Thursday, December 1, 2011

Top 25

I recently turned 25. I was a little sad about it.

I am now on the downward slope of my life. For example: I have to exercise more than I used to (not that I do, which is the problem); I am trying to avoid smiling because of those nasty little wrinkles forming around my eyes; I have to pay for all sorts of things that I didn't even know existed back when I was 20; and the other day my 2 year old nephew pointed to a spider vein on the back of my leg and said "Kiki hurt?" Sad, sad, day.

So yes, my best years are probably behind me. But at least they were something to be proud of. Here is a list of the best things I've done in the last 25 years and all the best people I did them with.

  1. Graduated from Brigham Young University
  2. Bet on a horse at the races and won (with Kelly and Jeff)
  3. Taught High School in Washington D.C. (with Meggie & Amber)
  4. Read East of Eden (Kelly understands)
  5. Traveled through 37 cities in Europe (with my favorite Katies...and a few other Art History people)
  6. Pulled the the most legendary prank at Weber High; involving a ghost, a cemetery, and numerous cops. (with Haylie and Austin)
  7. Started a career at Roy High School
  8. Sang the National Anthem at the Days of '47 Rodeo (with every Ogdenite that loves God and America)
  9. Lived in New York City for a spell (with Dee Dee)
  10. Learned how to play tennis (thanks to Dee Dee)
  11. Quickly thereafter became a tennis coach (praise heaven again and again for Dee Dee and Hadley)
  12. Got a new car. Her name is Gigi of course
  13. Discovered the beauty of homemade Oreos coupled with Marilyn Monroe movies (with Raechel)
  14. Kissed a boy on top of the Empire State Building (he should probably remain nameless)
  15. Became an auntie! (Weston's favorite...probably)
  16. Completely swept the Enclympics, thanks to this little beauty: It's Raining Men (well done Scott, Alan, Andrew, and Jared)
  17. Cruised all over the South in a minivan (with Susie, Wendy, Carolyn, Meggie, Amber, and Colleen)
  18. Drove to California to see Jon McLaughlin in concert--totally worth it! (with Ryan)
  19. Was a part of the most spectacular wedding Utah has ever seen (with Kelly and Jeff)
  20. Participated in many semi-horrible but mostly entertaining musicals (with the fab 4: Mickey, Wayne, and Casey)
  21. Raised the sweetest, possibly dumbest, but most endearing puppy into a massive 100 pound wannabe lap dog. I love, love Doug (with Adam and David)
  22. Became qualified to teach 160 different subjects
  23. Explored the subway tracks of Manhattan (with Ken...see previous post)
  24. Saw Mary Poppins the Musical somewhere around 5 times (the best of which was with Hawken, Michael, Emily, and Dee Dee)
  25. Went to Juarez, Mexico a few times to serve and I didn't die once (with Adam, David, Kelly, Bonnie, Jeff, Rob, Kara, Brynne)
So if I am on the downward slope of life it's ok. I like what I've done so far and something cool is bound to happen in the next 25 years.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Last year, whenever I needed my students to once again like me (usually after a big test or a come-to-Jesus-talk) I would show them this little treasure:

Thankfully, part 2 is out. And I couldn't be more pleased.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The 6 Train

Sunday nights mean rooftop barbecues in New York City. Two weeks before I was meant to return to Utah from my dream life I was at such a bbq, celebrating who knows whose birthday, when I met Ken Mckenzie.

And here is where I curse my impulsiveness and spontaneity.

Within twenty minutes of talking with Ken he asked me if I wanted to go do something crazy and a little scary. In my head I thought "I should not be running around the city at 11:30pm with this complete stranger" but what I said was "Yeah, ok!"

