I haven’t written here in awhile! Here are some things that have been going on lately.
The weather is getting warm and the sun is staying out later and it’s all making me happy. I love the changing of the seasons. It’s also got me reminiscing on last summer in SLC which was such a warm and happy and special time in my life.
I’m doing the Wasatch Back Ragnar (a 200-mile relay race and van-camping weekend) next weekend for the third year. Every year I get to the end of that weekend, dead-tired and battered, and swear I’ll never do it again. But… it’s so so fun and I think I’d miss it if I didn’t do it. It’s sort of a personal tradition at this point.
Maybe the biggest thing happening lately is that I am moving! I’m staying in Utah but actually going to the Heber Valley area. I have loved living in downtown SLC for the past year, but I think my day-to-day life would be better suited to the clean air and mountains of the Wasatch Back. I find myself driving a lot to get to the canyons to hike and trail run with my dog, and going out to restaurants and bars comparatively little. I will miss being right in the middle of SLC and being able to walk to an awesome library and cool bars and my favorite movie theater. But I’m still only going to be an hour away for fun nights in the city, and in exchange, I’ll live and work in a pretty mountain cabin setting and have super easy access to the outdoors for running, hiking, snowmobiling, and just exploring. It’s something I’ve put a lot of thought into and I’m really excited about it. I’m also excited because I’m tired of having so many things packed up! Once I move in, I’ll be able to set out my art desk and sewing machine and guitar and do those things again.
I’ve been vegetarian for a year! I was pretty determined a few months ago to switch to full-on veganism, which I did for about three months, but I’m currently off that train again eating dairy and eggs. At this point avoiding meat is super easy, and I never feel like I’m missing out on anything in social situations. But restricting eggs and dairy felt hard and obsessive and awkward. It was no problem for me to cook vegan at home, but eating at restaurants or other people’s houses, accepting gifts of candy or baked goods, etc. became complicated and really unpleasant. It felt like a sacrifice of an important social bonding thing, and honestly, I just felt tired and worn down after a few weeks (even though I was taking iron and B12 supplements), probably because some of the highest-protein and highest-calorie parts of my diet involved dairy or eggs, and without those, I struggled. I’m not trying to avoid responsibility, I’m sure I could have found a way to feed myself properly on a vegan diet, but this is just where I’m at right now. For now, I’ve made peace with my (pretty limited) consumption of non-meat animal products. I have some more thinking to do about it for sure. In any case, I love being vegetarian and I absolutely love how it has encouraged me to come up with some really creative ways of cooking and eating and enjoying fresh vegetables.
Seth is selling his condo downtown and we’ve been fixing it up before he puts it on the market. Over the past couple months I have learned so much about home remodeling: prepping for painting, painting, patio flooring, knocking down (non-load-bearing) walls, patching drywall, installing sheetrock, cutting granite, managing contractors, installing sinks and faucets, tiling and grouting… dude it’s been illuminating and worthwhile and also exhausting. Seth is doing the vast majority of the work and I’m still drained. I’m ready for this to be over soon please! And the new house, luckily, doesn’t really need anything done to it right away, so I’ll be taking a good break from this stuff soon.
A couple months ago I decided to take a step back from social media. I think that mindset was a really good thing for me. But I found that completely deleting my account made me feel disconnected; I missed out on knowing some important things happening in the lives of people I care about. I know it’d be nice to think that we all just text or call each other to catch up, but that doesn’t always happen now with announcements of life events happening on social media. So I compromised by making my account private, removing a bunch of followers I didn’t actually know IRL, and unfollowing a bunch of accounts. Now I’m finding I use it in a much more healthy way. Without all the extra “pretty” or “inspiring” posts showing up in my feed, it’s a lot less engaging and addictive.
I’ve been interested in meditation for the past 1.5 years or so, using the app “Headspace”, but it wasn’t until three months ago that I feel like I really started learning and experiencing the real effects of it. I randomly found this book, Meditation Without Gurus, at the library, and it ended up having a pretty big impact on me. I don’t think this book is extremely popular or “the definitive guide to meditation” or anything like that, but I just found it really approachable and straightforward. It talks about how a lot of people, when starting out with meditation, struggle with all these questions of “how should I meditate?” “what should I think about when I meditate?” “what should I be keeping in mind?” “who should I learn from?”, etc. And the simple answer is just that you don’t need anything fancy to learn how to meditate — the whole point is to do nothing, to think about nothing, to slip out of your own consciousness, to step back from the concept of “I” and “me” and into the present. It has had a really big impact on me, but it does take effort, and some days I’m better at it than others. I’d definitely recommend this book if it’s a topic you’re interested in.
I have this little book club that I’ve somehow managed to keep together (even if sometimes only three people show up haha). While it’s a really small aspect of my daily life, having a goal of at least one book every month is something that I’ve come to enjoy a lot. Last month, we read Educated by Tara Westover, and it ended up being my favorite book I’ve read all year. It’s a memoir about a girl who grew up in a survivalist home in Idaho where her paranoid anti-establishment dad dictated that none of the kids go to school, go to the doctor, get birth certificates, etc. She endured a lot of crazy stuff and abuse as a kid, and she talks about growing up, getting an education, and gradually forming her own identity separate from her family of origin. Her prose and imagery are beautiful and her objective descriptions of some pretty horrific events is stunning. I devoured the whole book in a single day and it wasn’t a chore at all. Would def recommend. (P.S. if you’re around SLC, join my book club!)
Seth and I celebrated a year of togetherness a little bit ago and I’m not going to publicly mush but I just really love our relationship and think the world of that dude.
My company did a retreat where everyone came and visited Utah! This was one of the small group activities, a space exploration simulation — basically Star Trek LARPing. I was the first officer and I gotta say we owned it.
This isn’t a picture of my team but I’m gonna gush about them for a second. My team has this great chemistry and it’s a weird thing. We get together in person just a few times a year and we looooove picking a restaurant and ordering a bunch of plates and passing them around. It’s always memorable and joyful. This time we went to Finca in downtown SLC and it was incredible — tasting plates of olives, roasted carrots with honey and ricotta, garlic and sherry vinegar mushrooms, paella, housemade sangria. One of the best meals I’ve ever had.