Whatever the case, just noting the promise of a new year on the horizon always brings occasion for reflection, redemption and ever-feared “resolutions”.
Here are some highlighted reflections from the year:
· Spending time with friends and family (without any bloodshed*)
· Loads of live music experiences
· Traveling (oh how I missed discovering things by putting one foot in front of the other)
· Making new friends
· Discovering new music and then sharing it on wicked awesome mix cds**
· Collecting many a fortune from fortune cookies (seriously- I’ve probably eaten more then my fair share of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food in 2006)
Here are few things I’m going to try to redeem in 2007:
· Be less sarcastic to my family and friends
· Put less pressure on myself
· Try to complain less
· Live more in the moment
· Learn to listen better and not interrupt
Finally here are my resolutions. I must preface this with the fact I normally, never, ever announce these out loud for public consumption, but just this once I’m going to try it out. Let’s see if I can stick with some of these now that they are out here online. My hope is that it will even motivate me a tad:
· Write at least 1 blog a week (that’s right folks 52 new postings will be happening in 2007)
· Train and complete a half marathon
· Complete one entire Bikram Yoga class (this means every position, every set without laying on the floor belly aching about it)
· Take at least two trips (which MUST be non-work related, unless there is a way to piggyback fun with friends for more then a day after the work has been completed)
· Prepare dinner for someone else (I know many folks believe this is a pipedream, but contrary to popular belief I can do things besides bake)
There you have it. I’ve laid it out there and let’s see if I can make good on these resolutions. Now I better scoot on out and enjoy my remaining moments of 2006. I leave you with my last minute Ipod shuffle of the year:
1. I’m Waiting – All American Rejects
2. Breakfast at Tiffiany’s – Deep Blue Something
3. Purple Stain – Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. Undone - Weeezer
5. Move Along – Chris Isaak
6. Picking Up The Pieces – Widespread Panic
7. That’s Incentive – Death Cab for Cutie
8. Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was – Radiohead
9. Inaudible Melodies – Jack Johnson
10. Nothing’s Gonna Change Your Mind – Badly Drawn Boy
11. I Never – Rilo Kiley
12. Memory – Sugarcult
13. Beatnik Beach – The Go- Go’s
14. The Finish Line – Snow Patrol
15. Into Dust – Ashtar Command
* My philosophy has been the same since I was a young soccer player - “ No Blood, No Foul. Yes occasionally we might hurt or get hurt, but we are quick to recover!”
** These CDs are strictly for personal use only and should not be copied without explicit consent from the artists!!! (Sorry my lawyers have instructed me to make sure this comment appears.)
And I can consume and get excited about all the spiffs that entrap us during the holiday season. In fact I think many companies look to me and my friends throughout US to hit their target sales budgets between November to December. But this year I'm really trying to curb my appetite for goods and services. I’ll admit it, I’m not going to turn away gifts that people give me, but I do realize that the holiday I celebrate is not based on 8 days of presents.
In fact Hanukkah isn’t even the real Jewish holiday where you’re supposed to receive gifts. In actuality that holiday is Purim (a subject for a later date). But in American society based on good & services, we’ve chosen to compete for space and attention by commercializing our holiday. And now the festival of lights is filled with 8 crazy nights full of gifts (at least in some households).
It’s especially shocking when you have to explain this to co-workers. Either they really know very little about Hanukkah outside of the fact there are 8 days of gifts. Or they don’t quite comprehend that you don’t celebrate Christmas too. Over the years I’ve tried to get over some people’s insensitivity about workplace “Holiday Celebrations” that excluded not just my religion but others. But my threshold for being wished “A Merry Christmas” sometimes wears thin as we get closer to December 25th every year.
I do however appreciate the fact in the past few years many people have tried to make Hanukkah much cooler and hip. You’ve got Adam Sandler singing about who is Jewish to the world. So many of my Jewish friends and Non-Jewish friends alike have been educated on who grabs their harmonica and puts on their yarmulke.
And last year my friend Sarah introduced me to The Leevees who ask the age old question – how do you spell Hanukkah? The rest of their Hanukkah Rocks! CD really brings a smile to my face during the season filled with “Oh Holly Night” & “Little Drummer Boy”. Seriously The Leevees music is fun, witty and dare I say hip.
They’ve become a great way for me to ring in the holiday season with a little Jewish flare. What more can you ask for during the most commercialized season? I guess this really turned into more of rant about holidays then anything else, but it’s just a little something for ya’ll to ponder during this time of the year.
But seriously I do wish each of you a Happy Holiday season (no matter your faith) and a wonderful new year on the horizon!
A smile and insane case of the giggles always follows after watching the Robin Sparkles video. It's just downright funny and quite catchy (I’m not going to lie the song’s been stuck in my head since I heard it)! Plus anyone close to my age can remember a. wearing those types of clothes out in public and b. being obsessed with a some teenybopper* icon who sang tunes like the one on How I Met Your Mother.
And that's probably why I enjoy How I Met Your Mother so much. I often feel that the writers have somehow tapped into conversations and goofy antics that my friends have been up to throughout our lives. It’s one of the few sitcoms where I openly laugh out loud at and like all of the characters. Like I said these characters remind me of people in my life.
These characters are struggling to find their place in the world of careers, life, education and love. It’s great fun to watch their progression in comparison to my own.
My only wish is that I could have Josh Radnor type in my life too, but I’m not going push it. So if you haven’t checked out the show, definitely give it a try. I promise you won’t regret the revelations of Swarley.
*Teenybopper – is a group of teenage kids that SPE refers to seeing throughout town (especially at the Malco Paradiso). Apparently at one point in your life you will be in this phase willingly or not…lol
- splendid isolation (warren zevon)
- life on a chain
- for us
- georgie boy
- bandstand in the sky
- i feel good again (junior kimbrough)
- there is a light that never goes out (the smiths)
- baby i'm gone
- just another
- crystal village
- for nancy
for an encore he entertained us with:
- strange condition
- broken bottle
- suspicious minds (elvis presley)
My friends and I encoutered the occasional shout out from a fan behind me who kept repeating, "Pete - I WANT your hat!" There were a few other statements mentioned, but this is a family friendly site so I will leave you with the hat comment.
