Thursday, May 31, 2007

Adventures in Yellowstone

Sometimes, Nature calls. No, not in that way. I mean, sometimes my skin starts to long for the sun, my muscles ache to move and my spirit needs some beautiful refreshment. Memorial Day Weekend was one of those times that I simply could not bear the thought of spending time inside my house at all. After some deliberation and calculating, the four adventurers, Hailey, Dana, Susan, and I decided to make our way to Yellowstone. The deciding factor for these very (non)outdoorsy girls was the fact that Hailey's parents have a cabin up there, and it was free.

After hours in the car with luckily no traffic (!) we arrived at this beautiful cabin by Henry's Lake in Idaho, just 10 short miles from Yellowstone. Our timing really was impeccable the entire weekend-- we somehow had a knack for always arriving just in time for food (these are girls after my own heart-- we LOVE food!). By the way, hailey's parents are super nice and sooo kind for letting three strange girls come with their daughter to crash their family weekend. The best part is, Hailey has a cousin named Merlin! Shoot, i didn't get a picture of him, but he is a killer 4 year old.

To see pictures of our Yellowstone adventures, go here:
In summary-- mangy bison, moose, dead elk, beautiful hiking, and hotsprings which were denied to us. All in all, a lovely time.

I'll post the theme song for the trip "The Outdoor Type" by the Lemonheads once I figure out how to do that.

Sunday morning we all (except for the heathen ;) attended church in a log church building with 1200 other people, and then managed to be incredibly productive reading, napping, and just looking at the beautiful lake right off of the back porch. You know, there is something so incredible about being somewhere totally quiet and beautiful and in nature. It makes me feel so peaceful What on earth am i going to do when i go to New York and can't escape as easily? Anyway, we decided to finally motivate ourselves to take a leisurely hike along the lake and had a lovely time leaping over sagebrush. I saw a fallen tree propped up just so-- ideal for a sitting-spot. So we climbed it and horsed around a bit, and then decided to go back to the cabin. Susan down safely. Dana down safely. Suvi down safely. Hailey... well, Hailey just went down. Onto her elbow. With a pop. Luckily, she is a very brave girl, and we had our wits about us enough to flag down a passing boat to take her and Susan (voted most useful in outdoor emergencies) back to the cabin, and off to the ER. The diagnosis-- a dislocated elbow, possible fracture not broken at least. She has a wicked bruise and super swollen arm. What a tough chick.

So, needless to say, we were glad Monday driving home was rather uneventful, with a relaxing soak in Lava Hot Springs. they were hot and springy, but no lava.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What is wrong with women? Follow-up to previous post

I came across this blog posted by Joss Stone (think that is the name) about violence against women and it seems to sum up some of my thoguths from late last night/early this morning when I got the call from the girl raped at the movie theater. In one part he says...

"What is wrong with women?

I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected.How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable."

To read the full post, go to

a midnight call

I answer the rape crisis line once a week. Most of the time I get to sleep. Last night I talked to a 15-year-old girl who was raped in a movie theater by a guy she had just met. Her main concern was that she would be taken away from her mom because her mom had given her permission to go to the movies. The movies! How is it possible that this happens? My heart goes out to the poor little girl.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Nesting Instincts

Ikea opened here this week. People waited in line for two days to get in on opening day. They slept in tents. Crazy. I went today with my co-worker, under the guise of looking for desks and possibly a brochure holder (perfect way to spend a Friday morning away from the office). Due to the excitement of the new Ikea store, roads were blocked by police officers, and security was tight, presumably to prevent the mobs of mommies wreaking havoc on the building by tearing it to pieces brick by brick, throwing them at others to get the last $149 oak bunk beds (real beauts I tell ya!). Even parking was enforced by a rather tyrannical woman whom we shall call "Helga", but we managed to pull one over her and sneak into a close spot by the doors with my co-worker telling the parking overly-enthused parking attendant that I have a broken toe. I did not, but managed to put on a rather convincing pained grin. Hey, we didn't want to waste our energy crossing the parking lot when there was so much ground to cover inside!

Enter the Wonderland of Ikea! Oh the tables and chairs and lamps! Oh the sofas and curtains and BEDS! Wonder of wonders. Now, i know that Ikea isn't considered so high class, but for a girl who owns exactly two bookcases from DI and a donated desk, this was wonderland. And in my price range too. I wandered around, giddy, sitting on things hard and soft, touching the wood and the cushions, laying on beds and coveting the tall rows of bookshelves.

And then the nesting instinct hit. All of a sudden, I wanted to own a house. I wanted to put in cupboards and design rooms, I wanted to store things in storage boxes (they fit under the bed! or in the closet! stackable!), I wanted to pick patterns for plates, I wanted to put up curtains and live in a neighborhood and, yes, even have little babies to sleep in the tiny wooden beds with Scandinavian flower print sheets! All of it! I want a home!

