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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Story of the Three Thousand Dollar Pendant

At Creede Repertory Theatre's Illuminated Gala on Sunday, July 27, Manuel and I entered the South Fork Country Club in anticipation of a great evening. I was wearing an amazing dress, and would be singing. 
In addition, trapeze, dancing, testimonials, and an auction were scheduled to be scattered throughout the night. Dinner would be served, and there was to be an open bar which Manuel would typically not take advantage of. 


Manuel and I began the evening at the Gala having earlier made an agreement. With so many fun things to do this summer, and with big plans for the fall, I had made a pitch for fiscal conservatism (please don’t tell my fellow democrats), and asked him to limit his generosity to the $250 admission price. He complied, and agreed not to bid on any of the auction items. 

Truth be told, I didn’t trust him. The man grew up poor, and now that he has money, he loves to give it away. Frequently, I peered over the balcony of the club and observed the tables below. Had his been one of the hands that raised during the live auction? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And Then I Moved to Colorado

I spent my birthday with strangers this year and it was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Not because anyone knew it was my birthday (or because anyone even knew me). Not because I moved into the triangle shaped upstairs of a house chock full of Harry Potter holes (small doors that monsters and bad guys could easily crawl out of - terrifying!). Not because I ate a delicious, gluten-filled brownie my roommate made because she likes to bake. Not because my other roommate had a long haired chiguagua with whom I knew I would become best friends. Not because I watched my first full Game of Thrones (which I hate) episode in an attempt to make human friends. 

Not even because of all those reasons.

Rather, it was one of the more momentous days of my life because I moved to Creede, Colorado to take a new job with a repertory theatre.   

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Turns 100... and a blind eye.

I don't want to come across as a hater. And Lord knows I love my mother (and am the spittin' image of her). But I do not like Mother's Day.

And I'm not the only one.

In 1923, nine years after Anna Jarvis talked President Woodrow Wilson into establishing a national "Mother's Day," Ms. Jarvis turned around and began protesting it.

On facebook today, fourteen months after the death of his mother, Jason Nethercut describes Mother's Day as "prominent, glaring and threatening."

And for five years when I served at First Baptist Church in Austin, TX, I could be counted on to cry (hopefully non-conspicuously) at one service every year: Mother's Day.

Why don't we like it?

Well, Anna Jarvis hated how commercial it became in just nine years (oh Lord, she'd HATE it now). You see, she didn't start the movement to create a national holiday for "we the people" to give our moms flowers, and candy and cheesy greeting cards. She petitioned for this national holiday because her own mother organized "Mother's Work Days" to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality, to tend to soldiers who had been injured in the Civil War.  Anna's mother's contemporary, Julia Ward Howe (who composed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"), issued a widely read "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Mother's Day, for Anna, was to recognize extraordinary women, and specifically the one she was the closest to: her mother.

In other words, "Mother's Day was born in the aftermath of the Civil War, as a rallying cry for women worldwide to oppose war and fight for social justice." It wasn't actually about mothers being good moms, it was about women being good people.

Mother's Day was a cry to action. It was a call from the feminist and Christian communities for women to live to their fullest potential as God's children... and to protect God's other children.

Happy 100th Birthday, Mother's Day. You have forgotten who you are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Transition: Something Just Broke

The movement into Holy Week starts off strong and exciting - like any good religious festival. From Sunday's palm branch waving and animal joyriding to tomorrow night's dinner with friends, things seem to be going well for Jesus and the Disciples.

But today, Holy Wednesday is traditionally the day that Judas is said to have gone to the High Priests... "What will you give me if I betray him?" Thirty pieces of silver later, and our story takes a swift turn for the worse. Way beyond foreshadowing, the climax builds as things fall apart.

At the passover dinner, Jesus hints that one will deny him, another betray him, and a party guest leaves in a huff.

Bread is broken and eaten, wine is poured and drunk, but the symbolism isn't traditional, and the disciples wonder what these mixed up metaphors might mean.

After dinner, Jesus excuses himself up to the garden to pray, taking with him his three closest friends. He asks them to wait and keep watch, while he begs God: let there be another way.

But God says no, and when Jesus returns, more disappointment awaits him. He finds his comrades snoozing, the passover hangover already upon them.

