Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hiking and a Fear of Heights

One of the first things I wanted to do when we got to Alaska was to go on a hike. Of course we were warned to be careful of bears. J.Phil even read up on what to do to avoid any unwanted encounters. Apparently if you make plenty of noise, the bears stay away. I suppose that works if it's late in the season when the bears have eaten their fill and are ready to settle in for a long winter's nap. In any case, as I pointed out in my previous post, there were not such sightings on our hikes. Instead we got to enjoy some beautiful greenery.

This particular hike started behind our hotel and was about seven miles round trip. I loved it. I think it was my favorite activity while we were there. There is just something about a cool, sunny fall day in the mountains. It smells good...it feels good. Days like this are good for you soul, and I wish I could do it more often. I think I appreciate it even more after living in a big city where I couldn't just go out for a long walk or enjoy nature. I love cities, but nothing compares to this.

So about three miles up the mountain, we had to cross a gorge. I am afraid of heights. So it made me (and J.Phil) a bit nervous. But I wanted to finish the hike, so I was determined to get into the rickety contraption that carries you across the gorge.

You start out on one side and climb into a metal cage that is rigged to a pulley system. And then you pull...and pull...and pull until you get to the other side.

The view down to the river as we were passing over it.

The river as it comes down the mountain.

J.Phil in the metal cage.

A super attractive close up of me in the cage as we crossed over :).

I was proud to say I did it...twice. And we finished our hike. Good times. Seriously just writing this post makes me wish I were there right now, hiking and enjoying the sights, although I'm sure it is getting pretty cold in Alaska about right now...so maybe next year :)!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alaska...a Long Time Coming!

I know...it's a little late in coming. I just downloaded my pictures two days ago. Again, late in coming. And since I don't have a real life right now (i.e., I'm jobless), I have no excuse, other than I just didn't want to blog. What's new? I always start out with the best of intentions :)! In any case, here is my first post. Once I downloaded the pictures, I realized I could not do it justice in one posting. Tooooooo many photos.

A little over a month ago, I went to Alaska for a week with my good friend Janet, or J.Phil, as we affectionately like to call her. It was AMAZING! Loved it. I'd actually like to go back in the summer to see the greenery. The fall foliage was spectacular, though, so I'm very glad we went when we did. It was perfect. The trees were bright bright yellow and so beautiful. I love fall. It's my favorite season!

So this was the hotel where we stayed. It's Alaska's premier ski resort, Aleyska. This is the the front side, the view we woke up to every morning! Those were some good mornings :).

This is the backside of the hotel. It faces a double black diamond ski slope. The landscaping was lovely, of course...we enjoyed that view from the hot tub.

The first day we just drove around a bit in the morning to see what we could see. We ran into a photographer who recommended we head up to this river . It was gorgeous.

Here's J.Phil...getting in a good shot at a lake fed by the surrounding glaciers. And yes, the water is COLD! We tested it out. Don't you love how the mountains reflect on the water?

This was the first glacier we saw, so we pulled over. I wish you could see how blue it is. I need to do some research and find out why. And this is a smallish glacier. Still pretty awesome!

This bridge overlooked the river above. Again, so pretty.

More views of the scenery by the river/bridge. I'm sure all you outdoors men/women are wondering how many bears are up in the hills. I wouldn't know. We didn't even catch a glimpse of a bear until we went to the wild life preserve. And we didn't see any after that either. I'm sure that is probably a good thing, not meeting a large, carnivorous bear in the wild.

This is me...just to prove I actually was in Alaska. First day, again, on the inlet leading to Aleyska.
This is just a small sampling. More pictures/posts to come! Needless to say, it was a great trip, and I can't wait to go to Alaska again!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Didn't Get Tomatoes

I was watching my niece a few days ago. She was throwing a fit in the restaurant we went to for her birthday. She wanted tomatoes with her meal. Her meal didn't come with tomatoes. Daddy told her they did, but Daddy was wrong. So we offered her some from our plates, trying to appease her. It didn't work. So Daddy took her to the car so she could throw her fit without disturbing everyone else at the table. It got me thinking.

I imagine that life is much like that meal. We expect one thing; we get another. I am a thirty-four year old Mormon woman. I went to Brigham Young University. I was told by everyone, including my atheist high school chemistry teacher, that I would not make it past my freshman year before I was engaged. But I did...clearly. I graduated single. I expected one thing. I got something else, something entirely different. And that was more than ten years ago. It is still entirely different than what I expected.

And I cannot deny that I've thrown a few fits about it. Such fits have ranged from childish - screaming and crying to God that life isn't fair; to angry petulance - ignoring and/or denying God's love, comfort, and in my more extreme moments, His entire existence; to flat out begging and bargaining - please, please, pretty please give me what I want! I promise, I'll be good. It should come as no surprise that said tactics were all to no avail.

What if my niece had been at peace with the plate of food she was given? She would have enjoyed a delicious meal. (The food at this restaurant was really, really good.) What if she had smiled graciously and accepted the offered tomatoes? She would have had both, that is both a delicious meal and her tomatoes. And she would have had more. Peace...a good time...loving company.

Just the day before said fit in said restaurant, I was in church. I was thinking about the way children deal with sorrow and disappointment when things do not go as planned or they don't get what they wanted. Not to pick on my sweet nieces and nephews because I love them all dearly, but I have witnessed more than one such fit recently, and this really has me thinking. So there I was, in church, thinking about how much happier they would be if they could only accept a situation for what it is and move on. And I knew then that I am the same. This is my life right now, whatever it may be. I am thirty-four and single. I am lonely at times. Lonely and afraid beyond description. Beyond pain, beyond hope.

But...that is not all my life is. It is good, so very good. It is delicious! It is a long walk over an Italian coastline, a picnic of pesto, bread and fresh mozzarella, and a perfectly blue blue ocean below. It is a cool summer evening in Black Hawk with my family and Peyton's dog, Cricket. It is a good, long laugh after singing Under the Sea in the too hot Las Vegas sun. It is a long, snowy drive to comfort a best friend in her time of need. It's my father's patience and love when I least expect it or the kind assurance that my mother will love me, even if I cannot see how I can possibly do it. It is the anticipation of something good to come. In fact, of lots of something goods to come.

I'm still going to be sad and afraid sometimes. Isn't everybody that way, sometimes? Maybe the goal is to try to remember that those times will pass, to find the center of the storm and wait it out in peace while the storm rages. Or to remember, really remember, that there is a being who wants me to have not just a life, but a life of fulfilled dreams, dreams that are more than I can comprehend in that single moment when I didn't get my tomatoes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

funny conversation w/man on the PATH train

Okay, I'm probably just assuming this guy was homeless because of his appearance. But the conversation was funny nonetheless.

On the way home from Hoboken, about 1 a.m., on the PATH train (a subway/metro that links NJ to NYC)

Homeless man: You have a really nice smile.

Me: Um, thanks.

Homeless man: Your teeth are so white and perfect.

Me: Thanks, again. (Thinking to myself...hmmmm...I need to whiten them.)

Homeless man: Are they the flip out kind?

Me: Uh, nope, that's all me. (Thinking to myself, THE FLIP OUT KIND???? What the what????)

Homeless man: Wow, they are really nice.

