Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What a good day looks like

I had a pretty good day today. Here's what it looked like.

7am. Woke up an hour before my alarm went off.
8am. Ate a bowl of cereal, in bed.
9am. Walked to work.
9:05am. Worked.
12:15pm. Walked to the co-op and back to work.
12:45pm. Ate and did a crossword.
1pm. Worked. Hard.
4:30pm. Walked home from work.
5pm. Ran 3.5 miles at the gym.
6pm. Showered. Ate.
7pm. Crossword puzzle. Burned some sage. Sat in front of a space heater.

It's now 9:03pm. I'm tempted to start watching "Born Into Brothels", which is my movie of the moment compliments of Netflix. A glass of bourbon sounds good too. I may opt out of both however, do some stretching and go to bed early. Perhaps I will lay in bed and read for a while. I'm not sure yet.

Things are kind of funky in my life right now... I'm seeing a lot of chaos around me. It's hard to watch. When I was at the gym tonight, everything smelled so strong. And granted, it's the gym and things are going to smell...but every different smell there was so distinct and powerful. It was overwhelming. My senses, both smell and spacial are really sensitive right now. I'm feeling things much more acutely. In a way it's kind of cool.... being so aware of things. In another way however, it's kind of annoying. Sometimes, I just want to walk through the world untouched, unaware. You know?

I suppose when it comes down to it...I embrace these heightened awareness. I think it's better that way. I could be wrong, but I don't care. I'm gonna go with it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Em Gee - Mahalia is dead!

OMG stands for Oh My God, which is what people say when things are good, bad, or shocking. I'm having an OMG moment as we speak.

Today is Sunday, which means that while some are out to church, and others are tailgating, I am home, in my pajamas listening to Mahalia Jackson on vinyl. I often joke that I listen to Mahalia on Sundays in lieu of going to church. Well...today, it's true. Besides, I don't really go to church. I mean, I have. When I was little we went to a Unitarian church. But then pastor (?) moved, so we followed him (or her, I don't remember, I was just a kid), but it was too far of a commute, so we quit going to church.

Over the last 2-3 years, I've gone to church a few times. I went with the ever-speedy Ladia a couple of times. She would go in big part for the music, but also because of her dedication to God. I went with her to hear the music, to learn more about her, and to learn more about Christianity. I went to a mosque with my buddy Aziz a year ago. I was taking a class with Jim Laine (hilarious man, if you ever get a chance to take a class with him, I recommend it) and we had to go to a service/place of worship that was different from our own. I wasn't able to participate in the service at the Mosque, because I am a woman, but I was able to observe, which was really cool. (Note: before you judge, keep in mind I wouldn't be able to take communion at a Catholic service either).

I also went to a couple different Evangelical services with my friend Shari. Girl can sing... which is mostly why I went. One of the services we went to was in Bryn Mawr, at a school auditorium.... I remember taking notes (which are in an old journal somewhere), and being really pleased with the messages being shared. To me, they were less about God and more about people. I felt like I could relate to a lot of the things being said. (This is weird, because when I think of Evangelical, I think of people trying to push their beliefs on to me...but when I was there, I didn't feel that way).

I used to live half a block from a Presbyterian church...so I went there a handful of times. I figured since I'd been to all the other places in the neighborhood (bars, coffee shop, etc), I should check out the church as well. The people there were very nice, and welcoming...yet they didn't push their religion on me. One old woman (probably in her 80's) asked me what my home church was, and I said I didn't have one. She asked what religion I was raised with, and I said I wasn't. She still served me a cup of coffee... and didn't feel the need to preach. I appreciated that.

I live close to the cathedral, but have not been there for services. I went once on a tour with one of my group home girls, and that was interesting. I stopped and talked to some protesters a couple weeks ago over there, who were upset about the DVD condemning homosexuality. I don't know what difference protesting makes, but I think it's good that they came together and had a physical presence.

This weekend, I declared it "Pajama Weekend". That means no church clothes... only pajamas and gym clothes. Feeling like I should "embrace my spiritual side", I tried playing some Mahalia Jackson this morning. It didn't work. It was warped. I yanked a few other records from the stack, and they were also warped. This initiated the OMG response...the OMG Mahalia is warped, dead, done, over. Ugh. What a terrible feeling. I hollered at my boy Adrian and he agreed with my plan to put each record under my heavy set of speakers for a while so they flatten out. Andy Wilbourn told me the same thing too, a while ago, when I was in denial of any record warping damage.

So....I now have a year long task ahead of me.... flatten out these records. Some I don't care if they get fixed. Some I can repurchase for a dollar at Landfill Records. Others, a digital version will suffice. And there's a few yet...that just can't be replaced with MP3/digital versions. A few like Mahalia, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, etc...

