Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Prost!

How to say "cheers" in German? Prost!!!

But you best say it with gusto and a beer stein!

Sitting at one of my frequent downtime spots on the globe, McCarren International in Las Vegas, NV, I am so glad I carved out 48 hours to come to see my friends from Germany get married in a small wedding chapel in polka dots and hot pink cumberbunds with an Elvis serenade and all. I hung out with old friends and made new ones. What a fabulous wedding and an even more fabulous couple. Their present was straight from my heart and my scrapbook studio.

A Beautiful Mess made with love for Mr. & Mrs. Frietag.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shake it like a Polaroid picture

When I log on I see "last published August 6, 2010". How depressing. I don't even have time to write anything anymore.

I always say that I'm going to have more free time to get things done when the Summer is over with, yet it's never true, I have more going on now than ever before. I feel like my life is snow globe right now. Everyonce in a while someone or something comes along and shakes everything up and when it falls back to the ground, its always rearranged differently than it was before. I guess that's the more poetic way of saying "same shit, different day."

I vow to come back to writing with a vengeance. I need my catharsis back. I need to document the daily shit!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Take-me-out-to-the-ball-gaaaame

Sunday afternoon baseball. America's past time.
No traffic, handicapp parking, and better yet, free tickets, from my driveway to the Oakland Colesium, 45 minutes flat.
My dates: one dad, two uncles, and a cousin.
The weather was perfect! The fog burned off just before we got there. Enough that the end of the day brough back two burnt senior citizens.
Our seats were fabulous, the food was fantasic to-go ball-park style bratwurst, loaded chicken nachos, and a beer. It was warm enough that my personal past time was a cold beer. Damn that was a good beer!
I get the chills every time I hear the National Anthem
It wasn't a good day, it was a great day!


Mke, John, Dad, Mickey, & Me

This blog got stuck somewhere in the draft file for alotta months. This was one of the last times I saw Uncle Mickey "normal". Actually, it might have been the last time. He's still here, but not the same. That's why I write and carry a camera with me always. You never know when something might be your last.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Oh, Jason

A Beautiful Mess
~ Jason Mraz

You've got the best of both worlds
You're the kind of girl who can take down a man,
And lift him back up again
You are strong but you're needy,
Humble but you're greedy
And based on your body language,
And shotty cursive I've been reading
Your style is quite selective,
Though your mind is rather reckless
Well I guess it just suggests
That this is just what happiness is

And what a beautiful mess this is
It's like we're picking up trash in dresses

Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you write
Kind of turn themselves into knives
And don't mind my nerve you could call it fiction
But I like being submerged in your contradictions dear
'Cause here we are, here we are

Although you were biased I love your advice
Your comebacks they're quick
And probably have to do with your insecurities
There's no shame in being crazy
Depending on how you take these
Words I'm paraphrasing this relationship we're staging

And what a beautiful mess this is
It's like picking up trash in dresses

Well it kind of hurts when the kind of words you say
Kind of turn themselves into blades
And kind and courteous is a life I've heard
But it's nice to say that we played in the dirt oh dear
Cause here we are, Here we are
Here we are
We're still here
What a beautiful mess this is
It's like taking a guess when the only answer is yes

And through timeless words, and priceless pictures
We'll fly like birds not of this earth
And tides they turn, and hearts disfigure
But that's no concern when we're wounded together
And we tore our dresses, and stained our shirts
But it's nice today, oh the wait was so worth it.

<3 <3 <3

a beautiful Mess {photography}


Somewhere this week buried in mounds full of tulle, and with only one day off in many weeks, it struck me: I have a beautiful mess. A beautiful mess of a house, a beautiful mess of a schedule, and a beautiful mess of a life. Creating something in my world looks like chaos, but out of that mess comes something beautiful. I found a name for bucket list item #23.

a beautiful Mess {photography}

These are my photos from today's tutu shoot with Miss MacKenzie who was patient until about photo #150 when she decided she didn't want to smile anymore, she wanted to take pictures with my camera. That's a girl after my own heart!!!








Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bibbity-bobbity-boo




A handful of glitter in the air was all that separated me from being someone's Fairy Godmother in the last 12 hours. I made 3 pastel colored tulle tutus in dispatch tonight, stopping only for a 100+ CHP pursuit and a few medicals. Tutu making...let's call it a much needed distraction. I actually love how they turned out and I can't wait to see how they sell at the end of the year at the Christmas botique. I'm hoping to keep riding this crafty wave right on through the end of this graveyard shift. Here's to craftiness...I forgot how much I miss it until now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

BFF

Broken Former Friendship

it's like an automatic version of getting kicked when you're already down
yeah, it's true
I know it is

its all those same emotions as a regular break-up:

foolish
used
hurt
bruised
betrayed
doubting
did you ever really believe in someone that much? that hard? that blindly?
did i ignore the signs? yeah...kind of. call it hoping for the best
in hindsight, it seems like it was a loosing game all along
the traces of an old life were all fading away, I was part of the old
growing pains are awkward and ugly
so are dents
we were bent
now we're broken



unpicturing someone who was supposed to be there for the important moments in your life and erasing them feels impossible
mabye all along they weren't going to be right next to you, but at least they were in your audience
they were part of that web that made up the safety net of your life

it's uneasy
unfinished
nagging
sometimes I think I just want to get the last word in, prove my point
lash out
but that's not it
I want an answer
it's not about finding a replacment, it's about worth, longevity, history
being irreplacable on both ends of it
irreplacable has it's place

I hate that feeling of wondering what the hell you're supposed to say when you accidentally bump into them
it makes me not want to ever do so much for a close friend again and that's not the person I am...it hate that thought, i despise it
ultimately i hate the feeling of wondering who is going to betray me next
I feel foolish for being scared for someone who insisted that my concern was just critcism

really what is this in the grand scheme? just another scar right?
but this one's uglier
those silly boys are supposed to dissapoint you
work too
family is comedic, tragic, a given, you just have to accept them

but those few friends you've always known
the ones you drag with you everywhere in life
the ones you made backyard wishes with
the ones you shared your first mobile freedom with
the ones you have on the other end of your auto dial
the ones that remember where you came from
the ones that remind you where you want to go
the ones that see you through all the bad decisions undone
the ones that will tell you the truth and won't just stand by
the ones that pull you up, pull you out, refuse to accept an "I'm fine"
the ones you shouldn't lie to...the exceptions to the don't tell rule
the ones who can still see past all the years of "adult" debris and find the little kid in you
the ones who know who you really are at the end of the day
those are the friends who are supposed to stay - over night, over coffee, over all the other BS
they're the family you get to choose yourself

10, 20, 50 years from now, people are going to forget what you did and what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel.

forgetting would be a reprieve
this bothers me more than I like to admit

move me



8am, sleep should be well over me.
stuck on YouTube, listening to covers of Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
I find the real thing
Captivated
Repeat.
Repeat.
Repeat.
the notes
the melody
that sound
they're like...??
what are they like?
it's a feeling...what's this word I'm thinking?

liquid.

they flow, they get in my veins....they move me.
move me to a place where I'm not just listening with my ears
<3

shhhh...
close your eyes, you don't need your eyes for this
can you find that place where you remember what this song feels like?
@ 1:03, the drop
lost your ground
lost your footing
the floor...felt like it just dropped out
too much to ignore
<3 stopped beating...it's joined a race
that lump in your throat
that pit in your stomach

reality is a harsh pill
a touch gone
a heart break too close
a goodbye that stares back
a tear that never seems to end
s l o w
deliberate

until you just let it take over
indulge
give in
give up
stop fighting
let it run its course
until you're left just humming
swaying
pushing the repeat button on your memory

this is no where connected to my present
but I can still see that place where it owned my past
remembering how this song feels doesn't leave
the sting is long gone but the memory...
it still captivates me

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Plotting my course...

Ten to five-am, July 25th...Summer whizzing by, highlighted map in front of me on my console, iPod pumping out tunes, high on home made crock pot peach cobbler that cooked right here in dispatch at the beginning of the shift, trying to figure out how far Boise is from the Lolo National Forest and what there is to actually see in Montana besides Big Sky. It looks so close together on paper, the state lines aren't really that far apart, but I think they might actually be. Would it matter though? Four corners, Yellowstone, the Mile High City, the Grand Canyon, Lebanon, KS...by the end of August, I'll have 18 states to go and I'm that much closer to completing #24 from my Bucket List.

"(S)he's racing and pacing and plotting the course...she's going the distance."

In our last long conversation in May, Bev asked me "You're such an adventurer, wow do you decide where you're going next? Or do you just let the wind blow you in the direction you're supposed to go?"

I'm listening to the wind Bev, I'm letting it push me in the direction I'm supposed end up.

Dream the world. Live your dreams. Live big. Live bold. Live beautifully.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Keep your hands off my crock pot.



This is my patented "Crock-pot anti-meddling device" (c)...it is meant to prevent inteference from old men who think they know thing 1 about cooking...old men who think that when a crock pot looks "dry and crusty on top" that it is time to unplug raw meat 2 hours early and "eat a bowl with 2 tortillas".

If you call now, you can get not 1, but 2 of these revolutionary devices for the bargain price of $9.99.

