Showing posts from November, 2011

For Amber Waves of... Stone

This post picks up where last Monday's post left off. My dear friend and excellent photographer TLR and I had visited Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, then driven back to Salt Lake City, remember? In Salt Lake City, we picked up a third friend, codename: Perfect Gentleman. Then the three of us drove south.
In the southwest corner of Utah sits beautiful Zion National Park. I'm going to let the pictures (all taken by TLR) speak for themselves. Click any picture to enbiggen.

How can the landscape be so dramatically different from what we'd seen in Wyoming, yet still be so beautiful? We spotted the rainbow on the way out of the park; it seemed impossible to me that any place could be more beautiful.
Which is the innocent sort of thought a person might have when she hasn't been to Zion's neighbor park, Bryce Canyon, yet.

Bryce Canyon was the last stop on our trip. We drove ourselves back to Salt Lake City, then flew home. If you're awa…

What I've Been Reading (and some music TV)

Okay, this is an even more random edition of What I've Been Reading (and Watching) than usual -- I hope some of it speaks to some of you out there!

Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges (2006, 2nd revised edition), by Loren Pope. The college application thing is such a rat race, isn't it? So stressful, so depressing, so many assumptions about what's best (name-brand schools), so many messed-up notions about how to decide who is and isn't "smart." When I was choosing a college, I bought into all of that completely. I thought it was all about rankings and scores. I think differently now. And yeah, I'm happy with the path I took, not that it matters, because I wasn't really in a place then to take any other kind of path. But if I had to go to college now, knowing all I've learned, I might choose one of the colleges in this refreshing book I've been reading, called Colleges That Change Lives: 40 …

O Beautiful for Spacious Skies

Now that the days are growing short and it feels like it's night most of the time, I love more than ever to look at the pictures from my recent(ish) trip out west.
All these pictures were taken by my dear friend and excellent photographer, codename: The Lovely R. Click any photo to enbiggen.

So, TLR and I live on opposite coasts of the country and don't get to see enough of each other. We planned this vacation kind of haphazardly. About a year ago, we basically opened our calendars, stuck a pin randomly into the last week of September 2011, and promised each other that we'd get together then. About five months ago, TLR sent me an e-mail saying that her favorite airline was having a special deal on fares to a list of cities, did any of the cities appeal to me? I was like, "Gah, I don't know, I've never been to Salt Lake City, how about there? I can get us a rental car with my airline miles." We agreed: Salt Lake City, last week of September. Then, literally…

A Whinge and a Trailer

Dear Gmail,

I like ya lots. HOWEVER. I switched to your "new look" about a week ago, because, as you intend to force this new look on all your users soon, I wanted to see what I was in for. Want to know how it's been for me? Well, let's see, I can no longer figure out what any of the command buttons mean, because you've turned them into obscure symbols instead of words. When I send an e-mail, the sent mail displays on my screen with its top cut off, which is sloppy, weird, and requires me to scroll with my sore arms if I want to see the whole thing. Worst of all, when I open a conversation, I can't see readily where one e-mail starts and the next begins -- a serious problem, because it means I risk missing e-mails altogether if I'm reading fast.

How can anyone possibly consider this an improvement? Please, PLEASE, don't force your new look on us, or I will be forced to leave, and then you'll no longer be able to show me hilariously irr…

Something Racist Stuck in our Teeth

If you've got 12 minutes today, consider watching Jay Smooth's TEDx Talk, called "How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Discussing Race," presented at Hampshire College (yay Hampshire! My sister, codename: Apocalyptica the Flimflammer, went there). Transcript and related links coming soon to Jay Smooth's website.

I Don't Want to Be Anything Other Than What I've Been Trying to Be Lately

(My title = words I like from singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. The song is called "I Don't Want to Be" [link opens to the Wikipedia page; it doesn't play the song].)

I never got around to cleaning that closet this weekend. That's all right, I'll get to it sometime this week -- and I did make the time to go to Mount Auburn Cemetery, climb the tower, and take a look at the fall leaves. I love to see the world from high up, because it alters my perspective; it gives me some distance from my own tiny life and makes me feel more connected to all my people who are far away.

It was busy at the top of the tower; a lot of people were leaf-peeping. I probably heard four or five different languages. That's pretty normal for Cambridge, what with the world-renowned universities, but I wondered if some of the people were tourists, coming to see New England's leaves. I sat up there for some time while people came and went. I wouldn't say that I reached a place of p…

Rainy Day Randutiae

I'd like to return to my Monday/Thursday blogging schedule sometime soon, but at the moment, there's so much life going on, and a lot of good work too, and the time keeps eluding me. Truth is, I'm still recovering from Bitterblue. My house is recovering too; I'm in the midst of a deep clean my house hasn't experienced in way too long. One of the things that got lost during the past year and a half or so when Bitterblue was consuming 12 or 14 hours every day is deep cleaning. Not just dusting the books, but moving them and dusting behind them -- that sort of thing. I love a clean house. This weekend, it's Me v. a Very Large Closet. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I am slowly compiling my post with pictures from out west. They make me very happy. I hope to share them soon.

Fall also makes me very happy.

My friend JL recently linked me to this New York Times article, "To Feed the Hungry, Keep the Can, Open a Wallet." Food banks and food pantries can buy food…