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Showing posts from 2009

Warmth

After weeks (months) of rain, I stepped outside today for 10 minutes and stretched my body toward the sun. My face felt the warmth if its rays and pure gratitude took over my heart. The effect something so simple as sunshine can have on my mind is amazing.

I felt like a bear creeping out of its cave, cowering under the intense light, closing my eyes and feeling the light on my ivory skin.

24.

24 years and 7 minutes ago (Utah time) I took my first breath of air. This is the first birthday I will celebrate without my family and friends.... No party, no birthday dinner, no birthday cake. Is this what it means to get older? No fun!

I'm homesick.

Thank you Mom for your thoughtful care package. Thank you Dad for the early birthday phone call. Thank you Mr. C for planning a thoughtful trip to the yarn store. Thanks to all (in advance) for your birthday wishes! :)


PS. I am spending the next 4 days in Yakima, WA for AmeriCorps training. Despite being a little lonely, I really enjoy my work with the Red Cross. More to come soon.

Sunday at home.

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Bob the House is my new home.

This is my room:

From Autumn 09

And some views of the the central areas of the house. Notice the bulk food (all communal), the refrigerators (two for 9 people), and the extensive kitchen seating. We are like one big family, only unrelated and living together by choice.

From Autumn 09

I spent most of my day washing jars; scrubbing the grit and grime, the dust, dirt, cobwebs and dead spiders off 136 mason jars of various sizes was a considerable task. A woman was getting rid of some mason jars that had been stored in her garage for decades, and I volunteered to take them home and give them new life. The sheer number of dirty jars is overwhelming, and I'm only about 75% done. Next in line, finding fruits, vegetables and meats to fill the jars with. And, the house already has much of the needed canning essentials! Major item missing: Pressure Canner.

From Autumn 09

Gas Works Park

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A stunning view of Lake Union, Gas Works Park, and happy families and friends:

From Autumn 09

From Autumn 09

PS. See the Space Needle? That's just a few blocks from C's apartment!

Sunset in West Seattle

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From Autumn 09

Library: a woman's best friend

Since my childhood, libraries have played a central role in my life: The reading races to see who could score the most points in elementary school. The book-mobile truck that stopped in front of our house every two weeks in the summer days of my childhood, beckoning the neighborhood to come out and find new words and stories to fill their warm evenings with. The Tremonton library which lent itself to calm afternoons and was just a short walk from mom's store.

I made my way downtown to the Central Library shortly after arriving in Seattle to pick up my new resident library card! I feel like this little piece of plastic makes me an official member of the beautiful city surrounded by water. The bicycle jaunts around town, back and forth to pick up books that are being held under my name, are inspired (if not provoked) by my need for new reading.

The hunger for knowledge, the passion to experience another person's life through the words they write, the excitement for travels and hap…

Spicy Eggplant

The weekly trip to Queen Anne's farmers martket was sweet this week-- though working late caused me to miss the knit-in, an event where men and women gathered to socialize and knit baby hats to donate to hospitals, I did meet a woman spinning beautiful wool from her angora rabbits into elegant lace-weight yarn. She also displayed some very creative knitted hats (all hand-spun, hand-dyed, hand-knitted with combinations of alpaca, angora and sheep wool from either her own farm or her sister's). She let me in on the location a spinners group that gathers once a month and casually invited me to come meet people since I'm new in town. :)

And of course, the produce looked wonderful! Berries are coming on strong, but the real pull for me were the deep purple, plump, fresh eggplants. Besides taking home eggplant, I picked up some green beans, hot peppers, and get this-- Peanuts! Never before have I seen "locally grown" peanuts! In my naive mind I'd almost forgotten th…

National & Community Service

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From Project: FEMA 1768, Disaster Relief

I love AmeriCorps. I love what is has done for my personal growth. I love what it has done for the people, communities, and organizations which receive direct assistance from AmeriCorps members. I am overwhelmingly grateful for opportunities to learn new skills and utilize my current abilities to better the communities in which I live and serve. And I'm happy that I can be proud to be American in this context-- that I can feel good about my nation as a young person coming of age in an ever-changing political climate. No shame here.

