All in All, A Very Good Day

Clickr the photo to  get to flickr.

Matt and Karissa got to come to Utah for the very first time, and Moab was a good place to start. I’ve lived in Utah a while, but I hadn’t been to Moab, so we agreed that this would be a good place to meet.

It only took seven or eight years since the last time. And the landscape was totally different last time. Last time was New York City. Little Italy.

But we overheard some Italians during one of our hikes today. So maybe it was almost like last time. I mean, there were skyscrapers, sort of. And we walked Park Avenue.

It’s late, and I’m tired. As you can tell from the photos, the day gave us a lot to do and look at and talk about. The park was relatively busy, but everyone was friendly. Except for the foreign people in the rented RV who said in a rather severe accent and attitude for Matt and Karissa to move their rental car out of the way. I mean, why would you want to bully anyone in one of the most beautiful places on the planet?

It’s great when Reilly’s so willing and excited to meet my friends. And it was wonderful seeing those guys again, catching up, being in nature, seeing pretty stuff. Let’s hope the next time we get together will be a little sooner.

Because Smartphone Apps Are More Important Than Nature’s Majesty

Wind and water. One wonders if the air really stays still, but hot air rises and cool air sinks, and sometimes these phenomena occur at the same time and air actually begins to circulate. Then humans, after millions of years, come to certain places on earth to observe that this air doesn’t always stop when it collides with rock; there’s actual friction, which causes actual erosion. The evidence speaks for itself.

And, it’s not just air that does this. It’s water. Rivers and rain penetrate and seep into rock. They carve and sculpt, and one cannot deny the artistry. Sheer cliffs, curved, sinewy surfaces, molded like pottery then baked in the sun as if fired in a kiln, only to show glazes in stripes, in chiaroscuric striations and slick-black facades. Against a blue sky, against a low, grey backdrop; at high noon, in front of a sunset, from one minute to the next, the art shifts and continually transforms. Crying, possibly, comes closest to expressing the inexpressible. Or perhaps holding one’s breath. Pictures of our hike in Southern Utah yesterday are coming soon.

Then there’s a smartphone photo application that can morph pictures of two different faces into one. Reilly’s brother downloaded it after dinner this evening while the family played Ticket to Ride. So he experimented with different couple combinations, and everyone was quite shocked at the hybridized photo of me and Reilly. The wave of laughter built in the order of those who saw it: first, his brother, then his nephew, then his sister, then he turned the smartphone display to us, then to his other brother and sister-in-law, then his parents.

Laughter is like happy mouth wind: the very action etches happiness at the eyes and the corners of the mouth. It makes the eyes shine, it tightens the face, it works the abs. When I saw the app-generated photo, I started to giggle, then the laugh turned silent as I could barely breathe and tears slid down my cheeks. I looked around to see that I wasn’t the only one crying. I loved it.

Notice the breathing and crying comparisons between the two experiences? Is there any comparison, really? Is it too much to mention it?

The pictures of the others are very funny, too – even cry-worthy, but I will only post Meilly Ray. Thanks to Gavin for forwarding this to us. Plus, posting it first preempts any possible blackmailing situations.

You Should Be Very Jealous of Me Right Now

Because I went showshoeing.

Vivian Park, south fork. Fresh powder, breathtaking views. On the way up, my fingertips were going numb, but once we leveled out and my blood was pumping properly, I was nice and toasty. Sweating, even.

Utah, today I really, really love you.

My friend, who was on cross-country skis, told me I did a good job. I told him I’m very strong.

By the way, is that very fair, him on skis while I’m in snowshoes?

We met a couple on our way up, Kaitlyn (not sure how she spells it) and George. Blond and smiley, they were. The girl spent last summer nannying in New Jersey, near the George Washington Bridge, and she said she prefers the fake niceness of Utah to the brashness of New Yorkers.

I can see where she’s coming from.

They took pictures of us, and we took pictures of them. I mean, how can one not bring a camera for an occasion like this?

I’m still kicking myself because I forgot mine. It’s sitting next to me now, in plain sight, cussing me out.

Sorry.

