27 April 2017

An Open Letter to the Women of Airport Bathrooms

Dear Women of Airport Bathrooms,

I'm hardly a frequent traveler, but I find myself amongst your ranks 3-5 times a year when I do my best to blend in. I politely wait in line when applicable, find a stall near the back if I'll be a while, and move expediently when I know others are waiting. Because let's be real ladies, we spend enough of our lives waiting in bathroom lines.

However, since the advent of the cell phone - really since the wide adoption of the smartphone - I have noticed a growing trend I find most troubling. That's why I'm here today. We need to talk about what is, and what is not, appropriate behavior in public restrooms.

I first encountered this offensive conduct on my way home from Chicago in the fall of 2013. I remember specifically because 1) I was so shocked, and 2) earlier that year I had driven to Jackson after getting laid off the second time to ski with my friend Amy, and while visiting we shared stories of how ladies just can. not. seem to flush toilets at ski resorts and isn't that so annoying and dear god why is it so hard? Thus, I was on high alert in September 2013 when I walked into a 4-stall bathroom in the airport and heard it: a woman talking on the phone....from inside the stall.

Not to be judgy, but really? You are in a public restroom. Surely your conversation is not that important (and I know, because I had to listen to it). Have you considered holding it? Or asking the person if you can call them back? Why not take advantage of those silent texting capabilities like the rest of us?

I understand that desire to stay on the phone while you're going to the bathroom. It'll just take a minute, you don't want to interrupt the person you've been using as entertainment while you're bored at the airport, and frankly it's just more efficient. I am the queen of efficiency - I get it! I have absolutely gone to the bathroom while talking on the phone....in my own home....to a very exclusive set of people. Which means I am telling you, as one of your own, that airport bathrooms are not some secret vortex where you should continue your conversation about Aunt Mildred's gallstones or the major presentation you just nailed. We do not want to listen to you strategize over spreadsheets or family matters or if you should go on a second date with Tim or Andrew from Tinder.

Just stop.

Hang up the damn phone. Put it in your pocket. Go to the bathroom. Wash your hands. Continue the conversation. This keeps you from annoying everyone else AND keeps airborne feces off your phone. You touch that thing to your face you know. Win win.

With love,
Kristina, the girl who hates you two stalls over

13 April 2017

You Can't Go Home Again

I left my hometown of Bozeman, Montana, in 2002 to attend a large college in the big city. When I left, our population was pushing 37,000 and Montana as a whole had less than a million people living in it. Ten hours later I arrived in Seattle at the University of Washington where I was one of 80,000 faces on campus and lived in a city with over half a million people.

Lucky for me, school didn't feel big for long. I met a community of fellow band nerds and fell into a rhythm of class, work, band, homework, sleep, repeat. I spent that first Thanksgiving at home, but in the fifteen years since it's the only time I've eaten turkey with my family. I went home for Christmas too, but spent the summer in Seattle establishing residency for in-state tuition. In the next three years I kept going home for Christmas, but by the time I graduated I was ready to travel and visit new places. I went from fives visits a year to two. Then one. Then one every other year.

While in college, something shifted and Montana didn't feel like home anymore. My dingy, basement apartment in the city didn't feel like home either but this place - Seattle - was growing into an ever important part of my identity. I would always be the girl from Montana, but now I was the girl from Montana making a way for herself in Seattle.

I've been gone almost as long as I lived in Bozeman - 15 years of my adult life. I had my first drink in Seattle, went on my first first-date in Seattle, got my first professional job in Seattle, and bought my first home in Seattle. Going away and coming back, I always feel a wave of relaxation wash over me as the plane circles above the puget sound. I think how nice it feels to be home.

On a recent trip to visit my family - the first in two years - I started reflecting on how much things have changed since I was a kid and how much my childhood shaped who I am today. Growing up with unlimited access to the outdoors, my parents encouraged me and my sisters to go outside, play in the dirt, and explore our curiosities. My dad especially encouraged us to stand up for what we believed in. He taught us to be strong, independent, and not take shit from anyone - including him. He liked that we were competitive - even if it meant burping contests at the dinner table. When people call me sassy I know I came by it honestly. Once, my dad told me to reach into my wallet, pull out my "bitch card", and play it. In doing so I learned to not settle for less than what I deserve. I'm still learning the ways in which my childhood was incredibly unique and special, and I grow more and more grateful as the years go on.

I've been gone a long time, but people still ask me when I plan to move back to Montana. It's a hard question to answer. Years ago I was reading a book by Tom Brokaw, and I think he really put it best:
“I put my home state of South Dakota in a rear view mirror and drove away. I was uncertain of my final destination but determined to get well beyond the slow rhythms of life in a the small towns and rural culture of the Great Plains. I thought that the influences of the people, the land, and the time during my first twenty-two years of life were part of the past. But gradually I came to know how much they meant to my future, and so I have returned often as part of a long pilgrimage or renewal. When I do return… I’m just someone who grew up around here, left a while back, and never really answers when he’s asked, “When you gonna move back home?” I am caught in the place all too familiar to small-state natives who have moved on to a rewarding life in larger arenas: I don’t want to move back, but in a way I never want to leave. I am nourished by every visit.” --Tom Brokaw, A Long Way From Home
You can't recreate magic. You can only be lucky to have experienced its grandeur. Maybe someday I'll go back, but probably not. In a way I never can.

06 April 2017

Turns All Year: Month 65

It turns out, you can get too much of a good thing. After skiing my face off for 11 days in February, something had to break, and it was me. And the weather. We can blame the weather too.

For March - month 65 of Turns All Year - I got in three days of skiing, one at my home mountain in Washington for another awesome SheJumps event, and two days at my home mountain in Big Sky Country for skiing with zee fam and zee friends. Here are my favorite pictures:

Crystal Mountain - March 12


Skittles Reunion!

Holy crap! That's a lot of girafficorns! 

March 25 - Big Sky, Montana

The man. The myth. The legend. This guy taught me to ski when I was three. Thanks Popi! 

The other favorite man in my life.

Look at those sweet chutes I "skied". Photo by Erica Bliss.

Keeping this one in my back pocket for when it's needed.

March 26 - Big Sky, Montana Part Deux

Erica with a pretty decent backdrop I guess.
Ladies on the summit! Such a fun crew.

Hey gals - what do you think of Big Sky?

Erica crushing a tram run.

See ya MT!