And there were the occasional restless drunk, 'but i'm 21" college girls trying to take over our personal space with Pete! No worries my “chicken wings” were armed and ready to defend our personal space with honor and integrity. Unfortunately the “wings” were a bit defunct against a smelly boy wielding a camera. If only I had the insight to whack him upside the head and take his Pete photos to go! (grrrr...that darn broken plasma screen on my camera saddens me to no end)
Really though it was an incredible concert with a ton of energy. I was only saddened that Burrito didn’t make the cut (since that was the whole reason Janky came to the show). But he definitely made up for it with his killer covers of The Smiths and Elvis.
I’m not going to lie it would have been awesome to hear him cover "Just My Imagination" too, but you will hear no complaints from me because I came home happy as a clam (with a ton of my favorite songs played).
Again, to my friends eagerly awaiting my completion of my stories from Europa, Europa - my apologies. I hope to get back on track with posting those really soon. Until then I will leave you with my hot, yet blurry pics of my boy Pete (seriously these don't do him justice):
I will leave you with one final thought from me - "It's a strange condition filled with suspicious minds"
I know I haven't finished posting all my trip stories, but I'm must cut into my regularly scheduled posting (or lack there of) to post a quick note.
Today I received an unexpected gift – a new Ipod. It was quite a shock to me because it came from my former boss (he departed over the summer), who had talked about getting them for our whole team sometime last year. To be honest, I never believed that I was going to receive a new Ipod when the discussion arose. Mainly because sometimes I’m usually from the school of realists and believe those types of things don’t generally come to fruition, especially for me. And because most gifts like that don’t tend to fall out of the sky ;-).
So I never really thought much about after the initial conversation. But low and behold today I opened a package up old marketing materials sent over to me and inside was a gift of a shiny new Ipod and a note. And it just happened to come from the nicest people I’ve encountered in my life (no he did not buy me off with an ipod to say this for him).
Really, my former boss Jim just happens to be one of the nicest people I encountered in my life. He’s an honest, caring, professional and personable man. I was truly lucky to be able to work with someone who cared not just about what he did in and outside of his job, but the people who surrounded him too. That’s kind of an ironic statement in our day and age (especially in a corporate environment that promotes and praises people with a cut-throat nature).
I just hope one day that I will be able to take a page from Jim’s playbook. My hope is that I will be able to practice some of the same leadership characteristics that he showed me by leading with support, kindness and encouragement. So I'm dedicating my latest playlist to him and all his future endeavors as he settles into his new freelancing life:
- Leather – Tori Amos
- Life In a Nutshell – Barenaked Ladies
- Shakin’ – Rooney
- Hey Girl – Dashboard Confessionals
- Immobile – Autour De Lucie
- Norwegian Wood – The Beatles
- This Charming Man – The Smiths
- Hold Me – Fleetwood Mac
- Eastern Glow – Album Leaf
- Seaside – The Kooks
- German Test Drive – Spymob
- Crystal Village – Pete Yorn
- Proof – Coldplay
- With Or Without You – U2
- I’ll Find A Way – Rachel Yamagata
So when I was fully awoke, dressed and made it to the HB (Zurich's Central Station) it was about 10am. And I was so ready to begin my journey into the heart of Switzerland. I trained my way to Luzern with Coy's cell phone in tow (they insisted I take it in case I got lost/easier to communicate with each other, etc.). Unfortunately what they didn't realize was my Ipod dying was a sign of the times. Electronics were not going to be my friend during this entire trip.
I trained over to Luzern writing some postcards when suddenly the phone started to ring. It was a call from one of Coy's Swiss co-workers who really likes to chat, even after I told him Coy was at the office. He peppered me with all sorts of questions about who I was, my travels and my connection to his American co-worker. After I hung up I some how tactfully locked the cell phone from my use. I'm guessing my one lame attempt at trying to crack the 4-digit code was way off and the added jostling in my pocket somehow pressed the right combination of digits that disabled the simcard. The phone started saying something scary in German that I couldn't read. So I assumed it said something like, "You Killed Me, Now Provide me with a special German code and I will live again for another chat!"
I was worried, but at the time didn't think it was unfixable. So when I got to Luzern I went straight away to the "i" or information stand to try and contact my friends. I tried to call Kacey and tell her the situation, but couldn't reach her. So I proceed to send out my distress message via e-mail at the "i" office to both Kacey and Coy (heck it was only 1 Swiss Franc for 15 minutes, which seemed like a bargain). And then I waited for a bit and checked again. No word...
20 minutes passed and still no word, so I decided it would be best to explore my surroundings. I got in the queue to chat about what to do and see in Luzern. I had already read about the The Lion Momument that morning which Mark Twain had found very somber, yet inspiring. So I knew that was one thing I definitely wanted to check out. And of course the famed chapel bridge was a must see. Plus the possibility of taking a tram up the side of the mountain would be priceless experience. So when it was finally my turn, I expressed all these desires and then some to the lady who spoke broken English sitting behind the desk.
She said no problem, handed me a map, circled a few items and promptly began talking to her co-worker in German. I just stood there looking stunned and confused by this lack of help, so I asked her "Can I walk to all these places or should I use public transport (tram, bus, etc.)?"
She said, "It's about a 10 minute walk to the Lion.” gestured to the circles on the map and again ignored me in favor on continuing her German conversation with her co-worker. Slightly confused about direction and taking it as a sure sign to move on, I left the office and headed towards what I assumed where the streets near the lion represented on the circled map. All the time thinking how difficult can this really be...
Ok, well that morning I did quite a bit of walking. I passed the Chapel Bridge in favor of finding - The Lion. And when I started to walk and continue walking straight uphill for what seemed like a long period of time, I didn't question a thing, since the street names matched the map. I thought to myself maybe her version of 10 minutes and mine were just different (maybe I was walking super slow uphill) as 20 minutes passed.
But I wouldn't quit searching; I was determined to find this lion embedded in a mountainside. 40 minutes later I was still looking and thinking to myself that I believed the lady said 10 minutes, right. I knew I must be way far off as I passed a school, which then turned into a residential park with a trail. But I keep following along, hoping since I was gaining altitude. I followed the trail a little longer up another hill before reaching a commercial area with office buildings. Ok, now I know I'VE GONE TO FAR. Time to turn around and head down these hills. I saw the Chapel Bridge before, it's very easy to spot and find again; So my dream of the lion is now officially over.