So naysayers' comments, like Glenn Beck's comparisons of AmeriCorps to Hitler and the SS regime, are particularly painful to those of us putting in countless hours toward the greater good of humanity through national and community service. Obama is not going to force any young people to do public service. We are not being brainwashed, as has been recently suggested. Sure, I have my own personal interests ve…

Labor day weekend

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We are rockin' out!

From

Admittedly, we stayed in a LOT this weekend and lazed around. Mr. C somehow convinced me to watch Star Wars for the first time EVER, we put a good dent in season three of Big Love (a guilty pleasure of mine), and I ate too much corn on-the-cob. We also managed to ride our bikes down to Seattle's Center for Wooden Boots on Lake Union after hours; the open gate invited us in to look around at the beauty of wood and we caught a nice sunset behind the Space Needle. We sped off into the night for some coffee before meandering over to the Seattle Center where Bumbershoot, a 3 day music festival, was being held. We didn't buy tickets for this event but found a comfy spot to sit outside the gates and I knitted C's hat while listening to a wonderful act from Todd Snider. At some other point this weekend we also managed to wander around Queen Anne a bit, finding an awesome game store that has gaming leagues! I've got backgammon vying for attention whe…

Life.

Knitting.
Goodnight kisses.
Seattle, Washington.
Evening friend texts.
Laughter in a cubicle.
AmeriCorps, revisited.
Bike ride along the water front.
Hearty meals made from scratch.
Trainings in a Clarion hotel, Yakima style.
14 awesome VISTA coworkers.
Seattle Central Library.
Disaster Assessment.
American Red Cross.
CPR/AED/First Aid.
Defensive Driving.
Missing moms.
Leftovers.

Poor poor poor.
Glad glad glad.

Life.

Seattle style.

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What is Seattle to me now that I have relocated, unpacked, reunited with my lover, and am getting to know my neighborhood (Lower Queen Anne)?

Seattle means the following to me, one week into my new life:
Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt. I had no idea fro-yo in my favorite flavor existed! Namesake desserts with less cream, the best.Living 6 feet from the apartment complex garbage and recycling dumpsters signals true city living. 3 AM and the bums are rustling through to make their 25 cents. 6 AM and the garbage trucks roll in and rattle out.

Hills. Steep, unforgiving, brutal hills. Nobody told me this! Last Wednesday Carson and I attempted to bicycle up to Queen Anne for the farmers' market. About 6 or so blocks into a strenuous 8 block stretch I had to get off and walk. 20% grade on the counterbalance, I will conquer you within two weeks!

Seattle signifies good food right now. Because we're both relaxing without jobs for a moment, we've been frying onions, ba…

A weaver's bio.

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After my attempt to begin a knitted hat project for Carson failed because my circular needles straight busted on me, I've though about what my knitting background is and why I'm completely incapable of finishing most projects I start. My inability to finish does not prevent me from dreaming; in fact, today when I went to pick up new needles a glorious skein of yarn beckoned to me and now it's in my living room. A winter hat for myself, perhaps?

So let's look back. My mom tried to teach me to crochet when I was a kid, and just like I still roll, I tried my hardest to abandon that butterfly project. I cried, didn't get it, and she forced me to finish. I think that butterfly is tucked in her cedar chest for safekeeping now to remind me of all the hard work my little fingers did, and to remind me that I can finish anything I start.

Having abandoned crochet for many years (except for an occasional scarf), on my mom's birthday 2006 I took her out for lunch and we went…

Babies, again.

I've been dreamin' about babies again. My interpretation of the many, many baby dreams I've had is this: the baby respresents major changes in my life, and my inability to have complete control over the processes I am going through. That said...