As you can see, taped to the cabinets (only because I couldn't figure out how to replace the staplers in the industrial stapler), are 18 reasons why you (meaning my father) should never touch the crock pot.

Reason 18) not unless there is smoke and/or flames shooting from the crock pot, even then, this kitchen was burned down twice in my youth, the last time I had to put it out at age 12 with an extinguisher while my mother huddled against the kitchen door screaming bloody murder. I think we've already had our run on kitchen fires.

This is literally the means I have to go to, to get a message across to anyone about anything in this house....the day when I have to wake up and damn near instantly go and find the spray paint and a scrap piece of wood on the side of the house, and more than 1 door gets slammed in a row...it is NOT a good day.

Yeah, I lost it a little bit today.

Summertime, graveyard shift, semi sick over the weekend, and just plain sick of having everything constantly messed with pushed me over the edge. You live with your disabled senior citizen father day in and day out and tell me how you manage to cope with it. He's not cute all the time. It's funny now but in the haze of spray paint fumes at 245pm with sleep dust still in my eyes and anger boiling through my veins, the funny was still in it's own crock pot.

Lesson of the day: don't mess with a sleeping woman's crock pot.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dream the world! Live your dreams!


Beverley “Bev” Kaye Stehli
July 23, 1942 - July 5, 2010

Nearly 2 months ago, I meant to post this picture and write about my day with dear friend and mother-figure Bev, but I didn't. Other than the business of life, I don't know why I didn't. Subconciously, I suspect it was because she said something about her hair in the picture and I figured I would just hang on to the picture until the time was right. I'm so glad I took that warm day in May to go and see her.

Yellow, that's about the right color for my last memory of Bev. Despite the cancer and the chemo, she was glowing...having a light that next to nothing could extinguish. If you've ever met or seen anyone who smiled with their eyes, you know what I mean.

She was a lady who lived big, lived bold, and lived beautifully. She is the "old" lady I want to be when I get that age who had a young spirit and true zest for life. I don't think the phrase would be wasted on her by saying she had a lust for life.

Thank you Bev for teaching, sharing, and showing me about all the beautiful things in life. I appreciate the world at broad, travel, and beauty in the little things all around because you had such passion for them. Thank you for believing in me, you really did. Thank you for always asking me how I was, where I was going, what I had seen, how my family was, and reminding me to slow down and not work so much. Thank you for taking hula lessons with me on my maiden trip to Hawaii, for introducing me to the lagoons at Ko'Olina, for complimenting my passion for photography when it was in its infancy, for feeding my love of art through scrapbooking and sending me all those little treasures over the years to add to my growing hobby, for remembering me every Christmas in one way or the other, thank you for your laugh...oh your laugh that I will remember always, for your smile, for your hugs, for adopting me for so many family meals and vacations.

In an email dated this February 15th, she announced her big adventure to all her friends and family. Titled "My Big Adventure" it was the announcment that the cancer that had been so sneakily gone for 5 years, had metastecized to her brain. As was Bev, her email started by asking how everyone else was.

Dear Beloved Friends and Family,
How are you all doing? Hope that 2010’s challenges and obstacles are few and easily manageable. Be sure to celebrate each day….whatever it brings!


I am really, truly going to miss you and I am finding it hard to believe that you are gone. I'm am a better person for having known you and I will not forget you. I will remember you in sunsets, the ocean, beautiful Hawaiian melodies, and in all things purple.

As I was leaving that day, somewhere inside, I knew it was the last time I would see her. I have her a series of hugs and a kiss on the cheek. One of those kisses I used to give my grandmother, the same ones that I drop on my 90 year old Uncle Pete everytime I see him. I didn't see Bev a lot, but she would send the occasional email and it was comforting knowing that she was there, just a postcard away.

Her obituary, so perfectly written by her family, simply ended like this:
Dream the world! Live your dreams!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

lights, camera, tattoo


That's right...I did it. The tattoo has arrived. Nothing over the top or super symbolic. Just something pretty that I saw on a piece of scrapbook paper. But, ah-ha, I am a scrapbooker through and through, so it is me and it's just the beginning. I was itching for more ink before I made it to the parking lot. Soon there will be another...mark my words!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

MIA blogger

Have you seen her? I saw her reflection in the mirror, but I didn't recognize her. She's got bags under her eyes and she's gained 10 pounds. Maybe she'll reappear next week when she goes camping and leaves work, errands, needy family, and all else behind. Look for her reappearance soon...it will be EPIC!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Forgiveness

"Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon."
~ Invictus

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Birthday

I'm 1:40 mins away from 29 and I don't have anything astute to say. Nothing earth shattering or uber reflective. I didn't have an epiphany when I woke up this morning, but that might be because I didn't go to bed last night, again for about the 8th time in the last 2 weeks. Sleep is fleeting, health is less than dazzling, frustration is epic, I'm restless, I'm tired, and I'm looking for definition. Not A definition, not the definition, but some definition.

