Thursday, January 31, 2008
And then I went down a bigger and much steeper hill. The weather was cold and windy and the snow was icy, but it still seemed like a good idea. About three quarters of the way down this steeper, icier, colder, meaner run I fell. And by fell, I mean that I tripped, or caught on edge, or got going to fast, or something and knocked my body head first into the mountain. Hard. Eventually I managed to ski my dizzy, nauseous, pissed-off ass down to the ski patrol station to get checked out by the ski patrol EMT. I was fine, by the way. Just a very mild, almost not even there, nothing to worry about concussion coupled with a good and hardy case of whiplash. And then was I driven home, tail tucked firmly between my legs. That is the short version.
To those of you reading who may require addition information, please see below.
Ma/Ryan: I will buy a helmet tomorrow. Yes, I do realize I was an idiot for not wearing one. No, I will not do anything like this ever again. I promise.
Dad: Yes, I am just fine. Health insurance was not involved and I will not need to be filing any medical forms or arguing with any member of the health insurance 'industry'. No, there were no lawyers present. Yes, I did sign a form, but it only stated that I was checked off by the EMT as healthy and unbroken.
Courtney: I'm sorry to disappointment you, but the ski patrol person was a woman, not a cute boy. I know--I was sad, too.
Robin: As I told Ma and Ryan, I WILL buy a helmet. Tomorrow. And it will be pink, damn it.
Kelly: Stop laughing at me.
Auntie Elaine: Yes, this certainly qualifies as another Nicki moment.
And now my heating pad and I are going to bed.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I know--I'll curl up with the AP Style Guide. That should do the trick. And if it doesn't, there is always whiskey.
Cheers (so to speak),
Monday, January 28, 2008
I also added a description, took it down, put it back up, and am now taking it down again. I've tried to come up with a catchy subtitle, but to be honest, titles just aren't my thing. Even the name of this blog wasn't my doing. It came from my good friend, Sandra who used to say I'd have a "Nicki moment" when I did something truly crazy, stupid or out of character. I try, really I do, but there is just so much pressure in coming up with a three to five word phrase that will be accurately descriptive of the piece AND entice people to actually take the time and read the damn thing. Got an idea for a description? Then pony up in the comments box and give me one. You'll save me a lot of time tossing and turning tonight trying like hell to come up with one on my own.
I went out to dinner with my friend Lauren last night to celebrate. She's taken the plunge and decided to move to Portland, OR. I'm so excited for her, and also impressed. I just met her a few weeks ago and she was thinking about going west but hadn't committed to doing it or anything. So many people talk about what they want to do but never do it, and here Lauren is packing up her stuff and leaving town. It's awesome. That kind of strong decision making and chutzpah makes me think of that jumping rock on the McKenzie river. As a raft guide I would stop at this one beach so that my clients could climb up on this big rock and jump off into the river. Sometimes kids, and adults alike, would get up there and just freeze. They'd stand on the end of this rock and peer cautiously over the edge, back off, go back up, scream that they couldn't do it, look nervously at their parents/partners/coworkers/friends/kids for help and then eventually do a bold, yet timid leap off the end into the frigid water below. Hardly anyone ever got all the way up there just to turn around and walk back to the boat. Nearly all jumped. And they always had that same look of astonishment on their faces when they bobbed back up to the surface. It was like, "hey! I did it! And I didn't die! Wow!" quickly followed by, "Shit, this is cold!" and then a scramble for the beach.
Even now when I'm waiting for someone to make a decisions, or when I'm trying to make a decision, I just think to myself, jump off that damn rock! Go! You're just wasting time up there. We both know you're not backing down and you will eventually jump. So do it--GO. What are you waiting for? Just jump!
So yes, my friend, Lauren jumped off the rock, and in record time. How cool would it be if we could all be so brave?
Song of the Day: Have You Ever by Bradi Carlile (And by the way, this is the best CD I've heard since I became obsessed with Regina Spektor last spring. There isn't a single song on the entire album that I don't love. Buy it--it's so worth it).
Sunday, January 27, 2008
However, I will admit that the first day was fun. I got to see my old friends from Lander, and even some from Eugene, and I managed to score a couple of interviews that I wasn't sure if I would get or not. I ran around with my press pass, camera, recorder, pen and paper and was thrilled when someone wanted to talk to me, and equally annoyed when they didn't. At times, this was my view of the show:
While there my boss had me working on two stories that were both environmental pieces. I found myself researching the environmental practices of companies and trying to weed out who was green, and who was just selling green. From what I could tell, almost all companies are doing at least something to reduce their carbon footprint, and that is reassuring. I worked the floor, networked, interviewed those who would cooperate and collected photos and audio where I could.
