Mom knows best

A few weekends ago, I skied with my mom. We made the traditional bagel stop before hitting the highway, drove up and over Berthoud Pass, and parked at the base of Mary Jane. Eventually, I would demand we break for a giant brownie at the lodge. Everything was exactly like when I was a kid. Continue reading “Mom knows best”


Jack of all trades, master of my own destiny (or something)

I got a job the day I turned sixteen, and until this fall, I’ve held one job or another (sometimes more than one) ever since. They weren’t all great. Here is an incomplete sampling of jobs I’ve had:

  • Pet food salesgirl (my first, but not worst, job)
  • Abercrombie model (briefly, and yet somehow this does not make it less embarrassing)
  • Grocery store courtesy clerk/cart pusher
  • Horse groom
  • College campus catering intern, and, later, Queen of the Catering Interns (I was a tyrant)
  • Shoe salesperson at sport-store (they did not care that I did not sport)
  • Waitress/bartender (of course)
  • Indentured servant for large climbing-focused non-profit (this lasted another nine months after my semesterlong internship technically ended, and taught me how valuable my inability to say “no” is to the non-profit industry)
  • High school teacher
  • Kindergarten teacher
  • Teacher of hippie-dippy class at a school we literally called “Farm School” (we mostly Nordic skied)
  • I am counting graduate school because it took up SO MUCH TIME
  • Avalanche safety instructor (kind of—mostly for kids, but sometimes adults took me seriously, too)
  • Whitewater raft guide, also kind of
  • Backpacking instructor
  • Horse groom, again (these things always come full-circle)

Continue reading “Jack of all trades, master of my own destiny (or something)”

A post where things get heavy: On life, death, and life-and-death matters

Until recently, I’ve spent very little of my life thinking about death. It was pleasantly abstract; a concept with which I was lucky enough to have almost no personal experience. I have four living grandparents. I can count the funerals I’ve attended on one hand.

As my interests in climbing and skiing developed from infatuation to lifestyle, though, I’ve been forced to come to grips with the harsher realities of my chosen professional and recreational pursuits.

I first realized it when I was an intern at the American Alpine Club. As I pored over old editions of Accidents in North American Mountaineering, tallying the ways in which climbers had been hurt or killed in the preceding decades, it dawned on me: Statistically speaking, if you do this long enough, you or someone you know will die.

Continue reading “A post where things get heavy: On life, death, and life-and-death matters”