Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's Keep it Real

(I ended up buying this one, so if any of my German speaking friends KNOW this is not good, please let me know in the next three hours. Danke)

It's interesting to move to a new place and know it's going to be for awhile. I feel that traveling is one of my talents and I've a pretty good knack for it. I get how to direct a cab or train system or hotel front desk in just about every language, and sign language too. I get how to maneuver the airports of the world, get money changed, find my sites to see and order from a variety of menus (though Mongolia's "Flesh Flied Liver" and "fermented mare's milk" will always take the cake as far as dished that have been offered).

And yet today, I've been a bit frazzled. Why?

Laundry detergent.

Yes, laundry detergent got the best of me. In Europe, when you don't have dryers and you wash things nightly in small little washers, you have a THOUSAND choices for laundry detergent. You have small ones for wool and small ones for cotton, ones for bright white and one for colors and all of them come in sizes that are similar to my dishwashing detergent. And they all cost about 15 dollars each.

And even though I'm in the "French" side of Switzerland, EVERY thing was written in German. And my German is Nicht Zer Gut-Words like:
Bei empfindicher oder vorgeschadgter....were lighting up the aisle and a painful part of my brain. I have few clothes here and it would be awful to accidently bleach them all.

But, I did figure out my dishwasher today, so tonight, when I do my first load of laundry, I have faith in me.

Is it good for a pretty smart girl to feel absolutely ridiculous and lost when it comes to doing her laundry once in a while? And let's not forget that I couldn't understand HALF of what the check out lady said to me today, I just smiled and's a good survival tactic.

Yeah, let's keep it real here folks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Packer's Remorse!

The Friday morning that I departed America was full of frenzy. I was finishing up some paintings, packing, trying to shower and remember to put on matching socks....that kind of morning. I had stayed up late the night before playing Rock Band with April & Co. and that whole week had been full of paintings and goodbyes and good food and good fun and everything else you can imagine besides packing.

So, I packed four large suitcases (which cost me an extra $600 dollars on the airplane just FYI), but as was feared, each of them were overweight (why are we SO biased! GRRRR!) I had my sweet mom help me weigh them as I had to remove about 20 pounds per bag. There went my jar of crunchy Jif peanut butter and the good toilet paper that you just can't find here. Out went my books and for some reason my journal AND my Nikon got thrown out too...I was in a frenzy and didn't know what I was doing!!!! My yoga mat was tossed out and my picture frame that housed the one family photo I was going to bring. I kept telling myself I could get it all in June. And yet, somehow I kept my Dorothy Parker short stories...because even I have limits. I didn't pack a blow dryer or curling iron, I didn't pack excess shoes or pants...although SEVEN hats made it into the bags...seriously, was I delirious? Oh yes, I was!

So, today, I finally got a break to go down into the "city" of Sierre, Switzerland to do some shopping. I'll tell you one thing. The Swiss people are FREAKING CRAZY! Who can live here? Who can afford it! After all my years of European travel I was going to buy a hairdryer of my was $90 dollars!!! I was going to get a yoga mat, most of them were about $80 and the cheapest one I found was $40 dollars! Agh! I tried to find a simple white frame to house my family photo and when I found one I had no idea that it would cost $25 dollars! I mean, I already have to pay a preposterous amount of money on food here..but honestly, I couldn't bring myself to buy ONE thing that I wanted. I just couldn't! I think they are about half the price in Paris and since I get to go there in a few weeks, I thought I'd just wait for a bit. I think I might also buy pasta and tuna fish there too as it's ridiculously expensive here. And even though the Swiss Francs feel like play money, I was always too thrifty in monopoly for my own good! Curse you BOARDWALK!

This wasn't exactly the weight loss plan I was going for, but I think it's going to work anyway. And simplifying my life was just made a lot easier. Now, if only I could have packed my other glove, the matches to my socks, and that Zen Buddhism book I was planning on reading.