Heading back down the hill, things go from bad to worse as the one who ran away comes running back with guards in tow, a kiss of death upon his lips.

Peter draws his sword and the fight escalates when he cuts off a slave's ear. But Jesus, usually the peacemaker, knows that violence must wait a day and it certainly won't come from an army of angry revolutionaries.

But as Jesus returns the ear to the poor servant's head, his friends begin to panic. Everyone takes flight now, one fleeing so fast that when a guard grabs his cloak the disciple wriggles free and runs naked all the way home.

Jesus, on the other hand, is restrained, imprisoned, and left to await trial and potential capital punishment.

And we move from Holy Wednesday to Maundy Thursday.

Sleepy stewards, double-crossing kisses, and then... something just broke.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Assassins... the Musical

"You know the FBI has a file on you now," a young man with a record informed me after I performed in Soubrette Production's Assassins last weekend.

"Oh honey, they've had a file on me for a long time," I replied. "You've read my blog, right?"

Seriously though, aside from the fact that I've actively and articulately criticized American politicians - conservatives and liberals (Though lets be honest, fundamentalists of the former persuasion are much more offensive and ridiculous than fundies of the latter - what would a fundamentalist liberal be anyway? a hippie? I digress.) - and aside from the fact that I am very opinionated about politics, race, sexism, issues of social justice and separation of church and state, I also dated someone who worked for the Department of Defense. Remember when I quit posting crazy boyfriend stories in the latter part of 2011? There was a reason for that. But it wasn't because I stopped dating men, it was because my man didn't have security clearance. Yep, that happened.

And now I've gone and performed in Assassins, the musical about successful and wanna-be assassins of American Presidents. So, add that to the file, Monsieur FBI.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Backhanded Sermon

Yesterday at First Austin, Rev. Dr. Roger Paynter preached on Leviticus 19 and Matthew 5... the turn the other cheek story. He said that while being told to turn the other cheek is often used by Christians to "baptize our masochism," it can also be a chance for us to allow for a "courageous assertion of ourselves."

I preached on this very text eleven years ago. It's a sermon on one of the best things I learned in seminary (I think). And since apparently University Baptist Waco has been on my mind lately (I threw on an old UBC shirt to run errands in on Saturday and then low and behold, Kyle Lake, visited me in a dream that night right before I headed to church to hear a text I once preached. So I got out the old scrapbooks, and I got out my old book of sermons (those files don't exist electronically anymore). And on my little iPad last night, I smiled and cringed and smiled some more and typed out that sermon to share with y'all. 


And of course I've included pictures. Because this text is tricky, and it required a full on demonstration from the stage that morning. Pre-blog apologies to Big Phil and Lance. And Kyle, it was nice to see you the other night. Thanks for visiting...



And now, we welcome to the blog 25-year-old Ann Pittman 
from UBC Waco 2003...

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Working on MLK (and what it means to me)

It's MLK Day.

I've written about this day before. And over the years, I've spent it in a variety of ways: playing in the snow since I didn't have to go to school in Missouri, raking leaves when I didn't have to go to work in Texas. And one year I even attended an MLK Day breakfast at Huston-Tillotson University with Austin icon, Volma Overton.

This year though, I will go to work (ah, corporate America); and I admit MLK Jr. is on my mind.

I can't pinpoint why. Maybe it's because I listened to this weird "I'm over MLK" discussion on NPR. I mean, I can't even...

Or maybe I'm paranoid about the gentrification of my neighborhood. Though admittedly, on my block, its affected the poorer Latino families more than it's affected the African Americans.

Or maybe I'm dreading all the MLK meme that will undoubtedly be posted on FB tomorrow - by conservatives trying to show they're not racist and by liberals trying to tell people to stop being racist. (None of it really matters as history suggests that few change their mind because of Facebook posts). (Furthermore, I will post some lovely meme on this blog to break up the text and appeal to visual readers).

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Top Ten Twenty-Thirteen Theatre


Everyone has their favorites. And everyone's weighing in (Chronicle critics: AdamRoberts, Robert Faires ... a cat).

