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things that are important

Right when I thought I was all settled in Seattle, I wasn’t.

Life can be a real kick in the ass sometimes.

I spent the weekend in Boise visiting my brother, sister-in-law, their sweet baby Madeline, and the greatest English mastiff of all time–Nana. We were celebrating Madeline’s 3rd birthday, and it was maybe the best weekend I’ve had in years. I think the word “special” is overused, but goddamnit, this weekend was SPECIAL. I watched more than a foot of snow fall Friday, and we had dance parties to Devotchka and Devendra Banhart in the living room while Nana chased us around and the snow fell outside for 12 hours straight. We made sugar cookies (I decorated them as cheshire cats per the mad hatter tea party theme) and ate all of my favorite childhood meals. My mom was there, my sister and her little baby were there, and it was all very old-timey family goodness.

It was SO MUCH NEEDED.

But now I’m all sorts of thrown off again. Missing them so badly. I’d forgotten how good it feels to have your mom make you a cheese sandwich. Or to have your brother pick you up from the airport and say, “I’m so glad you’re here.” Or to just eat cereal with my niece at 11pm. These things are really important. And I didn’t even realize it until I didn’t have it.

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This has been a shitty Monday. I’ve cried twice about it all, and I’ll probably cry about it one more time. Moving is hard, and I knew it would be, but I don’t think I realized just HOW hard it would be. I’m perpetually taking 1 step forward and 5 steps back. I discover a new cafe and order with confidence and think I’m great–everything’s coming up Milhouse!–and then I FaceTime with my friends and everything is so lonely again. And my sister has a baby, and I’m not there. He’ll be 3 months old before I get to meet him. That’s 3 months of missed opportunity to snuggle him and tell him he’s awesome. I can’t stand it. How do people do this?

I don’t know that it’s even worth it. Sure, Seattle is great, and I love everything about it, but will it always feel so lonely? And will it always be this hard to leave my family? Will this happen every single time I take off from the Boise or Salt Lake City airport? It hurts too much, and I hate it. I’m not a fan. I miss everyone and everything. And no matter what anyone says, it’s NOT just “a plane ride away.” That shit’s expensive, and I can’t afford to just book a flight on a whim. It doesn’t work like that. You’ll always miss out, and you’ll always be home alone while they’re all getting together for one reason or another.

Sometimes I wish we hadn’t moved. Even though it’s great, I don’t know if this is worth it. I miss my old condo and my best friends and my nieces and nephews. I miss my old walk to work and the way it felt to know where I was going, no matter what street I took. I miss knowing how good every restaurant is and what ones to avoid. I miss pool days and Sunday dinners at my mom’s house and anything and everything I used to love.

If you are near your family, go see them and hug them and make dinner together. Olr whatever or whomever you call home–just be there and mean it and don’t forget it. Because nothing else matters. It’s all just bullshit.

Now I’m going to go listen to “How it Ends” on repeat and throw a pity party so I can hopefully get over all of this. I know it’s a phase, so I’ll just have to keep on keepin’ on. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being cool. Thanks for reading.

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self-love renegade brigade project #1: rediscover my musical abilities

I want to learn to play the piano.

I’ve always wanted to learn mostly so I could play Rachmaninoff. I used to watch the movie Shine more than I think was acceptable for a 9 year old. And then I really, really, really, REALLY loved the Beatles (still do–George Harrison forever) and I always wanted to play Hey Jude. And then I went through this enormous Muse phase, and I was positive “Ruled by Secrecy” could unlock the secrets to life success if I just listened to it 1 million bajillion and 1 times. (It didn’t.) I remember watching Matthew Bellamy play a 15 minute piano solo at this tiny venue in my hood and melting my face. I want to say it was “Megalomania,” and that I wanted to cry. I probably did cry. That was a memorable show.

I’m willing to bet that 98% of the greatest songs of all time contain a piano part of some sort. I will even bet you my Pikachu backpack because I know you will not win it. Because I’m right.

Piano rules. And I want to play it.

I believe most of you already know, but as a refresher, I played violin for 11 years. From 4th grade to senior year of high school. I loved it. Lived, breathed, and died for it. I was first chair once and got to play in Salt Lake City’s main symphony venue, Abravanel Hall. I tuned the orchestra and felt like I was going to pee my pants with nervousness. It was brilliant. Of all the things I’ve done in my life, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so fulfilled as when I played Spring from Vivialdi’s Four Seasons with the orchestra backing me up. My dad brought me flowers and told me he’d never been so proud of me. It was all very special and transformative, and I thought for sure I’d play forever.

