Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Word for 2011

I am a very task-oriented person. I derive so much satisfaction from checking things off my to-do list...sometimes it's scary. So, at the suggestion of Christine Kane, I decided to approach 2011 from the standpoint of ONE WORD, instead of a laundry list of resolutions.

I picked the word ENJOY, because I feel it aligns me with my most desired priorities, and will help steer me away from my task-oriented nature a bit. Even if I am working at my to-do list, at least I can remind myself with my one word to enjoy each task as much as possible and focus on the moment at hand.

At our New Years Eve celebration, my friends and I sat by the fire at our friend's cabin and discussed our chosen words for 2011. It was fun and fascinating to hear what word each person's desires conjured up. Words like HOME, STAY, FAITH, INNOVATE, and BOLD were mentioned. All of us are at so many different points in our lives (and many of us live all over the country), so it was interesting to see how each person's word coincided with their current situation.

The great thing about picking just one word is that it allows for its infusion into all aspects of your life. Instead of saying, "I am going to be better about practicing the guitar," keeping the word ENJOY in my mind's eye encourages my brain to approach my guitar playing with joy, instead of something I "need" to do. This, in turn, will (hopefully) inspire me to practice more.

And, how much easier is it to remember one word as opposed to a whole list of "shoulds"?

So, what is your word for 2011?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Pause

This morning on my run, as I listened to the crunch of partially frozen earth beneath my shoes, my brain was filled with its usual ramblings and concerns. At one point, I actually thought to myself, "Have I even thought this whole time about what I'm doing right now, or am I just completely in my head?" Why can't I just put my brain on pause for once?

Well, this morning, mother nature paused it for me. As I trudged through the recesses of stored up memories and worries, a few flakes started to fall from the sky. I took note of this, but kept up with my brain-centric ways. Then, all of a sudden, it was as if the sky took a breath. The scant flakes that had been floating to the ground, tentatively, ceased, and there was a pause all around me. Even the dogs seemed to take a moment. And, like the beginning of a beautiful song, the sky released a symphony of huge flakes that fell to the ground with true intention.

I breathed out a big sigh as I watched my surroundings take on a new identity, a hint of snow dust slowly turning into a solid covering.

Then, finally, my brain was quiet, hushed by this blanket of new snow, our first of the year.

Thank you for that, Winter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy and Grateful

Just a quick note to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I am so grateful for so many things, but this year I am thinking the most about the following:

  • The health of my little cousin, Chandler, who has been fighting leukemia for over a year now. She's kicking butt and I'm so grateful for it!
  • I am a very social person, and I am thankful every day for all the people I meet being in a band. I make new friends every weekend, and I am so happy to have this renewable source of good people in my life.
  • The great fall we've had with our business. We've been busy, have gained some great new clients, and feel like we're really working toward better and better things. I am so thankful to be able to wake up each day and be my own boss.
I wish you the best this Thanksgiving. Here's to good health and merriment!
What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Must Love Dogs

I attract dogs. I must walk around sending a message to the universe that I want to be surrounded by dogs, all the time, and lots of them. We always have somewhere between 1-5 dogs running around our house at one time.

Sometimes, they make me want to pull my hair out. Chuck, one of our current "live-ins," has many endearingly irritating qualities. One of his favorite pastimes is to walk out to the horse barn behind our house and munch on horse manure for a leisurely half hour. This is often followed by a return (on his own schedule, of course) to the house for some much-needed "face time" with his human housemates, where he puts both paws on your front and breathes heavily in your general direction.

Chuck is a Labradoodle, with lots of gray, unkempt curls and a huge block head. While our dog, Sadie (prissy as she is), generally avoids getting too dirty on walks, Chuck insists on trotting through as many patches of burdock as possible, claiming an innumerable amount for himself to take home and deposit all over the house. Not to mention his dedication to finding at least one swampy area during our daily jogs. Needless to say, he takes the longest to towel off once we return home.

But there is something about the sound of two dogs snoring at the foot of your bed that makes the burdock-covered carpets and horse manure breath all worth while - how they choose their place to rest for the night as close to you as possible. Something about the complete and utter trust that these creatures put in you that makes the human-canine bond so extraordinary.