But by the second day the junk food, bright lights, loud sales reps, lack of sleep and lack of real beer had put me in a decidedly dark mood. It was a struggle just to walk through the show, let alone show enthusiasm at my appointments. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there, which was odd for me. I'd been really excited about coming to the show, seeing all my old friends and previewing all the latest and greatest gear. New shoes! New socks! New backpacks! Oh boy! Does it really get any better than that? But by the afternoon of the second day I found myself sitting on the floor with my back against the wall and calling my cynical, non-traditional, nature-loving friend, Kelly, to at least attempt to shake me from my funk. It didn't work. I grabbed another triple latte and headed back into the show.
I wandered into the booth of a small yoga mat company that seemed to be the real deal. Their product is eco-friendly, made in the USA and when you buy a mat they plant a tree. I was interviewing the owner, a former EPA lawyer turned yoga mat guru about his all natural, real rubber mats when he said something that struck me. "Well, you know what the best product for the planet is, right? No product at all." And right then, in that brief statement, I knew what my problem was. In all of the clothes, shoes, skis, bags, jewelry, food, tents, hats and ropes there was no nature. There were colors called "sage green" and "granite gray" but there was no sage, no stone, no soil. None of what I love was there, just stuff. Not that all gear is bad--you do have to wear something when you go outside. But what motivates me, what charges me, just wasn't there. Gear, as it turns out, is not what inspires me. And suddenly I was very lonely for the forests, rivers, beaches and mountains of my home. It was a homesickness that could best be described as thirst. I even missed the relentless Oregon rain.
Outside a warm front is pushing through. The snow-melt that is running down the street will turn to ice by morning, and sidewalks will be buried once more. Things are changing again. Not much, but it's enough to cause a stir. It's enough to know that things will be different.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Tomorrow morning I head down to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer show and then wander back to Montana on Saturday. I'll be there for work and will most likely be chained to a desk furiously typing away on my laptop while sucking lattes at an astonishing rate and eating IB Profin by the fistful. Ahhhhh...I love journalism.
That being said, I might not have time to post until I get back home next weekend. And while I do realize that when I said that I would post every day no matter what unless I was completely isolated from a computer or in the backcountry, and while I do acknowledge that the Outdoor Retailer show is by no means in the middle of the woods devoid of modern amenities such as running water, food, caffeine and electricity, one must admit that this type of classic American trade show is pretty damn close and should be included under the heading of 'the middle of freaking nowhere'.
Cheers and see you next week,
Song of the day: Cigarettes and Chocolate by Rufus Wainwright.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Regardless of the reasons, I would argue that like meteorology, depression forecasting can be just as equally inaccurate. How can you possibly say there is a 'saddest day of the year'? Wouldn't you have to poll a vast majority of Americans on how their lives are going?
I found this whole mess at CNN.com today: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1704887,00.html?cnn=yes. The writer did his own research and found that mid-November was actually the most depressing time of the year based on internet searches and data. Go figure.
Song of the day: Love and Memories by O.A.R
Saturday, January 19, 2008
I worked all day at the shoe store today and was reminded of just how much I adore shoes. No, really--I mean that. Shoes are a wonderful, beautiful thing. They are necessary and they make people happy. Before I knew it my shift was up and it felt more like play than work. Lucky me.
Okay, I need to catch up my email, lolcats, feed the dogs and then it's off to a dinner party.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I have searched my soul, searched old files and searched google. I've looked out the window and watched the neighbors, took pictures of the snow and added logs to the fire. I've checked my email, checked the weather and checked the time. I've taken a break for the bathroom, a break to answer the phone and a break to eat dinner. Since beginning this process, I've rightly switched from tea to wine.
I have stopped and started. This white, still, blank box on the screen has probably seen a thousand words so far, all of which have been deleted or transferred to other files to work on later. The great ideas, thoughts that were too deep, or poems that are destined to be presents for friends have all been started here, but not finished and certainly not published.
I have pouted, I have ranted, I have whined. I have tossed out ideas only to see them bounce off the wall and hit the floor with a resounding thud of disappointment. The voice of a Chinese creative writing teacher I had my freshman year of college still cuts through my memory. "Ashk yoseff--why bodther wit dis? Why shud I bodther my time wit dis?" And I do. I ask why should anyone care to read it? Why should I bother to write it? And then the page is blank again and I sip my wine in disgust.
