

Who said it (the title quote)? Anyone? Anyone?
Hint: It's from a wonderfully silly movie that I can recite beginning to end.

I’m in Scottsdale working on a commercial project for client #1, while staying up all night writing a development plan for client #2. It’s busy and stressful, but the upside is that I have my own room in a swanky hotel (there seems to be nothing BUT swanky in Scottsdale), and on this February morning, I went running – outside – in a tank top and shorts.

As I left the hotel to start my run, a kindly silver-haired fellow bundled in a tracksuit warned, “Ooooh, it’s cold out there this morning!”

I think it was 70, maybe 75 degrees. Somehow I managed.

It was dark when I started running, but once I turned around and headed back, the sun was rising and both Camelback and Superstition Mountain were bathed in morning light. The houses in this area fascinate me; some are gaudy and not my taste, but others integrate with the landscape and the climate. Single story with northern exposures, flat roofs, built into rock, shaded glass panes instead of walls, stone and steel. They’re breathtaking.

As I tripped along (too much watching the houses, not enough watching my footing), I imagined having house in the desert someday. Maybe not Moab – it’s no secret that Moab creeps me the hell out (AS IT DAMN WELL SHOULD) – but in the high desert among sage and scrub pine and funky new age spiritual centers.

Too bad there’s not more good climbing near Crestone (I know, there’s Penitente, but it’s kind of limited, and the alpine climbing season is really short, and alpine climbing sucks anyway), because it would otherwise be an ideal getaway.

Back to work. More to come.


Repas de Soirée

This is tonight's dinner.

Orecchiette with broccoli florets, soy bacon crumbles and fresh parm.


Dinner followed a long run in the foothills with Arnie.

We were hunting coyotes, who were yipping and singing to the setting sun.

And now we're watching 2 Days in Paris, which I'm loving. Acerbic and quick with smart, natural dialogue. Makes me want to move to Paris, but then, so does everything: alarm clocks, kleenex, driving through the city, driving through the country, choosing a new sofa, the number 12, Thursdays, jaunty toques...you name it.

Someday soon. As soon as we can figure out how to get to Europe with the dogs - with zero to minimal time in quarantine.

Anyone have any ideas?


It's my Arnieversary, so Happy Valentarnie's Day.

I got Arnie 4 years ago yesterday. His actual birthday is December 26th, but he came to me - about 7 weeks old - on Valentine's Day 2004.

He came from a breeder in Northern Colorado. The owners are very protective of their pups, and won't release them until they've approved his or her new home, so they drove the him to my house in Carbondale (four hours away) intending to have a look around.

I flung open the door before they knocked, and without noticing the humans standing on my porch, I reached for the puppy, all huge paws and wagging tail. It was love at first sight, and the breeders didn't bother to run through their standard questions: Where will he sleep, what will you feed him, how much time will he be alone during the day.... They knew he'd be loved and adored and taken care of, so they happily left the pup and headed home.

I named him Arnie, and we were inseparable from that moment forward. I had never owned a dog all by myself before, so Arnie and I kind of grew up together. As I made mistakes as a "parent," we both learned the importance of training and discipline. I eventually learned that even though I love Arnie, sometimes I had to be firm with him - like when he rolled in dead animal carcasses, for example, and wanted to hop on the couch immediately afterwards....see, that's bad.

Arnie is very mellow. He takes everything in stride, doesn't seem to take it too personally on the rare occasions when I do have to put my foot down ("No, Arnie, you can't have a slice of pizza"). That said, there's very little that Arnie doesn't share with me. He is my running partner, skiing partner, road trip buddy and frequent pillow.

Arnie is an athlete and friend, family member and sage. On cold mornings, Arnie keeps me company when I shovel the driveway, making snow-angels, burrowing into the drifts, and reminding me to have fun, to relax. In the summer, Arnie and I swim in a creek near our house. He's learning to dive from the big rock into the deepest part of the swimming hole, and when he pops his big yellow head up from underwater, he snorts and sneezes and smiles at me, his wagging tail serving as a rudder.