As I headed down the hill, only slightly dejected, I decided to stop off at a Post Office and mail some postcards that I had written on the train. After I paid for the postage and handed over the cards I asked the nice lady behind the counter just out of curiosity "where is the lion?" (ok, maybe in my mind I didn't official get the give-up notice). She simply said "Walk out the door and it's right behind us..." Are you freaking kidding me? I've been trekking up and down this street for an hour+ and this statue was hidden behind the post office the whole time. That's completely insane! I pin all blame the lady at "i" office slightly for the detour, but in retrospect the walk on the little trail was quite nice.
After spending some time sitting and reflecting at the lion I realized I was famished, so I headed back down the hill to see more of Luzern, the Chapel Bridge and grab some lunch.
After lunch I came across the strangest fair/bizarre I'd even encountered. It had everything from Hemp Clothes to Back Massagers to people trying to pitch infomercial style kitchenwares. It also had few rides that included a small coaster, ferris wheel and live ponies for kids to ride. It was very interesting to walk around and peek into all the booths with such random wares for sale.
I headed back toward the train station thinking I might leave, but I came across a glass building that caught my eye. There looked to be a museum inside, so I decided to venture in and also make use of their clean WC. It turned out to be a concert hall, bar and a museum that housed Modern Art shows. And the current exhibit was a show using photography and slides. I proceeded to pay, lock my bag up and venture in to see slides of hairs pulled from Freud's coach projected onto a white wall...needless to say it was quite disturbing. And further confirmation of the fact that maybe I'm really not into Modern Art.
Of course there were some actually interesting slides from a Swiss photographer who shot street scenes in NYC. Plus I was able to take a break, sit for a while enjoying the terrace that looked out upon the city with the backdrop of snowcapped mountains that took my breathe away.
After resting and checking my e-mail at the museum (it's true you can make friends everywhere with a flash of a smile) it was time to move on. I continued to walk around the quaint town before heading back to the station to catch the train back to Zurich.
On the ride back to Zurich I shared an area on a train with a woman and her two kids. They proceed to spend most of the entire trip back speaking to me in German, even after I said to them in German that I didn't speak the language. Never mind the language barrier they thought we became fast friends and continued to talk me. This was also about the time, I just decided to smile and nod every now and then to act like I was engaged in the conversation. But then I was sort of able to play along when they decided to play "I spy", but I still couldn’t answer in German so I merely pointed and laughed along with the kids. They left me a mere stop before we got back to Zurich's HB. Soon I was reunited with Kacey discussing my crazy day.
Nighttime Zurich was a lot of fun too. Kacey and Coy took me to a bar to meet many of their friends & co-workers. Two guys from Coy's office (I believe one Australian and one American) were playing covers of songs from Radiohead to Coldplay to Crowded House. I had a good time meeting new folks and listening to the music (heck it was like they borrowed my ipod to create the playlist). After the set we enjoyed some fabulous Thai food across the street before calling it a night...
1. African Ivory – The Samples
2. I Remember – Damien Rice
3. Chocolate – Snow Patrol
4. Punky’s Dilemma – Simon & Garfunkel
5. Another Lonely Day – Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
6. Three Of Us In A Boat – Jackopierce
7. 24 Hours – The Sundays
8. Set the Fire to the Third Bar – Snow Patrol & Martha Wainwright
9. Porch Song – Widespread Panic
10. I Don’t Need A Hero – Concrete Blonde
11. Water Is Wide – Indigo Girls, Jewel & Sarah McLachlan
12. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do – Abba
13. King Of The Mountain – Midnight Oil
14. Bartender – Dave Matthews Band
15. Emit Remmus – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Things did get better on the flight though. The baby slept way more then me (I just couldn't seem to get settled). We arrived a few minutes early, where I was whisked through Swiss customs (really they didn't do anything, but look at my passport and wave me in) and was greeted by Kacey. We journeyed to her place in the city where we deposited my stuff and enjoyed a chocolate croissant (YUM, YUM, YUM). Kacey then left for work and I explored the city. First stop was a museum, but I didn't have any Swiss Francs and their credit card machine was down (just my luck no Ipod or Swiss Funny Money).
So I set out to find a bank to get cash. Well that turned into me walking all over this city of Zurich. I went into some very famous and beautiful churches. This included a trip to St. Peter's where I tried to join a group of elementary age kids who were climbing the clock tower. I think the German lady from the church was not pleased with me tagging along. After we climbed to the base I believe she said "Get Lost" or "You're not part of the tour, Go Home you silly southerner", but alas I have no clue what she said because I don't speak German. So we will all have to leave it up to our imagination.
Finally after I left my faux tour group I decided to get some Swiss Money and I realized I was famished. So I stopped off at this little cafe that sold sausage and rolls. Oh my gosh it was the best sausage I'd eaten!. Again, there might have been some confusion because I know NO German, but pointing and saying sausage does the trick. And following people who speak German isn't a bad idea either. After lunch I went to yet another church - Grossmünster that has a very tall tower, which you are allowed to climb for a few Francs. This tower has an amazing view of the entire city. After walking all day, getting busted at St. Peters and a tower climb that was SO worth the wait, I finally decided to head back to find my friend.
I never ended up making it back to the museum. I guess I was caught up in the churches and the cobblestone streets. I could have gazed out of that tower for a while, but alas I decided to call it a day and meet Kacey back at her place. What an excellent way to explore the city. No plans, no worries, chalked full of adventures.
A Zurich night ended up being a lot of fun too. When Kacey got home we milled around the old city looking for some lollipops for her class. And I marveled at how well behaved dogs are in the city. They are allowed EVERYWHERE…fancy restaurants…trains...shops, you name it they can go with you. I was told that they go through strict training to be allowed in public.I quicky realized that Parker might not make it as a European dog.
Then we headed back home to meet coy and search for hotels (which we didn’t reserve –yes we like flying by the seat of our pants). Coy and Kacey entertained me at their house with dinner and wonderful chat about life and music. Coy even tried to revive my ipod, again unsuccessfully. But I so appreciated the effort and the hospitality.