Dream 1: Carson and I were visiting my grandmother (in my dream this was a white-haired spry woman, not the grandmother I have now) and the baby was in its carrier. We took turns holding our precious and my grandmother adored the cute bundle. Suddenly we were in "our" home (also unknown to me in reality), with brown carpet and a strange step in the middle of the room. We were laying in bed, holding the baby, and we were surrounded by piles and piles of blankets. Lovely. End of dream. For my own remembrance, this dream was had on the night before Carson left for Seattle-- our last night together in the canyon, and in each others' presence for a few weeks. I woke up feeling happy, comfortable and refreshed.

Significance? …

A short bio

I was told to submit a "a short bio (tell me a little about yourself) and recent photo (head shot preferable but I can crop whatever you send)" to the Red Cross with whom I will be working as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Georgia. That's the font I blog with.

Sample One:

Amanda Lyn relocated to Seattle from Logan, UT where she grew up on a farm, attended Utah State University, and spent her last two summers there living in a tent in the mountains. She hopes to pursue midwifery in the future; for now she enjoys knitting, dancing, friends, and food preservation. Prior to her year with AmeriCorps VISTA, Amanda served and traveled with AmeriCorps*NCCC in the Eastern Region.

Can I really make more than one sample for me to choose from? What is important to put in a short bio? Who is going to read this? What if my target audience includes my future employers? Should I sound professional? I want to seem fun. I'm light-hearted! Considering that I haven't graduated, should I…

Blog Stalking

Alright, let's be honest. I have a tracker on my blog so I can see who visits my blog (no, it doesn't tell me exactly who you are), from what city & their path. For some time I've had these lingering questions in my mind such as, who is the person in Connecticut that reads my blog almost religiously, visits every link I post, etc? Or, why in the world was someone googling "Utah Sperm Burrito" and should I be concerned that they were directed to my blog? I'm glad that people are referred to my blog through google searches on book reviews, americorps queries, etc. I am concerned that because of my reference to skinny dipping in Logan Canyon, someone using the Utah State University network was referred to my blog and then searched my site for nude photos.

I don't mean to push my readers away, but I'm curious exactly who IS reading my blog. Step out from behind that wall and say hello!

PS. I had my first hit from the yahoo search engine (google is the u…

AmeriCorps VISTA, Seattle

I suppose it is almost official so I can make a semi-official announcement: I have secured a new job and will be relocating to Seattle, Washington! About a month ago I accepted an AmeriCorps VISTA position as the Volunteer Services Program Coordinator with the American Red Cross of King County (Seattle) from August 28, 2009 to August 27, 2010. AmeriCorps VISTA differs greatly from AmeriCorps NCCC, the program with which I served during the year of 2008. Many of my friends and family have asked exactly what the differences are, how they are similar, and why they fall under the same umbrella of AmeriCorps.

AmeriCorps is a subsidiary of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Opportunities to serve exist for people of nearly all ages, from ages 14 (Summer of Service, a mini AmeriCorps NCCC program), to students (Learn & Serve), and on through retirees (Senior Corps). I encourage you all to find your own way to contribute to your own community (however that is designated)..…

Male.

Smegma.
Seminiferious tubules.
Seminal Vesicles.
Scrotal Skin.
Sperm.
Semen.

Vas Deferens.
Not so vastly different.

Epididymis.
Ejaculation (through)
Ejaculatory Duct.

Testosterone.
Testes.
Testing, testing. One, two...

Prostate.
Posterity.
Positively Posterior Position.

Fire Cooked

I have already enticed you with the description of the peanut & coconut curry/stew, and mind you it was even better the second time around when I replaced pork with requested shrimp. But, I'm here to tell you more about the cool nights (and warm days) spent around fiery embers.

Cue in Sunday Brunch, every person's favorite meal. I asked myself what I could do with the ingredients on hand and it went like this.