Good thing my friend brought his. I took a few photos with my camera phone, but the lens kept fogging up. You’ll see.

The snow brightened everything. It brought color to our cheeks. It was beautiful and powdery and frolicking in it brought me great joy. We would come to an untouched field along the trail and my friend would say, “This field is for you,” and so I skipped along in the snowshoes, sinking into the drifts and leaving deep prints and wandering trails of a very happy May.

Absolutely exhilarating.

Here are a few photos. Seriously, so much fun.

An American Portrait

Taken on Wednesday, November 12, 2008.
I apologize to those of you who didn’t fit in the photo.  

party-add1

Front Row, L-R:
Sonya: my fellow Obama supporter and Jon Stewart fan.
Craigh and Linda: now live out of state, want to attend the swearing in, whenever that is
Arly: I’m really sorry your mouth looks like that. I know your hair is thicker than I drew it, too
Tom: never smiles for photos; may be a little tired, as the party went past 9pm
Ted: the beard is a good look on him; he likes talking politics and movies
Sarah: I would have loved for her to make a nice cake with pretty fondant for the party
Jenny: your hair looks fabulous short
Duane: way to go with the red shirt, and way to look ultra smart in those glasses

Second row, L-R:
M-A: one of my favorite bloggers and funny, beautiful moms
Leolani: Mom talked about about her a lot after the party; she was probably her favorite
Andrea HM: one of my favorite funny people, ate about 10 sliders
Amy: Becky’s cousin, and one of my personal heroes
Mom: considerably taller than Tom and Ted
Scott: theater man with a day job; appropriately dressed in a blue tie
Andrea B: one of my favorite sweet and funny people; phenomenal baker and great writer; brought Twinkies
Paul B: Andrea B’s husband; in crazy love with his wife; probably the best man-nurse alive
Vicki J: one of my church crazy youth leaders; we got back in touch in the last few months

Third row, L-R:
Ross: Andrea HM’s husband; great teacher; got nearly all the civics questions right; brought American, chocolate chip cookies
Jamie: a former co-worker; brought me American, Godiva chocolates
Becky: roommate, one of my BFFs; taught me all I know about American runway walks
Ajay: the other roommate; said later how friendly and open my friends are
Bradley: a friend who likes higher maths; we used to go running together, in America
Andrew: brought animal crackers that included donkeys and elephants

Back row, L-R:
Garrett: curly hair, blue facial features; very sweet guy; mom loves his hair
Greg: old high school friend, lives near Chicago, we all should go American bowling again, yes?
Little Emmett: son of Greg and Beth; cute smile, right?
Beth: Greg’s wife, perfect and wonderful match for him
Barbara: one of my seminary teachers; quite a remarkable writer

Mom and I streamed the apartment in red, white, and blue. We nearly caught the apartment on fire, only because we wanted the FDNY to make a guest appearance. TOTALLY American. I gave a speech to you, America. I lost my notes, but I only wrote a few lines anyway. And I don’t remember what I said off the cuff. According to witnesses, it wasn’t too shabby. I praised you, America. I praised your citizens who are my friends and inspire me with their greatness. And, America, you clapped. And I felt immeasurably blessed.

Indentured Mystery

krod1 by you.
Does this really need an explanation?

Rico: Hey, May.
May: Yeah, Rico?
Rico: Do you have any cork grease? I ran out.
May: Sure. Here.
Rico: Thanks, girl. I’ll give it right back. OH MY WORD.
May: What? What is it?
Rico: What the heck are you wearing?
May: What do you mean?
Rico: Take a look at yourself, Urkel.
May: Hey! What is this?
Rico: It looks like side ponytails and suspenders and mismatched shoes and tube socks.
May: It’s just one tube sock, thank you very much. And what about you? What kind of ensemble is that?
Rico: What do you mean? I always look lovely with my happy face and curly hair and people always admire me because I play a cool instrument like the tenor sax, and I’d say I’m pretty stylish what the heck is this bonnet doing on my head?
May: I don’t know, dude. Maybe you’re a big baby or something.
Rico: I don’t feel like a big baby. See, I’m also wearing a lei.
May: Did someone switch our shorts? Because these are way too long. That’s why I had to hike them up to my bra-line and wear suspenders.
Rico: Of course. That also explains the K-R-O-D written on your forehead.
May: Huh?
Rico: HA! Dork is written backwards on your forehead! That’s so awesome!
May: Aw, stick a pacifier in it, wittle itty-bitty baby.
Rob Tibbits: Um, guys? Do you know what’s going on here?
Rico: Rob Tibbits! What’s going on, yo?
Rob Tibbits: I think I’m some sort of superhero, but I don’t feel very … super.
May: That’s some sexy getup there. The tights are awesome. I want tights. Your hair is pretty, too.
Rob Tibbits: Thanks, I think.
Rico: Don’t forget his cape, and his manly superhero mask.
Sabrina Voegle: That’s kinda hard to forget.
May: Sabrina, do you know what’s going on?
Sabrina Voegle: Not really. All I know is today I look like a Pacific Islander grandma. You guys look killer, by the way.
Rico: Let’s get to the bottom of this. We’re in the band room, right? I mean, obviously.
May: What are you saying? These are our … band uniforms?
Rob Tibbits: No. No way. We don’t even match. Band uniforms match.
Sabrina Voegle: I know band uniforms inherently look silly, but what we’re wearing now just doesn’t make any sense. Oh, hey! KROD!
May: Thanks, Granny. Come on, guys. Do we have anything in common? Outside of looking like circus rejects?
Rico: Well, does being in the band room have anything to do with it?
Rob Tibbits: Maybe that’s a coincidence.
Sabrina Voegle: Oh, that’s it. It can’t be coincidence we’re all dressed like buffoons.
May: I like my outfit. Oh my goodness, Rico. I just noticed your bunny slippers.
Rico: They’re fabulous, May with the hooker-red lipstick.
May: Hey, you know what? Not everyone is dressed like us. What year is it?
Rob Tibbits: I think it’s 1994. It’s the grunge age, dudes. Flannel and torn jeans and grimy hair. We’re so much more glamorous than that. Just look at us!
Sabrina Voegle: Is that supposed to make us feel better?
May: Just look at that guy over there.
Rob Tibbits: Yeah, what’s up with Mike the Junior who plays tuba? He’s all normal-looking.
Mike the Junior who plays tuba: Hey, guys. You look … fun.
May: Please go away.
Rob Tibbits: Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s just us seniors.
Rico: That could be.
Sabrina Voegle: But not all the seniors dressed like dorks, either. Ha! KROD!
Rob Tibbits: Okay, so it’s just seniors, but not all of them.
May: Maybe we signed up for this.
Rico: Yeah, but we didn’t sign up for this.
Sabrina Voegle: Maybe we didn’t really know what we were signing up for, but we knew it would be fun. Isn’t this fun?
Rob Tibbits: Does it look like I’m enjoying myself?
May: Actually, yeah. You have the coolest costume out of all of us. Is this your black sock? Maybe I’m your trusty sidekick.
Rico: Okay, we signed up for this. And someone made us dress this way. The ones who aren’t dressed like us. But why?
Sabrina Voegle: And who let them treat us this way? The principal.
Rob Tibbits: We’re dressed for a crusade, you know. We could overthrow the school government.
Sabrina Voegle: Right, and no one would be able to pick us out of a lineup.
Rico: What about our friends? Yes! Our friends! Only they would be brave enough to make us do this.
Mike the Junior who plays tuba: I think you’re on to something.
May: Please go away.
Sabrina Voegle: Okay. Seniors. Friends. Principal-approved. What could this be?
Rob Tibbits: Are our friends making us do anything else?
May: I know they’re making Greg sing “I’m A Little Teapot” in every class.
Rob Tibbits: Do we have to do everything our friends tell us to do?
Rico: We’re slaves. We’re seniors. It’s senior slave day, people.
Sabrina: Are you sure? Are you sure we don’t love being humiliated?
Rob Tibbits: Today’s going to be torture.
May: It could be fun. You never know. Hey, Rico, are you done with my dork – I mean – cork grease?
Rico: Here.