PHEW! After four months, several burn-outs followed by more marathons than I should admit, I am officially caught up on LOST! Now I'm ready for the final season come 2010. Looks intense...


Hiking Mt. Timpanogos

Even though:
  1. A poorly (strategically?) placed hole twisted my ankle
  2. A night of hiking threw off my sleep schedule for a good week
  3. A razor sharp glacier sliced up my forearms and bruised me all over leaving marks that make it seem that "slid down the glacier" is some euphemism for being thrown down the stairs
  4. At least three times during the 11 hours up and back I would call the emotion I felt "bored"
  5. A good 60% of the hike up I would call the emotion I felt "freaked out of my mind"
  6. I was perpetually leaned to one side (to bring my center of gravity towards a 'safe' mountainside and away from imminent death over the cliffs)
  7. A missed (freaking nonexistent) trail marker forced me nearly crawling upward, clinging to shifty rocks for dear life
  8. My stomach is just now recovering from trail food
There is a plus side:
  1. I made it. Alive. Intact. Awake.
  2. I love conquering my fears (most of all that obnoxious fear of heights and falling)
  3. A view of Salt Lake, Utah and Heber/Midway valleys - all at once, twinkling
  4. Good company
  5. Reaffirmed my confidence in my athletic ability. I may suck at/hate running and most forms of exercise but I can hold my own on an incline
  6. Deep (at times panting) breaths of fresh, non-smog/inversion/polluted/Geneva-steel-and-exhaust valley air
  7. Checked it off the list of local treasures to take advantage of before I graduate and leave Provo behind [(biking the Provo River trail is next. Planning's gotta start soon) (any recommendations welcome)]
  8. My battle wounds make me look tough and adventurous, and thankfully don't hurt that bad
  9. Looking down the mountain at a pilgrimage of headlamps winding through the trail was pretty empowering
  10. A slide down the glacier was a rush, and gives me the courage to finally try out the steep slide at 7 Peaks
  11. I finally have a reason (a big fat right cheek hole) to replace my 5 years old, children's sized, elastic waistband, zip-off Columbia hiking pants I've been holding onto for longer than I should
  12. I pitied the morons hiking up in the daytime (blistering heat) and was grateful for a chilly breeze and constant shade (aka darkness/lack of sun)
  13. Stars shining brightly (shining for the whole world to see....) especially the Pleiades Cluster, which is hard to see in any level of light pollution
  14. I'm a sucker for a sunrise, and this one makes my list of lifetime favorites (post to come)
I took this picture!
Some quick facts about good old Timp:
  • Mt. Timpanogos is the 47th-most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States. Sounds made up, but isn't. Check out Timp's contemporaries here. (Way to go Mt. Rainier for kicking every other mountain's less geomorphically active trash
  • To explain Timp's layout as the shape of a reclining woman, legend has it that an Indian maiden died of grief after her lover was killed. This legend (but not the ballet it inspired) may actually be made up
  • There is also debate among professionals (probably Geographers) as to which kind of glacier the Timp glacier actually is. I personally don't really care either way
  • From 1911 to 1970, there was an annual "Timp Hike" some time in July where thousands of hikers would make the climb together and get badges for success. My dad participated several years and talks about old men who had dozens of badges as a tribute to their years of participation. They stopped the tradition due the damage 1000+ hikers can cause to a mountain in a day
  • Timp is my dad's mountain. When he dies he (sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly) wants to be cremated and have his ashes scattered at the top. I say, Why not?


Mount Timpanogos

Worth every painful step.

(more later, need to recover)


Idyllic Mapleton

A funny phenomenon comes every mid-August as hundreds of BYU students (official count) find themselves lost in the transition between Summer and Fall housing by the ever-manipulative Provo landlords who require early check-outs and late check-ins (I wonder what they are doing in the in-between time Heaven knows they are not steam cleaning). I myself thought that I'd skirt that issue this year by avoiding a complex and living in a house - owned by my parents.

No such luck.

Renters still came- a germaphobe family of renters, no less- and the cleaning check was worse than that of any apartment I've lived in (Thank you to the people who have lived in the house within the last 3 years who left their crap for me to clean up, btw. And lucky DI/garbage man who now gets to deal with it). Worse yet, with my boxes packed up I found myself homeless. Lucky for me, there are some perks to being kicked out on the streets by your landlords (parents). In my case, I can't move into my new place til later this week so in the interim I've been holed up at my sister's. Much better than a friend's couch (or floor) I get to enjoy:
  • My sister. Pick your favorite member of your family and I'll bet you my sister could take that person in a fight. Maybe not a literal fight (though she's feisty enough to hold her own) but in overall awesomeness and soul-sister quality. (Enjoying time with her husband also counts as a perk.)
  • Her girls. Kaylee and Riley. Man has not seen pure, uncontainable joy until he sees toddler in their tree swing. It helps that they love me. Yes, I'm that aunt.
  • The view. One window looks straight up Mapleton canyon, another sees Utah Lake (and is far enough away to not deal with the stink). My bedroom window faced a nice string of nameless to me Wasatch Mountains that stretched all the way to Payson. Morning light along the ridge was great motivation to wake up early, if the neices rumblings didn't do the job.
  • The land. Paul the Farmer came regularly to work with Alfalfa fields and orchards of the not-so-next-door neighbor Dorothy. We saw baby deer and peacock. My personal favorite is the pond on the property (you know how much I love floating). Me and Kaylee took the old metal rowboat for a spin. I read as she played Cinderella and counted butterflies. Does it get much better than that?
  • The neighborhood. And by neighborhood I mean the stretched out community of Mapleton. People walk in the morning (not wearing spandex), yield for pedestrians and the junior high kids I saw flirting as they walked down the street were dressed like junior high kids (go figure!). It is a very unassuming and comfortable town.
The soundtrack for the week has been anything that might be played with a banjo or item found in an early century kitchen (you know, spoon, jug, washboard). Ricky Skaggs (and the Kentucky Thunder for some songs), an assortment from O Brother, Where Art Thou (aka Soggy Bottom Boys) and a guy named Chad Jensen (I think a friend of Doug's?) who is all instrumental and all rockin' in a hick bluegrass kind of way. Makes me miss the Seattle Folklife Festival (link to an equally rockin' spoon musician).