Of course, I have my own opinions :)

So here's my credential-free pick for Austin's Top Ten 2013 Theatre Experiences (p.s. I don't include national tours or shows I was in on this list... tours obvs. aren't Austin, and despite my first girl-on-girl kiss this year, its probably biased to nominate performances I was a part of). Of the over twenty shows I saw this year, here's some moments, people and experiences that I loved (in no particular order)...

1.    Barbara Chisholm in Fixing King John. This was a fun, smart show by the Rude Mechs, and pulling her hair out in the middle of it was a brilliant Barbara Chisholm.

2.    The amazing set of Nursery Crimes (the DAC has never been better utilized) and the supporting characters trio of Travis Bedard, Bobby DiPasquale, and Heath Thompson. Kudos to Last Act's Will Snider for some great choices.

3.    Ryan Crowder's big fat crocodile tears (in addition to the rest of his performance) in Penfold Theatre's Red.

4.    Martin Burke's final monologue in Harvey. Lovely.

5.    Kristi Brawner in general. From Sally in Reefer Madness to Lucy in Charlie Brown, she is quickly becoming Austin's most versatile 20 Something (sorry guys, she's taken).

6.    HPT's Ken Webster as Thom Pain. Again.

7.    Mad Beat Hip & Gone. I cannot understand why this didn't get more critical attention.  Whatev. You guys, it was great. And those lightbulbs...

8.    The Drawbridge/Gangplank lowering and raising set piece thing in Austin Playhouse's Man of La Mancha. Awesome and daunting. Broke up the play and the mood perfectly appropriately.

9.    Little Shop of Horrors' colorful costumes at Zilker Park.

10.  ZACH's A Christmas Story set. You'll shoot your eye out.
 

AND what I really, really wanted to see (which might have influenced the above list), but, alas, life had other exciting adventures...

1.    Mical Trejo in Teatro Vivo's Confessions of a Mexpatriot

2.    And Then There Were None by Austin Playhouse

3.    Tongues (in the swimming pool!) by Theatre at the J

4.    Fat Pig by Theatre En Bloc


So there you have it! Of the Austin theatre events I saw, these were the most super-duper. Maybe next year I'll be brave enough to give you The Worst Of... who knows! In the meantime, here's looking forward to more great, funny, meaningful, important, silly theatre in the heart of Texas in 2014!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 What A Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 proved most eventful. After a fun-filled 2012, 2013 started off... on the couch. New Year's Eve last year, I had dinner with Person and the Joneses and then promptly fell asleep on the couch missing all ringing in and other celebretory festivities. But perhaps I needed the sleep to prepare for the year ahead...

From a trip to Portland to visit my sister... to a Reverse Oregon Trail (Let's-Move-Amy-Back-To-Chicago-Trip)... to a brief nanny job in New York... to a relaxing fall leaves Colorado tour... to an Adriatric Cruise in the Adriatric (I realize this is redundant, but you guys - seriously!!)... this year I travelled much, and felt extremely grateful. I saw some gorgeous sites (mostly in the US!) and some amazing artifacts (mostly in Italy).  If I had to choose 2013's world's best sights, I really, really loved Crater Lake in southern Oregon,
The David in Florence, Italy, and the ancient Greek theatre (complete with coastal views) in Sicily, Italy.

Other totes awesome and random loveliness includes... experiencing Moltnoma Falls, 
hearing Pope Francis speak, 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas (2013)

On the first day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
The annual picture 'round the Pittman Tree.


On the second day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
Two dreamy friends, and a picture 'round the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Part Four: Adriatic, the Overview

Okay, so this is totes delayed, but as it's Christmas and I'm snuggled under a red blanket by a blazing fire and as the question of the day was "what was the best part of 2013," I felt a twinge of guilt (too many gluten-filled cookies?) about not finishing my Adriatic Cruise spectacularousness blogs.

That was a long sentence, but my brain is tired (too much wine and eggnog?).

So here goes. There are a few things about Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece you MUST know.

First of all, and you won't believe this, but... fish ate my feet. I swear to God. My Person didn't believe it either, which is why he shelled out our last 10 Euros to pay to see it happen.  And it did. I went all Kim Kardashian and let fish eat the dead skin off my feet.  Check this out.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Part Three: Disembarkation Day

"What I can't stop thinking about is what you were wearing while you were packing!"