Things that Switzerland apparently doesn't have (so if you'd like to bring them when you visit me):

Apple Cider Vinegar
Maple Syrup and Pancake Mix (where you just add water on a lazy Sunday morning!)
Peanut or Almond Butter
Prune Juice
Men over six feet tall and under 40 who just want to kiss in a cafe over hot chocolate....

I'd prefer that last one the most. Cause baby, it's cold here! (And holy cannoli, I think I just revealed the fact that I eat like an 80 year old spinster! Yes, I like prune juice..ok!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

love, loved, loving


Love has come into my life in the most amazing colors and dimensions this year. My capacity to embrace and give love has deepened in ways that only poets might ever be able to understand. Last week, during a painful conversation I wanted to have, I was met with resistance. Why can't we just keep everything pleasant? the other person's eyes were asking me. I realized in that moment that few people decide to get really messy with life when given the chance. It's easier, somehow, to pretend to be ok, isn't it? So many aspects of life embrace the mediocre pleasantries. I'm proud to say that so many things along my path the past two years have taught me to act and be authenticly myself. I like when people live life in Real with me and don't Pretend. Sounds like a funny way to begin a year end letter, I know, but it's been on my mind.

This year I've been more open to the possibilities of people and the potential of the universe than I have ever before. I think a lot of that has to do with me finally getting fully comfortable with who I am. I've given up a lot of labels. I've given up a lot of other's expectations of me that seemed centered in a realm that never quite fit for me. I've followed my bliss and that has made me blissfully happy.

Something I learned from Lucille Clifton a long time ago is the beauty of stream of consciousness, so here it life this year in simple images. In January, I was knocked off my feet by an orange New York love. It was a whirlwind of three months that still have me whirling and twirling and dancing the tango with what I learned to this very evening. To that person I say thank you. You were real. In April, I was asked to be a permanent contributor at the Exponent II blog. Here, real thoughts and real issues are talked about with women who have been more open and real with me than most people dare to be. This experience with exploring Mormonism without the confines of labels and expectations have grounded me in a spiritual way that I had been lacking for a long time. Check it out: In June, I played Julius Caesar as my group of students pretended to assassinate me in the Roman forum...a few days later, in a random train line in Rome, I met the woman who would offer me a job in Switzerland. After a quiet afternoon alone by Yoko Ono's wishing tree in Venice, I took a night train to Salzburg. I climbed up a rainy cobblestone street to the abbey of Maria Von Trapp and sang a little on the way back down. It was a perfect moment. In August I took long walks along the Seine and held conversations with myself in French. The leaves of the September trees rustled at my feet as I walked through Greenwich village on my birthday and ate a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. It was on this little visit to New York that I decided to head back to Europe for good. In October, tragedy struck my family in a way I still can't quite fathom. It made most of November a pretty numb time. In December, I spent the week in New York again seeing plays, running into Jude Law on the street, and planning April's proposal in front of the Rockefeller tree. I flew home and finished directing a high school Bollywood version of Twelfth Night. One week later, I packed up a few belongings to start a new life.

I'm safely settled in my new home in Europe. Crans-Montana is a village in the top of the Alps. I eat quiche and take long walks. I kick my feet through the powdered snow and dip my cheese in mustard. I hang my clothes to dry and I drink tea most days around 4 o'clock. I write and research and love and live and laugh and feel more fulfilled in my life than I have ever before. I've been comparing my dreams to the life cycle of the egg. In America, all my eggs had hatched and grew and found their full purpose...but--here. now. this second. new dreams that are bigger and better, dreams that stand on the backs of my dreams that came before, dreams that have started to crystalize into shining realities, have formed and they look pretty. No room for pretend.

These dreams stem from love. The love that I have for my family and friends and students and lovers and strangers. These dreams stem from love. The love that my family and friends and students and lovers and strangers have for me. It's the most incredible gift in the world. It's the spirit of Christmas and Buddha and Yemaya and Jesus and every God and Goddess who have ever graced the consciousness of humanity. It's the most incredible talent to have...better than playing the violin or painting or running marathons. It's the most powerful force on earth (more powerful than a Broadway musical!). It's the most important thing to me.

