If you don’t know Dabney West, you should.



And if you do know her, you should wish her a happy birthday!

Let me tell you a story about Dabney and birthdays.

I had bought a Sesame Street balloon for a friend’s belated birthday celebration and was riding around town with it.  Talk about annoying.  The thing just wanted to be let free… it was driving me crazy.  So, when I almost ran my bike into Dabney’s car, I actually got excited..

– Hey!

– Hey!  Awesome!  Here, you take this balloon!  It’s for Anna!

– Okay!

Then Dabney throws the balloon in the backseat but the back windows are down!  So the balloon starts flying out the window and I’m running [while still standing on my bike] to catch the balloon and I just barely snag it!

– Ahhh!!  Watch out!  Your windows are down!  I got it!

– Ahhh!!  Sorry!  I gotta go, a car’s coming!  I’ll pick you up later!

And then we parted ways.  I was laughing pretty hard at the random, hilarious run-in we had.  Later, in the car, whilst getting the birthday package together, we recounted how funny our earlier interaction was.

– Oh my gosh, that was one of the funnier run-ins I’ve ever had.

– Yes, I agree.  Man.  Hey, hold on to that balloon, the windows are down.

– Oh, I will.  We should figure out who’s who in our group of friends in this Sesame Street gang.

And so we did just that.  We went through all of them and figured out who would be who… we were real excited to tell Anna that she would, obviously, be Count Dracula.  Then we’re literally about thirty seconds from the park where we’re supposed to surprise our friend, when I decide that I want to tie the balloon to her gift bag.

– Hey, I’m just gonna tie this balloon on– [blllblllblblllbllll]

My fingers let up for a second and the balloon SHOT out of the window.  I was shocked and whipped my head out the window to see it flying upward.  There were no words… only belly-aching, crying laughter for about a good minute.  It all happened so fast!  And then our amazing Sesame Street gang, who we had already saved once that day, was gone…

p.s. If you didn’t figure it out “blllblllblblllbllll” is the sound a balloon makes when it flies out of a moving car.

Oh man.  Anywho… HAPPY BIRTHDAY DABZ!!  Thanks for an always good time.  You rule.

And I’ve posted this before, but it’s one of my favorite favorites and it involves balloons.:


for the moment.

oh, well damn.  go watch this:

Let me elaborate.

This song.  Wow.  This song.

First of all, I love it… lots.  I love the music, the vocals, the lyrics, it all.

Secondly, the moment I hear it, I am taken back to a certain moment in time.  And it’s silly, you’re going to roll your eyes at me, but I’m taken back to a bar… a bar in Jackson… 43 North.  One of the sketchiest bars in Jackson that always seems to have a cover.  [I pride myself on never paying a cover at 43… but that’s a whole nother story.]

When I hear this song, it brings me back to dacing and smiling so big in 43 North with a bearded boy who I thought was just about the hottest thing in the whole world [for a whole 15 minutes] and thinking to myself, “How nice… a guy who is a really good dancer!  My parents would be so proud.  And this is SUCH a good song!  And I LOVE dancing!”

It was so simple, but it was so joyous.  And this song [this sad song] makes me think of that night… those three minutes… dancing… smiling… good times.

i’m back in the land of the milk and honey!

I’m back in AMERICA!!  I’m in LA!  The airport!

very tired and very dirty.

very tired and very dirty.

I haven’t been able to stop singing this song…

Then I’ll be in Denver with my dear dear friend, Katrina, for a truly magical night.  I feel this picture is appropriate:

me and k$ celebrating america.

me and k$ celebrating america.

She is precious.  I am psyched to get to see her!

I am SO excited!

And then on to Jackson Hole… to be with some more loves.  Speaking of, Happy Birthday Anna!

our ode to a great alpinist poster.

our ode to a great alpinist poster.

She is so precious.  All of my friends are so precious.  And I get to see so many so soon!  Holler!


p.s.  I’m pretty sure I could take the gold medal for sleeping on airplanes… I rule at it.

p.p.s.  I ate a whole can of Pringles at the Figi airport.  Not sorry.

the most beautiful world in the world.

If you’re a subscriber, you probably have a good idea how great/hilarious my dad is.  If not, please check out the “dad’s poscards.” section of the blahg.  Well, today is this very special man’s birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!

my awesome pops and me.*

my awesome pops and me.*

Oh my dad.  What can I say about him?  He’s probably the most embarrassing father you could ask for… oh, don’t worry, he’s trying to be.  Like the time that he told me he was sending a limo for my 13th birthday to pick up me and my eight friends from school.  [limos = big deal in middle school… the richest kids would get them for super fancy-pants occasions.]  You can imagine my horror when my dad showed up, in front of the whole school, in our beige station wagon with “Rachel’s Party Limo” written all over the windows.  He stepped out of the car wearing a vest, chauffeur’s hat and gloves and opened the doors for my friends… who were dying from laughter while piling into the station wagon.  I, on the other hand, was dying from embarrassment and vowed never to speak to my father again… until it was time for cake and presents.