A perfect stranger said this to me today.
 
Well, technically he was a retired Canadian with health issues who sat next to me in a taxi in Florence and upon falling asleep (confirmation made by snore factor) allowed his hand to fall on my leg which was not proper even for squished taxi etiquette but I let it slide. So, not a perfect stranger but, we weren't really that close.
 
So why was this decisively dirty old man picturing me packing? Well, do you want the context, or would you rather use your imagination?
 
Let me just say, reality will be just as impressive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part Two: The Ship

My Person and I have embarked on an Adriatic cruise.

I was wary. I get motion sick just riding on swing sets and elevators. I excused myself from the theater and threw up in the bathroom during that Captain-I-Got-Attacked-By-Somalie-Pirates movie. Plus the only other ship movie I've ever seen is Titanic, so this added to my anxiety. But my sister is a doctor, so, loaded with drugs and patches, I boarded on Nov. 18th. This is my view every morning. Cue jealousy.
There are a lot of people on board this ship... and most of them are old. By "old" I mean my parents would be in the younger crowd here. I've thoroughly scoped it out. I can tell you how many sets of parents with young kids (4), how many families with teenagers (3), how many gay couples (4), and how many random youngish couples in their 20s or 30s (eh, maybe 8).  And according the the lady couple we met who travels together on these cruises all the time, there is officially one (1) single man on board who boarded the ship by himself (there is apparently an art to cruising - more details on this later).

These numbers aren't exact of course (except the single guy one - the ladies actually go to the photo station and scope out all the pics that the photographers take of couples, families and parties when we embark. So they know - one single man who got on by himself. I told you, for cruise professionals, its a fine art). There are 2000 people on board and I only see these people during meal times (and there are like 7 restaurants on board, and two different dinner times (we're at the 8:30 slot), and 15 levels on this ship. So... I might be off by a handful in one category or another.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Adriatic Tour Part One: Rome

You can't imagine what its like here.

My mother's full-time job for 30 years was to teach Latin (and French), so you can probably imagine what it was like at home. Occasionally our bedtime stories included books with images of Greco-Roman gods and stories of valor and indiscretion. In the summertime, (when my mother wasn't drowning amidst the teenagers at work and three flamboyant daughters at home), Tuesday was fun day, so once a week she would take us to a museum or art show, or whatever was culturally beautiful and educational all at once (there is the obvious exception of World's of Fun - but I attribute those excursions to my grandparents anyway).
But all the books and museums in the world couldn't prepare me for what I saw in Rome... the Colosseum (built just 2-4 years after the fall of the Jerusalem Temple) with its cages for wild animals and men alike... the remarkably preserved Roman ruins sprinkled throughout the city - columns, floors, temples ... the Pantheon with its remarkable gold dome - architectural genius... and Saint Peter's Basilica which borrowed gold from the Pantheon for its own remarkable decorations.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Whirlwind of Change - 3 Years Later

A Whirlwind of Change

This is the third time I've delivered a version of this sermon. The first was at Lakeshore Baptist in Waco, Texas in 2004, the second was at Sanctuary in Tarrytown in 2010 and the third was last Sunday at First Baptist of Austin, the church I worked at from September 2005-October 2010. You may listen to the spoken words at First Austin's Website - "2013-10-27" will get you there, but be fair warned, I was a little weepy. While this is an impassioned sermon about change and loss, I did not expect to be as affected as I was. I attribute this to several realities in my life some of which I share in the sermon and others that remain hidden in my heart. Plus, this was my first time "back" at First Austin in a pastoral capacity. While I have helped with weddings and funerals since I left my position there, and performed with Trinity Street Players in Blood Brothers last year, this was my first time back to the pulpit. It was an honor to be asked back by my former boss and my former congregation, and a testimony to my journey these past three years that I was able to say yes. I've wrestled with calling... from the stage to the pulpit to the microphone to the computer - who am I? What should I do with my one wild and precious life? This fall has proved a ministerial season for me: four weddings and a funeral (yep, it's true), three lectures at UBC in Austin and finally preaching last Sunday at First Austin. No theatre this fall for Ann Catherine... no Les Mis, no Man of La Mancha, no Falsettos - too many performance conflicts. So unbeknownst to me, a season of ministry began in September and is now winding down. And amidst the winds of change in my own life, I preached this sermon about a man and a mentor and the great wind that blew over him. 
Enjoy (italics is sung). 

