Autumn Drive

Saturday morning we were discussing which drive we should go on to look at autumn leaves. In the past, we’ve driven the Alpine Loop. There have always been a lot of people. Lots of cars squeezing by each other on the mountain roads. But Saturday we decided to drive the Nebo Loop. Here’s a prelude video to a bunch of photos we took:

The morning was gorgeous. The best light shone through the trees; cast a perfect silhouette of the mountains. We’re so glad we went.

Happy autumn, everyone!

A Few Favorite Photos from 2012

On New Year’s Day, 2013, Reilly is on the floor grading papers and lesson planning. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade plays in the background. It’s one of those cold yet sunny days. I’ve decided to sort through this year’s photos and see which ones I like the most, strike the fondest memories, make me smile a lot. These are in no particular order and only represent a tiny fraction of the photos we have.

When the light is right and when the walls aren’t purple, I still like admiring the engagement/wedding ring.


Really, one of the funnest days I’ve had.


Along with this.


And this.


I love weddings. I always cry. If not for the actual photographer’s flash in my way, this would be one of my all-time favorites. What a jerk. Still a super cute picture though.

Big screens showed shots of the massive audience. I just say I had a backstage pass.

I never listened to a lot of Iron Maiden, but this concert was a lot of fun.


I came out of this concert walking on air.


Free Frontrunner day with one of my favorite families.


The Alpine Loop in the fall is always pretty. Reilly is always pretty.


At Rockefeller Center in August. We got some sun, and my hair isn’t horrible here.


The past, present, and future all here.


He wears these all the time now.


Awesome, right?

The picture’s blurry, but this hike was amazing.


Labor Day weekend in Moab. Saw good friends for the first time in around five years.


Simple. I really like it.


Something magical about the hint of mountains here.

Reilly’s done grading and planning now. So we’re watching Last Crusade with more attention. It’s at the part with the dirigible.

Here’s to another year, more pictures, more memories, ever more happiness.

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.

Going Retro, A Week Ago

And they were off.
I prayed.
I’ll miss them.
They were going to be late.
“I don’t like this.”
“I’ll talk to you soon!”
I hugged one, then I hugged the other.
We pulled up to the terminal.
We listened to Ingrid Michaelson.
Nervous and hyper.
We seemed nervous and hyper in the car.
This took way too long. We might be late.
I pulled into a gas station to fill up.
We left right at 4:30am.
We got ready.
I warmed up the car. It was 43 degrees outside.
We got to bed late. I don’t know if we actually slept.
It’s not goodbye. I cried.
We ate our cake.
We wrestled. I didn’t win.
We headed back to the apartment.
My brother hugged me and transferred all his fidgeting to me.
My brother and I told childhood stories for my friends.
My brother fidgeted.
My brother told a story about necrophilic bacteria.
We ate at Biscotti’s. We ordered cake to go.
We watched Notting Hill.
I’ll miss them.
I told stories.
We drove to my old high school; my junior high; my old neighborhood.
We ate lunch at mom’s. Lumpia and pancit.
Instead of going to Sunday School.
We talked in the mothers’ lounge with one of my friends 
After the meeting, Mom found us. She apologized for … something.
We uncomfortably sat through most of sacrament meeting.
My heroes.
I made them attend 9:00am church with me.
We stayed up late.
We unloaded the car where I’d be staying.
We ate at Chili’s.
We visited Mom briefly. Mom explored social boundaries.
We arrived in Florida.
They wondered at Spanish moss.
It was cloudy and cold.
We walked around Savannah.
We almost missed seeing the Georgia state border sign.
I’ll miss them.
We ate at Sonic for a late lunch.
We skipped going to Myrtle Beach so we wouldn’t get to Florida too late.
We got stuck on the I-285 loop around Charlotte for an hour.
We ate a cute place called Le Peep for breakfast.
Waking up was fun. Being a morning person has its perks.
We got to bed late.
We tried making friends with a cat. Most of us.
We caught up with an old friend who let us stay the night.
We arrived in Charlotte after midnight.
(There were 12 of them, then 16? then 18?)
Then we picked up some medium-mini powdered donuts.
(some of us for the first time, and then just before it closed at 10pm)
Two hours north of Charlotte, we ate at Chick-Fil-A.
Traffic lightened up after 6pm.
And restrooms are  a part of covert ops.
We stopped at two Quantico 7-11s, where prices for drinks are classified, apparently.
Traffic barely moved for three hours.
No tax.
We then had Arby’s then Dairy Queen blizzards.
We got lost in a mall in Delaware before finding the food court.
We stayed on the turnpike way too long.
It rained.
My city.
I couldn’t look back.
I’ll miss them.
We prayed.
We were off.



The bob sits perfectly in a dimple it made for itself. I just cast my line and reeled in the slack. My eyes have adjusted to dusk. The sky glows orangey-pink just above the horizon, silhouettes the treetops across the way. The water mimics the sky. I realize it’s not the other way around: I don’t see a bob floating where the stars will soon appear.

Two evenings before, the scenario is similar, except we’re not fishing. At exit 72 on Interstate 540 in Arkansas, we head west on Route 412. We enter Oklahoma and head north on Route 59/10. This road gently winds and rolls and climbs, and about 90 minutes south of our destination of Miami, Oklahoma, is Lake Eucha State Park. A bridge splits the lake, which is a decent size, and at the right moment at sunset, it offers a breathtaking scape – open, expansive – of a significantly big enough body of water (the first we’ve seen since the Mississippi) that forces me to pull the car over so that I can take a few pictures.

Nothing’s biting. I’ve moved about 50 feet away from the truck where my mom and aunt and my aunt’s husband are, and I’ve found a spot to stand in the tall grass surrounding the pond. We may have started a bit on the early side, but this time of day, this is when the fish are hungry. This is when I find out how patient I am. I squint to see that the bob is still. To either side of it, little vortexes appear and vanish, creating subtle ripples, as fish feed on insects resting on the water’s surface. I consider casting my line again, but I decide against it. Disturbing the water might mess up the sky.

Many people – which means close to everybody – think my mom and I look very much alike. Many people mistake us for sisters or confuse one for the other. We’re about the same height; I’m a smidge taller. We have the same color hair and similar complexions. Our faces don’t look very much the same, though a friend of mine finally made the distinction that I inherited the top half of my mother’s face. So, if you were to look only at our eyes and foreheads, it would be harder to tell us apart. Maybe that’s what many people do. Our builds are somewhat different; we’re girthier in opposite halves of our bodies, which is to say she’s got broader shoulders while I have the bigger rear end. But I guess that’s not what people notice.

We have pretty deviating personalities. In some aspects, I’m definitely my mother’s daughter. We’re people-pleasers, which sometimes makes us indecisive. We’re also very good at blaming ourselves for things that aren’t our fault. We both have strong, stubborn tendencies. My hard-headedness might be more resistant  – a mutant strain – to humbling experiences, which I acknowledge as more hubris than a desirable quality. We worry differently; our thought processes aren’t the same. Our temperaments, our prejudices, and our perspectives can be, have been, and are quite disparate.

We disagree about a lot of things. But we somehow understand each other.

The crickets are loud. I’m not being very social, but that isn’t news. Mom is talking with my aunt and my aunt’s relatively new husband. They’re catching up on old times; they haven’t seen each other in at least 10 years, maybe 15 or more. Mom keeps reeling and casting. I have my camera around my neck and am holding the fishing pole with both hands. I shift the pole to my left hand to take some pictures; it’s something to do while waiting for the bob to move.

This doesn’t mean I’m more patient by any means. Mom may have just been practicing her cast; I may have just exhibited an attention deficit. We came to an agreement on the road that she would drive during the day, and I would get the twilight shifts. Since the days are longer in the summer she clearly volunteered to do the majority of the driving. It’s 100 degrees in the Plains and the deep South. Factor in humidity and be grateful the rental car has a decent air conditioner. Still, the heat manages to pierce the windshield, and it drowses this passenger, even with all my picture taking and tweeting and text messaging.

Mom lets me DJ and sings the catchy parts of some of the songs. I don’t see how she stays awake. Well, energy drinks. But even they can only do so much.

When it is my turn to drive, the only thing I don’t do is take pictures, except when I have to pull over because the sunset demands it, but then I’m not actually driving. But it’s like a big joke, because capturing those moments on camera during a road trip is impossible. Mom notices the sunset first and points at the water. I turn to one side of the road, then I turn around and cross the road onto a path, hoping the sun doesn’t disappear before I can park.


Some parts of the lake are glassy, polished smooth. A slight breeze gently wakes other parts of the lake, adding texture to its reflection of the sky. The sun went down a little too quickly. I admit my defeat but heartily welcome the break from the car. Mom and I walk around the campground for a while, taking in the fresh air. We’re both a little paranoid about leaving the car alone for too long. When we get back to the car, we take a deep breath, and we brace ourselves for the next couple of hours. During the final stretch, I send a few more tweets and texts, and I check my voicemail and return some calls. I give Mom background on the friends who are communicating with me. She listens attentively.

The pond continues to darken as the sky. I see my bob dip underwater, and I feel a tug on my line. I quickly yank back while reeling. Whatever’s dragging through the water on my hook excites me. The friction, the fight. The end of the pole bows and I wind up the rest of my line, which brings up a floppy fish.

I don’t know whether I’m part of the sky or the pond. They look so much alike, but their contrasting properties create that very illusion. There’s just enough to discern the reflecting images aren’t identical: stars, brush, pole, bob. The mirror isn’t entirely true.

Are my mother and I purely individual, or are we products of each other, even though we’re not exact images, visual echoes?

Maybe we’re both.

Not five minutes later, Mom catches a fish, too.

Three Things About the Trip

1. Take what you can get
People give what they can
It’s not all about you
It’s not personal, except when it is
Recognize when it is
Isn’t that right, Canadian border patrol lady?

2. Give all you can
Moments matter
Because the people you love matter
And you never want to regret holding back
Especially when you’re one of the two people
Awake in the car
And the other person is driving

3. All time is quality time

I learned about geotagging on the iPhone. I learned a lot about other people and myself. I learned stuff that I’ll wait to write about, just because I need to think about it a while. Although this writing is vague, my heart is full, and my perspective is clear.

Also, if you ever get the chance to ride/drive a Nissan Cube, take it. You’ll get more attention than you could ever imagine.

Pictures to come. Maybe even video.

Thanks for a wonderful time.

Have A Great Weekend!

So, I won’t be posting this weekend; I’ll be on a short road trip. I’m debating whether to pack the thong bikini. I hear it might get a bit chilly, so I’ll probably just put on some socks.

Ooh. Sunscreen. Bug spray. Essential.

I’ll leave you with a fun little video. I thought about trying to post something a little more serious, but come on, the past few days? Don’t you get sick of the heavy hand? Instead, you get a rabbit walking on its little hind legs. Poor thing needs to study human movement a little more. It’s not even swinging its front legs properly to counterbalance its stride.

I’m not impressed AT ALL.

Thanks to Karissa for passing this along. She really has nothing better to do in Japan. Good thing she’s coming back to the States soon. Remember America, Karissa? Because you’re American? Your cats even know about America, and they’re Siamese.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “bunny walks like person“, posted with vodpod


Everyone, have an amazing weekend. You might have a little trouble since I won’t be here, but you’ll manage. I believe in you. And I only devote so much space in my head for things to believe, so you’re very fortunate. The rest goes to being a genius. My head is large for my midget body. Obviously.

Oh – did I say the “M” word?

Oh, one more thing: on Sunday, my passport is getting its first-ever stamp. Boo-yah! Hollah! Woot-woot! Yippee! Boom-chicka-bow-wow!

(Okay, fine, it’s Canada – Niagara Falls, but whatever. It’s a stamp, baby!)
(Also, of course I’m excited.)
(What? Me? Sassy?)