Three years ago, when I met Brad, I worried that Arnie would be jealous. But he embraced his new friend, falling in love with Brad instantly. A firm "Heeler Man," Brad initially dismissed Golden Retrievers as silly (well, of course they are - that's why they're so freakin' awesome). Arnie was patient, though, and eventually taught Brad that Goldens are probably wiser than any of us - all open-hearts and compassion, love and warmth.

Brad is now a confirmed "Golden Man," too.

Happy Arnieversary, buddy.


Yoga Makes Everything Better.

A few weeks ago, at a morning yoga class, I unrolled my mat next to a woman I knew from the Bikram studio. She’s an instructor there, one I’ve always adored. Everything about her – from her teaching style to her open and easy-going countenance – conveys presence and balance. She is really, really nice to be around.

As I stretched out, loosening up for class, I thought about her bio on the Bikram website. I remember it clearly, because it was of those “after my first Bikram class, I knew yoga was my life’s calling” bios. Her’s was one of those “yoga altered the path of my life” stories.

I admire that. And I envy it. A few posts ago, I commented on how I’m good but not great at lots of things: climbing, running, yoga, skiing, playing guitar, playing djembe, knitting, dancing, ultimate Frisbee, CrossFit.

Scratch that. I’m a great dancer.

But you get my point. And sometimes I think that I could be great at one thing – yoga, for example – if I had fewer distractions. If I was more focused. If I totally committed to that one particular sport or activity.

I used to think I got bored when I got too focused on one thing. It’s very K-typical: in the middle of ski season, all I want to do is climb in the warm sun. In climbing season, I dream of snow. If I’m sport climbing, I think about placing gear on desert towers, and if I’m alpine climbing, I just want to be clipping bolts.

Part of that, I think, is that I don’t feel good enough to be dedicated. To really “be a climber,” I need to be climbing much, much harder. To be a “real” rando skier, I need to be logging lots of vert. and skiing big objectives all the time.

I Suppose I think it’s safer to be a dilletante. By doing lots of things, I have an excuse for not being great at any one thing.

This is where my mind was that morning, on the mat. But as D’ana, the instructor, walked in and started class, it occurred to me that even though I’ve bounced from climbing to skiing to running for years, yoga has quietly and continually been along for the ride. From my very first class in State College to impromptu rooftop practice in Kathmandu, from Boulder’s crowded Bikram workshops to flow classes in the posh studios of Aspen, yoga has been part of my life.

As we segued from the initial breathing exercise into forward bends – diving forward, gently moving our heads back and forth and relaxing our crown charkas to the floor – I realized that yoga is more than “part of my life.” Yoga is critical, is huge, is, well, my ee ki guy*

*Ee Ki Guy = a sense of purpose. A reason to live. A life force. I learned about this concept from the lovely Marit.

It’s like a family member whose unconditional love is so assured that it’s easy to take it for granted. As such, I frequently turn away from yoga, preferring the faster, sweatier, easier sports: running, skiing, climbing.

But I always return to the mat, usually a little achy and overworked, and hard as it is to imagine focusing on my breathing for an hour to 90 minutes, it never takes long to realize this: yoga makes everything better.

Yoga saw me through college, when I battled anorexia the injuries that came from running a hundred miles a week on six hundred calories a day. It was like a friend in Nepal, where I practiced alone for hours while staring at the fishtail peak and thinking about the thesis I wasn’t writing. In Boulder, yoga was a respite from heartbreak and tragedy, my daily 90 minutes on the mat providence from the acute awareness of what I no longer had. And in Western Colorado, where I felt like a visitor the entire three years I lived there, yoga was something I knew intimately, even while I re-introduced myself to the same classmates and instructors I’d met countless times.