What can I do with my obsession?
With the things I cannot see?
Is there madness in my being?
Is it the wind that moves the trees?
Sometimes you’re further than the moon
Sometimes you’re closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You come and burn me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns

Elisha was obsessed, and Elijah (his master) had only three trips left to make before the Lord would take him away. Gilgal, Jericho and the Jordan all needed some final work done before he left. Elijah had anointed Elisha, and had just a few ends to tie up before he knew God would call him home.

We don’t know why he didn’t want Elisha to accompany him. Perhaps he wanted to finish those last three visits by himself. Perhaps he needed time to think or reflect before he left the earth. Maybe he worried about his disciple Elisha, and thought the trips and the whirlwind would be too much for him in these last few days. Or maybe he was tired of always being followed around by an obsessive student. But whatever the reason, three times Elijah told Elisha, “No, don’t come with me,” and three times Elisha replied, “Not gonna happen; I will not leave you.”

It’s almost humorous reading the text, for in each scenario the same thing happens. “Don’t come with me Elisha.” “Too late,” Elisha replies. Elisha’s obsession about staying with Elijah reminds me of the beginning of the book of Ruth when she refuses to return to her own county but vows to stay with Naomi instead.  It reminds me of Sam’s allegiance to Frodo, Sandy's following of the Little Orphan Annie, or of C3PO to R2D2.           

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Letter to the Governor of Arizona

Fortunately, the article I read is not real, and was written for a satirical news source that is not The Onion (to which I am familiar and subscribe!).  However, I did not realize this until after I angrily, but calmly wrote the following blog and email.  So, for your viewing pleasure, if you are ever concerned that you live in a society where this sort of atrocity could actually take place (and let's be honest, we totally do - remember Arizona's non-satirical, completely legit, immigration policy?!), here's your strongly worded email...

August 22, 2013

To Gov. Brewer of Arizona and "Lynn" of People Can Change in Virginia,

I recently read an article stating that classes that will be offered in schools across Arizona teaching homosexual children and teens how to become straight/heterosexual.

I am concerned about this and wanted to let you know why.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Noisy City

This is the noisiest city I know. I've been to London, Hong Kong, Paris, Jerusalem, LA, Istanbul - lots of cities. And even in the ones where the Islamic Call to Prayer horn goes off in the middle of the night it's not as noisy as New York City.

Now, it doesn't help that "N...Y...C... Just got here this morning" won't stop running through my head. "Three bucks!  Two bags! One meeeee!" Ugh. So many "Me"s here in New York.

That may explain why there is constant, constant noise.  

I admit, I am one of those people who prefers intentional noise.  When I'm at my parents house, I'm constantly walking through rooms and turning off TVs no one is watching.  "What'd ya do that for?" I get when three minutes later someone walks into the same room and turns it back on. I only put on a record (or my iPod) or a movie when I need motivation to clean house, or finish my 900th scrapbook. And that's usually only about once a month or so. I didn't like noise when I studied during my school years, and I don't like noise when I work now. "Seriously?" I walk into our company president's office.  "I can hear this song all the way across our building.  Your music is too loud if it is crossing 6000 square feet."

Thankfully the President is my Person, so he just rolls his eyes and turns it down.

My point: it is simply unnecessary to be that loud.

I feel the same way about Paul Ryan. Just. Stop. Being. So. Loud. 

And dumb. Stop being dumb. 

But I'm digressing.

The apartment I'm staying at here in the big apple is on the 31st floor. I know, right? And it has a great balcony. But can I open the sliding glass door and let the cool New York breeze blow in to remind me I'm not suffocating in Austin this evening? No, I cannot. Why? Because the noise outside at 9:27pm might wake the baby.

Seriously? I can't open the window because I might wake the baby? And it's not like this stops. When I'm standing on the balcony during the daytime, I can't even hear my text message ding when my phone is sitting right next to me. 

It's so loud here!