So we left and went back to my apartment because Ken said I had to change. Again I thought to myself "what on earth are we going to do that I can't wear this to?!" but what I said was "Yeah, ok!" I changed into black clothes as requested. Then he sent me back a second time. Flip flops were apparently also unacceptable. Running shoes, really? This was just getting more sketchy by the minute. But again I said "Yeah, ok (but I'm not giving you an exclamation point this time)"

As we head down to the subway, he finally tells me where we are going:
(You may find yourself questioning the reality of what I am about to tell you. If so, just glance through the synopsis of this book: The Mole People)

In New York there are a lot of homeless people, right? But then there are the mole people. These are the people that literally live underground in the subway stations--never seen the light of day! There are a few stations that have been closed for the past 20-60 years that the mole people call home. Roaming the tracks, breeding, toasting up some rats for dinner. Who knows what else. So that's where we are headed, to go explore one of these abandoned stations.

We head down to the 6 train where two of these old stations exist. I had a bit of trepidation at this point so we do a little reconnaissance. We got on the 6 train and I pressed my face against the window to see if I could glimpse the abandoned platform. Eerily enough, the train still stops there. Why? I have no idea. Maybe they are looking for mole peo
ple or vandals. Who knows really why they stop there. It's not like the driver is going to jump out of this little chair, run after a mole, tackle him to the ground, and drag him back into civilization. Or maybe that is the
plan. Solid.

The train slowly pulls into the old station. Nobody around us notices where we are or why we are stopping without the doors opening but sure enough I can see the platform. It's creepy. So now that I have seen where we are headed I feel brave and adventurous
and I'm ready to risk my life. The only way to get to the abandoned station is to go to a working station wait for the train to load with people and leave, jump on the tracks, run the 10 city blocks or whatever distance it is on the tracks, then jump onto the abandoned station before the next train comes through. It's very safe. The NYC transit is very predictable, regular, and well thought out...oh wait.

We are on the working station, trying to time the trains. The train c
omes in and loads up with people and leaves. This station had a maintenance ramp down to the tracks, so easy breezy, we just jog on down the ramp, get onto the tracks and start running after the train. Now run is not really a term I should be using. It isn't like we are taking a stroll on a nice asphalt pavement. The tracks are big wooden planks with sewage nastiness in between. You can't touch the one of the metal rails because it is electric and you'll die. Rats and who knows what else are skittering all around. And it's pitch dark. So I'm trying to hop from one plank to the next as quickly as I can so I don't get mowed down by the next train. Finally we reach the station. The platform is so much higher than I ever realized, probably about 6 six high. I use Ken's hands as a little step ladder
and boost myself up. As I was climbing up I put my leg down on the pla
tform to boost myself up. Ken immediately yelled at me not to touch anything because it was so dirty. Sure enough, my shin was completely coated with 20 years of thick black soot.

The station was so creepy but so cool! The walls were covered in graffiti. The stairs led straight up to a cement wall. There were holes in the walls where I'm 75% sure mole people spend some time. In fact, it looked like this:

So we were exploring around when a train pulled in. We had to hide
so that the driver/take down man would not see us. I was tempted to go slap the window, freak out those unassuming, i-pod listening riders. But I got so scared!

As the train pulled out Ken decided we had to go right then. As I peered over the edge I asked well how do you know another train isn't coming? He said oh I don't that's why we have to hurry. He jumped off the platform and took off down the tracks. I looked after and thought (in a little tiny scared voice) wait!... but he was gone. So I looked down at the tracks. Now would be a good time to mention my fear of heights and jumping off things. My options were

A. jump really close to the platform

B. jump out in the middle of the two death inducing metal rails, or
C. stay there...forever

Well Ken jumped in between the metal rails so I thought I should too. I went to put my hand down to boost myself off the platform, like a girl would, but I distinctively thought "oh no, I can't touch it, it's dirty" Like getting dirty should have been my first conce
rn. So I just launched myself off. As I did, Ken turned and yelled at me (probably because he realized he should have been helping me) I got startled, I lost my balance, my head started going faster than my body, it was an awkward and frightening moment for me. My foot landed on the edge of one of the wooden planks and the big bolts that hold the planks down. It rolled me to one side and I went crashing down on all fours to the rat-infested tracks. ouch. Ken came running back, tried to help me up, insisted we start running, and offered to carry me. To which I responded with a snappy "don't touch me!" I was in a lot of pain and very upset. I started hobbling after him down the dark tracks. When I say hobble I mean hobble! I was going very slowly and Ken kept rushing me, at the time I thought his pressure was a little unnecessary. Finally about half way down the tracks I looked up. Saw a bright light, put my head back down and kept on hobbling. Then I put something together, looked back up, stopped dead and had this little conversation with Ken
Kristen: "what is that?!"
Ken: "yeah, that's a train"
Kristen: "no it isn't, there isn't a number on the front, right?"
Ken: "yeah ok, we have to get out of here"
Kristen: "I can make it, keep going" (we were now in the middle of the two stations, I was not going anywhere fast, and I was a little delusional about how fast I was going an
d when I could get there)