Me: Cool a lock on the fridge. What a great way to stop eating…
SPE: No it’s in case a child gets locked inside.
Me: How can a child get locked inside? How cool is it you can lock yourself or someone else from eating your food.
SPE: Again, it’s in case a child accidentally gets locked in?
Me: That can’t be possible…
Apparently this is quite possible. Hence the need for a lock just in case a small child becomes trapped inside one of the units. Confused and saddened by the fact I couldn’t lock others or myself from eating the contents, I began reflecting on this situation. What would prompt small children from wanting to put themselves in a small fridge to chill? A penguin yes, a small child I’m not really buying it…
When I was little I wanted to explore and experience life. Which usually meant I was doing some daredevilish type things, many of which were outside. Some examples of my brilliance were, but were not limited to: Stoop/Stair Jumping…Fence Scaling/Scrapping… Danger Creeking (where I was told specifically not to venture to)…Access/No Access that caused being stuck on a fire escape or setting off alarms…But I’ve digressed.
Surprisingly enough I decided against attempting to chill out in a refrigerator. Guess it was a bit too frigid and cramped.
The again times have changed since I was a kid. Many kids I know spend way more time inside then I ever did, so a fridge might be a logical choice. But many of these kids are quite tech savvy online e-mailing, instant messaging or text messaging via the cell. So I’m still not buying that theory.
Yet with all this technology and knowledge we still consistently are doing even dumber things. I remember a few years back when McDonalds warned customers “Coffee is extremely hot!”
Why on earth wouldn’t folks realize coffee is hot? It can’t get simpler then that. Since man started brewing the bean in water over an open flame I’m sure many folks realized it was no longer going to be a cold beverage. I guess a few folks missed that memo or the experience of a burnt tongue.
So in case you missed it, here is my simple reminder - “Danger Will Robinson, Warming a cool liquid makes it a tad bit hot, sip carefully (this includes, but is not limited to tea, coffee, hot chocolate, cider, etc.”
Then we have Mr. Bubble telling us that his bubble bath is “Not intended for Human Consumption.” Or even Drano taking action by saying to customers that it’s clog remover is “Harmful if swallowed. Do not taste or swallow.” or “Do not reuse empty container. Rinse container and replace cap before discarding.”
Yes, it’s true that once upon a time angry parents washed mouths out with soap, but that practice is so outdated. And although many clogs happen in the human body, Drano is not the means to clean that system. It’s only common sense to know that today’s soaps and clog removers shouldn’t be ingested for fun and games. There’s about a gazillion terrible potent chemicals that could kill a small heard of animals or a human if ingested…
Which leads me to say out loud, “yeah maybe a small child shouldn’t be cooling off inside a mini-fridge.” But do we really need a set of keys to unlock the door or warning sign for to know that. It should be common sense like my coffee is going to be hot, my bubbles are meant for that bath or that Drano is meant to clear my shower drain.
Alas though I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Next time I do decide to play hide and seek with some kids I just might carry the fridge keys around on my fob. You never know when they might think it’s brilliant place to chill.
It sort of just hit me yesterday that this was actual going to happen, well that and talking with Kac on the phone for 3 minutes. I finally decided to pull myself out of the pity party sorrow of work related drama to find a ray of sunshine. Not that the drama will cease to exist, I just need to do a better job of not getting dragged into the constant rake of the muck.
So I will work on creating a glow around days filled with an exploration into worlds I’ve never seen. And prepping to explore the worlds’ unseen has proved one thing – I am an Ubergeek.
I started soaking up guidebooks and friends suggestions like a sponge. But there are WAY TO MANY places, things to do and food to try in such a short stretch of time. All I know is that these feet, this mind and soul were meant to walk on, but for time consideration I will have to narrow down to a few places these peepers can actually intake.
I’ll post more when about the trip a little later, but until then let me satisfy you with some musical styling. Here are the first 10 songs from Rachiley’s morning shuffle:
1. Ticket To Ride – The Beatles
2. Bad Brain – The Ramones
3. King of Birds – R.E.M.
4. These 3 Sins – Gomez
5. Ocean of War – The Samples
6. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
7. Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk – Rufus Wainwright
8. The Sound of Settling – Death Cab For Cutie
9. Distant Sun – Crowded House
10. Why Don’t You Write Me – Simon and Garfukel
It started out like every other typical working morning – way to early. Fighting over the remote, joking about with co-workers and working on updating sites. Until the director of new web development came rushing over asking us to change the channel. The news in the car was reporting something… It was then we did flip to MSNBC and watched live as the 2nd plane crashed into the world trade center in NYC. It was one of those surreal, I don’t believe this kind of thing is really happening moments. Everyone sat there stunned.
Not a minute before RJ and I had been watching highlights of the Broncos/Giants Monday Night Football match-up. Commenting about how they kept showing McCaffrey getting hammered, his leg snapping and the Bronco’s still were able to pull out a victory. Good win, but bad long-term loss for the team.
Then with a switch of a channel we were all sitting in shock, mouths gaping as we tried to take in what we were witnessing on TV. Shock didn’t last long as many of us were awoken to the sounds of barking orders of what to do next. How the heck are we going to report this to all the Morris Papers online? What do we need to be doing or reporting? Who should be doing what?
Hello…Rachel please snap to it, this is not a drill. I heard my direct boss rush in and start screaming this was big. Was this bigger then me telling the editor to hold the paper from printing after the 2000 election fiasco? Wake up, focus on what’s the angle. Call your friends in NYC and see if they are ok. Also ask if we can get a first hand account of what happening. So much concern, so much confusion, so much work to be done as thoughts kept rushing through my head.
For the next 36 straight hours I didn’t leave the office floor, gripped by the TV, the phone and the wire or other online accounts of what was happening. Sometimes crying for joy (people I knew were safe), sometimes crying for sorrow (hearing about friends who lost loved ones or good friends, people missing, etc.), but mainly focused on getting the news out to the papers we supported around the country.
It was a tragic event in American History that marked a turning point in a time that had been prosperous and somewhat peaceful within our borders. It’s understandable to me now how an invisible scar can penetrate so many lives all in matter of seconds. So now I sit at my new desk 5 years removed from that same moment. No longer working for at newspaper company, no longer living in Georgia and ponder how my life and many other lives changed course from a single moment and many moments that have followed since.
