Wednesday, August 29, 2007

thought of the week: august 26-september 1

here, you can be anything, anything that scares you, i think that scares you
~jimmy eat world, clarity, "just watch the fireworks"
since june i've been on a big jimmy kick, listening to the album clarity every night as i fall asleep, while working out, while driving, just about all the time. jenn gave me the cd for my birthday & it's one of the best gifts i've ever received. sometimes there are things that come to you at just the right point in your life: a book, a movie, a song/cd. & this cd came into my life at just the right time.
right before my birthday i was definitely feeling out of sorts, on the outside, & like i didn't have any sense of grounding in my life. i really am concentrating now on moving forward with my life & not dwelling on my past: my mistakes, the things i wish i would have said, would have done, the time i wasted doing anything but what makes me happy. but at that time i was in a pretty dark, dusty place.
while in cali, incidentally on the way up to pleasant hell where i crisped like chicken in a pan of hot oil on my way to be tattooed, i had a jimmy epiphany, my first jimmy epiphany. to quote miss jenn "you can't avoid having a jimmy epiphany in cali with the top down." TRUE STORY. i did have the top down, bandanna in my hair, shades on, the top down, going faster than i'll admit with jimmy eat world on the stereo, & " just watch the fire works came on." the song starts off with my quote of the week, & all of a sudden something hit me, as if the song had been written for me for that moment in my life, driving from campbell to pleasant hill on I-680 north in a blue convertible. i had heard the song at least a dozen times from receiving the cd on wednesday & my birthday on friday. but there was something about that moment in time that just touched me.
& i realized that, i really can be anything. & it does scare me. i'm scared by the possibility of it all. because i don't want to live my life in the normal pastel shades of life. i want to color my days in the thick, heady, deep shades of bold pigment: glittering emerald green, sparkling pacific ocean blue/green, passionate dragon eye red, the purest virgin white & deepest sinful coal black. the tones that are scary because they don't whisper for approval, they shout their intentions to the whole world, no matter what. i want to be the kind of person that is so utterly phenomenal that everyone wants to know her because she's just that magnetic. (well, ok, i already kinda think i am that person. . . . but i want to be even more so).

where does that leave me? same place i started. looking straight at the fact that i can be anything i want, anything at all, even something scary. & to be honest, while it's my greatest dream, being a writer is something that IS scary. being an artist is most definitely not walking the same worn path. it's outside the norm. it's sexy, elusive, mysterious, uncertain, scary, & surreal. for a chick who grew up in subsidised housing, my parents scraping by & working hard to give me a chance at something better. to give me a chance to have financial stability, free of their same worry. for me, it's the most frightening thing in the world, because, while i know i can make it. i know that i can, will, be financially successful at writing. it's also doing the exact opposite of what my parents dreamed for me. they wanted me doing what i am right now: working a full time job, with good health insurance, a 401K, the chance for something better. but, at the same time, they also told me the same thing as my quote this week, that i can be ANYTHING. talk about a bit of a mixed message.

but, i stand by what both my myspace & yahoo IM say "talk to me now before i'm famous." i'll make it. & it's the scariest thing in the world. but thrilling & well worth the work & everything i will give to live my dream.

Friday, August 24, 2007

the rules of kindergarten don't apply here

my first comment is: jesus bobby!

so jenn totally kicked my ass at kick boxing! twice now! on wednesday we were practicing "elbows" which is basically using your forearm in a sweeping motion to smack the shit out of your opponent. well, at one point she hit the target pad with pretty intense force & i was caught off guard & the target pad i was holding with my left hand bounced back, hitting me in the face & nearly knocking my glasses off my face. awesome. to jenn's credit, she felt really bad about hitting me in the face with my own arm. luckily i didn't bruise at all, & other than being a bit startled & kinda sheepish about hitting myself in the face, with jenn's help, no harm no foul.

so i figured that was a one time fluke accident. bizarre, but nothing that could happen again, right? WELL, not so much. two days later, once again at kick box d'oh at the Y, jenn punches me in the face, with my own hand, again. jesus bobby.

it was the same thing, practicing elbows, i was the target she was punching. she's also left handed, which means her left hand & arm are stronger than her right. & since i'm right handed the exact opposite is true for me. SO, when she is using all of her strength & putting her whole body into her left elbows, she's making contact with my left hand holding the target pad. but, i also think that i need to hold the target a bit lower, more toward my chest, that way, if something gets bruised it's my boobies & not my face.

the lesson in all this? don't piss jenn off, cause she can elbow the crap outta you.