"Sometimes, nothing is something," my roommate says, peeking over the latest issue of Esquire magazine. Sure. Right. I know! Ugh...but this page is still blank. Exactly where is my nothing?
And so I do what I do. I speak with my hands, only this time with my mouth closed and fingers on the keyboard instead of gesturing into the air in front of me. I write a few words, go back and change them; hit the backspace key as frequently as the space bar. I craft and play and spit words onto the screen and before I know it there's enough for a post. There are words and sentences and paragraphs and they all add up to a something, to a nothing, that stands in place of what's really on my mind; what has really kept me here dodging and fighting and avoiding through daylight, into sunset, and finally into forgiving night. And suddenly my real something becomes a true nothing.
In the meantime Bozeman continues to be cold and snow-covered, but pretty nonetheless. For the last three mornings I've woken up to find a new layer of snow coating the ground and blanketing my car. For the life of me I still don't understand why they don't plow the streets better.
Considering that I'm sitting here writing about the weather, you can probably guess there is nothing that exciting to report. Life has just finally settled into a routine here and the angst of being a new kid and having a hard time with it is mellowing out. I simply get up every morning, have a shower, drink some coffee, stoke the fire and turn on the laptop and that's all there really is to it.
And as a bit of a plug, if you like folky, Indie, Simon and Garfunkel type music you might really like a duo called Story Hill (www.storyhill.com). Chris Cunningham, of the two, is going to be mixing the podcasts I'm working on for the magazine. Great stuff--I really recommend it.
Okay...I have to tear myself away from the coffee and wood stove to dig out my car so I can attend a meeting.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
And I'd also had a great day. My boss at the magazine is having me work on an article that pertains to gear (sorry--can't say more than that right now) and asked me to go out and visit about seven outdoor gear stores here in Bozeman. I am actually being paid to go shopping and then write about it. Ha! Dreams really do come true.
Add to all of the above that my friend Courtney is coming for a visit next month, I won a down puffy vest on ebay (the key word here is "won". I had to fight off another woman for it in the last hour of bidding. Ma, you can relate to that), there is fresh powder on the ground, Robin sent me a fabulous mix CD of much-needed new tunes, and I now have plans for Friday night and you have one happy girl.
Now where is my coffee...
Song of the day: Love Song by Sara Bareilles
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I met a lot of really nice volunteers this weekend, and quite a few people who are new to Bozeman. It was both interesting and reassuring to hear fellow newbies agree that finding their niche in this town has been a bit difficult. It certainly does help to know I'm not alone, and now that I've met all these cool and wonderful people I can maybe *gasp!* start building a social life. Woohoo!
In the meantime, I'm pooped. Again.
Song of the day: Hey There Deliah by Plain White T's
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Through www.volunteermatch.org (a site I've used in Oregon and now Montana) I found a great program at Bridger Bowl Ski area that works with mentally handicapped kids and adults to teach them how to ski. Volunteers work two hours once a week with a student for eight weeks, giving the kids an opportunity to learn a new skill, get some exercise and have fun. Today was the first day of the two-day training for volunteers and I was thrilled to meet so many nice, enthusiastic people. Hopefully I'll begin working with students next week.
In the meantime, I'm pleasantly pooped from a day of getting reacquainted with my 'skiing legs' (to be honest, that took a bit of effort) and learning all about how to teach mentally handicapped kids. With the exception of the disturbing lack of espresso at the lodge, the day was fabulous and I had such a great time. I'm really looking forward to getting back up there again tomorrow and in the weeks ahead.
And now I need to go flop down on my bed, close my eyes, and dream of perfect turns, followed by equally perfect lattes...
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
"They came for the Jews but I didn't say anything because I wasn't a Jew. They came for the Gypsies but I didn't say anything because I wasn't a Gypsy. They came for the homosexuals but I didn't say anything because I wasn't a homosexual. They came for the mentally retarded but I didn't say anything because I wasn't mentally retarded. Finally they came for me and no one said anything because no one was left to speak."
- Martin Niemoller, a Germal Lutheran pastor who was active in the Underground during World War II.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
When I freak out, I really go for it. I cry, I pout, I drive aimlessly all over town angrily sucking on a latte and listening to the radio way too loud. I rant to anyone who is kind enough (or dumb enough) to ask how my day is going. And when I finally recognize that my behavior isn’t serving anyone, myself included, I hide—preferably in my pajamas on the couch. Once I even had a person tell me I was an absolutist because when things go to pot I condemn my whole life without exceptions. I’m still mad at him for that comment, but he was right. When the bad stuff happens, my attitude toward it usually makes it worse. The only positive behavior I can really get myself doing when it all seems to be unraveling is to make not only a list of pros and cons, but a list of what I’m still grateful for. So, at the risk of being corny, here it is—the almost complete list of the things that keep me breathing, even when life sucks.