And when morning comes and they eagerly await for you to fill their bowls with the thing in life they love the most (aside from us, of course), prancing about and huffing in gratitude, I know one thing is for sure. We need them as much as they need us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Miss Writing Here

So, I miss writing. And I miss writing in this blog. Nowhere else can I write for the sake of writing, so I hereby reinvigorate my motivation to contribute to this blog. The title is still relevant, as is my goal - to explore the workings of this life and try my darnedest to live it well.

I thought I had given up on this blog. I thought I was too busy with two photography brands, a small business, a gigging band, songwriting, trying to even get through just one darned library book, having time for my marriage, friends, family, I'm sure you know how it is. And maybe I still don't have time for this. But I keep coming back to the fact that I miss writing for the sake of writing. And, I must admit, I miss you. I did, at one point, have a nice readership here. So, if you're still out there somewhere, come back! Let me know you're there and you still care (I realize it's been since May that I've posted)! I won't let you down this time...

And I'm not going to be such a perfectionist here. I'm just going to write for the sake of it (I'll say it again so I remember). Just like I try to live for the sake of it.


Friday, May 7, 2010

My Band Has a New Blog

Introducing Love, Pulp, and Murder Ballads: The Hello Strangers in the Blogosphere - my band's new blog! Here's a little blurb about it:

We’re excited to share with you the inner workings of our band on our new blog – from biographical nuggets, road stories, studio secrets, to other juicy behind-the-scenes stuff!
I will be cross-referencing quite a bit from this blog since I will be doing most of the writing.  As I have mentioned before, my band is a major part of how I spend my personal time nowadays, so much of my writing will be about the band. I'm excited to share my experiences as a musician with all of you!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Pabst Snow Picnic with my siblings

I am writing this on the last day of Winter, 2010.  I have been thinking about Home this week.  Home in the sense of people, places and things.

A year ago, I prepared to fly down to Austin with my sister to revisit our old town and attend the wedding of friends.  I had not flown in several years and had since experienced a slow, creeping anxiety about flying.  I wrote about my experience getting back on a plane in my blog post, "Why I Am Not at Home On a Plane."  Strange that a year later these feelings are resurfacing, spurred by a dream I had several days ago about flying to China with a friend and not being able to board the plane out of sheer fear and panic.  As mentioned in my blog post from a year ago, before getting on the plane again, I had to come to grips with why I really, truly, and honestly am afraid to fly.

My mind treats flying as if it is a treacherous journey full of peril, like going to the moon.  Many people I know treat flying with the same ease as riding a sleigh "to Grandmother's house we go."  Why my mind can't see flying as what it is - one of the safest ways to travel - is a mystery.  But it is not just about the act of flying on a plane for me, it is ultimately my fear of dying manifested in a tangible form - something that I do while living that reminds me of my vulnerability and the fact that, yes, I am going to die one day, and so is everyone around me.

It's no wonder then that I cling so fiercely to things that seem constant, stable, and true: my simple life in our farmhouse with my husband and dog; the thought of sleeping in my own bed with just them in the room with me; my siblings, friends, and family who live close by; trips to visit my parents, sister, Grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, in places that I've known my whole life.  There is nothing unusual about just wanting to be home, whatever home is to you in that moment.

So why do I seem to revisit these thoughts of home every year when the world is just awakening again after a long winter?  Perhaps it's just my recent dream that happened to spark these feelings again.  Or perhaps it's hormones, a passing mood, a last moment of reflection and introspection as the pensive season of winter dies again.

I do know one thing for sure: I cherish these places and people more than anything, and more than ever, as adulthood forces me to face my own vulnerability and fragility in this world, and the mortality of those around me.  I never let a day pass without spending time in face-to-face, meaningful experiences with real people (not the computer screen) - and animals - doing real activities: sampling new foods, romping around outside, sharing a laugh around the kitchen table, playing music together on a stage, toasting life over glasses of wine, taking walks with my dog and husband, giving hugs, being honest, sharing emotions and memories, playing board games, writing songs, having picnics in the snow, hosting dinner parties with almost more dogs than people...

...and for now I just want all these things in my little corner of the U.S.  I travel quite a bit with my band and because most of my family lives 3-5 hours away.  I lived and traveled around the world as a child (Norway, France, Europe, etc.), and all over the country in my 20s (Boston, Idaho, Austin).  I do love to travel and experience new things, but my instinct at this point in my life as I enter my 30s, unpredictable as instincts are, is to simplify and focus on things that are close, immediate, constant, and that I've known my whole life.

As Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros sing: "Home, yes I am home!  Home is wherever I'm with you."