In an empty dutch oven add:
1 layer corn chips1 layer can of chili1 layer sharp garlic cheddar cheese1 layer corn chips1 layer pickled jalapenos1 layer monterey jack cheese
Throw the lid on that baby, place it in red-hot embers leftover from the fire you warmed your fingers with, and let it all heat through. Once the cheese is melted take it off-- don't leave it too long. Dutch Oven Nachos! The chips softened a bit but still had crunch, and by no means were they soggy. Add sour cream and black bean & corn salsa, and wait for the applause that goes something like …

Camping

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Life is good to me, and I say this mostly because I wake up every morning in an open meadow to sunshine, birds and beautiful trees surrounding me. Each night before bed my friends and I philosophize the meaning of life around a fire. We commune with each other, dining on the best of foods a fire, dutch oven, and happy hands can offer; on the nights our hands are tired, we dine on words.

Heading back to the canyon was an easy decision financially since I am out of work and hope to save what little money I do have. Mentally though, I struggled with the thought of being transient again and hopping from place to place to place. I'm sure this would be hard without the network of support I have from friends and family, but honestly, I prefer this over conventional living. Spending my nights with a minimum of 5 people (often more) reminds me that community creates the bonds on which I thrive. The collective energy feeds my heart and mind. Laughter is contagious and opportunities abound to…

Meow? Please?

I understand that it's late and my perception can be skewed when I'm up at odd hours, but seriously, 1:26 AM isn't that odd. The problem here is that I want to sleep, I actually want to close my eyes and drift into slumber but the company I have is keeping me up.... Mind you, this is unwelcome company. For some reason my heart is racing and I'm actually scared. The dry leaves outside my basement window are crunching right now and there is a weird scratching noise. I'm sure it's just a cat. We always have cats in the yard at my parents' house. Come on-- it's farm town, USA.

Here's the thing though: I've been there done that. The whole assuming that the sound I'm hearing is a stray animal did me absolutely no good in the past.

I know this is just a little critter. But the semi-flashback I am having to those multiple nights I lay in bed, shaking, unable to sleep, wondering if I should call the police... but ultimately telling myself it was a stra…

A conversation with Senator Orrin Hatch

I was studying at my parents' house tonight when the phone rang and a recording alerted me that I was being redirected to Senator Orrin Hatch's "town-hall" meeting being held via telephone and would I mind please staying on the line to participate? Of course I would not mind! Orrin Hatch generally makes me sick to my stomach (an awesome exception to this rule of thumb was his National Service Act) so I thought I'd listen in to see what he felt like saying to rally his conservative constituents.

Senator Orrin Hatch says he is a "Climate skeptic" and believes that climate change is most likely not caused by human effects. He says we should be using coal & not wind, and that the cap & trade system would "redistribute wealth & power like never before." He also said that "Utah would have a 70% increase in the utility cost if we go to that stupid, dumb system" ( in reference to Obama's proposed emissions trading program). Wa…

I was mindin' my own business!

A couple years ago I came across a bumper sticker with the words "The more you know the less you need." I can't remember now what I did with it-- it might be sprawled across a folder somewhere, or stuck to one of my cancer-causing (plastic containing BPA) Nalgene bottles-- but the idea contained within that statement has power.

the MORE you KNOW the LESS you NEED - aborignal proverb

Those words, carved in that manner, are located on a quiet, south facing cement wall of the Salt Lake City library. Above that wall is a walkway leading to the main entrance of the library, and along the metal railing attached to the wall are rows and rows of bicycles. I like what I see. I really like what I see-- empowerment through knowledge. Of course after staring at the railing, the words and the wall, I looked up to the middle-aged men sitting on a nearby bench that I had not noticed before. Maybe they thought I had been looking at them all this time, or maybe they were vying for my…

See.

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See Daisy.

From Summer Vacation

See Daisy run.

From Summer Vacation

See Daisy ride.

From Summer Vacation

See Daisy hide.

From Summer Vacation

Meet Daisy, my younger brother's dog and my newest playmate. When the rain cleared for a bit on Sunday I took Daisy on her first car ride and a little jaunt around the foothills in Plymouth. She's a cutie, eh? A bit camera shy, but overall a lot of fun. She's such a people pleaser.

The misty mountains and rays of sunlight peeking through the clouds made for a delightful walk.

From Summer Vacation

Goodbye school, hello summer.

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The semester ended with a BANG!

Carson graduated with his bachelor's degree in Economics and Law; the party followed. Friends, family, good food and beverage, and good times. I'm proud of Carson for what his hard work and academic efforts have earned him. And I think he's a handsome fella...


-photo courtesy of Pete Smithsuth

I said farewell to my job and apartment the next week, moved all my belongings back to my parents' house (and camped near Logan for a couple days), then promptly left for a week-long vacation.

Carson and I drove down to Canyonlands National Park, a place that feels more like backcountry than national park, but quite close to Moab, and complete with astounding gorges, canyons and panoramic views. We camped our first night near the entrance to the park in a place managed by the BLM, and while I appreciated having a toilet to use, it wasn't worth having people trotting by our tent throughout the night. I prefer being relatively alone in my surroundin…

A power outage.

Crash, rumble, sizzle.

Lightning struck the power pole in front of our house twice in a row in a matter of seconds! The surge was intense; the buzz from the raging voltage could be felt in the floors. Sparks flew from the poles in all directions and a single line was split and laying in two parts across the neighbor's yard. And of course, we were without power for a solid 4 hours.

According to family tradition, we pulled out candles, ran around the house like chickens with their heads cut off (or people without lights), and then played board games. I was in the middle of cooking dinner for the fourth night in a row (go me!), so with Jake's help we moved my efforts to the grill inside the garage (with the doors open, of course) and wrapped up the food prep there. Overall, it was a lot of fun to bond together as a family without technology. It's easy to become divided when we all split up to our own rooms with our laptops, televisions, ipods, etc, and tonight proved to us that…

Just waiting.

The question of the month-- no, no. The question of the past 6 months: "So what are your plans?" Rather than talk about the future, I'm going to chronicle events from the recent past.

School happened. Really, that's the best way for me to describe my most recent semester at USU, considering the outcome and having realized in retrospective inquisition that at the culmination of year 2008, an outright productive and successful year, I felt too lost to do anything but go back to school, so it happened. School happened and I probably would have been better off doing something else, but what's done is done and I'm moving on now. No reason to wallow in self pity for having ruined another chance at improving my record. Oopsie Daisy.

Work happened. I use the past tense in reference to work because we Census Bureau employees worked too quickly; we worked ourselves right out of work and right about now I am unemployed, just like I was a month ago.

Housing happened. After …

Sunburns, dog attack.

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I knocked on the door; no barking, no sign warning of the dog, and even quiet conversation for a moment-- until that little shit came shooting through her legs and attacked my knees. I tried to remain professional, but as the dog kept trying to bite my ankles, scratched some serious marks on my legs, growled and yapped and generally pissed me off, I'm pretty sure I muttered some curse words. And because this dog was so keen on using my lower body as his new chew toy, the lady had a hard time getting him off of me. I waved goodbye as I ran down the front steps.

Bah humbug. One more reason I hate little dogs. No worries, a few red marks but no blood. Did I say that I hate little dogs? It all goes back to that one semester living in a random apartment with some random people, and the girl with the little dog that urinated and defecated frequently on our living room carpet. It's the lingering smell of animal urine and feces really turned me off. Next time someone suggests I should …

On being employed.

Knock. Knock.

"Hello, my name is Amanda and I'm working with the US Census Bureau. I'm here to update our maps and address lists and would like to confirm..."

Work seems to be going well despite Mother Nature's efforts to thwart my money earning endeavors. Heavy, wet snow is visiting the valley today after a couple days of serious rain. The grass is spring green and the white slush is not sticking so well-- in fact, it seems that it all melted, ran downhill, and accumulated into a massive lake over what used to be my front lawn and sidewalk. When I got home from some afternoon street walking I couldn't help but jump smack dab in the middle, effectively soaking my lower half.

Overall, I think I'm going to enjoy this. 35ish hours of walking every week, checking out sweet homes (old and new) and architectural details (such as the nice pillars and heavy wooden door with the sweet inlaid stained glass), and noting social phenomenons. Turns out a LOT of people hav…

Denied, again.

Rising health care costs, pre-existing conditions, and unemployment are all reasons one might be denied health coverage and no person is really exempt. Of course, some are better off than others. For some interesting views and good listening, check out this NPR episode about health care and the woman's plight when it comes to securing insurance.

Women Pay The Price For Health Insurance: NPR

A recent front page article in the Salt Lake Tribune defined Utah's troubling numbers: roughly 1/3 of all residents in this state have been without coverage sometime in the past two years. Those numbers were provided by the national group Families USA, although state officials came up with a calculation far less-- only 12%. Either way, the point is clear-- too many people are without health insurance and financial burdens of visiting a doctor if one does not have coverage can be exorbitant. A basic visit to a family physician without any tests, labs, or procedures will likely cost over $100, …

Abuse

The news reports of abuse & its effects seems to be increasing, or perhaps my awareness is heightened. The Abuse & Neglect in Family Context class I am taking this semester has been tough, in the sense that admitting and recognizing terrible abuses against people (especially children) actually occur, and wondering which circumstances in my life and the lives of my friends fit into those categories.

Most disturbing today were two articles:

The first, discusses a law passed in Afghanistan that legalizes the rape of a man's own wife every fourth night, as “the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.” This law was previously overturned and re-instated to win the votes needed to influence the re-election of Afghanistan's president. The decision to deny women the right to control their own bodies is terrible, as is the promotion domestic and sexual violence.

In other news, a young girl in Brazil, age 9 years, was raped and impregnated --w…

Arlo Guthrie; Polaroids; Beaver Mtn.

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Notes: We saw Arlo Guthrie perform live at the Eccles Theater in Logan on Saturday night, and he gave us a sneak-peek in class Friday. Sweet!

The Polaroid camera & film I scored at DI has been fun.

Feeding cows with my brother Jake.
From polaroids


Big Air day at Beaver with good friends. Carson did the pond-skim... in my spandex pants. Double sweet! After a few runs down and across the ice-filled pond, the finalists did whatever they wanted. Carson's attempt at a daffy in telemark skis. Super sweet!

From polaroids

An artist's rendition.

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When the days were hard, we played. We poked fun.

From Project: FEMA 1768, Disaster Relief


We walked the streets, back and forth and up and down, circumventing the annoying buzz of tight office space, breathing fume-free air for a day. No bleach for us those days, only small bits of mold exposure during damage inspections, and no cramped space for 10 mentally cramped people.

Tyler and I were office duty that day. The lucky two that were not forced into a 15 passenger van first thing, but sent to the library instead, were the luckiest individuals in all of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin that day. Our brains and bodies were tired and bruised and an afternoon spent soliciting trust from wary dwellers, persuading men and women and children to let us into their mold filled homes for a quick look, sounded like heaven.

Games began quickly, entertaining us through the miles we walked. He drew my picture while taking careful step after step. Never looking down to check his feet, and never looking down to …

When life is leaving.