And I'm sending it all your way. Real Love. Big Time Love.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Last Night

Last night I sold my perfectly lovely antique wrought iron old original one of a kind type of thing you search for for years but could never afford to ship to Europe bed.

It was really hard.

The End.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Missing

(the making of my Balinese Map)

Yesterday, I read through a lot of old posts on my blog that made me happy. Life lived and enjoyed and savored. Posts like this one or this one, and even this one.

They were fun to live.

Lately, let's face it, I've been a bit of a drag. But it's ok. I'm ok about it. I know when I watch random Improvisation Everywhere groups on YouTube that I am capable of laughing and that my sweet smile can still spread across this face of mine.

After my sister's life changed forever, I felt like it was all just too much emotion built up. So I packed it away tight. Now, I'm slowly unloading it and trying to umwrap the emotions, feel them, and move on. This is different. Because when you actually let yourself feel things, then some nights, you just might be mad for no apparent reason. You're just mad. And you don't want to be made happy. You've subscribed to the belief that happiness might be overrated. You know it's short lived, but it's how you feel in the now.

So, unpacking my emotions while packing up my belongings has made for an interesting few weeks. I've been giving away clothes and movies and lamps and art and transient things that defined my life here. Lots of emotions and letting of goes. Lately, I've been feeling one more than all the rest.

I miss.

When I say this. People immediately say "you miss what?"

There has to be a direct object after that verb--at least, that's how we've always seen it, right?

But there isn't. It's a whole world of missing.

I miss an old blanket I had in college, I miss this shirt I gave to DI a few years ago, I miss the smell of the baguettes made below my little apartment in Paris. I miss kissing that one person I was REALLY compatable with kissing. It just hasn't been the same since I stopped kissing him and I'm worried it never will be the same again. How can it when it's NOT our exact lips meeting? I miss going shopping with April at Costco...where we PROMISE ourselves that we'll just get healthy food and then we are taken in by the cheesy ravioli and pesto sauce and we buy it and indulge. I miss April a lot. Her new life is cool. But I miss the life we shared. I miss the first time I heard Cohen sing Hallelujah on his guitar. I miss when I was a little girl and I didn't like wearing nightgowns, I liked wearing my dad's shirts. I'd go into his closet and pull out a shirt that smelled like my daddy and put it on and curl up in it. It made me feel safe. I miss feeling safe. I miss my sister feeling safe. I miss my family as it used to be. I miss the person that I believed my brother in law was. I miss the time when my oldest niece would hug me for a long time, and when she thought I was the most amazing person in the world. I miss.

I just miss.

And it's not a bad thing.

And I'll move on to this new world. And I'll miss the sweetest house I've ever lived in and I'll miss all my friends and those late night walks around my town, and the way my streets look covered in leaves. I'll miss the rustling and smell of contentment.

And I'll keep on missing.

And that's ok. Because I think the more things you have to miss in life is simply reflecting back to you all of the chances that you have taken.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remember that Time

Hey remember that time when I gathered all the frost on the car in Florida and made one little snowball? It melted quickly and I had short hair then.

Remember that time when you ran through three red lights to get me home on time for my surprise party, and I gave you a lecture about road rage while I was unlocking the door?

Hey remember when you brought me fresh raspberries on our very first date and you told me the "right" way to let the flavor burst in my mouth.

Remember when you carried your Dolce & Gabanna bag in the Swiss Alps as we hiked?

Hey remember that time when I wrote my journal all in rhyme because I thought it was a dying art? I still do. No one rhymes anymore...

Remember that time when the only place I could find to be alone in New York City was on my small white heartless bathroom floor, and I curled up and had a good cry?

Hey remember that time when that man knocked on the window of the Parisian restaurant and got our attention? We tried to pretend not to notice.

Remember that time I said "I love you" on your broken futon?

Hey remember that when I would only read Austen?
Remember that time when I would only read trashy fashion magazines?

Remember that time when believing in God came easy for me?