The saddest part is, I am moving from my current abode so I can't even buy little things because I don't want to cart them to New York. And once in New York, I'll be in a shoebox apartment for two years. And then who knows where I'll be after that! My heart aches at the thought that it will still be a number of years before i can own a little house, with a garden, and pretty curtains. And maybe even a dog to take on walks. What has happened to my lovely nomadic lifestyle? I blame you, Ikea.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I think I've been stuck for a while. What do I mean by stuck? Well, it is this dark place with oozing walls and... just kidding. Let me give you an example: A few years ago, I dated a boy. We were in love. He was a writer. One of the reasons he gave for breaking up was that we were too happy, too content together, and thus, he was not compelled to write as he would have liked. Stuck.

I thought, as any self respecting girl would, that this was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. How can being happy make you stuck? How can contentedness make you feel like you won't accomplish things?

I'm not going to really address that issue per se, but rather go off on something that I have been thinking about in a related vein. I like people. I like boys. I like relationships, and find myself falling into and out of them rather quickly with not much time in between to take store of what occurred. And I have found myself going through a rather miserable and empty time. I've pawned it off on simply sucking at relationships, or, when I want to play the victim, saying the guys I date suck at relationships. But there really is more to it than simply sucking and letting it go at that. The thing is, I believe I get stuck. I get stuck on the idea that a relationship is something that I need to be happy. I get stuck in a pattern of contentedness that while not inherently bad, has the effect of making me not feel like myself. And hence, the emptiness.

Story-- I was talking to a friend the other day about feminism and losing yourself when you get married. She told me the story of her aunt who was a smart, independent woman, who met a wonderful young man. They got engaged. Her professor, concerned for her, pulled aside one day, and asked about her future. With a heaving-bosom sigh and starry eyes, she said, "None of that matters. I am going to be John's wife." A romantic ideal, to be sure, but one that makes me, a feminist, cringe. The question is though-- how can I prevent myself from getting lost when I get into a relationship and getting stuck as someone else? I can honestly say, I don't know. It hasn't worked well for me, and the thought makes me hesitant to try.

But I do know this-- The past little while I have had no boys in my life in any way, no romantic interest at all. And I feel strong. I am happy, I feel accomplished, independent, I'm doing well spiritually, emotionally, I have time to go to the gym so I even look and feel good. My insecurities have melted, I've forgiven past hurts, and wounds have healed in my heart. I spend my time reading and going to activist films and lectures. I write. I'm taking pictures. I am making new friends. I'm getting ready to go to grad school and to travel. I am even happy for all of my friends in relationships and don't feel jealous. Being single is the best thing that could happen to me right now.

I am unstuck. I am me. I am happy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Project 337

Project 337. 400 E. 337 S. Salt Lake City, UT.

This is pretty much my favorite thing ever. So the story (as heard on NPR)-- a couple owned this derelict office building and weren't sure what else to do with it but tear it down. Instead, they wanted to build some energy efficient condos (a noble pursuit). But, before they tear it down, they have a brilliant idea (ok, not their own, but one that they had seen and fallen in love with on a recent trip to new york). Donate the building to local artists to paint however they choose, open it up to the public for viewing for two weekends, and then tear it down. So they contacted the Salt Lake arts community and 130 or so artists take over the building for months, covering every square inch-- literally, the ceilings, floors, closets, even the refrigerator had something in it (at least I think the plate of meat was conceptual art-- although it may have just been leftovers from a Saturday night party). They opened it this last weekend to the public and it will be open for one more weekend before its demise.

Let me tell you why I love this so much. I love this idea of tons of artists coming together to create something. i love that they took over an entire building and used ALL of the space in such creative and thoughtful ways. I love the colors and ideas and unity of the place-- so many artists and yet it all feels like part of the same thing. I love that it is all art inside and outside. I love the colors. I love that is is temporary-- that so much thought and work was put into something that will be torn down-- somehow, though it makes me sad that this will soon be gone, it also makes it that much more intense of an experience. I have to capture it all in my memory and heart and camera because it will not just become an establishment, but a brief, fleeting, beautiful moment in the history of Salt Lake. And I had the unusual opportunity to take part in it.

Thank you artists of Project 337.

through the glass darkly portrait

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Beginning

The sun is shining and summer is beginning. Swimming is most definitely on the docket for today. Mmm, cool water on sun-warmed skin. I can feel it already.

The task is a summer blog, that will perhaps morph naturally into a fall-winter-spring-forever blog. We shall see how that goes. I just figure, why not? I need to be creative and I am going to have an amazing, beautiful life this summer. I'm going to learn so much and see so many new things, that I might as well share it. And I want to take you with me.

Some topics you will read about this summer are: Preparing to move to New York, finding an apartment, Utah appreciation because I will be leaving Utah, new friends and old friends, seeing family in Finland, visiting the Hermitage(?) in St. Petersberg, stalking my missionary sister in Estonia, talking to old ladies in Latvia and Lithuania, hanging out with Chechen refugees in Poland, taking pictures, creating things, falling in love or trying to avoid it, and a host of other (fascinating?) topics. And of course discourses on life and politics and child soldiers and hearts (broken and fixed) and scooters. That is all. Maybe.