Listen to me New York (if you can hear me over the noise). You need to take it down a notch. I know you have Broadway (believe me, I'm fully aware). I know you have Sex and the City - God bless that show. And I know you have the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants and the Jets (no I don't know what actual sports these teams represent). But come on! Chill out. I don't need to hear your honking horn 31 stories up. Nor do I need to hear about who's being an asshole. TMI. And for the love of God, put down the microphone; you're not Patti LuPone. (Unfortunately, neither am I).

I mean, was New York built on a giant metal shell and no one noticed? I am not a country girl accustomed to only cow lowing, nor did I just gain use of my ears and am thus overwhelmed by sound waves. So why am I so annoyed by the noise? Because it's excessive. Why is there a constant hum in this city? Not all of you use air-conditioning units, so I know it's not that. Is there perma-construction at all hours of the night and on every street? Has the NSA put invisible, but not indiscreet drones outside our bedroom windows to keep tabs on our every conversation? Why can I hear every time a bus uses its air brakes? Every time a truck runs over a pothole?

They say everything is bigger in Texas. They are wrong. The noise in New York is bigger. Much. Much. Bigger.

Maybe Texas is quieter because we have all those wide open spaces. Our noise doesn't carry as far. Ugh. That makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that the buildings in this city seem to amplify sound instead of deaden it. Where's my high school physics teacher when I need him? Probably cleaning out his ears because he played in a band for 50 years and now has damaged hearing.

Gah. Am I like 90 years old now? I sound like my grandma. And not in any of the ways I want to sound like my grandma because she is, admittedly, fantastic.

There it is again: sound. Sound. I Sound. I can't escape the noise. Noise. Noise. Even when I write.

And maybe that's my problem. The noise is inescapable. And I like to escape. Believe me, I'm really good at it. I had my imagination when I was little... church in high school... alcohol in grad school... I even escaped into a career that I eventually had to escape. Escapology is my thing. In fact, Houdini should have my number (if he ever figures out how to escape death - keep holding those séances y'all!). If they gave out awards for best escape artists, I would have one. Bottom line is: I have always been able to escape the noise in my head and the confusion in my heart by throwing myself into something else.

But there's no escaping the noise of New York City.

Not even with my hot pink, extra soft Women's Earplugs. I should know. I bought some at the corner pharmacy last night.

So New York, here's the deal. I will try really, really hard to learn to live and not just to survive. I will learn to seek the moment, not the escape. But in return, I need you to channel your inner yogi and be quiet for a few minutes. Stop honking, yelling, buzzing, humming, clinking, banging, smashing, slamming and zooming. Stop shooting Botox at your face and insults at your neighbor. Stop the 24-hour construction and stop the 24-7 deliveries. Just be quiet.

And for the love of the theatre, let silence take the stage for once.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Did We Win?

1. Amy, The Doctor
2. Ann, The Actor
3. Andee, The Aerialist

I Spoke Too Soon...

I know I keep posting that I've seen over the past week, some of the most beautiful and awesome places in America (please pronounce that with a Presidential accent), but our final destination outside of Denver, CO, could not go without mention either.  The magnificence of Mt. Evans could not have been a more fitting end to the Reverse Oregon Trail because we viewed it's majesty on America's (are you keeping up with your accent?) Independence Day.

So. Amazing.

We drove... and drove... and drove... to get to Denver where we checked into a super rad hotel that is both dog-friendly and LGBT-friendly, so we knew we were guaranteed supurb service and excellent decor.  Indeed, they had the freaking fuzziest cow blankets  strewn across the ends of the beds which perfectly complimented the twenty-foot tall curtains accenting the subtleties of the carpet pattern.  Lord.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Destination #2

I seriously thought our second destination would not even come close to rivaling the amazeballsness of The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.  But it was SO RAD.  Here's why.

1. "It means what you think it means."  is what The Aerialist told us as she read the Wikipedia entry on The Grand Tetons, because we couldn't keep our eyes off them.  They're so beautiful.  We went from a gorgeous Oregon to a beautiful Idahoming.  And we needed detes on why in the world they're called the Grand Tetons.  I will refrain from giving my opinion on this name or it's etymology.  Because they look like this.