Remember when I spoke to the Indonesian students in their own language and it freaked them out?

Remember when she was born?

Remember that time when I lived in the sweetest little Bungalow in Sugarhouse?


Me too.

Latest Post on Exponent II

Hey all, chime in on the discussion if you'd like:

How Should We Promote Abstinence

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photo Flashback

This guy sold us cotton candy in Argentina on our birthdays. He was cool.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ironies of Love

I write to process things. I write when the thoughts in my brain swirl around too much and need a release. I write because maybe, just like many people have told me, I simply think too much. I write. Sometimes my thoughts simply compose themselves in the form of stories. I rearrange them just so.

As many of you know, my oldest half-sister, Heather, was shot by her husband on Thursday night.

All day yesterday the thoughts wouldn't stop. All day as I sat in the ICU waiting room thinking of my sister and how all our lives how now been changed forever, it was just me and just my thoughts. I saw things in images and I tried to compose a logical story. But logic just can't exist in such an irrational world can it?

I saw my sister with a swollen face, with her entire body covered with bandages, with the only recognizable feature being her soft, long brown hair spread over the pillow in a fashion that was poetically beautiful, graceful and fragile. That first moment seeing her stopped my heart. How could that be someone I know? How could that be someone I love?

I sat in the ICU hallway because I didn't want to hear the television in the waiting room, clutching my bag with too tight fingers and an old lady in a wheelchair next to me. She looked sad and her body was frail and small and she was an age that I don't even know if I want to live to. To every hospital worker that walked by she screamed at the top of her lungs "Excuse me! You have my husband! I want my husband!" She couldn't go beyond the double doors because she was sick. They wouldn't let her. Her words just kept echoing in my mind. They had her husband, the ICU had her husband and they had my sister and they were calling the shots and they had other people in there. They had them.

My thoughts turned to my brother in law. They turned to the big hug he gave me before I left on my mission and how he told me he was proud. They turned to his height and strength and his smile and how he always made the perfect hamburgers at the family barbeques. They thought of how he held each of their three children with love and tenderness in the hospital after they were born. They thought of the day he married Heather. The day he stood by the priest and watched her walk towards him. Heather, in that white dress, married in a mountain grove of turning leaves in a beautiful Autumn flow of colors much like there are now.

My thoughts tried to put this story together, tried to compose how someone went through all of that and ended up in the driveway. She saying that she was leaving him. Him pulling out a gun and saying she would die first. Little Megan watching. Him shooting her four times, in the face, in each arm, in the knee. My brain can't make that into part of their story. They had a beautiful home, always good with money and always successful. They were always happy. They were to be envied, so how did this happen?

How can anyone do this to someone else? Any two strangers, how could they do this. What is humanity? Is the definition of that word lacking some malicious part that we pretend isn't there?

But how could two people who have shared so much have such a different story going on underneath the surface than the one my brain had been composing for them?

Yesterday, in that waiting room, I had a thought I haven't really ever entertained.

"I don't know if I believe in God anymore."

I don't know if God is apart of my story anymore.

At least not this weekend.

After an afternoon in the ICU I took a break. Then we went back in the evening.

We were in the waiting room. My dad and my mom were holding hands and leaning close together. My sister and her husband had their arms around each other and he was comforting her. My other sister had her boyfriend (almost fiance) and he was slowly rubbing her back and neck and being there. And my youngest sister had her fiance there, going to buy her some coffee, asking what he could do. And for just a few moments I cried selfishly. It was nice not to have anyone asking my why I was crying, we had all been crying. But for the first time that day I cried because I felt really, really alone. I cried because I didn't have that person to depend on. I cried because as we all sat quietly in the waiting room I just sat there and held my purse in my lap. I watched all my sweet sisters with the loves of their lives and I felt nothing but skeptical. I felt nothing but the fact that I was alone and maybe life is better when you don't depend on that one other person. Around me, in that waiting room, there was so much love. And yet, why was my sister bleeding and wounded behind those doors as a result of some twisted version of love? How could I be in the presence of such sweet and tender emotions as these four beautiful couples were showing last night? All the while sitting and waiting to hear if Heather would live because of what own husband had done to her. How is such a dichotomy of the same emotion even possible?