Actually it’s a great documentary that interjects interviews with live footage of performances from different stages of her lives. It’s amazing to listen to such a tortured, but talented soul that just craved music. Watching the magic she created as the music just flowed out from her entire being without much thought. She was able to create a sensation that was almost unreal, untouchable by most. She used this natural spewing of raw emotion that could only be gained through her musical outlet.
I can’t even quite grasp the luxury or genius of such talent in the midst of the everyday details that weigh me down. All I can do is try just a little bit harder like Janis and keep seeking. Constantly looking deep those that surround me or myself for that spark of genius, which will eventually unlock the captured soul inside me.
Yet, when I really step back and think about what makes me happy it is usually just core, basic necessities. For example it could be going into a restaurant and getting a bendy straw in your drink at lunch. Or spending the afternoon with some kids, letting all your adult ambitions go and playing like you have no fear, no worries, no repercussions about what tomorrow will or will not be. It can even be spending the morning chatting with fun friends while shopping at a farmer’s market. Or as little as that car sing-a-long that happened on a drive across town.
I can only assume this retrospective perspective stems from the fact on Tuesday I celebrated yet another milestone in my life. Indeed this birthday came and went with a lot of things playing out in the background.
But one thing was definitely solidified. I have some of the best family and friends around. And I definitely count myself lucky in this game of life and happiness that I’m continuously able to share space with such a fabulous group of folks.
When the chips are down… When I’ve got pie on my face (yes even literally on my face)…When I’m running around half-crazed from the mindless intellectual trappings of work. I know that I can find solace in the happiness created by the little things and memories that make me smile. Because I know my happiness will be grounded in the constant thoughts of each one of you.
"Every other day, every other day,
Every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
You can find me cryin' all of the time"
Why is it that Monday is such a constant struggle for people and ESPECIALLY ME!!! I spend my entire weekend trying to relax and break down mental anguish that is built up by the drama of the week. Only to have it all awaken as I head out the door Monday morning.
Good news - I find things to occupy my sense of humour or I seek out the simpler things in life. Like trying out new programs like the photobooth from ILife. Who doesn't like seeing themselves as a still in the character in a crazy cartoon:
Or as the inspiration for an Andy Warhol type painting:
Needless to say - Monday blew by rather quickly since it was SO freaking busy, but it still doesn't make it any easier.
Well if you know me well it’s probably a lot more then your average Josephine. Many of you know that I’ve been super busy and quite stressed out with work as of late. But that doesn’t stop me from having a good laugh, even at my own expense. And today I was able to serve it up in spades.
In the late afternoon I scheduled an offsite work meeting with a vendor. As usual I was running right on time, but clearly recognized any additional lollygagging would make me late. So I chatted away on my cell phone until I got to office complex door.
I hung up and walked hurriedly toward the elevator as a man held it for me. My hands were full with stuff for the meeting. I tried to place the keys inside my bag, but my cell began to ring. Out of confusion or maybe sheer panic (I’ll let you choose) my keys flung forward.
In slow motion I watched myself grasp for the keys only to miss them and watch them fall through the large crack between the lobby and the elevator.
HOLY SHNIKES!!! My keys have just fallen down the elevator shaft…
I stood there circling not quite sure what to do. My only thoughts drifted towards finding the maintenance person for this building. But I decided to remain calm knowing there was not much I could do at the moment. I’m definitely no MacGyver, especially wearing a skirt and flip-flops.
I once again noticed the man in elevator beckoning for me to come upstairs with him (and wow he sure does look a lot like Shaggy from Scooby Doo). Turns out Shaggy works for my vendor and called maintenance while he shuttled me off to my meeting. I was then reassured by at least five other people in that office that this seems to be a semi-regular occurrence in the building. What cemented this feeling was a quote by the vendor saying:
“Once a client came in for a meeting and was dashing off to make a flight, but dropped his keys down when he tripped. He missed the flight. At least we know you’ll be around in a meeting with time to kill.”
All I could do was laugh and wait. Thirty minutes later Shaggy returned waving my keys outside the glass conference room. I promptly interrupted our discussion to fetch my lost keys and say thanks. Before we reconvened the meeting I decided to securely fasten the keys to my bag.
And that’s the real reason I missed hot yoga today!!!
Let's just be thankful that it was my keys that feel into the Elevator shaft not my spirit or a small animal.
“I’ll stay at your house all night. We’ll listen to Michael Stipe. Sing words we can’t understand.” -The Central Standards
Ok, so last night I did not stay at my house all night listening to Michael Stipe. But as some of my friends who’ve known me for a long time could attest to, I might have done so on occasion in the past wearing out my copy of R.E.M Green - my personal fave.
Instead I ventured out to hear my friends from The Central Standards play an incredible set at Otherlands. If you haven’t heard about them you should definitely give'm a spin. Or you can download a sampling on itunes.
I sometimes have a hard time describing their music styling to folks (perhaps because I like’m so much). Or maybe it stems from the fact that I’m trying to pinpoint what’s behind their assorted mix of songs. And let’s face it - I’m probably too busy singing along enough to focus on answering a question like that anyway.
What I can tell you is that anyone who samples The Central Standards becomes hooked!
Does that make me some kind of musical junkie? If so, then I guess it will wear the badge of honor proudly…
But now I’ve digressed and it’s to focus back to the music. Here are my thoughts on some of songs that made the set last night:
- Rosemary - a solid song with great lyrics that always draws me in. In fact the title of this entry and the quote at the top of this blog is a reference to this Jeff Capps’ song.
- Pretty Persuasion - an R.E.M cover and a song that randomly shuffled through my ipod yesterday. Coincidence? I think not…
- Great Big Cosmic - a new catchy song that is becoming a fast favorite of mine. I think I heard first at the crawfish festival. Unfortunately I was unable to fully appreciate it because I was freezing. Bonus Comment: a friend of mine started to misinterpret the lyrics, which only endears the song to me more (because it will forever cement the funny moment of the time and place).
- Teenage Heart – two words: Panther 3000!
- Perpetual Afternoon – strangely I’m always drawn to the story inside the song every time I hear it.
- Secrets to Sing – is a simple reminder of a fun folks who are road tripping.
- Changed - Ted Horrell’s lyrics speak so much to life. It resonates the feelings about a great dichotomy of who we are, who we will be or how people perceive us…
Here are just a few OUTSTANDING tunes that have been a backdrop behind such a lackluster day:
Suspended From Class – Camera Obscura
New Light of Tomorrow – Husky Rescue
Sour Girl – Stone Temple Pilots
Stay or Leave – Dave Matthews Band
Was I In Your Dreams – Wilco
C’mere – Interpol
Jerusalem – Matisyahu
Back To Me - Kathleen Edwards
On Sunday I decided to beat the heat by visiting the “Annie Leibovitz: American Music” exhibit at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. This exhibit showcased the talents of the infamous Annie Leibovitz who has shot photos for the likes of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and more. Annie seems to have a way at gaining rare access to artists and icons to create classic stills. And you can tell that the artists trust in her runs so deeply that she is able to expose and capture something uniquely personal in each session.
How amazing would it be to glance for 5 minutes through the lens and life of what this legend sees? I’m definitely in awe of her talent and experiences at being exposed to music on a whole new level.
Here are my top favorite images that were on display and my comments on them:
- Emmy Lou Harris – “Red Dirt Girl” being brought to life. Just a tough, weathered woman surviving on the delta!
- Mary J. Blige – An amazingly beautiful raw soul captured in this still. Quite unlike this iconic image of cutting edge/gritty R&B/rapper musical styling I normal associate with her.
- Ryan Adams – So cool to see an artist look like a normal human being. Sitting in a messy motelish type room with killer bed head and very sloth like.
- Robert Earl Keen & Lyle Lovett – Old pals sitting on porch probably in the midst of deep thought and discussion. It gives you a feeling like you could jump in and take part too if you brought a couple of beers.
- Rosanna & Johnny Cash – A musical family sitting in rockers on the porch, probably just kicking around and harmonizing to some tunes. Just imagine the amount of talent on that porch and inside that house on that day.
The one thing missing in the exhibit was actual music. I would have loved to travel from picture to picture with something that inspired Annie Leibovitz. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed her commentary, but to have some musical picks from her would have probably sent me over the moon.
Here are my top 5 songs that I would have listened to during the exhibit if someone asked me to select a soundtrack:
- Hold On I’m Comin’ – Sam & Dave
- Red Dirt Girl – Emmy Lou Harris
- Not Goin’ Cry – Mary J. Blige
- To Be Young – Ryan Adams
- It Ain’t Me Babe – Johnny Cash
The afternoon was topped of by a musical documentary - Amazing Grace: The Story of Jeff Buckley. This movie used musical footage intertwined with interviews of friends, fans and even Jeff himself to give us a better understanding of the mysteries behind an artist who refused to “sellout” to the labels. This movie revealed a tortured soul whose solace was his music and the desire for perfection within his creation. His journeys lead him to Memphis to record a new album, but tragically ended as he was swept away by Mighty Mississippi.
Definitely check out his music if you get a chance. One of my personal favorites is "Lover, You Should've Come Over" the acoustic version. Jeff's music is infused with such a rush of passion it's like bittersweet treat that should not be passed up.
Honestly, this is becoming way more exciting to me then Barbara Walters vs. Star Jones drama from a few weeks back. I'm envisioning a TV movie of the week. Or maybe they can take this to the people's court? It's got to be something along those lines!
I whiled away the past few weeks discussing with co-workers, friends or anyone who cared to debate the pros and cons of the sport. And why many people in the US are really clueless to the popularity and excitement that is visited when you hear “GOAL, GOAL, GOAL!”
My initial focus was to try and root for the US, but let’s face it they were a disaster waiting to happen. And it was confirmed when you saw how they could not gel on the field during game one. I do give them made props for their outstanding PR before the tournament. And special kudos for Gatorade in making a fantastic, tug at your heart stings commercial supporting the boys.
I choose to follow and cheer on the England, which also seemed to also struggle with team chemistry. Things seemed to look up when they made it out of group B and Wayne Rooney rejoined them. Alas the star power, which included Bekham, Rooney, Lampard, Owen and company, couldn’t make it out of the quarters. So we are left with again the best showing in the tournament for England was the Bekham & Lampard cameos in fabulous Adidas commercial of Jose +10.
And if you haven’t seen the Adidas ad it’s available for viewing at http://www.adidas.com
But I digress after all was said and done it was France vs Italy in the finals for the World Cup 2006. It was a great game with all the initial scores for both teams in the first 20 minutes. At the end of regulation the game was tied, so it was off to overtime, where it got ugly. In the first OT Zidane of France got red carded for a head butt. There has been some controversy on whether or not he was provoked into this action, but subsequently this action ended his career and France’s World Cup dreams.
And honestly it saddened me to watch him walk off the pitch passing the trophy that was within France’s grasp. The Italians ended up pulling off the victory in the penalty kick shoot out (5-3).
Plus I know that for a short period of time Soccer was more then just filler or a set of highlight reels on ESPN. It was a primetime, bona fide, live action telenovela for the entire world to see. And I can’t wait for the next go around in 2010 in South Africa!
"You're... you're crazy man. I like you, but you're crazy." -Frank The Tank (after she shoots himself in the jugular with a animal tranquilizer)
This quote really has two meanings for me right now:
- There are just some movies out there that draw you in. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen the flick, when you turn on the TV it just sucks you in helplessly. That has to be the case for me this weekend. And I guess it’s a coincidence that Vince Vaughn just happens to be in most of the funny ones I enjoy most. I literally will stop and lose yet another hour of my life to movies like Old School, Wedding Crashers (damn that HBO this weekend), Swingers and even Rudy (what can I say even a girl can get caught up in the moment of triumph overcoming adversity) to name a few. And not only do some of these movies suck me in, they leave me walking around quoting sheer nonsense (good thing I have friends willing to play along) for hours.
- And to be honest this quote also sums up my past week. I’ve been a bit crazy, a bit kooky and probably a tad bit stressed, but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I don’t like you or life in general. Things have just been a bit pressed with me doing so much. Plus as an added incentive I’ve really been working my tush off this summer. I’m trying to see how far I can make it through the dog days of summer without taking vacation (besides what’s bestowed upon me - aka memorial day, 4th of July, etc). This gargantuan effort I’m hoping will payoff in the form of me going to Switzerland this fall for some Hot Cocoa.
Maybe the best thing for me to do would be to stop listening to music that causes me to ponder to deeply, but let’s face it - that will never happen. Music is a part of my life. Always has been and always will be. I’m tuning in when I get ready, in the car, almost all day at work. And even if it’s not playing out loud that doesn’t mean I don’t have a song playing in my head.
Even today I sit at my desk grappling with my mounting assignments, deadlines and thoughts of the unknown. Songs randomly shuffle through my ipod as background. Then occasionally things happen, like a wave of emotion suddenly rushes over me.
Sometimes this can be wonderful. Ya know I will hear something I haven’t heard in a while and my whole attitude will change. It can make me smile and get me to secretly be dancing in my chair. It can make me think back onto a fun memory associated with a tune. Other times I hear songs and it floods my mind with thoughts like “what are you doing?” or “where are you going?”
It was not long ago I was sitting behind a similar desk in Georgia (and for the record it was cluttered chaos too) churning out work. Wondering who I was going to be in 5 years, but not having a clue. Thinking if I could just be down the road onto the next thing I would be able to prove myself. I could be that something or someone. Now it’s beyond that 5-year mark and I’m not sure I’ve blazed anymore of a path then when I started. Could it be that I’m like this Radiohead song spinning my wheels (sometimes selflessly) for something that I’m never going to quite be? Thus setting myself up to be left “High & Dry”?
I’ll continue to ponder this concept and other thoughts as I motor along through my working days contemplating what’s in store for my life.
-Mikey Walsh from “The Goonies”
Just like Mikey Walsh stated at the time of this quote, I too am feeling a bit empowered as of late to make the most of my time. Maybe this has to do with the fact a few of my friend’s are departing or have departed Memphis this month for locations around the country and world. They are blazing new paths in their lives from afar, but I do hope that our Goonie like spirit will help to ensure our adventures continue on for another day.
Truth be told, what I’m going to miss the most from these folks is the constant joy and smiles the contributed to our gatherings. I don’t believe this is going to fade over time & distance, but it sure won’t be the same since our conversations won't be face-to-face.
Those one-on-one conversations, complimented by those facial expressions often left me in hysterics. The laughter causing so much pain in the sides that tears literally began to roll down my cheeks! The dueling quotes, the intense debates and the sporadic train of thoughts that somehow all tied together...
And knowing how long-winded I can be on occasion, it is quite refreshing to have that balance of friends that aren't afraid to deflate my precious bubble. Popping that mentality bubble of “your never wrong/always perfect” innuendo (which many of us often live in). This always allowed a revelation within me and others that life shouldn't be taken so seriously, but lived with a little more of that love and lightheartedness.
That’s why I ending this entry by simply saying – “Goonies never say die!”
Field Trip for Work
Oh yes my friends!!! Some people don’t like to travel for work, some people do…I on the other hand don’t get to do it that often, so I’m pretty much ok with it. In fact one of the best reasons to travel with work for me is because it equates to a big field trip. And we all know what happens on field trips – lots of good intentions, lots of information in a short amount of time and lots of laughs :-) . In all serious though I headed to East Tennessee for a week in Chattanooga. Along the way I just had to make a stop at Rock City (how could one resist all those signs planting subliminal messages along EVERY single mile marker), getting into to the city about an hour after anticipated. Of course this gave my co-workers much fodder for the duration of the trip. The next two days I worked my arse off visiting an end-user in Dalton, GA and spending the rest of the time at the Plant. Did you know that Dalton, GA is the drug trafficking capital of the US? Did you know that spending hours in a plant wearing those fashionable earplugs and safety glasses is so in the season, but still doesn’t reduce headaches? Did you know that eating steak two nights in a row could send you into a carnivore spinout? Who knew that traveling for work could lead to all this new knowledge. But remember this was like a field trip and just like the kid I am at heart I embraced and soaked up the surroundings like a trooper!
Hot Butter Rolls!
Memorial Day also lead a few of my friends and I on yet another mini field trip/adventure to the “Home of the Throwed Rolls.” For those of you who are not privy to the ins and outs of the southern living – Lambert’s is a famous down-home cooking restaurant located in the heart of the boot heel of Missouri. Folks that's right - my friends and I traveled up along the Mississippi river half way between Memphis & St. Louis for LUNCH…Who could blame us though? A 5 hour round-trip to get hot rolls thrown at folks heads, friend okra, country fried steak, black-eyed peas, fried taters, fried chicken and all the fixins’. My oh my with all the southern style it could get even novice singer to belt out a country tune. After we filled our bellies we decided to head home. Only to travel slightly south to visit New Madrid, MO the site of the great shake. This little sleeper town held a small museum that showcased information about the great earthquake on the New Madrid Fault Line (which runs also along the Mighty Mississippi) that created shakes for days on end in the 1800s. The quake was so violent that is caused the Mississippi River to run backwards and created Realfoot Lake. Needless to say we spent far too much time in the museum (which was initially just a potty break) because the old ladies running the place kept showing us videos and suggesting we do a complete tour of the place. So we turned our trip for lunch into a semi-historical tour of the river most of us have grown up on.
Obviously there was much more that occurred in the last month, but I’ve waited so long between posts most of my thoughts seem to be blurring. The two solid weeks of traveling, catching up on movies, reading, BBQs, watching baseball and hours of hot yoga have made my mind has gone to mush. I hope to catch ya'll sooner rather then later!
“With a shiver in my bones just thinking about the weather...” 10,000 Maniacs
Yes indeedy - I do occasionally get a concerned with the weather in my fair city of Memphis. Especially when twice in one week I spend hours listening to the tornado sirens shrieking outside my window (which I probably shouldn’t be standing close to anyway) implying “Danger, Danger Will Robinson.” But what is truly sad is that most people tend to ignore these sirens and go on about their daily lives. And who can blame them we are trained to keep pursuing our end goal no matter what, especially while you are at work.
“But it's always me that ends up getting wet …” The Police
All right it’s true. I get wet from all the normal ways – baths, showers, taking a dip in the pool or the occasional water balloon fight. Plus I do occasionally get soaked because I actually prefer not carry an umbrella. Sometimes it’s actually fun to watch people act like they are going to melt from a few little raindrops. And of course anyone who knows me really well knows that sometimes I spill water on myself from my Nalegene.
But really the quote above has little do with getting physically wet and more to do with getting yourself out there and living your life. Sometimes the best things happen in life because you keep on calling, you keep on seeking and you keeping yourself uncovered and unprotected to try new things or engage someone new.
“Have you ever seen a sight as beautiful as that of the rain-soaked purple of the white birch in spring?” Cowboy Junkies
What’s most refreshing about spring is that it’s a time of awakening. The environment awakes from the wintry slumber. Thing around us seem to become rejuvenated and refreshed. Things start sprouting left and right, the day becomes longer and pollen abounds (creating allergy problems in the process too). It really is quite a beautiful time to spend lazy weekend afternoons strolling with no particular destination in mind. Just like the feeling of waking up on those groggy winter days that seem reel on and on, spring awakes with a bright smile of possibilities (and extended daylight) of what could be and what will still come.
Well take some time and ponder. Let me your thoughts on turning these showered thoughts in flowered ideas. I’m off to go ponder some work or ideas for the weekend…
Right now I’m sitting here with Norm the Gnome chilling like a villain. Or shall I call him DJ NormEGnome Fresh? Not sure if it’s just a coincidence, but my little gnome has vacated his Astroturf and strategically moved himself closer and closer to my Ipod in the past few weeks. He must be in desperate need for some tuneage too! No matter the case, we are both sitting here jamming out at my desk to an Ipod Remix. Ya know kicking it a little before I head off site to a meeting.
I then predict a reunion with NormEGnome, where we will share a quiet cappuccino and listen to some more tunes. Then I will toil away to wrap a few more odds and ends piled up on my desk. Then I will get ready to break free with that ever so tempting 5pm dash. On your marks…Get Set…I’m outta here :-)
Then we can mark it off my calendar. And I will then be able to commit myself fully to another fun, freewheeling Friday. That’s right folks bring on the friends, the laughs, the good times and some RUACH (“Spirit” in Hebrew). So if I get a little rowdy, don’t protest, just join in the celebration of another fulfilling week.
And as I close the chapter of this week, let us reflect upon a few mere sparks:
*Floor seats for the Grizzlies vs. Spurs game on MLK day – not only a great game, but had a great message, special guests (Alabama Blind Boys, Elmo & the Shades, Bill Russell, etc.)
*Driving a brand new Hummer off the lot (I will probably never own one, but it was kind of cool to drive it off like it was mine. And I can always say I drove it first!)
*Watching Death Cab for a Cutie on SNL (I may seriously never delete this from my DVR. I “Heart” that Ben Gibbard fellow!)
**Please note that this is a courtesy call from our friend’s at Captain D’s.
I get a bit misty-eyed thinking about how KU has now lost to both K-State aka “The Purple-Power Kittens” & Mizzou aka “Muck Fizzou” within a mere 48-hour period. What’s the freaking deal? We lose to both sworn enemies in one fail sweep? I’m almost at a loss for words…
Physically it pains me to know KU’s 2006 season has boiled down to these two losses, but now I’m trying put a positive spin on the situation. First off – I’m happy for K-State. Partially because my friend RJet (who recently became engaged) now can go about his merry way knowing that his alma mater doesn’t stink that bad.
I mean it only took the power kittens 31 tries to finally put that W in the record book, but they finally did it. RJet - let us just call this little victory an early engagement/wedding present for ya! So don't forget this generous gift. And let me ask you a quick question – weren’t you still in school the last time they beat good ole KU? I thought they said it was 1894, oops I meant 1994. Oh how the time flies…
And then of course I’ve got my close KU pal Crider (another recently engaged friend). She’s getting ready to join herself for richer or poorer, in sickness & health to a Missouri Tiger grad for ETERNITY. They are one happy & cute couple, until KU/MU game day arrives. No worries though my Rock Chalk friend - we still have our 2005 football victory :-)
Just please don’t make any bets that will lead you to ever have to wear that dreaded black and gold. Again, let him know it’s just an early engagement/wedding present. There will be no need to make a big affair about the victory. I’m just hopeful that we won’t be Rock Chalkless situation over our archrivals in next round of match-ups this season.
BTW – I had to DVR the KU/MU match-up last night because I watched the Griz drop another one to San Antonio at the FedEx Forum. Thanks to Zig for giving me a live play by play of the KU/MU game when it went into overtime. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for part 2 – I “Heart” Griz/Rachiley Rocking the FedEx Forum.
So let's chat about the new workout ideas for a sec. Starting a new program or restarting a new program is always rough. I tend to get very bored going to the gym day in or out. So that's why I usually vary with indoors and outdoors activities. But a friend convinced me I should join the gym near my house. This way we could occasionally work out together and keep each other motivated. Yesterday she convinced me to try the gyms Yoga class. So I go and this is my adventure:
LilVin: "How are you liking it?"
Rachiley: "Is this supposed to be relaxing?" (slight giggling ensues)"
LilVin: "You get used to it."
Rachiley: "I'm not sure I'm breathing right. Or even doing this right..."
LilVin: "Do you have asthma? I think you're doing great, it just gets some taking used to..."
Rachiley: "No, I don't have asthma. You've seen me workout and run. I'm just not keeping up with the breathing according to the instructor. And I look like a flippin' moron trying to twist!"
At the end of the class my friend went to go change and the instructor came up to chat with me. She actually said that I did really well in the class. She even thought it had looked like I had taken some classes before. She hoped to see me again in the future. It was hard for me not to blatantly laugh in her face as she seemed to be very sincere about my efforts. Honestly, I was terrible at the Yoga. Who knows I may try it again since I did feel a bit of relaxation after the naptime portion. Let's face it though - I'm the straight little twig pretzel trying to fit into twisty pretzel world.
Relaxation doesn't come easy to me. Maybe it's truly an acquired state of mind. I'll let ya'll know if I decide to get a yogalicious again in the near future or if I just stick with a more traditional plan of action.