We shall see what happens. Maybe this is a sign that I should sell my turntables, and use my desk for studying, rather than spinning. Truth be told... I don't spin records. Well, sometimes I mess around with mixing, but that isn't very often. Mostly, I just let the record play itself...which usually is enough to make me happy. Today though, I am not happy... because as you know, music makes my world go 'round, and while sure I have a lot of music on my computer, nothing compares to the sounds of Mahalia, Marvin, Stevie, Janis, Joni.... on wax.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One pink sweater at a time....

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned in a blog that I needed some business casual clothes... I didn't think anything would come of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Last summer, in one of the most random moments of my life, I ran (part of) 193 miles with 12 people I had never met before. I don't think I wrote about it, which is a shame, because it was an experience like no other. Regardless, I made some new friends at this race. One of them, Alicia read my blog about needing clothes. She said she could help me out...and did she ever!!

I am sitting on my couch right now, wearing one of about a dozen cashmere sweaters she outfitted me with. In my closet are now 5 more pairs of heels that I started with (bringing the grand total to 6). I went to the western suburbs to check out "some sweaters" that Alicia had set aside for me...and holy smokes! To say it was overwhelming wouldn't be accurate... but it was something pretty close.

"Some of this might be too 'girly' for you", she said. I told her I'm trying to embrace my feminine side, so this will be good. As I sorted through a bed full of clothes, I unintentionally pushed the pinks and pastel colors aside. I didn't realize it until taking a step back. Alicia gave me 5 pairs of heels too, one of which I tried to do some house cleaning in yesterday. I didn't last long in heels (about 30 seconds), so I'm going to need some more practice before stepping out in the real world.

I am blessed. Really. So blessed. I've got a few women in my life right now, that are helping me become more aware of how I carry myself, how I present myself, how I work with what I've got. It's been amazing, and I am learning so much. I'm so thankful.

When I was little, I would run around in basketball shorts and tee-shirts. I still do, occasionally.... which I think is fine (occasionally). Frankly, I can rock both looks... I can do jeans with my grampa's button up and a jacket. Or I can work a dress (it's the walking in heels that kills me). And as I am experiencing more sides of life, I am learning that it's good to be able to go back and forth between the two. I'm also learning how important "presentation" is.

Argh... this blog isn't going where I want it to go. I've got a lot on my mind right now, and didn't sleep well.... so this is more "jumbled" than I'd hoped. I played guitar last night for a couple hours...it was good. I need to play more often (piano too). It's a good outlet for me, as is running, which I haven't been doing enough of lately. I need to pick a race, I think that's the problem. I have no upcoming races, it's 30 degrees and icy outside, and my motivation is low. When I run, I feel good about myself. When I dress nice, I feel good about myself. When I feel good about myself, I am productive, loving, and happy.

I'm going to embrace these feelings one pink sweater at a time...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Get Outta Town!!

2 posts in one day? Get outta town. I'm on a roll....deal with it.

A couple weeks ago (halloween weekend), I went camping with Andy and Chris Wilbourn. Here are the pictures. Also, in following up to my post a week or two ago... I didn't end up going to see Ardes. It was our first snow of the season, and people tend to lose their ability to drive during the first snow, so I stayed close to home. I'll get out to see her in the next month or two. She's awesome, and I was bummed to not be able to see her last weekend.

Anyhow....here are the photos. You can see the photos took here.

looking for firewood.



andy getting the fire going.



pork and beans.

chris got fancy with his pork and beans.

andy during a serious moment.



my favorite photo of chris from the weekend.

jay cooke state park.

jay cooke.

chris and andy.

Eulogy: A letter to my grampa

I wrote this after my grampa died. I was 20. My best friend (amelia), her sister Rosie read this at their service. (my gramma and grampa died within a week of eachother-- yes, that's real love-- and so we had their service together).

I can't believe she read it. It meant the world to me...and she was so young...so brave. Thank you Rosalie, you may never know how much your courage meant to me.


You’ve been my hero, my love, and my best friend. All of that in an 88-year man, with a big round belly. Who knew I’d fall in love with such a character?

Without you these past 4 months, a wave of loneliness has swept over me. I feel incomplete. You’ve been so much to me.

You’ve been the father I never had, you’ve been the hero I’ve always admired, and you’ve been the best friend that I’ve always needed.

I hope you know how much I love you.

I loved fishing with you, except for the time I fell through the hole in the ice.

I loved bowling with you at the student center, even though I’d always quit after half a game and make a run for the snack bar.

I loved sitting on your lap while we watched football. I got too big to sit on your lap, but we didn’t care, I’d squish you anyway.

I loved playing catch with you in the front yard, you jumping in the air after my wild throws, and chasing after balls headed to the neighbors yard.