I kept on plugging along while Ken was freaking out around me. The pain was clouding my head. Luckily, Ken saw these huge metal doors. He pried them open and told me to get inside. There was no way! I was not going into a dark closet on the subway tracks...I mean what if there was a moley inside?! I was fumbling with my phone trying to find the flashli
ght on it, once again not realizing the danger we were in. Ken finally shoved me inside, jumped in after me, pulled the door shut, and the train went rushing by. THE TRAIN WENT RIGHT BY US! I almost died! Literally 5 seconds longer on that track and I would have died. And I'm pretty sure no one would have ever found us. I was almost a squished bug on the front of a subway car. What a tragic death. Praise the heavens for mechanical closets!

When the train was by, we crept out and traveled back to the working station. Good thing the people just got onto that train that almost killed us --awkward moment avoided. My ankle was another story. Within a few days it started looking like this:

My little ankle swelled to the size of my thigh for about two months. It was also black and blue and purple for about two months. Four months later I finally went to a physical therapist and found out I ripped the muscle 3/4 of the way through. Maybe I should have gone to the doctor right off. What can I say, I didn't want to be put in a boot!

So there you have it
  • I jumped on the subway tracks of New York City
  • I ran in between two subway trains
  • I explored a mole person's home
  • I sprained my ankle, most severely
  • I hid in a closet two inches from a killing train
  • I was nearly killed by said subway train
  • And, I am still in recovery from that blasted ankle
If anyone wants to do some subway exploration, call me

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bigger is in fact better

The key to my heart is presents. If you want me to like you, bring me presents. It's as simple as that. Yes, ok, I am shallow. But the admittance of my own shallowness makes it more acceptable and maybe a little charming...maybe? Anyway, I met up with a friend who was in town from New York the other weekend and yes, he brought me a present.

And this is the beauty-all the way from New York.

In case you didn't notice, allow me to point out that indeed these are half pound Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. A HALF POUND each!! Can you imagine?! It's the ultimate gift! An entire pound of the perfect combination of chocolatey and peanut buttery goodness that only Reese's can provide.

For a few days the package sat on my night stand. I was overwhelmed by the sheer mass. Intimidated by trying to figure out how to even go about eating it. I was also a little skeptical about whether it would be any good. You know how the ratio of chocolate to peanut butter varies depending on what size you eat? Peanut butter is dominate in the regular size while in the bite size chocolate is more overwhelming. If you really want a perfect ratio wait until Easter and eat the egg Reese's. Now those are something!

Refocusing on the pound of sweetness sitting by my bedside; I finally dove in. It was late at night. I was a little bit tired and little bit depressed and I just bit into the thing. Don't worry, I documented it...
Well. I was completely surprised at how delicious it was! I took one bite, then another, then I wanted to take another but I was so overloaded I couldn't do it. It was more like a pie...a big Reese's pie. Hands down, the best Reese's I have ever tasted...and I know my Reese's. The chocolate was smooth and rich and perfectly proportioned to the thick creamy peanut butter middle. People don't like the word moist but I can't help but use it. It was so so moist! It was also more calories than I can count. (1/12 of the package is 1,125 calories, dang gina!) But you don't have to worry about things like calories when it's a present. It took me about 2 weeks to eat just one of the cups but man did I love it.

Obviously I could talk about chocolate all day. What I'm trying to say is
A. I love presents, and
B. Bigger is definitely better

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rednecks & Lesbians

There are two things the Usana Amphitheater is not shy on: rednecks and lesbians. I want an encounter with neither but if I had to choose it be with a redneck...lucky me.