Until I quit. Because college happened and violin solos don’t make that coin. Well, I guess they could, but only if you give up everything for it, which I wasn’t prepared to do. I wanted to write.

So here I am. And my point here, is, I think I need music making back in my life. Mostly because I’m bored out of my goddamn mind–Mitch works evenings, which means I watch a lot of Bob’s Burgers in sweatpants and think about everything else I could be doing. I need something to DO, you know?

But here’s the other thing. I’m famous for doing this. I started taking violin lessons again about three years ago after getting this same feeling, but I couldn’t hack it. I’d lost my ish. It felt like I’d lost my talent, and there were grade schoolers outplaying me in the recital. It blew. And last year, I tried to take guitar lessons again (I also played guitar in high school and quit to focus on violin) but quit when I realized I hated practicing. This happens every year–I dream, I excite, I act, and I fizzle out.

This year’s musical hankerings are manifesting in dreams of piano grandeur, and I’m thinking about buying a keyboard and finding a teacher here in Seattle. BUT–will I get sick of practicing again? Will I pull a classic Amy and quit? I’m excellent at quitting musical instruments at this point. I’m a bonafide pro.

But I want to do it. Wait, also–another great reason to do this–my lifelong dream has always been to play a mean synth. Like this. So, there you have it. I really want to play the piano.

So here’s my question to you–how do you start a new thing and stick with it? How do you not get sick of things? Is this a.) a stupid question and b.) one that is even possible to answer? Probably and probably not. But still. I want to start this whole piano adventure, but I know myself, and I foresee a disaster coming from it.

How does one stop being such a lousy quitter?

I’ll let you ponder that, and I’ll ponder it, too. This whole thing is part of my self-love renegade brigade plan of action for 2015. I want to rediscover the things I used to love SO MUCH. Because…what happened? I still love them. So I’m going to find them again. Do it with me?

In the meantime, here are some photos from our daytrip down to Ocean Shores this weekend. I took many photos of my shoes in the sand because I’m uncreative and totally predictable. Enjoy.

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could I fold time

Today was a weird day punctuated by weird feelings of weirdness. Today I was feeling introspective and melancholy. Like the world was cloaked in a dreary shade of pervasive doom. It wasn’t. And I didn’t hate it, per say. I just felt sad. And it was one of those days where you were kind of ok with feeling sad because it wasn’t a bad sad. It was just sad.

I blame it on seeing Interstellar yesterday and having my mind blown. I won’t say much, because I don’t want to blow anything for those yet to imbibe in space movie euphoria, but I will say this. It hit me in the feels. ALL the feels. It reminded me so much of Contact, which is a very, very important film for Amy Sullivan at a tender age looking for what the hell it all means. And for Amy Morby, all these years later, it reminded me of all the complex feelings surrounding being religious and leaving religion and what that all means. The loss of, what I once thought was, hope. But it’s not a loss. AT ALL. Oh my god, all the feels. Were you having coffee with me right now, I’d go into detail, but I won’t because I want you to make your own conclusions to the movie. You might not even like it or you might get something COMPLETELY different. But still. Someday I’ll write a big, fat, juicy blog post about it all. But today is not that day.

I think John Lennon kind of gets it, or at least I get John Lennon, when he says,

“Children, don’t do what I have done.
I couldn’t walk, and I tried to run
So I, just got to tell you
Goodbye. Goodbye.”

I think today is all about regrets and the idea that, though it’s a waste of time, it will forever be fascinating to ponder what could be were you able to fold time and fix things.

It’s kind of why I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And Contact. And any movie with similar sentiments of fixing things.

Anyway, I’ll take my black, sideswept bangs, chucks, and tight pants back to 2003 and post it on MySpace.

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I spent 90% of my day making a playlist of my favorite songs that are good for days like today. Should you feel so inclined. It’s like I’m 16 again, and I’m making mix CDs, only this time I’m a grown ass woman that should feel so embarrassed publishing this on the internet. BUT I DON’T! Joke’s on you, life! Sad songs still rule. And I need this patch. Fair warning: it’s laden with 70s goodness because that’s all I really care about. Ever. I love the 70s.