I didn’t so much love when you made me stand outside on the deck, one cold winter night, because I didn’t finish my vegetables at dinner. You probably forgot about that by now. I didn’t.

I loved that you would come to my hockey games, and lay out the blanket for grandma and you to sit on. I could never focus on games when you were there, because I was always so happy and proud you were in the stands. Sometimes you’d clap when the other team scored. You were so nice.

I loved helping you get dressed at 7am this summer…but loved it more when you were still sleeping and I’d push your legs over and climb in bed with you.

I loved your big belly…sorry I always joked about you swallowing a bowling ball.

I loved that you showed me how to artificially inseminate a chicken, long before I knew what insemination was.

I loved yours and Kirk’s panicked reaction when I got carsick on the way to Canada. Y’all had no idea how to help the sick 10 year old Indian in the back seat.

I loved it this summer, when I asked you what your favorite music was, and you said “hip hop”.

I loved that I was your sweetie and you were my dude.

I loved holding your hand. I’d do anything to hold your fat, old, dry hands again.

I loved that you’d call me a smart ass, but never held it against me.

I loved that you were the “ladies man” of the nursing home. That’s quite the honor.

I loved that we shared clothes…well, that you let me take all your sweaters and button up shirts.

I loved your “women want me, fish fear me” shirt. I wear it when I miss you.

I loved that you promised me a jeep wrangler when I graduated college.

We both knew I wouldn’t graduate college in your lifetime.

I loved when I’d try to drink whisky and eat dry burnt toast with you, but couldn’t stomach it. You’d laugh, I’d grimace.

I loved that funny smell you always had. Old man smell.

I loved saying “stay out of trouble” when I’d leave the nursing home, and you’d sit there with a huge grin on your face because we both knew the kinds of trouble you could get into.

I miss you Grandpa. And I love you, so much. You mean the world and beyond to me.

I will never forget you, the love of my life, my super hero, my best friend.


It's hard for me to read this, and know it's been almost 6 years since my grampa died. It still feels like yesterday. He was the one person who understood me. He was my love.

Without him, i feel lost....yet, without him, I am inspired, to take it one step further. I want to make him proud.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One of many...

One of many reasons I don't update my blog very often is because I have terrible internet connection. That is...I use my neighbors, and it's slow/unpredictable. Also...the only place my computer can get online is when it's on the back of my couch. If you happen to have a laptop, put it on the back of your couch, and try using it there for a while. I know I could write on a word document and then just upload it to my blog, but that's not the point.

I'm getting my own internet today!! I've been wanting to get internet for years, but have never had the funds to do so. Now that I'm rolling in the "big bucks" at my new job I can actually afford it. What this means, is I am not limited to sitting sideways/backwards on my couch. Nope, this time I'll be able to do like most people with laptops do... I'll be able to check my email while I'm in the bathroom, or making dinner, or still in bed. Ha!

Anyhow, I hope to update more often with this new luxury. This weekend I am going to visit my homegirl, Ardes Shea. She's a riot, who I can barely keep up with. I'm excited for our slumber party. Last night I took pictures for a quilt binding event at work. The dozen women who came were beautiful in their own, unique way. And...they all brought food. Yummo!! Tonight I am taking pictures for a corporate event being held at the zoo. I wonder if I'll get an elephant ride out of it?

A friend and I spoke (briefly) last night about going to India. That was always my plan.... to go volunteer at my orphanage after I graduated college...which was supposed to happen a few years ago, I guess. We'll see. I'm slowly making progress on my schoolwork. I'd like to have my projects done by winter break. Scratch that... I WILL HAVE MY PROJECTS DONE BY WINTER BREAK.

With my new job...I'm finding that I need to update my wardrobe. If anyone has business/casual attire they no longer use, hit me up. I'm pretty small...but have long limbs. Either that, or if anyone wants to shop with me, give a shout.... I usually don't last but an hour, so hopefully you are similar. (I love my sister, but damn the woman can shop! I can't keep up, so I don't try).

Lastly, I went camping with Chris and Andy Wilbourn a couple weekends ago. Sheesh, it was COLD! It must have dipped below freezing at night. (I know people camp in much harsher weather than that). In fact, Chris and I spoke that night about what it would be like to be homeless, and sleeping in the cold without the comfort of a tent or a sleeping bag. Very sad to think about, but important to remember as well.

I took pictures while we were there. (We all took pictures, actually). I will try and have those edited by early next week. I've got a lot on my plate for photography right now, so I might as well take it on all at once!

Hope folks in MN reading this are enjoying the nice weather we've been having. Rumor is, it's gonna get colder soon. I'll believe it when I see it. (I'm currently sitting-backwards- on my couch, with a space heater on my back, so I guess I'll see it soon enough).

Cheers and love!!