Backbends boost confidence. That’s no secret; it’s been a yoga fact since Sidartha sat under the Bodhi tree. But only recently have I switched from hearing it spoken in class while half-listening/half-daydreaming, to feeling it for myself.

My home is now Salt Lake City. I feel grounded here. Maybe that’s why I’ve returned to yoga with the fervor of revival tent converts – snake handling types. I’m releasing into backbends with little fear of nausea or dizziness. I’m letting go of mind control. Instead of focusing on how poses should look, I’m just letting them evolve by deepening my breath and relaxing my brain. And from that relaxation comes contentedness.

Since returning to the mat two months ago, I’ve moved through self-consciousness and embarrassment. I’ve fallen out of more poses than I’ve stuck, but I think that’s because I’m trying harder. Crow to side crow to crane. The feeling that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing; the feeling that this is what I was meant to do.


Wild Oats is No Longer Dead to Me

Ok, Wild Oats, you win.

While the man behind the deli counter was glacially slow-moving, at least he asked me no questions other than, "red pepper or basil pesto?"

I opted for red pepper; it was the right choice.

Have I mentioned how much I'm loving being omnivorous once again?

Today's lunch followed a trip to the dog park, where Arnie and Sammy the Hound Dog played, "I BARK IN YOUR FACE! BARK AT YOU! BARK AT YOU! BARK AT YOU I DO!" and Red chased a ball in an attempt to feign normalcy. His facade cracked when a puppy waddled over to say hello, which so unnerved Red that he ran to a corner of the park and quietly licked his paws while maniacally staring at everyone like a sociopath.

I don't care, though, I love my little social misfit.

In fact, even as I delight in my red pepper-pestoed sandwich, the furry deviant is sitting on my feet to remind me that he's very, very, very hungry.

And Arnold is doing this.


In Which Brad Wears His Wedding Ring

Andrew took this picture of Brad after a particularly harrowing rappel into either Heaps or Imogene Canyon (don’t even get me started on canyoneering, but suffice it to say that I associate it with people who wear zip-off pants, no deodorant and enjoy eating gorp – no offense Brad and Andrew, I know you guys like canyoneering. And probably gorp).

What I love about this picture is not that my husband is especially adorable (but he is), nor that he’s sporting a bad-ass rope burn (from the aforementioned rappel) on his leg.

No, what I want you to notice is that he is wearing his wedding ring (on the cord around his neck).

For the first time.


I’m touched.

Even if he only wears it in front of the canyoneering dorks (probably a lot like Dungeons & Dragons dorks, but with more gore-tex), it still makes me happy.

Oh, and the other item on the necklace is a Saint Bernard Charm. He’s the patron saint of skiers and alpinists, and while I typically disregard religion as a bunch of hooey, I often find myself praying to Saint Bernard.

It's Funny Because It's True.

I found this on Libby’s bloggie thingie – not a blog, but like a blog, but more interactive and also purpler – and had to share it.

So funny, so funny, so funny.

The cat totally has the voice of Stewie from Family Guy . The dog might sound like Arnie, but probably sounds more like Satchel from Get Fuzzy.

A Day In The Life Of A Dog And A Cat
The Dog’s Diary:
8:00 AM - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 AM - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 AM - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 AM - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 PM - Dinner! My favorite thing!
7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

The Cat’s Diary:
Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.

They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an Attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates my capabilities. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a “good little hunter” I am. Bastards!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of “allergies.” I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow, but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and Snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released, and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously Retarded.

The bird must be an informant. I observe him communicate with the Guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an Elevated Cell, so he is safe.

For now.

To Do

Go Here.

Go skiing.

Pet the doggies.

Drink with the friars.

Go skiing again.

Maybe I'll ski tomorrow morning to train for this very adventure.

I wonder where my skis are? It's been a while....


I almost just killed everyone in Wild Oats.

I hate Wild Oats.