I think I have that tattoo figured out, but that's about it.

Ready or not, 29, here I come.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day


5am Memorial Day...it was all I could do to not talk myself out of going straight home after work at 6am and going to bed. I had promised myself that I would go out to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetary and for once actually, really take the effort to put the memory into Memorial Day. It was beautiful and breezy outside as I bounded down the stairs with my camera bag and saw the sun breaking through the clouds out to the East. I've driven past the cemetary sign a few dozen times, but never stopped to check it out. Earlier this year, I spent the better part of an hour in a snow dusted National Cemetary in Eastern Tennessee camera-in-hand, reading headstones from soldiers who had been born, lived, and died a century ago. Different locale and horizon, but the same sober haunting feeling washed over me. Who were these men and women? Would they be proud to have served and died for the country as it stands today?

Driving slowly through the gates, there were just a few other souls present - a news truck and reporter knee-deep amongst the headstones waiting for the early morning news, a couple of other photograpers, and a few members of the Veteran's Honor Guard in full dress preparing for the days services.



Quietly, I walked through the headstones reading the names and noticing the dates engraved on each of them. Fathers, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers, husbands, wives...soldiers, Americans. They each bore a message of thankfulness. On a day that seems to have lost some of it's purpose to bargain packs of hot dogs, mattress sales, 4-day weekend camping trips, and the mark of the first day on the lake, I am glad I convinced myself to spent the end of my early morning remembering the importance of the day. God Bless America.

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom


...is in my backyard.

Summertime graveyard shift is doing me in again. I woke up well into the PM hours to the rapid fire caws and squawks coming from my backyard tree line. Not a coo, not a chirp...a squawk. Just in case you didn't know, birds don't squawk to be cute - it's fear, alarm, distress...it's drama. Bird drama was going down!!!

Not to be left out of the animal kingdom emergency, Emma Mudflap was darting back and forth like a gazelle on crack barking like a mad dog. Half dressed I dragged myself out back with my camera to find out what the commotion was. Ten minutes into the investigation, I had made it around the entire perimeter of the house following two big black crows who were flying frantically from tree to tree while keeping a watchful eye on me. Just then, over the back fence a little person voice joined the circus, "shut up you stupid crows, stop yelling stupid crows." Birds, dogs, children...a chorus of noise on an otherwise beautiful, warm afternoon. Despite being only five feet from the back door, my father only tuned into the situation after I delivered a full report. It's like a Norman Rockwell.

Then...I heard it. A sound straight from a Hitchcock film. The shrillest of shrill squawks from the side of the house and Emma, dumb as ever, trying to play with a sick, emaciated bird that had left a trail of feathers behind on its sad little walk to die on the side of my house.

ITwo cardboard boxes, a sister, and an hour later, we had become a bird wranglers trying to stay one step ahead of a hopping bird with 1 1/2 wings. Three calls and animal services is on my front porch picking up the bird and taking it to never-never land.

Just another day in the Coughlan household.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer lovin'

Oh Summer, let me count the ways I love you:

I love that the Sun is down and it's still 79 degrees outside.
I love the smell of BBQs.
I love sundresses.
I love that soon it will be so hot that fashion will cave to comfort.
I love flip flops.
I love that it's hot enough that my tomatos will grow big and red and juicy.
I love that my backyard is my new favorite place to be.
I love that corn on the cob is $.20 a piece.
I love that everyone seems to be in a better mood because they are all getting more vitamin D.
I love that even though I'm not a kid and I don't have kids, the kids are happy to be out of school. I remember that feeling.
I love Memorial Day, 4th of July, and my birthday in the middle of June.
I love that having a porch in the Summer is reason enough to have a beer.
I love the beach.
I love that the rain is gone for now.
I love Summer concerts - they are good for my soul and my psyche.
I love that the downtown farmer's market and the corner lot produce stands are now open.
I love the smell of star jasmine and chlorine. Yes, together.
I love having a tan and a pedicure.
I love that this time of year you have to endure through Summer days, but the Summer nights make it all worth it.
I love that being warm on the outside makes me feel warm on the inside.

<3 <3 <3

Thursday, May 27, 2010

QOTN

Quote of the night: "All I need is some skates and some pads. I already have a helmet and a mouthguard at home."