Last night the ironies of love were simply too much for me to handle.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

32 Possibilities

I am 32.

I am full of possibility.

Whenever my life is presented with more options than I could have ever imagined, I feel almost like crying with a combination of gratitude for the paths presented to me and then also for the courage to muster what I know the new journey will require of me.

I decided to move to Switzerland and accept the job offer.

I'll be moving the day after Christmas.

I might just be there forever. I don't know. It's a pretty incredible job. I feel very blessed. This kind of thing just doesn't happen to everyone, but it's happened to me and I'm not taking it lightly.

And yet, as I accepted it on the phone in the JFK airport on Sunday, my immediate reaction was to cry. I got on the plane with my ex-boyfriend and held the tears back until I walked up to my little house in Salt Lake City. I got in the door, shut it behind me and burst into tears.

I burst into tears with joy and pain and sorrow and anticipation.

Nine months ago I met someone that I really thought I was going to have in my life for a long time. Things were happy and healthy and I loved being with him. The whole relationship had a different feel than the past ones I have been in. I don't write much about my love life or my dating life because my blog has always been open. Now that it's private and read only by my sweet and caring friends all over the globe, I feel I can process these deep issues a bit more. (And I think the next months will be full of various reflections from my past four relationships.) In fact, I feel like I must process them and get to a good place before I go to Switzerland.

My life continues to take these different turns. I thought I'd be planning a wedding sometime in the next year and now I'm planning on how to get my life into a few suitcases and boxes. I thought I was ready to embark on having kids and starting that family and instead I'm off to a remote village in the Alps where I just won't be dating a lot. I thought I could buy a house and create a home and start a new phase of my life that I feel so ready for, and now I'm off to a new direction not planned, maybe not ready for, and full of new challenges.

But yeah, I guess that's just what we call courage, eh?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Until Further Notice

So, this blog will be closed until further notice. I've had such a summer, such a year. I've put myself out there a lot. I've defended my beliefs. I've argued and battled. I've thought deep thoughts and I've rallied the troops. I've had the spark of a firecracker for a long time....and I've burned a few people.

And now, I'm just ready to bake beautiful meals for my close friends. I'm ready to watch the sunset without worrying about life. I'm ready to simplify my time and my efforts. I'm ready to take all those parts of me that I have made public for so long and just put them back inside of me and rearrange them a bit until I feel confident again in the person that I am and the person that I'm becoming.

That doesn't make any sense, I know, and it's not supposed to because all these summer stories and all these big events and all my deep thoughts are actually just for me right now and I'm kinda liking it that way.

Sending out loads of love into that big universe which holds the power of each of you.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Privatizing This Blog!

Hi Readers! I know many of you have wondered why I privatized my blog and it has to do with trying to remain anonymous in my new job, it's really important as I work with patients that they don't know too much about my real life. And since I wasn't very smart about choosing a blog name (hello, the address is my very own name!) when I started, I think that I am going to have to start over...or at least continue on a different blog, one in which my name won't be used at all. I would like to invite all of you who read this blog regularly to send me an email and I will personally email you the address of my very new, very chic and very witty new blog where tales of Europe's adventures and more will be published!

Thanks for reading this blog the past few years. It will still be here, but it will be private from now on! I will post things more of a private nature on this blog and open up a new one for funny stories and to use with other things!

Thanks so much!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Soak up with My Eyes

Absolutely love this song. Love her voice. Love the uke. Love the message. Love love it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Favorite Rothko

Everyone needs a favorite Rothko. This one happens to be mine. If you have time, take a look at this little museum, it's pretty amazing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Show Them The World!!