My mind is racing; there are so many more stories.  Dad is the funny one.  As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to love it more and more.  I cherish his ridiculous postcards, stories, everything.  And then every once in a while he says something that is the sweetest, most perfect thing and I’m completely taken back.  Like the last paragraph of an email sent for my birthday:

“So anyway, remember that life is supposed to be fun & try to do the right thing without worrying about it.  It doesn’t always work but its still ‘the most beautiful world in the world’ or as Willie says ‘try to approach everything from a positive angle & it will help make it a positive experience’.  Profound huh?

Happy Birthday, (I can see it like yesterday)

Always Love, Your Proud Father, DADDY”

He is an artist, a musician, a comedian, a golfer, a fisherman, a father, a grandfather, my daddy.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Always Love,
Rocky.  [“Badooder”… can you remind me where I got this nickname from?]

* Back in the day, when I thought I was cool enough to wear conductor hats.  And, can we all agree that my pops looks like Neil Diamond and Neil Young’s love-child?

i’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.

I heard a song this morning and it took me back to a glorious Yosemite morning…

All packed up, Nic and I headed to his truck to drive to our climb.  Walking down the path, Nic realized we forgot our food…

– Oh crap, we forgot our food.

– It’s fine… I’ll run up and grab it from the kitchen and meet you at your truck.

– Okay, cool.

I ran back up the path towards our community kitchen before I was intercepted by a very concerned Dillon, leaving the kitchen…

– Rachel, I need your help!  It’s urgent… Come with me.

As he grabbed my arm and led me to his tent, entering, grabbing his iPod, heading back to the kitchen, I pleaded with him…

– Dillon, I can’t!  I have to meet Nic!  He’s waiting for me!

– Rachel, this girl in the kitchen has never heard of Phil Collins.

– What?!  Who is this girl??

– I don’t know… Didn’t get her name… But you gotta help me show her Phil Collins the right way.

– I completely agree.

– Let’s do this.

Dillon hooked up his iPod to the speakers and clicked it around until…

That’s right.  In the Air Tonight.  It’s starts off pretty slow and the group sitting at the table [including the Phil Collins virgin] is slightly amused/confused.  Dillon and I start our amazing interpretive dance… Swaying back and forth, leaping, making strong eye contact with our best “this is serious” face… It was amazing…

“Well the hurt doesn’t show, but the pain still grows
It’s no stranger to you and me…”

Then the drums!  Oh the drums…  And we’re really moving now.  Power stances with some great fist-pumping, open handed pushing [hard to describe], rhythmic headbanging, leaping, spinning… It was magic.  We were jumping on the chairs, fist-pumping on the tables… We were a great team.  And the girl was loving it… I could tell she had just fallen in love with Phil Collins… Who couldn’t after a performance like that?

The song ended and I promptly grabbed our food from the kitchen and ran out the door.

– Bye guys!  Gotta run!  Thanks for that!

– Thank you, Rach!  See you later!

I walked down the path to find Nic in his truck, waiting for me.

– Hey, sorry.

– What took you so long?

– Dillon needed me for a Phil Collins interpretive dance.

– Oh.  Of course.

my twenties.

Well, my birthday’s coming up.  It’s tomorrow… in Australia.  And then I will celebrate it until it’s over in America.  You can’t stop me.  I’ve been thinking a lot about past birthdays lately.  How they are very definitive days to remember a year by… I guess that’s what they’re for…

Where I was on May 16th throughout my twenties [thus far]…

Twenty [2005].

I was in Thailand.  A very simple day.  I was actually there with a group from my church, we were teaching English in the younger schools around Chiang Rai [no, I don’t know much Thai].  I talked to my mom on the phone and she told me how dad had woken up and turned to her in bed and said, “Our baby’s 20 years old.”  It made me cry.  The legal drinking age is 20 in Thailand… but I was there with a church group.  So I took a beer from the mini-fridge in the hotel we were staying in that night.  Drank it by myself, danced, wrote, went to sleep.  Good birthday.

floating market.

floating market.

Twenty-One [2006].

Competed in an Adventure Race.  There was running, mountain biking, kayaking, orienteering… it was all a blast.  Our team finished in just over 16 hours [my team being Jessica Studinka, Amy Vessels and some guy I cannot remember] and we won!  We won on my birthday; it was great!  The teams started a campfire to celebrate, but I drove three hours home to say goodbye to my family before I left for Yosemite the next day.  I arrived at home at midnight, mom was still awake.  She went and woke Ryland and Dad up and we had my birthday dinner – ribs… they were delicious.  Dad and Ryland were zombies.  I opened gifts, there was cake, they sang “Happy Birthday” then Dad and Ry went to bed and Mom and I ate cake [homemade: chocolate with chocolate – the best].  Left for Yosemite at 6am the next day with my friend, Jolene Pool.

loving it.

loving it.

Twenty-Two [2007].

