It’s nice to have gear that fits you

I’ll never forget a monthlong glacier trip I did in my early twenties with a backpack I borrowed from the guy I was dating at the time. He was bigger and broader than me, and so was his pack. A week into the trip, the skin on my hips was raw, and I spent another 20 days miserably adjusting and readjusting and padding and un-padding and generally wishing I had a way to carry 85 pounds that actually fit me. By the time I got home, I was ready to burn it, and not just because our subsequent breakup wasn’t exactly amicable.  Continue reading “It’s nice to have gear that fits you”


Puhun vähän

A year and a half or so ago, my mother-in-law announced that she’d always wanted to visit Finnish Lapland, but that she didn’t know anyone who’d want to go with her. It’s too cold there, everyone around her in Milwaukee kept saying, and anyway, why Finland?

Good news, we told her. We want to go to Finnish Lapland. Continue reading “Puhun vähän”

When 10-year-olds have the answers

A chorus of little voices greets me enthusiastically as I shove my backpack into a cubby at the crowded climbing gym on a windy Friday afternoon.

“Emma!” one kid bounds up to me, “High-five!” At the last second, she pulls her hand away with a grin, exposing the same giant braces I had at her age. “Too slow,” she smirks. It’s fine. I’ll get her back later. Continue reading “When 10-year-olds have the answers”

A toast to the Aloha Life

This week, I’m getting ready to go on vacation. I have a lot of things to do: work to finish, emails to send, and, of course, packing, which I obviously haven’t started yet. (My philosophy: if I only leave myself an hour to pack, packing will only take me an hour!)

Anyway, in all the excitement (stress), I neglected to post a blog this week. But I’m saved! Turns out some work I already did is now out there in the universe, so in lieu of my usual navel-gazing, allow me to present you with a story about what happened last time I went on vacation and didn’t check my email for ten days. Continue reading “A toast to the Aloha Life”