Taking a group of young kids who have NEVER left the country and showing them Europe for their first time was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life!! This was an amazing group. Seriously, other teachers were running into problems and issues with their kids and mine were all complete angels (as far as I know) and more than that, they were completely fun to hang out with. They had me laughing and on the go for the entire trip!!
Here they are in the Louvre. They got my own special tour that I used to give to visitors when I lived there so long ago! It was so much fun to run amuck through this ancient palace with them!!

Always camera ready, here are some of the kids in the group, I had 15 total!
We were on a boat tour of Paris just in time to see the Eiffel Tower light up. It's hard to believe that it is right outside my window as I type this. Life is TOO good to me!

We all put in such LONG days and averaged about 10 miles a day of walking (according to my high tech pedometer!) As soon as we got into the bus each night to go back to our hotel rooms the kids just zonked out!

Within five minutes of being in Italy I had a gelato in my life is supposed to be. Once the kids saw that it was totally ok to eat gelato five or six times a day, they were totally on board!!
Outside the beautiful and famous Scala Opera house there was a huge demonstration for the Arts. In Italy, like America, many art programs are being cut from school curriculum and these ballerinas and opera singers were showing the beauty of their craft.
This couple was amazing, doing a whole ballet for us!
Of course the hot Italian police were nearby to stop any madness that might happen. The Italians are a people known for their passion!!
Lunch time! We filled an entire sidewalk cafe!

The beautiful duomo, it's been about 11 years since I climbed this tower with Holly long ago!
My favorite statue in Italy (and probably the world)
When the girls and I got tired we sat on the steps and then rated Italian men. Is was the best pasttime EVER!! We found a 9.5, if he had been a few inches taller I would have given him a ten, but you can't have it all. Although, I must say that Italian men DO know how to dress!

It really leans, in case you were wondering.

Doing her laundry on a sultry day.
I got three scoops of gelato here and it was THE best I have EVER had, they deserved their title!
I did spend a pretty penny on one souvenir for me, I usually get one nice one per trip. I got a set of three handmade vases from this little pottery shop tucked away in a high corner of the little Tuscan village. She is SO talented!

I've got Italian blood. I really do.
One of the best moments with my kids...reinacting the assassination of Julius Caesar with them on the very place that it actually happened. I taught each of these kids this play during their 10th grade year and how amazing to actually go and witness first hand the old ruins of the Roman Forum!! (I was Caesar, just about to get it!)
Eating gelato, yet again, on the Spanish Steps in Roma!

The never ending arches of San Marco Square

And my final act in Italy? I put a wish on Yoko Ono's wishing tree in the gardens of Peggy Guggenheim. This was one of my favorite days in Europe. I would highly suggest visiting Peggy's collection!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Than Alive

No real video here, but listen to that voice! As I'm packing up on this rainy Sunday I just can't seem to get enough of Hayden...especially this song. Have a relaxing day everyone.


Make sure to visit the photo blog for some great weddings and engagements!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Swedes, I belong.

Now that school is over, I'll be doing some baking this weekend. This man has always been my inspiration, and some say that I DO look Swedish, and I'll be baking many of my goods in IKEA wares.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Antlers...need I say more?

That's right, during our weekend in Jackson Hole, April and I ventured to the ANTLER RENDEZVOUS (does the word RENDEZVOUS hold no more beauty and charm!)

An Antler chandelier to light your finest dining adventures.

A nice antler lamp for the library, to read stories of hunting and espionage.

Want a lovely, romantic, candlelit dinner for two? Nothing says romance like a nice matching set of Antler candlesticks (and yes, I believe that stuffed raccoon IS holding a cracker jack box).

Want to cut your pizza with finesse? Any Antler cutlery will do!

Wine + Antlers = Decorating Bliss!!

Frame that family photo in the frame that keeps on giving.

Nothing says "Celebrate the Holidays Wyoming Style" like an Antler wreath.

No need to cut down greenery for a Christmas Tree. This Antler reusable tree is green enough!

Grand Tetons

We went on a hike to the Tetons over Memorial Day. We hiked out long and hard. We got caught in the rain and showed our fear. But we persevered and four blisters later I have a really great memory with my very best friend. Love you sis!