Today's chapter: Lauren want's to be a roller derby girl.
Team name: The Tuck and Rollers

"Wait, why do you have a mouth guard?"
It doesn't matter.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Compatibility

Teeny-love-boppy love is in the air. Fresh out of high school or college the invites and evites are taking over the mailboxes. A cousin had this on her Facebook profile "Love is friendship on fire"...I smiled and gagged all at once.

Compatibality is so hard and by hard I don't mean, "Oh dear me, it must be difficult to figure out which one of the eligible bachelors is going to be right for The Bachelorette, Ali at the end of the next 8 weeks."

What I mean is more ..."Shit! Seriously? I'm so over you. Did you just spit a lugie behind the back of the car? Smoking is disgusting. Nevermind, everything I say get's lost in translation."

Ugh.

I know, right?

What is my preoccupation with compatibility? Some of it is just the rambling I hear in my head fueled by the obveservations all around me. I don't get why people, and by people I mean reasonably smart women, settle. Why?! I subscribe to a school of thought that lives somewhere between A) don't be a slut and B) there's a damnshitloadfulloffish-in-the-sea, but this stuff going on is just what soap operas are made of. Do you want to be Kourtney Kardashian!? I thought not.

Blame the cute sundresses I can't escape buying, blame the wanderlust and the desire to not always have to figure out who is up for a trip, blame an upcoming birthday, blame my big, big family, blame the fact that my father (yes him!!!) said today: "you know you could easily be a cat lady" which was shortly followed by "I better get my one leg and move quickly" after the sideways glance became the quick recipient of.

I don't have many answers about anything, but I am finding out what is really important to me, who I actually am, and one solid for sure: I know that I don't want to end up being the damn cat lady.

Meow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hasta la vista mi juventud

I have exactly 5 full weeks until my 29th birthday. 5 weeks until the LAST year of my 20's. 5 weeks until I have a small mental and emotional break down. 5 weeks until my biological clock gets a little more wonky. 5 weeks until I have one more year that I can self-justify totally stupid behavior. 5 weeks until the beginning of the end.

As of tonight, I want one, or both, or all of these things to mark my 29th birthday...a puppy (to keep me company in my pathetic single early 30's), a tattoo (maybe of a pathetic old hag with too many cats), or a kayak (because I could strap it to the roof of ozone killer and feign that I've picked up a supercool hobby in my middle agedness).

Ok...maybe I'm being a little over dramatic. Maybe I'm looking forward to being 29. Maybe I'll finally consider myself semi-adult-like. Maybe I'll take myself seriously for once. Maybe I'll stop making excuses...

So, Costco has kayaks, the SPCA has puppies who need some love, and there is a tattoo to be had out there somewhere. I have 5 weeks to decide what I want to ink into my skin to permanently mark this momentous occasion of the passing of my youth. I know...maybe I'll just get the Kanji symbol for drama queen.

Seriously though, I'm racking my brain trying to figure out what symbol can properly sum up the course of my life thus far. What would sum up yours?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May flowers

Absentee blogger here coming at cha with the gardening tip of the day.

May 8th, 2010: Tip #1 gardening in sundresses particularly low cut sundresses, only results in dirty cleavage. It's really that simple.
Tip # 1 1/2...if you're going to hang the plant, put all the soil you need in it before you hang it so you don't have to deal with the tip #1 as described above.

I know, of all the things for me to make my May 2010 re-entry into blogging with, it would be about dirty mammaries.



I sincerely mean to blog more, along with gardening more, but those get put on the back burner along with eating better, throwing out old clothes, cleaning the garage, and uploading the hundreds of pictures I take on a monthly basis. Lately my most avid "hobby" has been sleep. Full on, dead-on, open-mouth, dry-throat, sticky-tounge, sleep like a newborn. It's been glorious and depressing all at once.

I'm not doing so shabby today...so far I've gardened, blogged, taken a few pictures, and I'm eating a super healthy snack, strawberries and non-fat greek yogurt.


but...

I'm about to go have a margarita and some Tex-Mex before going to the local fair to see Creedence Clearwater Revisited (I know, either it's another tribute band or they decided they're too old to try and revive anything or anyone) and Pat Benetar!!! I don't know...I just might be way too excited about carnival beer and funnel cakes. Oh yes...now that sounds like a blog in the making.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weirder than Poison

In 1999, I graudated from high school. We didn't have a regular gym or field to graudation from, so we had our ceremony in the local community center auditorium. Seating is not in excess...I think I had 5 invites and I was even the class speaker. This is not a large building.

Tonight, I went and saw the Gin Blossoms perform on that same stage. Apparently they're staging a comeback and performing at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre is where it's at for trying to capture your old glory. I guess that's what's happened with Boyz II Men and Blues Traveller. You know how well it worked out for them.

