Monday, February 27, 2012

My Favorite Poem Ever Written

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel; I will drink
life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
that loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea. I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known---cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honored of them all---
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end.
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, my own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the scepter and the isle---
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill
This labor, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me---
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads---you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;
The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends.
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
the sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are---
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

There are several places I am determined to see before I die. Here's the list that I'm sure I will update frequently.

1. Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia
2. North Cascades National Park, Washington, US
3. Yungang Grottoes, Datong, China
4. Phi Phi Island, Thailand, Loi Krathong Light Festival, Thailand

Thursday, February 16, 2012


In reading Chalene Johnson's new book titled "PUSH" this month, I've been quite focused on priorities and goals. She says the best goals come when you come up with them with this thought in mind: "WOULDN'T IT BE CRAZY COOL IF...?" So instead of regular goals like being able to run 5 miles without stopping or the ever-so-popular "lose 20 pounds" this year, I'm making real goals. The more you write them down and tell people about them, the more likely they are to come true. My first set of goals included things like trying a new recipe every week, opening an IRA, and completing the TurboFire home workout program. I'm on Day 25 of TurboFire right now and it's been much easier than I thought it would be, so that goal isn't super hard. Opening an IRA takes about ten minutes online and maybe a phone call and a check. I've already got the extra money sitting in a separate savings account waiting for me to do that. I've been trying out new recipes and reading recipe blogs. So...why don't I set goals for myself that aren't so easy to attain? Those ones require only a small amount of effort. REAL results and the life-changing transformations don't happen with easy goals; they happen with the big, scary ones you may not even believe are possible.
So here it is. WOUDLN'T IT BE CRAZY COOL IF I QUIT MY JOB TO GO TO EUROPE FOR 2 1/2 MONTHS?!?! Because I'm going to! I leave for London March 28th or 29th, depending on when I get on a plane becuase I'm flying standby. So far, the tentative plan is to fly into London to meet my bff Diana there, spend a few days touring the city and visiting some places of mass importance (like to visit Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Westminster Abbey). Then we'll fly together to Spain, get rail passes, and spend the next couple of months traveling all over Europe. OH.MY.GOSH.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweat is Sexy

In case my imaginary readers are unaware, I've become quite the gym rat the past year or two. The first time I moved to Provo it was in May, so I spent every single day outside, hiking alone in the beautiful mountains that surround this little city. The second time I moved here was in January, in the dead of winter. I didn't own one pair of socks. I didn't have a coat and I had never worn any type of boots in my life. Because it was too cold and I was too unprepared to become a master at any winter sport, I needed a different outlet. That's when I discovered 24 Hour Fitness. This place has become my home away from home, my cure for winter depression, and the source of countless new friends. I may not LOOK like I exercise 12-15 hours a week, but I do. I've never had a perfect body, and thankfully, I've never really cared. Sure, everyone wants to look lean and fit, but to me, feeling and being healthy is more important than looking it. I know sometime my hard work will pay off and I'll have a rockin bod, but until then, the endorphins, the sweat, the laughter, the fun music and the friends are enough to keep me going to the gym.
Sweat is the body's proof that it's working hard. Sweating releases toxins in the body: both physical and emotional toxins. No matter what emotion I'm feeling, exercise can improve it. Here are my outlets that actually work and always leave me feeling better with a new mood and perspective. For anxiety, I do yoga. Just closing my eyes and balancing my body helps balance the mind and spirit too. For sadness, I lift weights. When I'm sad I feel defeated, and lifting weights helps me feel strong. For anger and confusion, I do Zumba. It's absolutely impossible to scowl or be angry when you're jumping around, flailing your arms and legs through the air, all while listening to Ricky Martin. For laziness, indifference, and all other emotions, doing any exercise makes me feel motivated, positive and energized.

Friday, February 10, 2012


How many of us ever stop to watch clouds? I feel like cloud-watching was a popular hobby of our grandparents and great grandparents' generations, back before they ever had screens of any kind to look at. Back then, the sky was their Google image search, rivers and creeks were their wallpaper, and the sound of waves rustling through pine trees was their iPod or Pandora.
Here's me on a river trip.

We live in a world with so much noise. One of my soul mate workouts is Yoga, and one of the reasons I love it so much is because it is silent. I don't think most of us take the time to recognize silence, to practice it, or to listen to it enough. Silence and solitude have always been important to me, and I have disliked the "background noise" of a running computer, tv, or music for as long as I can remember. They make me feel anxious and claustrophobic. I'd much rather be alone with a pen and a journal or a book. My cabin and the Colorado River are two of my favorite places on Earth, and part of the reason for loving them is because they are silent places. "River Therapy" as experienced guides and rafters lovingly call it, is a time when there's nothing but you, your thoughts, and the water.


I admire clouds because they get this kind of introspective solitude all the time. They just sit up there, observing the fast-paced world go by. They move too, but at a much slower rate than all of us do. They see the world with a bigger picture and they depend on only the wind to move them and the sun to warm them. I'd love to be a cloud for just one day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

When Your Plans Don't Work Out, Make BETTER ONES!

Sometimes things don't work out the way you wanted or expected them to, and that's okay.

For the past two years since I graduated, I've assumed I was going to go to grad school to get a Masters degree. The first year flew past and I was enjoying my time away from homework too much to apply to school. The second year came quickly and I thought grad school was what I wanted. I took the GRE and applied to a couple of programs at the last minute. My statements of intent were the hardest part of the application process, because writing "because I have nothing better to do" isn't really an acceptable response to "why do you want to join our program?"...and that's the only reason I had.

When it started to be clear that grad school wasn't in my 2012 horizon, I started to ponder what else this year could bring for me. 2010 was the most adventurous, fear-bending year of my life, and 2011 was probably the least eventful of my almsot 25 years. I wanted 2012 to be amazing and incredible, but without grad school, how could it be? So I turned my focus to work. "This year I'll get a promotion. This will be the year I get a raise and a salary and benefits."

Last week proved that this plan wasn't meant to be either. My best friend got the only promotion I could have possibly been up for, and I was devastated. I must say though, that somewhere in the back of my mind I knew this was coming, despite all the secrecy and lies that floated around the office the past several weeks and months. I'm happy for her, because if anybody deserves a promotion, it's her. I was less happy about the sneaky way they went about it, and the secrets have made working the past week undeniably awkward. Moving on...

Now that I am confident the 2 grad schools I applied to will laugh at my application and my company isn't going to promote me, it's onto plan C. In my opinion, it's the best plan of all. It's much more exciting and life-changing than grad school or a promotion would be. I have my entire life to go back to school and to get promoted at work. This is the only year my best friend Diana will ever go to Spain and Europe for a 6-month adventure where I can join her.

I want to travel and I have the funds to do it, but most of my friends are married or poor, or both. This opportunity will never come again; Diana won't be in the same place, and neither will I. I may never have the chance to walk the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James pilgrimage, ever again.

Plan C is to spend 2-3 months of this year in another hemisphere, experiencing new cultures, speaking a foreign language, overcoming fears, and laughing harder than I have ever laughed in my life.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I've prayed about grad school and received indifferent responses. I figure the Man Upstairs is thinking the same thing as I am: "You can go, but you can always go to grad school. Why not try something more exciting?" I will learn more by speaking a foreign language and looking into the eyes of strangers than I ever would in a classroom.

So there it is. 2012 is the year of LIVING my dreams and not just dreaming about them.