I know - "hate" is an incredibly emotional word. I shouldn't just throw around because it carries a lot of weight and power. I usually try to limit my use of "hate" for those things that really deserve it: white jeans, bad blond highlights, peep-toe shoes in Winter (HAVE YOU PEOPLE NO SHAME???).

But just now, at Wild Oats, I felt hate in a big way. Here's why:

It's lunchtime in Salt Lake City, and I have 2 options for organic-ish cuisine. The Oasis - a delightful restaurant - takes too long, so Wild Oats it is. As I steer into the too-small parking lot of the too-expensive food conglomerate, I am forced to slam on my brakes because the guy in front of me stops short. Aha! He's noticed a woman walking to her car parked in a nearby spot, and because he can't be bothered to walk more than 15 feet from parking space to food merchant, he causes a traffic back-up that reaches into the main road.

I park in my usual spot, waaaaaaay over there. I like parking far away because it reminds me to be grateful for my healthy body and my ability to walk long(ish) distances. Plus, it allows me to judge the seemingly able-bodied lazy people who take up all the front-and-center spots, forcing old people to walk farther than is probably advisable.

Once inside the store, after I recover from walking into a wall of patchouli, I head to the deli counter. No browsing today - I'm busy at work, so it's in and out. I patiently* wait my turn , and once the mouthbreather behind the counter understands that the woman in front of me wants her sandwich "TO GO" but "WITH NO MAYO," he turns to me.

"Hi, I'd like a small container of the Sonoma Chicken Salad."

"Hey, didn't I meet you at the Depot?" Mouthbreather is staring, all slackjawed and blank-eyed, at my face. He is temporarily taken back to some night at the Depot (local music venue) when he met someone who in some way maybe resembled me, probably because she also happened to be female and alive.

"No, you didn't. Just a small container of Sonoma Chicken Salad, please."

"Cuz you totally look like this chick I met there. Maaary? Jenniferrrr? Saaaarah?"

Remember all that patience I was displaying? Well, neither do I, but if I HAD BEEN being patient, rest assured, I wasn't now. "I'm sorry, but I really need to get back to work. I'm quite sure that I've never met you - I mean, you're like 12 and I'm 30 - so could I please just have a small container of Sonoma Chicken Salad? There are lots of people in line."

There are. And they are evenly split between laughing at me and glaring at me. I hate them all.

"Yeah, dude, no worries. What do you want again?"

Jesus Christ. "No worries" (which is a close second to "it's all good" on my list of things-people-say-that-makes-me-want-to-punch-them) is bad enough, but to then forget what I'd asked him for no less than three times, less than 5 seconds ago, well...this is why it sometime sucks to not just eat ramen noodles everyday.

After a few more moments of similar polite and jovial banter, I head toward the cash register, Sonoma Chicken Salad in hand. I'm so desperate to get out of the store I don't even pause to consider buying a chocolate covered graham cracker or an Uncle Eddie's cookie for dessert.

After waiting in line behind a man who had taken the time to select and bag numerous items from the bulk food aisle, but not to write down or remember their codes, I watch the cashier attempt to bag those many little parcels of seeds and nuts and grains and twigs. When, on his 4th go, he successfully lands each bag into the shopper's grocery tote, I almost applaud his fine display of both agility and efficiency. Then it dawns on me that this is no ordinary cashier. This is a man who has very recently smoked such copious amounts of weed that he can neither open his eyes nor stop laughing.

For the love of god. I don't care if you smoke pot. I don't care if you bake it into brownies or take massive and frequent hits out of a 5 foot bong. Whatever works for you. Be my guest.

But really, being this stoned at work? Is this what we're doing now?

This guy is completely obliterated. He can't type on the cash register - which is "so hilarious, dude"- and he can barely scan the container. When he finally looks up at me, presumably to tell me the price, he pauses, looks momentarily befuddled, then bemused. Instead of asking for $4 or 5 dollars or however much the chicken salad cost (what, is it made of gold?), he cocks his dreadlocks to one side and asks, "Didn't I meet you at the Depot?"