Nothing is better than a Friday night out with my BF, sitting second row center, trying not to be accosted by the lead singer or his overly tight plaid skinny pants. We narrowly missed being the chosen as the lucky tamborine audience member who got an overly zealous fist bump at the end of the spontaneous fan participation. "Just don't make eye contact and don't let him see you not clapping" I kept hissing to keep us out off his radar.

Even better than the stage in front of us, was the audience around us - children, mullets, old folks afraid of being in the ruckus front row, a city council man two rows behind us, co-workers, women in boyfriend jeans with little bottles of Grey Goose in their pockets wearing Gin Blossoms 1994 concert t-shirts...really, this was almost as good as the people watching at Poison - mullets, side boobs hanging out of muscle shirts, inappropriate 50 year olds in denim skirts and leather, and the King of wierdness...Brett Michales, himself.

Oh community center, so many memories...sooo many memories.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Compass Rose


I only have one tattoo that was not well thought out and I hate it. In all my travels and in all the aspects of life that beg for tough decisions to be made, it is always nice to know where you are and which way is up. I have been itching for ink for too long and thinking of getting this little symbol tattooed on me somewhere for many, many months. Tonight after one drink, a short walk down 6th St in Austin, Kelly and I decided to get tattoos. Just like that.

May I always remember that even if I stray off my beaten path, I can always find my way back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Buried LIfe

I don't know how I missed this show The Buried Life. Four Canadian guys in their 20's travelling in a bus with a list of 100 things they want to do before they die; in the process encouraging other people think about their lists and helping them along the way. Seems like there are a lot of people in my general age bracket doing stuipid shit to get noticed for their 15 minutes of fame. The power to make a positive influence really starts with individuals, regular people who believe in their own dreams. From what I've seen, these guys are just super cool dudes who decided to do what we all say we'll do "some day".

It got me to thinking, what is really on my list? Really, really on my list, not just "oh yeah, it would be nice to do that someday..." I'm 28, I've been able to do and see more than most just in the last few years of travelling and taking a risks on new people and unfamiliar situations, but that's not enough.

Sometimes I feel like I just started to figure out how to really start living my own life. I have been existing and experiencing, but sometimes running just on auto-pilot as a means of survival and defense. But then I step back and realize that I'm 28 and I've figured out how to start living...

My bucket list:

1. write a book/get published
2. get my bachelor's degree
3. learn how to surf
4. speak a foreign language
5. be a mom
6. marry my best friend
7. adopt
8. be in the right place at the right time
9. look better at 30, 35, and 40 than I've ever looked before
10. Run a marathon, yes 26.2 miles
11. change someone's life
12. set foot on all 7 continents
13. life in a foreign country for at least 6 months
14. learn how to fly
15. own a ranch
16. adopt a dog
17. fall in love
18. donate blood
19. get a tattoo in a foreign country
20. build a house for someone
21. pay off all my debt
22. learn how to play the guitar
23. make money as a photographer
24. go to all 50 states before I turn 30 (scratch that, lets call it 50 before 50)
25. volunteer at an animal shelter
26. serve dinner to the homeless on Thanksgiving and on Christmas
27. sell my own art
28. put in my own kitchen floor  (I paid for a new one, we'll call it good)
29. camp in the snow
30. disconnect for an entire week - no phones, no tv, no recorded music, no computer
31. win a lottery
32. learn how to drive a stick shift
33. sing the blues. in public.
34. do 15 1-handed pushups
35. run for public office
36. be in a rally or a protest
37. be present for a historical event
38. have a 6-pack (and not the alcoholic kind)
39. attend a taping of the Ellen show
40. own a horse
41. Meet Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs
42. Own my own business
43. Learn how to shoot
44. teach someone how to read
45. attend a Red Sox vs. Yankees game on July 4th
46. write an article for a travel magazine
47. meet my family living in the Phillipines
48. drive up the East Coast
49. be in 2 places at once
50. be an orginal
52. be a volunteer at a senior center to just read, listen, acknowledge a generation of people with stories about all the things they did and didn't get to do on their own bucket list
52. compete in a dance competition
53. climb a mountain
54. find my life's passion
55. fly in a hot air ballon
56. throw a mega party so big that I could even invite the people that I only kind-of like
57. go to a cherry blossom festival in Japan (ok, or Washington DC)
58. walk along the Great Wall of China
59. live in a house that has at least 1 brick wall
60. swim with sharks (sharks are one of my ultimate fears in this entire world, I hate them, they make me sweat just thinking about them)
61. fly in a helicopter
62. bury all my hatchets
63. speak in front of a large crowd of at least 10,000
64. attend the olympic games
65. experience a thunderstorm in a wide open place
66. visit the Pyramids
67. visit Ireland, find out where my Grandfather came from
68. learn how to sail
69. be a teacher
70. go to a black tie event or a ball
71. compose a song
72. tell everyone that I love that I love them (I can't even type this without tearing up. I need to do this.)
73. audition for The Amazing Race
74. ride on an elephant
75. anonymously buy a stranger a meal, pay for a bridge toll, or pay for their groceries
76. walk in someone else's shoes
77. start fresh somewhere new
78. take an entire trip on a train
79. go to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downes wearing a big, huge, floppy hat.
80. take an entire trip by kayak, camping along the shore