Celebrated my last day as Production Intern at Alpinist Magazine.  It was a good day, but I realized I was a lot more upset about leaving than I thought I would be.  Around 3pm, Dan Long and Erik Lambert gave me a birthday card containing the first clue to the most amazing scavenger hunt ever.  Clues that led me all over Jackson Hole, including Anna Davis’ house, and then to Trio for a bit of a surprise dinner party.  Then to the Wort, where I think Wayne Roberts and Anna had some kind of drinking contest – unclear.  Then back to my scavenger hunt, which led me to Dan and Erik’s.  We played a drunken game of Four-Square that ended up being too embarrassing to talk about.  The night ended with some uber-hilarious stories and face-hurting smiles.  Great birthday.

alpinist folk + char.


Twenty-Three [2008].

This was the year of the Week-Long-Rachel’s-Birthday-Celebration so I have a hard time remembering the actual May 16th.  Let’s see… I believe Dan Long kicked this one off with a BBQ at his place.  The amazing night ended with a Four-Square game that put the previous year’s to shame.  “Old School Rules.”  Oh, it was precious.  Then [on my real birthday, I believe] there was dinner at Trio with loved ones, of course.  Delicious as always.  Then the next night, I believe there was a No-Pants Party.  Mom, Dad, Ryland, please forgive me.  It was one of the better parties the Swamp House had ever seen [in my humble opinion].  People checked their pants at the door, we danced, we played flip cup, Four-Square, people I didn’t even met showed up, I loved it.  Amazing birthday week.

magic night.

magic night.

trio with precious people.

trio with precious people.

[And I will spare you from the No-Pants Party pictures because:  a) I haven’t gotten waivers signed from all the Pantlesses, b)  my mom might cry and c) I’m almost 24 now… look how responsible I am…. even though the pictures from that night are amazingly hilarious.]

Twenty-Four [2009].

This year I’ll be keeping my pants on and probably won’t play Four-Square… I know, so boring.  I’m getting old, folks.  Tonight I’ll celebrate with the Parkers… I hear Bink’s got some performance she’s been practicing for weeks.  She won’t let me watch her, but I keep hearing “Super Freak” playing from her room.

Then tonight, I will sleep in my bed with all the presents that people have sent so I can open them up as SOON as I wake up.  You think I’m kidding.  Then off to Sydney to hang out with my favorites, the Andersons.  I’m sure there will be soccer, coffee, bookstores, etc.   Then to a new Indian restaurant for birthday dinner with Mark and Tamsin.  To bed early because the next morning Mark and I are running the Sydney Half Marathon.  Woot!  Should be great times, so so excited about spending the day with the Andersons…. though I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t say that part of me wishes I were going to Trio for dinner with the Swampies and Co. and family and then Momma’s chocolate cake and, of course, Four-Square.

magic presents strike again!

Alright.  This is incredible.  You [all the subscribers out there… who will one day get their subscriber complimentary tote bag] might remember my post about magic presents.  Well, the magic present force is getting stronger… or at least quicker…

Coincidence (?) Package #3:

This morning I woke up absolutely pining for lemonade… it’s something I do.  I LOVE drinking lemonade in the mornings… I just crave it when I wake up.  I know it’s weird… I know… Anywho, bad news bears for me because Australia doesn’t even have lemonade.  Yeah, that’s right.  They call Sprite “lemonade”.  Not awesome.  You can find real lemonade in certain restaurants, but anything else is a mixer… if they even have that.  [And yes, I could make my own lemonade… I’ve been meaning to… but I haven’t yet… lay off.]

Back to this morning.  I woke up seriously craving lemonade.  My mouth was so icky and all I wanted was lemonade… it makes everything better!  So I threw on my robe in a panic and ran downstairs to see if we had anything resembling lemonade.  There was cranberry/apple juice… so I had some of that… but it really wasn’t anywhere near the same and I still wanted lemonade.

I even put this on my Facebook status this morning!

i know, i know... #1 rule of fb is you don't talk about fb...

i know, i know... #1 rule of fb is you don't talk about fb...

But alas, no lemonade.  Then I’m sitting here during Bink’s morning nap [around 9:15] and the postman comes to the door with a package.  It’s from my dear Jackson Hole friend, Brian… or “Crazy Dancer Brian” as he is better known.  He is infamous for his dance moves and amazing outfits…

last day at the village 08.

CDB and myself celebrating the last day of the village 2008.

Yeah, so unexpectedly I get this package from CDB.  And what’s in it?…

what the? how? what in the world? seriously?? how did he?

what the? how? what in the world? seriously?? how did he?

Seriously.  Seriously.  A little bottle of lemonade [in a plastic bag for protection] sent all the way from the United States of America.  And it’s my favorite kind.  I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT.  I still can’t believe it!  That’s just incredible!!

He also sent treats…

cookies and gummy bears... which is very convienent because i have already eaten the gummy bears K$ sent.

cookies and gummy bears... very convenient because i have already eaten the gummy bears K$ sent.

my FAVORITE girl scout cookies.

my FAVORITE girl scout cookies.

And then of course he has to keep me up on what’s going on in JH…

CDB... lookin' as good as ever.

CDB... lookin' as good as ever.

But yeah… back to that lemonade.  Crazy, huh??  Coincidence?  I don’t think so… but what???

And seriously, how did he know I needed a new toothbrush??

so strange.

so strange.

Thanks so much for the package, Brian.  It was unbelievable.