Friends who send emails just to say hi
When friends rant with me, even when it’s not their fight
That despite it all, my parents still love me
That I’m on good terms with most of my ex boyfriends
That my brother is my friend
Cheese. All of it.
That I can still dance, even though I’m not all that good at it
Jeans that make me look skinny
That my anger motivates me
That I was in love once, even though it was brief
Crisp fall days
That I’ve been to where Shakespeare was born, stood in front of the Acropolis, dangled my feet off the Cliffs of Moore, drank wine in Paris and danced in the streets of Barcelona
Thick wool socks
Every good book I’ve ever read and then kept
The idea that a person can have a second chance, even though it’s a myth
A good, hot meal at the end of a long day
Jameson Irish whiskey
Hanging out with friends even if it’s just on the phone
My mom’s spice cookies
And finally, laughing at myself.
Song of the day: Little Wonders by Rob Thomas
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Song of the day: Anything loud and angry by Flogging Molly
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Since moving to
First of all, I got a tad lost my first night here and I never get lost. And then there was housing --could I really live with three dogs and a cat? Then there was the car insurance and it's bastard cousin, American health insurance, which, of course, was a special torture all it's own. AND THEN there was the whole growing pains of settling in to a new job and a new office culture which, let's be honest here, is almost never easy no matter where or who you are. Add to the above the mild to moderate stress of finding/not finding new friends in Bozeman, spending New Year's holiday in a strange and unfamiliar place, a week of shivering non-stop, not getting the second job I wanted, a raging case of PMS, a lack of exercise, not "feeling cute" and too much sugar in my diet and you have what I like to call, The Perfect Freak Out.
I screamed. I yelled. I even stomped my foot. And then I called my freak out buddy, Robin, and left a long, rambling, slightly deranged "I can't do this!" message on her cell phone before finally bursting into tears and tearing into the chocolate orange my mom gave me for Christmas. A low point? Maybe. A dam finally giving way? You bet.
Why did everything have to be so difficult here!? Why couldn't one thing, just one stupid, sodding thing work out like I had planned? Come on, Universe! Give me a break!!!!!
And then I realized (after a great deal of pouting, slouching around the house, and eye-balling the job ads in three different states) that I was being an idiot. In reality (a place I sometimes visit) my housing situation is better than I could have imagined, my first project at my new job is pretty cool, my New Year's was actually very nice, I now know at least a dozen people in Bozeman, and to top it all off, car and health insurance problems aren't specific to me so I had better just stop whining about that right now. So while I may have thought that the world was coming to an end in
I'm not sure why I calmed down, I just did. I think it was the realization that while moving here might have been a bit rough, and while I do have a legitimate beef about some things that didn't turn out the way I expected, the experience on the whole really hasn't been all that bad. In fact, this is turning out to be a great experience for me and if I look at how my life was a year ago today, I'd have to say that I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
So, with this fresh new perspective (admittedly something akin to, 'hey it could be worse') I decided to be healthy and positive and grabbed one of the dogs to go for a walk. My house is less than a half mile from
And now as I sit here with my tea and three sleeping dogs at my feet watching snow-covered hills turn pink from the light of the sunset, I really do feel that things here might just be all right. Well, really--why not? Things could be worse.
“Oh hey, just to warn you, when I get back from this trip I need to hang some elk meat in the basement to thaw it out,” says my roommate, the avid hunter. "
“Sorry—what? Where in the basement?” I ask. As in the basement where I live, the basement where I do laundry, the basement where I keep ALL OF MY STUFF.
“You know, the main room.”
“Oh.” And how exactly do I complain, seeing as how I’ve eaten elk, pheasant and now grouse, all of which he has killed, cleaned and cooked since I moved in?
“Well there’s no head on it or anything…”
“Well, I’m not sure how else to thaw it out.
“Can’t you just wait till spring?”
“Um, no. That’s not an option”
Pause and copious blinking.
“Does elk meat smell?”
“Does it smell? It’s not going to make my clothes stink, is it?”
“What? No. Not unless it’s rotten."
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Today I headed out with my roommate and his dogs to go for a walk up a nearby hill. The view gave me a great look at Bozeman, which seemed much smaller from the top of the hill. Here are some pictures from today: