Sunday, September 27, 2009


Today I had an offsite clinic with school. We were providing free massages to the athletes at the Xterra Triathlon at Snowbasin, near Ogden, Utah. I wasn't particularly looking forward to it today, not because I don't like doing the offsite clinics, I really have enjoyed the ones I've done in the past. It's that I had been up since 2 PM the day before, and had worked the graveyard shift last night. As it turned out, I left home early and got to within 20 minutes of Snowbasin with still over two hours before I had to be there. I pulled into a rest area and took a nap.

I'd never been to Snowbasin before today. It's amazingly beautiful. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. The air was cool, but the sun was very warm. Snowbasin itself is situated at the base of one of the tallest nearby peaks, but still well above the rest of the valley, if you can technically call it a valley. The view was more of rolling highland hills covered with trees than a proper intermountain valley like Salt Lake or Utah valleys. At any rate, the mountains and rolling hills below were covered in fall colors, which were at their peak of beauty. I'm used to the brilliant fall displays of the East Coast, but these views were breathtaking. I loved how the fall colors I'm used to seeing were sprinkled among dark green pines and white trunks of the aspen trees.

We set up our tables in a shady spot against the main lodge, just as the first runners were coming in. From that point until I took a lunch break, I was giving massage after massage to athletes. These were fairly quick massages, 10 to 15 minutes each, and mostly consisted of compressions along the legs, arms, back, and neck, coupled with some passive range-of-motion and stretching exercises. Everyone seemed really greatful for the massages, and a couple of them even tipped. After lunch (which I took between 3:30 and 4:00) things had started to slow down. We gave massages to the few latecomers, and some of the other volunteer staff, then it was time to go.

Surprisingly, I wasn't tired at all during the event, and even got 3/4 of the way home before I felt like I was going to fall asleep. I called my sister, Kate, and she talked me sober until I got home.

When I walked in the door, I immediately saw that Ninja had gotten into the stash of toy mice. There was a veritable killing field of them all over the front hall. Apparently the closet door hadn't latched after I got my jacket out this morning. It wouldn't have been terribly bad, except we ration them too him because he has a habit of shredding them and eating the skin off the plaster core (then often dropping the plaster core into his food bowl, lord knows why). It's not really a problem according to our PA vet, but we worry about giving him a second mouse before he's properly passed the current one. So, I gathered up all the mice I saw, save one, threw them in the closet, then crashed into bed. I had been awake for 27 hours at that time. I got almost 5 hours sleep before I had to go back in to work the graveyard at the hotel.

Man, I can't wait until I'm licensed. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Down to the Wire

Well, today was the last day of week 7 at school. The term is 10 weeks total, so only 3 more weeks then I graduate. There's a lot to be said for the structure of going to school. Right now, busy as I am, at least my weeks are very planned out and I always know what I have to do. Once I graduate, my schedule is going to be largely up to me. For the most part, that's a good thing, but it's also pretty scary.

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to handle being in business for myself again. The issue with the Quiznos wasn't my organizational skills or anything. I just don't think it was the right business model for the time and place. On the other hand, Quiznos was an all consuming venture. I had stuff I had to do every day and every week and every month at very specific times. Procrastination wasn't an issue. With massage therapy, if I really want a day off (or an hour, or a week) I just don't have to schedule appointments. If I get lazy, I can easily fail. The plus side is that this is work I think I will genuinely enjoy. I know the student clinic is just a small taste of what day to day operations will be like, but so far I've loved the work. Even when I feel like I'd like to skip a clinic day, I'm always glad I didn't. I always come out of clinic feeling energized.

I think I'm going to be renting a space from one of the instructors at the school. She's offering me a good deal and the location and space aren't bad at all. On the down side, the location isn't my first choice, and I'd be working in a space that isn't my own. She also expects me to use her logo and business name on my cards, but I think that might be negotiable. There are other options out there, but truthfully, none of them poses as little risk for the benefit, nor as low a cost as this opportunity. And the most I'd be committed for is three months at first. Once I get a clientelle built up, I can always move into a space of my own.

Decisions, decisions. . .

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Utah - Day-tripper's Dream

One thing I want to use my blog for is to keep track of all the day trips I'm able to take living here in Utah. This state is a day-tripper's dream. I live pretty much in the center of the state's largest metropolitan area, and not only can I see mountains in every direction, but within 20 minutes I can be driving or hiking in them.

Since moving here, I've been to Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Grandeur Peak, Ensign Peak, up to the radar stations on the mountains above Farmington, to the world's largest open pit copper mine, to Bridal Veil Falls, Donut Falls, and the Great Salt Lake. I've hiked through City Creek Canyon, driven through Immigration, Parley's, Mill Creek, and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. I've driven to Park City to the East, and Wendover to the West. I've been North to Logan (home of Cox Honey), and South as far as Spanish Fork Canyon. I've been farther south, but not since moving here last November.

And even after all that, I feel like I've only seen a tiny fraction of what there is to see and do all within a couple of hours drive and all basically free, aside from gas money and snacks. Right now I'm by no means in good shape, yet I've been able to do all only occasionally having to push my limits. I really want to get myself into shape so I can tackle some of the more taxing hikes. My first major goal is to get myself fit enough to hike Mt Timpanogos. It's an imposing mountain ridge overlooking Provo/Orem. Even as late as September this year, there is snow visible on the east face, just under the ridge. It's an all-day hike. I've been told you have to leave around 5 AM if you want to get back by dark in the late summer.

Yeah, I need to get myself into shape!

First Things First


My name is Karl Jennings. I'm a gay, former-Mormon, recently returned to Utah after having lived most of my life in the Eastern US. My family moved East from Utah before I was even a year old, so I don't really remember ever having lived here at that time, but I do remember visits to grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins while I was growing up.

I've been around a bit since then. I've lived in Utah, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Brazil, Virginia, Texas, California, Texas, Korea, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and now again in Utah, in that order. I've loved most of the places I've lived and I don't really feel like I have a "home town". I have parents in Virginia and Maryland, and brothers and sisters in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, California and Utah. "Home" is where I'm living at any given moment.

Well, more precisely, "home" is where I live with Chris. He's my partner of six-plus years, and the one person who anchors my life and gives me a sense that in all the world, one place is "home". Right now we're sharing an apartment with two cats, Ninja, and Shade.

I've done a variety of things, just as I've lived a variety of places. My earliest memories are living on a farm in North Carolina. At that time, my parents, my older sister, and I were living with my mom's parents in an honest-to-goodness log cabin in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it town of Pilot Mountain. It was a working farm where my grandfather raised pigs and grew corn. I'm sure he did more than that, but that's what I most remember.

While I was still very young, my grandfather abandoned us and moved to Florida "with some floozy", as the grownups said among themselves. I never saw him again, though my mother did before he died. After he left us, the farm basically went to seed. My father wasn't a farmer, though I believe he loved the farm. He worked for the Boy Scouts. To him the farm was a great big toy and he ran it like a scout camp. The pigs all got sold (I guess), and a few acres were lent, or leased, to a neighbor farmer. The rest, outside the log cabin and yard, was a mix of fields gone to weed, a nice size wooded area around a very large pond, several outbuildings in various stages of disuse, and whatever particular scouting related project had my father's attention at the time.

When I was 9, my father got a job transfer to Danville, Kentucky and we moved away. Five years later, we moved again (with another job transfer) to Norfolk, Virginia. It was from Norfolk that I left to go on a two-year mission to Brazil for the LDS Church (the Mormons). Within a year after returning home from Brazil, I joined the Air Force, which took me through Texas for Basic training, California (Monterrey) for language school, back to Texas (San Angelo) for tech. school, to Korea for two years, and finally to Maryland. It was in Korea, and later in Maryland where I came to grips with my sexuality in a long process that ended with me leaving the military (because my commitment was completed) and also leaving the LDS Church (because I no longer believed).

Post Air Force, I ended up living in Baltimore, Maryland with my first partner, Douglas. I was with him for nine years before we ended our relationship by mutual agreement. I worked for a major credit card company during that time, in their call center, at first, and then later as a network analyst.

Chris and I met while I was living in Maryland, and we shared an apartment for a few months before finally buying a house in Pennsylvania. I eventually quit my job with the credit card company and Chris and I opened a restaurant in Pennsylvania. We picked probably the worst year in the last decade to open a business, and had to close our doors after only 11 months in operation. Now we live in Utah and are trying to rebuild our finances. I'm in school for massage therapy, which I love, and Chris is working for a healthcare company. Utah seems to agree with us both, and we have made a lot of friends in the ten and a half months we've lived here. It feels as much like home as anywhere, and more like home than most places.

So that's me in Cliff's Notes. I plan to write here at least weekly. If you find me and like what you read, feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a line. It's all about making connections and shooting for sense.