I'm a work in progress...so I am leaving room for improvment between here and 100.

99. give my parents something they could never give me
100. live big, live bold, live breathtakingly

Ooohprah Winfrey!

Holy Sweet Mother!
Oh my baby toe!
You know, you are nothing if not thorough.
Oh God. I'm sweating.
Oh you've got to be kidding me!
I'm going to have to start stretching before I do this again.
Please. Just not that part.
Sweet Jesus!
That's it. I'm either coming in here all the time or never again!
Yeah, I'm fine. No, it's uhmm, yeah, oooooh...I'm fine. Whew.
Wait, up like this?
I don't know if I'm used to it, or if I'm just numb.
Yoga. This reminds me of Yoga, but with more pain.
I wonder if anyone has ever passed out during this?

This. is. justnotright.


A) things heard in a frat house
B) things heard at a Weight Watcher's meeting
C) things heard in Basic Training
D) things heard inside and outside of Lauren's head while getting a Brazilian

Friday, April 9, 2010

Little Wonders

Songwriter: Rob Thomas

Let it go
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours
These small hours
Still remain

Let it slide
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine,
Till you feel it all around you
And I don't mind
If it's me you need to turn to
We'll get by
It's the heart that really matters in the end

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These small hours
Still remain

All of my regret
Will wash away somehow
But I cannot forget
the way I feel right now

In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Yeah, these twisted turns of fate
Time falls away
Yeah, but these small hours,
These small hours
Still remain

Yeah, oh they still remain
These little wonders
All these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders
Still remain

Drowning in the Sea of What's Right

Where is my head right now? Right now, it's plugged into a headseat, swimming with the thoughts, opinions, ideas, suggestions, concerns, and fears of everyone that I work with. I'm listening. I'm even listening to the people that go totally againts the grain. I'm listening because it's my job. I'm listening because I represent them, because I chose to be their voice and make decisions that are in their best interests. I've heard so many opinions, I'm having a hard time remembering what mine are. Is it a gamble or is it a worthy fight? Can you still maintain that there's a worthy fight and take a gamble? I will fight like hell and I will give it my damndest, but I'm not above letting my guard down and asking what it takes to fix this. I just don't know what is right.

***Sidebar: My head is also flooded with the voice of a 24 year old Taiwanese It's wondering how I'm going to get packed for yet another trip on Tuesday. He is phenomenal, and I'm again reminded about how judgemental I am. I hate that. I'm also completley in awe and appreciation of incredibly gifted people no matter who they are.

I know this in my personal life: If you both dig your heels in and refuse to give a little, and who looses? Everyone. Eventually you either let it all fall by the wayside and move on OR someone caves, someone conceeds, but then there's the risk that the damage is already done and you'll never be able to fix that relationship again. I wish I had a magic 8-ball. I wish it was just that easy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jog

Laugh everyday - it's like inner jogging.

My body is starving for physical activity. My soul is starving for happiness. I need to do some inner and outer jogging.

That's all I got.

;)

PS - this makes for post #200.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dove

My Dove milk chocolate just gave me a message:

Indulge in the moments that matter the most.

Will do, Dove. Will do.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jenna photoshoot




Not too bad for my second maternity photo shoot...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Umbrella, ella, ella...

In my quest to simplify and get my passion for life back, step 1 is that I've had to make some hard decisions about what is really important and what is going to matter in the end. When I say simplify, I mean across the board...getting rid of the toxic and time consuming things in my life from old t-shirts, bad habits, excuses, anger, resentment, and relationships. Some changes are permanent, some might just be temporary. I don't have it figured out yet.

I have learned some new things and been reminded of some old things as of late:

I'm not a fan of change.
I am the most sentimental of the sentimental fools. This is bad, but this also makes for an incredible scrapbooker.
I don't like being vulnerable. I hate it in fact.
I'm stubborn but I'm not impossible.
I wish I could forget more often.
I want to forgive more frequently.
Giving up and giving in is just a pit stop, not a destination.