Hiking the Y

Over Rated!!

A strong woman's skills...

As summer 2009 rolled around and I turned up single in the sunshine, I spotted this spine bookshelf in one of Brittanie's home furnishing catalogs she still subscribed us to after she moved out. I was enamored with its simplicity and, feeling industrious, I ripped it from the pages and pinned it to my wall, vowing to build this bookshelf as a symbol of my independence and ability to do things on my own. I had oodles of time on my hands now, and what better way to spend it than creating something.

I spent a couple weeks trying to find how-to instructions on the internet and Finally stumbled upon an HGTV special. The instructions called for little more than three planks of wood and a router. Step One: figure out what a router is. Step Two: locate a router and someone who could kindly explain to me how to use it. Step Three: build, rejuvenate and move on with my life. Simple, right?

As does often happen with impulsive strokes of creativity, I got distracted for about a month. Then I bought my wood and located a mentor. My sister's father-in-law had a woodshop and a keen eye for building. Any Sunday would do.

Sundays sure are hard to find the motivation to do much else than go to church and sleep/eat the afternoon away so in no time I found myself in August with three planks of wood and no bookshelf.

Enter a new boy (friend boy, not boyfriend), random friend of a friend (friend of the ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend's ex-boyfriend to be exact) who happens to not only be handy with woodworking and building in general, but also has the key and rights to the BYU building lab hidden away in the Nichols building (often mistaken for the older, less attractive wing of the Bensen). He builds things for cooky professors all the time and BYU pays him for it. Lucky me.

So off we go to the BYU professor's manufacturing lab where they've got more machinery than anyone would know what to do with and he sets to work explaining the intricacies of building. I demand that he can't do it for me, that I have to do it myself. He obliges, nicely. Well, I suppose I wouldn't mind him cutting a couple of the shelves, seeing as I value my hands intact and don't quite trust my hand-eye coordination near a table saw. I cut about two of my own planks and he worked out the rest. I don't like to think I'm a wuss, just worried about BYU's liability and this boy's when blood starts spurting from my fingertips.

I did glue my wood together on my own and secured the clamps mostly on my own. There will be some more assembly done for me tomorrow and I'll stain it on my own after that.

Here's the story of my life: set out to assert my independence, only to find it much more obliging to let a steady gentleman step in and help me out. Is that unhealthy?

[picture of the masterpiece and my hand in its creation to come]

Great Songs About the South

My trip down south got me thinking about all the great music of all genres dedicated to the region. I stumbled upon this website and am exited to pursue the songs I've not yet heard. Some of the ones I've chosen for my Best Songs about the South:
  • Mississippi Queen by Mountain and Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughn- Thank you Guitar Hero for opening my mind to both of these southern greats. The former is my favorite fake guitar riff to rock, the latter gives me carpal tunnel just thinking about it (not me playing).
  • Black Velvet by Alanna Myles. I'm not actually sure what this song is all about, but it's slow and sweaty and all the sexier for it- Though the thought of velvet in a southern summer doesn't scream sensual.
  • Walking in Memphis - this one hit wonder by Marc Cohn oozes the glory days of Elvis and the southern religious fervor. (Cher painfully tried to cover it, but failed. And doesn't look like Elvis.)
  • Carolina On My Mind by James Taylor. Oh James, please be my friend.
  • The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia is perhaps the most unusual video known to country music (check out the 3 minute 80's crime show with Reba hollering in the background here). Leave it to Reba McIntyre to take an otherwise rockin' song about corrupt law in the south and make a joke of it by bad costumes and way too many over-acted voice-overs.
  • Tennessee by Arrested Development. This soul searching old school hip hop reminds me of the Perry's for some reason. ("A game of horseshoes!!")
  • Calling Baton Rouge. Garth Brooks. The one from his Double Live album.
  • Memphis, Tennnessee, Jackson Square, Rebecca DeVille, and more by Mason Jennings. The first is sweet, the second eerie, the third heartbreaking. Who'd have known Mason's a native midwesterner?
Somehow I want to put Ludacris' Southern Hospitality on the list, but can't make myself do it.

Am I missing any?