OH BROTHER!!! Actually the situation got a little scary after that. But I'm not going to go into those details. But today, after being checked out again by another homeless man, well, I don't mean to belittle. I don't mean to be unkind either. But let us just say that I can't wait to leave Newark!!!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One More Round

One more round of finals and it is O.V.E.R. Well, at least the law school part anyway. Then it's obviously time to get ready for the bar. And then there is that little matter of finding a job. But whatever. In a week and a half from now, I'll be celebrating finishing the last final of my educational career. I'm seriously never ever ever going back to school unless I somehow come in to a ton of money and can pay just to audit courses. Because while I love learning, I don't love finals. Just saying!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Food Confessional Part II: A Happy Beginning

I've been cleaning up my eating habits and renewing my commitment to health and exercise. I've had a lot of encouragement as I've tried to this. My brother, Zeb, checks in with me weekly about my progress and gives me advice and encouragement. He's a great cheerleader. It helps me feel like I don't have to do this alone. And I've seen a lot of programs lately about the consequences of what we eat. I've give a lot of thought to whole foods...fruit, vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed meats, etc. I'm trying to use that type of food as my main source of energy (i.e., probably should have paid more attention to the "do's" of the word of wisdom). I've even been keeping a food journal, an exercise notebook and have been tracking my progress from week to week.

Some people may say that is extreme. But this is what I realized today. You can't make bad things good. No amount of wishing that I could enjoy peanut butter cups and ice cream and fast food and cupcakes will make any of those things good for me. If I choose to eat them in excess, then I cannot avoid the consequences of weight gain, and other more serious health issues. Just the same, good habits bring good results. Good habits are built by consistent committed effort.

Last time I posted about this, I was discouraged. I felt overwhelmed by what I knew had to change and frankly, I was not quite ready to give up the bad eating habits. Even though I refocused my efforts on exercise, I was eating junk food daily. Funny thing has happened, though, over the past five weeks as I've committed to change. My body feels better. I want to continue to feel good. That motivates me to keep going. So now instead of my daily sugar fix, I'm eating a piece of fruit and some natural almond butter. Instead of coke, water. Instead of burgers and fries, chicken and squash. So even if cupcakes and cookies and ice cream cannot be a part of my daily menu, I feel good anyway. In fact, to be totally honest, I feel better. All that junk food was a crutch. Doing what is right for my body was the real solution all along.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Things I'll Miss about NYC

I suppose I ought to title this things I'll miss about Newark. But, since that amounts to very little (besides the library, which I'll post about later), I thought a more appropriate topic would be New York City. I suppose I've always seen New York as a mythical/romantic mecca, and in some ways it is. It is a very compact place, when you think about it. And yet it is packed with life...so many different people with very very unique and different agendas. It is hard not to be fascinated by such a place, even if one doesn't actually like it very much. But I'm not one of those people. I'm both fascinated by New York and in love with New York. To that end, I thought I should write a few entries about what I'm going to miss about the city. My first entry is dedicated to my dear friend Kamilah...and our favorite place to meet up, Max Brenner, aka, chocolate heaven.

I met Kamilah in Provo where we both had the pleasure of working at Tony Roma's. Our manager, Sharon, found out that I was moving to Washington, D.C. and told me that Kamilah was, too. Once we made our way out East, we bonded over several things, like crazy D.C.ers (I can sing and I can dance, but ONLY if I want to), Macy Grey and Duck Beach. Now it sort of feels like we've followed each other around a bit. She moved to Brooklyn so that she could attend design school (you'll have to look out for her new clothing line, K Grace Designs, coming soon!!!). Then I moved to Newark to go to law school. I must say, thinking about leaving makes me a little sad and nostalgic. She's been a great friend, and saying good-bye is going to bite! I've relied on her in so many ways, including crashing at her place before I started school and couldn't yet move into my apartment. The girl has my back! I love her.

So then she did me another solid. First year of law school we went to lunch. At Max Brenner. And it changed my life forever. If you find yourself in NYC, find your way to Max Brenner. It's in Union Square. On Broadway. Seriously. GO!!!

Kamilah and I enjoying our dessert. (We were going to get two...but it turns out that one was more than enough!)
You have no idea what you are missing out on or how yummy this was...chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla ice cream coupled with peanut butter fondue on the one hand and a chocolate ganache fondue on the other. WOW!!!!

Isn't Kamilah the cutest?!

Thanks for everything, my dear dear friend! I'm going to miss you!!!