*By "patiently," I mean that I tap my boots and check my email and sigh and cross and uncross my arms. I would make a big show of checking my watch, too, but I left it in Lizzie's car so I can't.

Women Who Reached for the Ballots. Or, That Deaf Girl From Weeds For President.

At the risk of alienating my beloved readers, I'm posting this video. Now, I'm not even sure, at this point in the day, who I'm going to vote for (so Mitchell, if you're reading this, you can just settle right on down), but the message in the video, the idea that "yes we can" affect change - in our government, in our healthcare system, in our economy - is one that transcends candidates and - at least in this election cycle - even parties. So vote, ok?

Because you CAN. And that's not true everywhere, for everyone.


It's like they somehow got inside Brad's brain.

Animals? Check.
Rocky theme song? Check.
Rocky training montage reference? Check.

Damn, they know him better than I do.


I'm from Pennsylvania, see?

So Groundhog Day is a very, very big deal.

Very, very big.

I'm thinking of making some official Groundhog Sugar Cookies tonight. Incidentally, even though they use the same recipe as Holiday Sugar Cookies (and those include both Dreidel and Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies), Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies, Birthday Sugar Cookies and I-Need-a-Vehicle-From-Which-to-Consume-Icing Cookies, Groundhog Sugar Cookies taste different....More gamey, I suppose.

Rainbow Bike

Now that I’ve freed myself of all things bike, including shoes, pedals, knickers, arm warmers (although I still wear the knitted variety) and my foot pump (but only because I lost it), I’ve been thinking about cyclocross.

I know. It’s very K-typical (typical of Katie). As soon as something’s out of my life, I want it back.

The thing is, cyclocross reminds me of mountain biking when I first got into it. Back when cross country races didn’t require 8 inches of travel and a 40 pound bike. Back when there were like 3 women racing NORBA Sport class and we all knew each other and we all helped each other finish strong.

Back when mountain bikers wore lycra instead of gangster clothing.

Not that I ever actually enjoyed wearing the lycra, but at least it made sense. The baggy apparel? I don’t understand it.

And all these bike thoughts reminded me of the best bike I ever owned.

Rainbow Bike.

A found treasure, Rainbow Bike had green rims, a blue frame, red handlebars and an aftermarket purple horn (a birthday present from my folks). There was yellow on it, too, but I can’t remember where. I found it in the alley behind Zeno’s. I worked there, and one night when I walked out back to toss a trash bag, I noticed Rainbow Bike on top of the garbage pile. It was raining that night – it was Pennsylvania, after all – so the bike looked shiny and new.

“So much depends on a red wheelbarrow, glazed with rainwater, beside the white chickens.”

When my shift ended, I walked it home (two flat tires on wheels badly in need of truing) and showed it to my housemate Eric, who nobly carried it into our workshop, emerging a few hours later with my functional, rollable art.

It was beautiful. 3 speed. Springy seat. Basket. I miss it.

I pedaled it all over State College and on one ill-advised kayak shuttle, through Bellefonte. It was a fun way to travel. With wide handlebars and big tires, it threw people off; it made them smile.

I parked Rainbow Bike on our sagging, wooden back porch amidst prayer flags, empty IPA bottles, an old rope spool that served as a table and a couple cracked plastic chairs.

Four days a week I walked it off the porch, off the curb and pedaled down Buckhout Street. At Beaver Avenue I took a left, and at Pugh Street I took another. A few blocks north, I crossed College Avenue – pausing at the corner to window shop at Moyer’s Jewelers – and rolled onto campus.

I always locked Rainbow Bike around a skinny elm in front of the Burroughs building, which housed most of my English and poetry classes. That particular tree – among the dozens of others on that mall in front of Patee Library – reminded me of a old man: a little wrinkled, a little gaunt, but proud enough to stand up straight. I looped a chainlock around the trunk and secured everything with a hot pink padlock. I still remember the combination: my grandparents’ wedding anniversary.