The house was regal. I was in an old forgotten house with a realtor. An old woman died too soon and various belongings were left out, meant to be mailed somewhere to someone that matters and someone that would care. A silk scarf, printed on it the most beautiful songbirds that I could almost hear singing when I picked it up. The smell was reminiscent of my dead great-grandmother Daisy. Reading glasses with a note, "These were my grandfather's." A half finished knitting project, a man's tie, a hanger padded with lace, all with notes about why these were important. It seemed like I had stumbled into my own house and I was the woman that wanted to remind you of my love and I was the woman with a tender heart and I was the woman that checked out too soon. And was forgotten. The dust in the home was thick and a beautiful painting laid on the floor exactly below from where it had fallen years before and the chandelier with its stained glass panes laid on the floor shattere…

Anis Mojgani; knitted skirt.

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Today's thoughts:

Anis Mojgani, an award winning slam poet from New Orleans & currently living in Portland when he's not out and about performing, came to Utah State University last weekend to give us a show at the annual USU Beat Night. His words wound tales so tall and spectacular that I was frozen in my seat. I would like to share with you some of his work. He curses sometimes.






Nowhere online can I find my favorite piece of his, No. 13 on the CD I bought from him. It's not in his book either. But my second favorite piece, The Fisherman, is available for listening at his myspace music page. I feel that his background sounds/music on the myspace track is a distraction from the power and shock and soothing melody of his voice, but is beautiful nonetheless.

Check him out. It's worth your time.



Otherwise, I found another knitting project I'd like to work on....


This knitted skirt, the Saoirse Shawl by Norah Guaghan, is in the most recent issue of Interweave Knits…

On death and dying and living

An excerpt, from my journal:

My legs ache. I feel dehydrated.

I love dead and dry plants, like trees in winter. I think I will sleep in the kitchen tonight for a while. My room is so cold. I like the kitchen floor.

I don't think I believe in ghosts... but I wonder if this kitchen might have one. I fell asleep in the kitchen for a bit and now I will sleep in my room. Where did these damn flies come from? They are fat, slow, and lazy flies. It's winter. Get outta here! It smells like rice under the quilt thanks to the warm rice pack.

- 12/16/09



Today has been productive. I must have killed at last 15 flies in the apartment just now, following a bicycle ride and errands.

I wonder if any person has ever killed him or herself by laying beneath gigantic sharp icicles and having someone break them off from above so that the pointy winter death tools come flying down and impale his or her guts. Maybe this person would have asked someone to climb on the roof or maybe throw a baseball at them…

You know what they say....

Sitting in the living room, watching an episode of sunsets out the large, west facing picture window, my mom and I pinkie-promised over a nearly-finished crochet project that I mailed to her from Maryland over a year ago. "Alright, a month. I'll have it done, washed, blocked, and back here on the table by May 1st." The project smells sour, like spilled milk, a result of it being the centerpiece of a table that people of all ages use. Our littlest fingers interlock and we bounce our hands up and down. "Deal. A month"

Interruption.

My nine year old brother walks in with a blue elastic band, the kind typically around bunches of broccoli, wrapped tightly around his face. It digs into his cheeks and runs under his nose, above his upper lip. His top lip is puffed out with blood, shoved forward by the pressure, and somewhat resembles a reconstructed cleft. His arms are held tightly at his sides, shoulders raised in box-like form. He looks like a martian.

"Look at me…

Cycling Northern Utah from Logan

Hats off to those who have paved the way for my future rides, giving me advice about gear, routes, and specifics of various locations. Hats off to me if I complete this list by the end of the semester, and even better if pursue long trips throughout the summer. We'll see. I aim to start with short day trips to some of our local hot spots, moving on to weekend trips with camping, and up to longer tours in other parts of the state. The amount of time spent away from my bike is ridiculous as I did not cycle through the winter like planned, and I need to develop a rigorous training schedule if I'm going to do any multi-day tours soon. Keep in mind that I'm new to touring, and relatively new to serious cycling, so what seems like a long ride to me might be easy for others, and what seems mild to me might seem hard to others. It's all relative.

Troubles I foresee include the cost of purchasing needed gear (panniers-- bags that attach to my rack-- and padded shorts are crucial…