It's always been easy for me to attract weird men. Namely; pubescent and moody teenagers, Italians with an abundance of chest hair flowing out of their v-necks, darling old men, creepy old men, random men who think I'm Russian, mid-life crisis men who think it's ok to video-tape me, and rednecks like the one I met at the Usana.

As I was waiting for my friend to purchase her diet coke I became aware that someone was trying to get my attention. I'm sure you've come across the type: wranglers, boots, cowboy hat, huge ol' belt buckle, handsome mustache...and to top it all off, he was double handing it with the beers. Because really, why only drink one beer when you have hands enough for two? I tried to block out most of the conversation but the best line went like this:

Mustache: "Are you rich?"
Me: "Um, no?"
Mustache: "Do you want to meet a millionaire?"
Me: "Not really" (While thinking to myself, a millionaire? That's so 90's! Who calls anyone a millionaire these days?)
Mustache: "This is my friend, he's a millionaire and he's hairy!"
Me: "Lucky"
Mustache: "He may not look like it but he is"
Me: "Good"
(despite what you may think, curt one word answers do not discourage people as they should)
Mustache: "You should be friends with him, he has a lot of shiny things"

Luckily by this point my friend was done. Throwing an excuse over my shoulder as I hurried away, I thought how bold people can be and how much his personality was affected by the alcohol.

Unfortunately, or luckily because it was entertaining, I saw him again. He somehow appeared again, too close for my comfort, and proceeded for hours to dance in a manner that no one should be allowed to. He is way to old to get that low. Fortunately we got a snippet on film. I promise it was more horrifying in person.

(If this makes me equally weird and creepy for filming this, I fully accept the charge)
Oh! And he danced right up to some lady and full on made out with her! Amber claims they came together. I'm not convinced.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Venice is one of the most enchanting cities. It's a kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, and smells...some better than others. The atmosphere is intoxicating with exciting picturesque events on every corner and the imminent threat of the whole place sinking into the ocean. I love Venice. Not only was it immensely enjoyable but it was also very educational. One of the most important things I learned there was Italian men can be very forward. No point in trying to discourage it, Italian forwardness does not comprehend such a thing. In fact, attempted discouragement comes across as foreplay. It's slightly hilarious, maybe a little annoying, and always a good dose of inappropriateness. My favorite example of a quintessential Italian was experienced on a gondola. You see the gondolas in the movies, they are equally charming in real life. The one downfall is they are about 100 euros for a ride. My friends and I were torn about whether this was worth it, but then we saw...him. A tall, dark, swarthy Italian with blue eyes. Now if he was to be our gondola man then yes, 100 euros were definitely worth it. So we paid up, stepped aboard and waited for Mr. Italian Stallion to row us through the canals. Yet somehow, we ended up with a shorter, older, louder, creepier, but entertaining Italian. We were immediately invited to his home for dinner that night and then serenaded with this little number as we floated through Venice.

Gondola rides are totally worth it. Especially if you are lucky enough to get a sefl-assured singer/songwriter genius like ours.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Country Boys and Girls

I recently returned from spending a most fabulous summer in New York City. So far I've been very unhappy about trading the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for the slower, dare I say boring, Utah life. Thankfully, I was reminded of one of the many perks of living in the West. Tim McGraw. Does Timmy go to Central Park to do outdoor concerts on the Great Lawn? I think not. Does he go to Salt Lake where he performs to hundreds of jubilant, albeit somewhat drunk and possibly trashy, fans? Yes, yes he most certainly does. It became gospel to me that while you can, and I did, "have a lot of fun in a New York minute, but there are some things you can't do inside those city limits." Utah often gets a bad rep. I am guilty of sometimes thinking it's boring and unfulfilling, but then I have a night like tonight where I can see one of my favorite artists sing against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and remind me that I'm just a country girl who every once and awhile needs to get down on the farm. So I say Utah, you are great and I am glad to be back, if only for the sweet summer nights of outdoor concerts.