Monday, August 20, 2007

thought of the week

welcome to a new feature here in my corner of blogsphere: thought/quote of the week. over the past few days i've been listening to the wildbirds golden daze quite a bit, as evidenced by my recent blog. & i've been doing a lot of thinking. one thing i realized is that very often a day, or a week, or even a phase, of my life is framed by the music, books, or movies that i am immersed with, & very often a quote that takes on special meaning to me. so i've decided to share the love (& the voices in my head) by posting a quote a week along with my personal musings. because of my recent infatuation with the wildbirds, the quote of the week for this first week is from their song "slow down," which is currently one of my favorites on the album.
hold on, this ain't gonna be easy
slow down, you've been moving too fast
~the wild birds~ golden daze
lately i do feel as if i've been moving at warp speed. i've been flitting from one thing to the next like a freakin hummingbird, not taking time to settle & do any one thing with the intensity or voracity to which i think is required. i do know quite a few people that seem to thrive on that kind of momentum (my sis, my dad, & the fabulous dev to name three). & while i do sometimes thrive on stress & the rush of the adrenaline & i push myself to do just one more thing, just one more mile, just one more book, just one more blog, just one more errand, before the sun sets again. it wears on me at the same time. i think even the above trio of speed would agree that sometimes a person needs to stop, take a deep breath, & re-evaluate. that's the place that i'm at right now, trying to put the brakes on without tripping or crashing into a tree so that i can stop, take stock of where i find myself.
right now i'm trying to do some major things all at once. i'm trying to (once again) lose weight, get back into my fanatical (some might say) work out routine, & finish my master degree with not one but TWO thesis (yeah, i'll admit that one is pretty mother effin psychotic). any one of those things would drive a normal person insane. but i'm doing it while living in st. paul, working in minnetonka (read 21.2 miles each way) & actually working two jobs, not just one. now i'm not asking for a pity party (but if i WERE to ask for one, would you come? bring me a pressie wrapped in a pink bow? we'd have punch & pie. . .cause more people will come if we have punch & pie ).
thankfully losing weight goes very well with my fanatical workout schedule, so once i find my exercise mojo i'll be in like flynn. & by fanatical i mean that i was working out a minimum of two hours a day, every day of the week, a combination of yoga/pilates & cardio/weight lifting. this was back in spring of 2005. granted, when i was working out that much i was taking one class & only working part time (read 24 hours every other week). so working out that much was no thang. it kept me out of trouble & off the streets. & you know what happens when poets are allowed to run the streets wild. there's nothing worse than poets run amok, it's like girls gone wild meets sylvia plath, without the oven, but with the booze. true story.
the two thesis, well, even in a perfect world that is no small task. once again, not asking for a pity party, jus statin' da facts mac. i will readily admit that doing a book of poetry & a novel would be MUCH easier if i was only working part time again, ah those days of minimal work hours! & if i didn't live so far away from work. & if i wasn't trying to lose an olson twin (there will be a future blog on this subject, stay tuned!) but that's not the case. & i am by no means bound to finish both projects. hamline did not require me to sign anything in blood (i was grandfathered in before they started doing that for thesis candidates). by now it's a matter of pride. i've told everyone & their grandmother that i'm doing two projects for my thesis. my parents, especially my mom, have been bragging me up to anyone who will listen, & several people who really didn't want to listen. & i feel like i would be a colossal failure if i gave up on this. to their credit, my advisers at hamline have been very supportive of me no matter what i want to do, although, i have been given that look that says "say what?! you crazy wench!" which i totally deserve. cause here's the dirty little secret: it doesn't affect my actual degree in the slightest if i finish two masters projects or if i decide i'm satisfied with just one. one is all that's required. the WORST part gang, is that i have enough poems that i could finish my poetry book & be done with everything by december & all set to graduate (read walk) in may. *eye roll* i know. completely idiotic. i should just "finish the book of poetry & be the feck done with it" to quote miss sinead.
but, hrm, i went into this program saying i wanted to write fiction, that i want to be a novelist. & i really feel that i NEED to finish the novel for my own soul. there is something inside me (once again, those voices) that says if i don't finish a novel now, i may never finish one. & i know that i have it in me. i just KNOW it. i love my poetry too, my poems are like my babies, little pieces of me that i send out into the world to make their way & revolutionize society. but a novel, the thought of a novel feels bigger, more substantial, a novel has heft to it. even though it is most certainly NOT true, i sometimes get the feeling that the thought runs rampant that anyone if they have a general grasp of written language & the ability to rhyme can write poetry. for the record i strongly assert that is more definitely NOT the case. just because you can make cart & fart rhyme does not mean that you are compelled to do so & call it poetry. yes i'm kind of a snob when it comes to writing, i never deliberately hurt anyone's feelings, but that's just the way i feel. i won't apologize for it. but, writing a novel, that's something that takes time & dedication to finish, even a crap novel is an accomplishment of sorts. yes yes, twisted logic, i know.
& while i have a lot that i want to get done, that i feel like i need to get done, i also feel that going at a frantic pace every day of the week is not going to bring me any kind of lasting joy, satisfaction, or enjoyment. so here we go, *deep breath* cause really,  hold on, this ain't gonna be easy. slow down, you've been moving too fast true story. & while toys, gadgets, & status are really nice amenities to life, how can you enjoy the journey if you never go anywhere?

Friday, August 17, 2007

the wildbirds-golden daze : a music review

i was first introduced to the wildbirds by jenn, who is good friends with "the boys." i recall hearing about them all the way back in our training days at our previous company, in the wintery cold of january 2006. back then what i recall most was her shock that they were officially dismantling their band, number one fan, going back to the drawing board, and re-inventing themselves: as a band, as a group, & their style. well, maybe not so much shock as kind of a grieving process. she loved the boys as number one fan & was, & still is, extremely sad to know that her beloved band is no more. i was also with jenn through the process as she, friend & fan, was privy to the evolution of the new band: new songs, new name, the whole shebang as she hung out with the boys on their frequent trips through the cities here. & as she ventured on a few occasions to appleton, wisconsin just to see them play. on a personal note, i have to say it was quite thrilling to see an artist make that transformation & see how it affects those who love them, on a personal & professional level.

so, onto the music review portion. i'd like to note that jenn is not twisting my arm, nor is she in anyway prompting me to post this. BUT, as someone who has gained a genuine affection for the wildbirds music (& their previous incarnation, number one fan) i want to be out front & promote these guys, maybe gain them a fan or two. i genuinely feel honored that i've been given the privilege of hearing many of their songs before the full album release through jenn's ipod over my cube wall when she got the EP at its release & introduced me to the songs that she had been raving about for months & months. (for anyone who, like me, has no clue what the eff an EP is, basically, it is a teaser of the music to come on the full album. it has some of the songs, but not all of them. according to jenn, EP stands for extended play. now, why, a shorter teaser version of an album is called an EXTENDED PLAY i have no fricken clue, just sharin' the knowledge, sharin' the love.)

the wildbirds music, in a way, reminds me of music from bands gone past. they have a bit of a tom petty feel for me (ala the wildflowers album), also a bit of some 60's & 70's rock. there is even a track that is slightly tarantino-eque, as in quentin. since i am a complete music history novice i won't pretend to be able to speak with supreme musical sophistication on the exact genre that they fall into, nor would i try to classify their music into any one spot. the album is, from start to finish, an emotional journey, that, depending on the mindset of the listener, can drastically change the emotions the songs illicit. it consists of eleven tracks, but they flow together so well that it seems that there are both more than eleven songs, and less than eleven songs, if that makes sense. when you listen intently to the songs you, of course, can tell the change from one to the next, but if you have the cd playing in the background as you drive or work or are otherwise distracted from active listening, it feels like an opera with many different scenes.

i have listened quite intently to the album since i got it on wednesday, hoping to do it justice as i try my hand at a music review. with each listen through i find something different that i love, that intrigues me, that makes me think, & that surprises me. at this exact moment i have four songs that are my favorites, but my favorites have also changed several times through out my first days with this album. currently my favorites are "it's alright now," "where has all the goodness gone?" "slow down," & "suzanna."

"it's alright now" is the song that is somewhat tarantino-eque, it was actually used in a commercial that won a contest for (the commercial itself starts at about 6:08 on the player). i know it sounds a bit bizarre to say that a song is tarantino-esque, just have a listen & you'll see what i mean. the second one, "where has all the goodness gone" is the slowest song of the album, almost a ballad, but i hate to pigeon hole any of the songs into a specific genre. but, it is definitely a welcome interlude in the otherwise mainly fast paced album, it allows the listener to stop, take a deep breath, & refocus. "slow down" is a song that i can't stop playing, even as i blog it's playing on my itunes. the chorus is one that, in jenn's words, i can see being really catchy. but it's also really profound & simple at the same time, & is suited perfectly for the place that i am at right now. the last song listed, "suzanna" is the last track on the album, but is definitely a strong track in it's own right. it's the kind of song that you almost HAVE to listen to with the top down, or, at the least, your windows. it is a beautiful song with a wonderfully strong bass beat while at the same time feeling like a rock ballad/love song. each time i hear it i try to focus on a different element: lyrics, drums, guitar.

the wildbirds are definitely a band to watch. they'll be coming through the twin cities again on september 2 at the triple rock social club. i have heard that while their album is phenomenal that it pales in comparison to seeing the band live. the show that night is super cheap, according to the website only $6, it is a 21+ event. but if you're in the cites & free that night, i highly recommend seeing the show. unless you have a personal in with the guys i doubt you'll ever be able to see them play for less. besides, you can't even see a movie for $6 anymore, & this is live in person entertainment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

a whole new world

this will be short & sweet, but all i have to say is:

hallelujah & thank the gods for fire fox!

i've been having trouble blogging from home since blogger upgraded, for some reason when i was blogging using safari i was having horrible connectivity issues. i was only able to post via html, when i tried spell checking i got a mesh of incomprehensible mess & it was just ugly & inconvenient to the max.

i've used firefox over at miss jenn's & miss april's & i decided it couldn't be any worse than the issues i've been having using safari. (yes, i know, i theoretically could have been using internet explorer, but i can't stand it, so no IE for me.

so i googled firefox, found the free down load & then. . . .

& then. . . .

& then. . . .

well, that brings us to now, i'm blogging on firefox, my dashboard is showing beautifully. i'm so happy i could dance.

blogging is made easy at home again for me. yippee!

no wonder marines are so cranky

last night was another fabulous new experience at the y, & that is not at all meant with the dripping sarcasm that one may intuit, honest injun! so jenn & i finally attended the famed boot camp class led by the intimidating holly. honestly, holly is one of those women that is beautiful, fit, & looks like she could totally kick your arse from one side of the planet to the other & barely break a sweat. she's definitely not someone i would want to cross. incidentally, jenn & i first met holly in the kick box d'oh class, she was a co-instructor one night. after class she told us we should come & see her at boot camp class. jenn immediately said "will do" & looked too peppy for someone who had just finished kick boxing class, & my response was "yeah, i'll work on that" meanwhile shooting jenn the you are mother frickin crazy daggers with my eyes.

well, oddly enough, i was the one that pushed jenn to go to the class last night with me. i think i just heard a thud, someone must have passed out from shock. well, they'll rejoin us again very soon. typically jenn is the one that takes me kicking & screaming, almost literally, to the classes (like body pump & kick box d'oh) but, for some strange reason, last night i was feeling particularly energetic & i told her that we should take the class. that was after we did some laps around the track, about a mile and a third, the last half of it we alternated between walking a lap & then jogging a lap. don't worry, i won't break my arm patting myself on the back, BUT, i am pretty flippin pleased with myself that not only did i make myself go to boot camp, but i got jenn to go along with me.

now, i will admit, i was having some serious shooting pain in my left ankle & my right hip was twinging a bit after the jogging, but there was something inside me that said i just had to go to boot camp last night, it was like a life or death pinnacle moment for me. usually i can't tell those pivotal moments in my life until they're in the past, the ones on which an entire future turn, but i know that last night was one of those moments, & going to that class would be, IS, the event that changes everything. i can't see what it is changing for me, but i know it is. to quote a song miss jenn & i listened to last night during our mc-crack fix: "the past is just the future with the lights on." btw, i /heart that line & i think it's really a motto to live by. it's deep man, super deep.

i'm not even going to pretend that boot camp was a cake walk. mmmm, cake. but, i'm also not going to say that it was impossible, because it wasn't! it was a challenge. since neither of us had been to the class we didn't know all of the moves. & our bodies are still not at the michelle kwan flexibility stage yet, but they're getting there. so one move, the garbage picker, neither of us did very successfully. basically you start a couple feet away from a stepper, you hop in, put your hands on it, hop just your feet back keeping your hands on the step, do two push ups, then hop your feet forward & stand up. yeah. i know. read it a second time. my reaction when holly showed it to us was: WHAT?!

&, at one point, mentally, i did pull out the "homey don't bend that way." much like last week at power down, holly very calmly said (while everyone was sitting on their step): "put your right ankle up on your left knee, ok, now put your hands behind you on the step, & slide yourself forward off the step, feel that wonderful glute & hamstring stretch." now, to my credit, i held in the snorted laugh that i was tempted to let loose, but i did give her my patented homey-don't-bend-that-way-look. & i did do my best regardless. i crossed my ankle over my left leg, i leaned back, & i scooted my butt forward as far as i could. i knew that if i moved my butt off that step that i would proceed to fall & crack my head on the studio floor. which is bad for business. interestingly enough, the staff at the Y don't like their members passed out & bleeding all over their floor. i know, how rude.

once again, this is a class that i would like to attend again. the big down fall of boot camp is that on tuesdays it is from 5:30pm-6:35pm & the power down class i like is on tuesdays from 6:00pm-6:40pm. yeah, that makes me a bit of a sad panda :( there is a yoga class after boot camp called power yoga, so once i feel a little less awkward from boot camp i'll have to try that also. luckily, boot camp is offered twice a week, so i could always drag my butt the 25 miles from my apartment to minnetonka to go to that some morning with the fabulous miss jenn.

boot camp did live up to its name, definitely! today i am one hurting unit. interestingly enough i have found glute/thigh muscles i didn't know exist. & my chest is hurting in ways it never has before, all of which is very good. if your local Y has a boot camp, i highly recommend it. holly was great about pushing everyone in class (we even got an extra set of running steps because no one told her their glutes were hurting. . .i won't make that mistake twice!), but she was also great about showing everyone adaptations of some of the tougher exercises so that those of us who aren't yet able to do all of the exercises, could keep pushing along. she also came up to jenn & i at the end of class & made a point of telling us that we did a really good job for our first time at boot camp *beaming*

with that said, boot camp gets an over all grade of an A from me. a really great workout, i can feel it the next day, but also very adaptable for different skill levels, & not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

auntie em, auntie em, it's a twister, it's a twister, oh wait, no it's not

so i'm a wee bit north of tornado alley, that's typically the area of the united states also known as the bible belt (short aside: is it a coincidence that the area of the country known for bible-thumping-tent-revival-fire&brimstone-jeZUS-died-for-your-sins is also plagued by the majority of tornadoes? hrm, that's a noggin scratcher. . .not that i have anything against bible thumpers, i'm related to a few) so, even though we're a bit north from that infamous area of the country, we've been getting hit by some major storms over the past few days. this past satruday morning, in the early wee hours, or late friday night depending on your perspective, we got hit pretty hard. there were large tree branches, & in some cases, entire trees, downed by the storm. quite a few people lost power for a few hours, & some people even lost their power for a few days, actually, i think a select few are still without power from the saturday storm.
well, mother nature decided that we needed a little more of the wet stuff here in the twin cities. last night during the eight o'clock hour the meteorologist kept cutting in on hell's kitchen to give updates of the impending storms descending, quite literally, on the twin cities. normally i am a really huge fan of storms, i love curling up in a comfy chair or on the couch with a fuzzy squishy blanket & a book & just let the rain beat a beautiful rhythm on the roof while i lose myself in the wonderful world of fiction. but last night was the season finale of hell's kitchen.
as of late i have been trying very hard to distance myself from tv, watch less tv, read more, that whole schtick. i really believe that tv is making me dumber. this realization came after the fact that i was watching the simple life & actually enjoying it. yes, i was watching it willingly, i was not in anyway tied to my chair & there was not a gun pointed at my head. now, i had not yet gotten to the point where i was willingly hunting down the simple life, but while i was at the group home, my second job, i was watching it because another staff person turned it on for the residents (they like comedies). so after i woke myself out of the reality tv induced mental coma, i decided tv was sucking my life away & i have too much i want to accomplish to just sit & let my life & soul be sucked out of me by the boob tube. i actually don't even have a tv in my room at my apartment, my roommate has one in the living room, but i left my tv snugly at my parents' house.
one of the few exceptions to my personal ban on the one eyed monster, is chef ramsay night. my mom & i will get together on monday nights, watch hell's kitchen, have a spot of supper, & converse during commercials & laugh as chef ramsay tells chef after chef to "fuck off" or quit trying to serve up "baby shit." now she & my dad are on their two week anniversary get away up north in da-lut, so i had to go it alone for chef ramsay night last night, which was fine, i was recording it for her, & i plan on taunting her by saying "neener neener neener, i know who wo-on." the one wrench in my was mother nature & her sudden appearance of storm *angrily shaking my fist skyward*
just before nine pm, about quarter til-ish, the storm was really kicking up, the station rearranged some commercials & kept breaking in, they were kind enough to at least give us some of the show, & they did let us see the moment when rock & bonnie turned the handles of their doors, rock's opened, bonnie's didn't, so he was the winner, and then- back to the weather. to which i had my own little profanity break. ok, now granted, there were three storms converging, all with "tornado ripe situations" & they were bearing down on blaine & coon rapids, both of which have some fairly large trailer parks, but seriously, if there's a tornado knocking on your door & you live in a trailer & you're STILL sitting watching tv, well, you have bigger problems.
i'm not necessarily saying that fox 9 should have ignored the whole situation, but would it have really killed them to give us the last couple minutes of hell's kitchen? just another two minutes so we could see rock get all teary eyed (i'm guessing) & see bonnie's graceful admission that rock is the better chef (once again, just guessing). who knows, maybe there was a major knock down drag out between the two finalists. maybe bonnie found out that julia, while on her team, was rooting for rock & POSSIBLY not doing her best job for the blond nanny? seriously, anyone who's come up with a pink plus sign on a pregnancy test when they were hoping for a minus knows that A LOT can happen in a minute, or less even. true story.
so alas & aleck, i know that rock won, but not the nitty-gritties. as far as i know we didn't actually get any tornadoes in the cities here. we got some pretty fierce winds, some more power outages, quite a bit of rain, & one hell of an ass kicking my mother nature, but luckily she saved the big guns for another day. but i am still very disgruntled regarding the season finale of hell's kitchen. i publicly petition fox 9 to rebroadcast the season finale for all of us who really wanted to see the entire show. i feel gypped. once again, i feel like everything was building to this wonderful climax & it was rudely yanked away. like someone falling asleep a minute too early. true story, a lot can happen in sixty seconds.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

it's all in da know, babe, all in da know

i've heard for years from more people than i can name, "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW." & i've always wanted to write about what i know, i have the desire to pull from my life & my experiences to influence my writing, but i've also always thought that my life is boring. who would want to read about my life? it's an interesting dichotomy, the desire to use the things, people, & experiences that have brought me to this point in time, but at the same time feeling like all of those things are so ordinary, so completely blah that they would bore the amish to tears. but, somehow today, i came to the realization, that all of this only SEEMS boring to me because, well, because it IS my life. it's not really boring or lame, i just perceive it to be because it's the reality that i live with everyday of my life.

i am a big enough chick to give credit where credit is due, so thank you much josh for making me realize all of this! i was talking to josh earlier today & he was telling me a story about his night last night in philly & the realization of the actual fullness of my life hit me hard, as if i had been physically slapped, i actually stopped breathing for a moment. now, i won't steal josh's thunder & relate the story because he told me he's going to blog about the whole evening. so once he gets his blog posted i'll link it up & maybe that will be an extra little motivation for josh to post a new blog *winks*

but josh's story was just the catalyst, the blasting cap if you will, that made me start thinking about some of the other people in my life, the stories that i know because of them, & all of the amazing experiences, both large & small, that i'm privy to because of the people i've surrounded myself with thus far in my life.

for instance, jenn, who, even though she doesn't see it, has led an amazing life in her twenty-some years here on earth. she had a great paying very secure job straight out of high school back in vermont & she gave it up, sold most of her belongings, packed what little she had left, to move halfway across the country to build a new life for herself in minnesota. yeah, ballsy. she's one chick with moxie to spare. & if that wasn't enough, she knows some fabulous people, i won't drop names, but she's really close friends with some pretty big name bands, not just local to minnesota, but very well known. & even though she won't admit it, she is a great musician & a fabulous song writer (from the one song i was lucky enough to see of hers).

another one of my friends that i admire the hell out of is sinead, her blog is linked up to mine just off to the right there, it's diary of an irish woman. i first met her three years ago, when i was a mess, i'll admit that up front, still reeling from everything that went on during my seven years of hell with TSSOB* but trying to put myself back together. & she has been a big sister to me, a role model, a best friend, a mom, & everything in between. besides also being a chick with moxie to spare (read her blog & you'll see!) she is also one of the most loving people i've ever met. but she doesn't pull punches either. just like jenn she uprooted herself from her home in ireland, moved to the states, first to the east coast & then to the west. she also never settles for second best, she knew what she wanted out of life & she wouldn't take something less, especially in love. & she now has the best guy on earth & they're expecting their first baby in just about a week.

& then there's the fabulous miss tina, who means the world to me & i love just like she was blood. unlike sinead & jenn she didn't uproot from her home & move thousands of miles away, but she's fought for what she's wanted & believed in. tina is the first person in her family EVER to go to collage. she was a presidential scholar, graduated with honors, & worked her ass off. she's now a new mom with a beautiful baby boy. she's courageous in so many ways. for her job she works on helping abuse victims make their way through the court system, but she never brings that burden home. instead, she lives every day of her life full of love & compassion for each person she meets.

when it comes to stories & tidbits of life, no one tops my dad. he has lived about five lives in his 59 years. he was essentially orphaned at 13 & raised himself, he went to vietnam & came back without a single injury on him, he raised some other man's child as his own, he's met famous people time & again & has never been star struck, treating them all as regular people. he's had so many brushes with death that he knows death's first name is really jerome. & i have never met someone who knows how to tell a story with such grace & finesse that every person within ear shot is literally hanging on his every word. & besides that, he is fiercely loyal to his friends & family. when the chips are down & i need someone to have my back, i know that my dad will always be there for me in any situation, no questions asked, ever.

there are so many other little experiences i've had with different people i know. friends, casual acquaintances, even just work colleges & people i see only once in my lifetime. like matthew from the airport when i flew out to cali for my birthday. oddly enough i saw him in minneapolis, we were on the same san fran flight, then on my way back home, he was on the same red eye as me heading out from san fran back to the cities. both times we sat & chatted in the airport. a really nice guy going out to see his little nephew who was having heart surgery.

i have been analyzing the types of books that i like to read, the types of movies that i like to watch, the music i like to listen to, & i have finally figured out that i don't need to write for anyone else, but just for myself. if i continue to try writing in a style that i *THINK* will appeal to someone else, i'm never going to find my stride, i'll never get my writing mojo, or, my wr-jo. it's all about the beginnings, that's where it comes from. case-in-point: stephen king. when he first started writing, he did it for the joy of the craft, for the fact that it was the thing that he loved the most in the world. (yes, i do realize we're doing a flash back to blogs of christmas past here, but sometimes repetition is good for the soul).

now, i'm pretty sure that stephen king's prom didn't end in a blood bath, or that a deranged evil spirit dressed as a clown lived in the sewers of his child hood neighborhood, or that his car actually came to life & killed for him, but my guess is that there's a lot of the little details that are true. actually, if you read his book, "stephen king on writing" he talks a little bit about how carrie is a compilation of a couple of girls he really did know in high school. so that is sorta based on real life, in a way.

so, it's all in da know. i just need to use what i know to create a compelling novel. easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? well, maybe not so easy peasy, but yeah, that's the attitude. & obviously the raw material is all here, right at my finger tips. so, to all my friends & family, the question becomes: are you ready to be immortalized? *GRINS*

*the southern son of a bitch

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

proud auntie beckah

last week, on monday july 30th, my absolute bestest friend in the whole wide world, miss tina ann, gave birth to a gorgeous little boy, lucas james. while tina isn't technically my sister, she's just like family to me. she's an only child so my family has kind of adopted her, & her family has adopted me & my sister. so i really am auntie beckah.

i was at the hospital when baby boy was born, not in the birthing room though, i wouldn't have wanted to be ring side! luckily tina's hubby frank took one for the team & was in with her *grins* but i got to chill with my sis, rachee, & the whole tina/frank/lucas cheering section in the family waiting room. by the time i got to see little lucas on his birthday i was super tired & i didn't hold him because i was afraid i would drop him because i was that exhausted. but i went back the next morning & i was holding him when he turned twelve hours old at 10:21 am!

i'm not sure this will successfully post since my work has blocked blogger & i have to post remotely, so if little lucas' picture doesn't show i'll fix it in a day or two. i am so happy for tina & frank, they are going to be such wonderful parents & i'm happy that i can spoil lucas & then send him back to mom & dad!

homey don't bend that way

ok, OK, so yeah, i'll admit it, i did enjoy my workout last night. not while i was doing it, but afterwards. to be honest, while i was on the elliptical doing my time i kept thinking "holy god this is boring, dammit i want off this ride!" & jenn didn't have her esp turned on, i kept glancing over at her giving her my i-am-dying-&-want-off-this-thing look, but she didn't look at me once. then again, she could have been observing my pathetic plea for mercy from her peripheral vision & ignoring me, which is always an option. in the end i'm glad i stuck it out though. because once i finished the grueling time on the elliptical we went to the power down class in the mind/body room.
i'll give this to the Y, i'm loving all their free classes. while i really love getting my aggression out & getting the gloves on in kick box d'oh, so far my favorite is the power down class. for anyone who hasn't attended one, it's a combination yoga/meditation class. it is very relaxing, although, a bit challenging also. the challenging part is that i'm pretty well convinced that you need to be a direct descendant of gumby to be able to do all of the stretching exercises. at one point in time, fairly early in the class, we were laying on our backs, knees bent, the instructor said "now put one of your legs up on the knee of the other" so i obliged, crossing my legs thinking, huh, this feels kinda nice, she then said "now reach between your legs, grab that bottom leg & pull towards your body" yeah, about that. i reached my arms straight out, trying for all my might, trying to use the force, thinking to myself, USE THE FORCE, to get that leg to pull up to my body. somehow i managed to do it without intervention, but it was not easy at all.
oddly enough, even though this is only the second time jenn & i went to this class, & the first time was probably a month ago, i feel like i was able to bend a bit farther, stretch more, & in general just a wee bit more flexible. although, i still hold to this blog title in that "homey don't bend that way." mainly cause it's fun to say.
today my back is twinging up a bit, not necessarily full blown aching, & not the sharp kind of pain where you really want someone to punch you out, but just twinging. my lower back feels all tight & curled up on itself. i think i would feel better if i could just grab a chin -up bar & dangle there for a while. unfortunately i won't be able to do that until i get off work, in five-ish hours, & get over to the Y. yup yup yup. planning on hitting the gym again. i'm kinda bumming because miss jenn won't be going tonight because she has to work late, which means no kick box d'oh for me. so sad. i know i don't NEED jenn in order to attend a class, except, i really do need a partner for kick boxing. they request that you show up in pairs. & even though it's tempting, i think there would be something slightly wrong about me hanging out in the fitness center going "pst, hey, you, what are you doing tonight from 6:15-7:15? can i throw punches at you for half an hour? i'll let you do the same. really, it'll be loads of fun." **ponders** yeah, i just don't see that as being a viable option. that kind of behavior could get me an invitation to not return, for at least a little while.
& on that note, i'll close this by saying, if anyone knows the hottie who was weight lifting at the Y last night in the fire & rescue t-shirt, please give him this message: hey baby, you can come rescue me any time. & twice on sundays.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

exercise: my favoritist drug of all

ok, maybe not my FAVORITIST of all time, because i'm a pretty big fan of caffeine. & the mccrack cone at the golden arches. but it's definitely a very close runner up. as my blog from yesterday indicates fairly well, to those good at reading between the lines, i was in a wee bit of a blue mood. not necessarily related to any one thing in particular, just kind of a compilation of a bunch of little things that when taken as a whole were a hard pill to swallow.
but, last night, i wound up at the Y with miss jenn. & the sadistic chick made me do an hour on the elliptical. ok, well, she didn't hold a gun to my head or anything, but she was doing an hour & since we were working out together i also felt compelled to clock an hour. & then every time i felt myself starting to get lazy & ease off on my pace or intensity i felt her glance my way, even though i didn't catch her in the act & so then i put my head down, gritted my teeth, & pushed harder.
now while i was at the Y glistening like a pig i wasn't all warm & fuzzy about the exercise schtick. i was kinda wishing i was lounging in a recliner curled up with my lappy cruising random websites & watching bad tv, yes yes, i really DO know how to live it up. yo.
but post workout, after i was able to shower & get into fresh clothes, i felt a lot better. i won't lie & say that i felt a million times better & like clicking my heels together for joy, but i felt more presentable, more put together, more relaxed, & just better able to cope in the big bad world. isn't that amazing?
yeah, i think i've come to this same conclusion in a previous blog. er, several previous blogs perhaps? i will say that with the impressive amount of random bullshit that i can memorize & store for years i find it incredibly amazing that i continually forget uber important things about myself. like, that i actually enjoy working out & it makes me feel loads better. or that writing keeps me sane & balanced (ok, once again, won't lie, as balanced as i ever am, but that's still pretty balanced, sorta). selective memory? too bad you can't clean out your brain like the memory on a computer. if i could there are several memories that i would like to rid myself of. including the embarrassing moment back in high school when i was blithely walking along, minding my own business, miserable in my own teenage awkwardness when i did a full on slip on the ice, my feet came out from underneath me, ass over teakettle to quote my dad, & i landed hard on my tail bone. yeah, that's one i could do without. & if that's what i share with people on a blog you can imagine what i have hidden in my grey matter. oy.
so, guess this means when i get off work i should head to the Y right? & that i'm all excited & uber motivated to get there & sweat out all those negative feelings that may be lingering & the tension & stress of a tuesday in a call center? yeah, not so much. while i know that it will make me feel better, i'm not super jazzed at this moment to head over to the gym. i know i'll go. i know i'll feel better when it's all said & done, especially post shower when i'm in my jammie-jams curled up with my lappy & able to say "yes, yes i did work out today."
then again, a habit doesn't become one over night, it takes time, takes perseverance, hard work & a few slips. i've had quite a few of the last as of late. & by slips i mean things ala my above story from my high school gory days. but i'm really trying to get back my gym-jo. if for no other reason than #1 it's fun to say gym-jo & #2 there are some cute weight lifting boys at the Y that i wouldn't mind ogling.

Monday, August 06, 2007

anyone know where a girl can find a rudder?

despite the fact that i'm very grateful that obviously a lot of people love me & care that i'm not dead or horribly maimed, i'm still having some issues on a day-to-day basis keeping my spirits up, keeping my faith, & doing the things that i want to do to cement my future as i dream it. the things i know that i need to do. & not just need to do as in the obligations of life: a long list of the things that one MUST do just to keep going (like laundry, grocery shopping, or putting gas in your car), but the things i need to do to make it to where i know i'm destined to be.
~i need to write, every day, no matter what
~i need to finish a novel, any of them, but i need to finish
~i need to develop a thick skin
~i need to put my emotions into my writing instead of curling up around myself like a wounded caterpillar
~i need to treat myself like a writer instead of an aspiring writer
~i need to have faith
~i need to believe
it's funny, but sometimes i look at old pictures of myself & i don't recognize that person. especially looking back three years to my burning man self. i came back so focused from the playa. ready to light the world on fire & dance while i watched it burn. ready to be larger than life & so in control of everything. occasionally i still see glimpses of that girl in my eyes, something deep in the green-gold-hazel-ish undertones of my brown eyes. i have a picture of myself that i took that day, in the airport, on the way back to minnesota, a wonderful myspace-sque self portrait. looking at the picture i have such a deep longing to be able to meld my current self with that former self that it feels like a razor in my chest, a sob that just won't bubble up completely.
i do know that somewhere within myself i have the answers to all of this. i know that i know how to accomplish all those things i need to do in order to have the life that is meant for me. but right now i'm feeling a lotta-bit lost, like someone changed the topography & forgot to give me a new map. it's a lot harder to follow the right path when you can't even see the road.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

thankful for the little things

i know this may seem a wee bit trite & over sentimentalized, but sometimes thing happen that make me very grateful for the little things in my life. & that make me realize exactly how many people really do love me & care about me every single day. as i'm sure everyone is aware of, on wednesday august 1, 2007 the 35W bridge, just north of interstate 94 collapsed suddenly into the mississippi river. when this all happened i was blissfully unaware browsing at the target in minnetonka. (for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of the twin cities, minnetonka is a suburb of minneapolis, about 20 minutes west from down town minneapolis, give or take & depending on traffic). after strolling out of target with purchases in hand i made my way over to the byerly's to get some last minute supplies for a chicken noodle salad i had to bring for a going away pot luck at work.

in the space of fifteen minutes i received three frantic phone calls. first from my brother demanding to know where i was. at first i thought something happened to my parents or one of my pets. my brother said something broken about my grandmother calling him, telling him a bridge over 35 collapsed, & wanting to know if i was ok. it didn't make any sense, but i told him yes i was fine. he said he had to call my sister & hung up. i was left standing in the frozen foods aisle of byerly's holding a box of ring noodles & a bag of frozen sweet peas looking at my phone utterly confused. as i checked out, paying for the noodles & peas, my phone rang again, this time it was my dad's cell phone number. i think it's completely rude to talk on a cell phone while completing a business transaction so i didn't answer. as i was walking out of the store, about 30-60 seconds after the first call, my phone rang again. it was my mom, calling from my dad's cell phone, in a sheer panic. she kept asking me over & over where i was & was i ok. i told her i was in minnetonka, i was fine, & what the hell was going on. she said something about a bridge on, or over, 35W collapsing & she wanted to know if i was ok. it still didn't make any sense to me, i said i was fine, just doing some errands & about to head home.

even though i had talked to both my mom & my brother & they had both said basically the same thing, i was still left shaking my head, utterly confused about what was going on & why they both were so panicked. i was just leaving byerly's when i got a call from jenn. it wasn't until the call from jenn that the entire situation really sank in. so, once again, i was asked where i was & if was i ok. i told her that i was just leaving the byerly's near her apartment, i was fine, & what was going on?! she told me that part of 35W, a bridge crossing over the mississippi, suddenly collapsed into the river. & that she thought i took that way home. she knew i was going to target but she had no clue if i was still in minnetonka or on my way home or on the bridge. & she was watching the news coverage, looking for my car in the river. that's when i got the chills. for anyone who hasn't seen my car, it's a bright summer blue saturn, with a moon roof, rear spoiler, & detailing on the side. it's a very unique looking car in a special edition color. so if it was in the river, & visible, it would be pretty easy to tell who's car it was. there was something about hearing that jenn was looking among the wreckage of the bridge for my car that made me sick.

i am completely touched that she cares so much about me that she wanted to make sure i was ok & was looking to make sure that my car, & myself, were not involved. but it made me sick to think of the what if. that bridge is not one that i take on a regular basis, but anytime i want to go to roseville or vadnais heights i would take 35W up to 36 east. it's usually a random last minute decision. wednesday, on the drive back to my apartment, east on 394 & then east on 94, i had a full flown panic attack. emergency vehicles were tearing past me on the highway, heading to the scene of the accident as i drove up 394. the 35 W north exit from 94 was barricaded off when i passed it on the way home. & i cried. a lot. not that on wednesday i had any intention at all of heading that way, but the gravity of the situation fell on me all at once.

in the days since this happened i've found out some things. one of them is that while i suspected it, my sister would travel that bridge quite a bit since she lives in north east minneapolis. thank the gods this didn't happen while she was on it. i'm so grateful for everything that led her to not be on that bridge when it collapsed. i also found out that an acquaintance of mine had just finished crossing the bridge & saw it collapse into the river. & my cousin john had planned on taking the bridge route to get home to his apartment near the U of M, but at the last minute took a different route because of the road construction on the bridge. he saw it fall from a different road. while i'm not one to randomly quote biblical passages (& i'm not even 100% this is EVEN a bible passage) but, i'll say it anywhere: there but for the grace of god. . . .

so even though my cousin drives me batty, i'm thankful for whatever caused him to change his travel that day. i'm glad my sister's day took her in a different direction. i feel genuinely bad for all the families that lost loved ones on august 1st, but i also have to say, thank goodness that MNDOT was doing road construction, that the lanes were reduced, because the families mourning the dead & the lost would be a lot higher without that construction. & thank god it was still summer & not the beginning of the fall semester at the U. this was a terrible tragedy that is going to radiate through the cities, especially with those of us raised here, for a long time, but it could have been so much worse.

my biggest thanks goes out to all of my friends & family, coast to coast, that called me & text messaged me just to say hey. there are some times in my life where i feel a bit forgotten, a bit cast aside, & a smidge unloved. & the next time one of those times comes around i'll remember: tina calling me just home from the hospital with newborn baby lucas, sarah calling at 6 am thursday morning just so she could hear my voice even though she got a text the night before, april texting because the phone lines were jammed, & all the other texts, IMs, calls. & when i think of any one of those things, particularly the sum of all of those messages & "i love yous" i'll remember that the dark times really aren't so dark when you have that many people that love you unconditionally.