Sometimes the other side of disappointment is relief.
Longevity is no reason to keep something or someone in your life.
People change for a reason.
It is true...people do forget what you do and what you say, but they don't forget how you made them feel.
I love you actually does mean having to say you're sorry, but true friends don't have to keep apologizing.
You can accept an apology but that doesn't mean that you have to keep letting the hurt continue.
Forgiveness really is never about the other person.

Time heals.

My newest favorite quote...and especially on this gloomy rain-filled day is:

"Friendship is like an umbrella. If you don't open up, you'll get rained on."
I think it stands true for all relationships and definitely those make or break moments in life. It's not that I would rather feel pain than feel nothing at all, but there is a fine line between gaining life experience and being reckless and gullible. I'm always in a revolving state of opening my umbrella and then finding out who my true friends are.

From a friend in Belgium that I've never met, she reminded me of something I told her not to long ago:
"Keep your chin up, that's where the sunshine is."

If there is one thing that all my time 30,000 feet up has proven, it is that no matter what it looks like from down on the ground, the sun is always shining out above the clouds.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

She's so passionate!!!

I decided last Sunday that I am living a passionless existence. I have been having that thought but then reading a sentence in some guy's match.com 2000 character minimum self-description about finding the one who he wanted to wake up to every morning just about pushed me over the edge. It's only about 1 in every 30 profiles that even catch my attention, so this guy was even ahead of the pack and not that bad looking but then I instinctively rolled my eyes at it anyways. I do that a lot. Then...the thought came. "What the fuck happened to you?" God, I remember day dreaming about cutesy romantical things. I remember daydreaming about my dream career. I remeber having goals. I remember painting a picture in my head of the life I really wanted and the person I wanted to be.

Fast approaching the ripe age of 29 might be partially to blame, but there are many more factors. Yes, there are things that I really like, and a few things I really love, but sometimes I just feel dead inside. I used to get called "passionate" about my response to things and it would piss me off but at least I was passionate about something and then I was more passionate about being called passionate. I don't really get called anything anymore (well at least to my face) and even that doesn't seem to phase me. I think I have died inside.

I go from trip to trip and event to event sometimes without enough time to catch my breath. Then there are the days when I stop so long, I can't convince myself to get out of bed before the crack of 3pm. I know, I might seem bi-polar in the last few posts about loving my travelling life one day and then hating everything in the world the next, but at least I see my own extremes. I do have a sincere love of going places and seeing new things...finding a place on the highway with a double yellow line, a good tune, and just my own thoughts is my ideal place to relax, but I think that the constant going is just my excuse to get away from the things that I am missing in my life. Missing because I want them, not because society's timeline says they should be there.

I think that the phase where the coolness of the things I accomplished in my early 20's is long since gone. Someone at work called me "the oldest of the 20-somethings in the department" a few weeks ago. A) what the fuck does that even have to do with anything? and B) what the fuck does that even have to do with anything? How is that a reference point for anything? The things I accomplished at 23 were fucking cool for 23...but part of the joy of getting those things checked off the list was being ignorant enough to think that was going to carry me further than it obviously has. I guess I've come to realize that the goals you set in life are braggable only until you've reached them and then you had better get your shit together and find another one to challenge yourself with again. Life doesn't end once you've bought a house, found something that pays you for both your time and your medical expenses, and you've squirted out a kid or adopted one from China. Maybe that's why marathon runners seems so cool. They are always pushing themselves to run faster and farther. They keep setting new goals and improving on their own performance. They're not only in competition to the world around them, but they're in competition to be the best version of their athletic self. That and some of them just have screamin' bodies!

I got kind of drunk last night and in my buzz-ed-ness, my friend Kelly told me she wished I got drunk more often because that's when I really speak my mind. Well damn! I thought I did on a regular basis. Apparently, there is a filter left. See now where's that girl when you need her? The one who has a strong opinion left and isn't satisfied with just throwing in the gloves and sitting quietly in the corner cause she's sick of being unheard and misunderstood.

I realized that I used to get a lot of enjoyment out of doing things for other people and maybe I kind of burned myself out. Scratch that. I did. I used to do things because they were the right thing to do and I felt SOOO much passion that I just couldn't say No! Although I don't feel like I've put myself in a position where I've compromised my integrity and my own personal core values, I find myself waiting for people to let me down and burn me, so I stopped participating. It feels like it comes true more often than not. My oldest friend said last week that the ultimate disappointment and bullshit that you have to go through with some people is the reason why she doesn't have a lot of friends. I might try her philosophy out. I've had to trim the fat recently, but I am afraid that I might have cut too deep in some areas.

I used to love my job. I really did. I used to stay late, come in early, I learned it for free during my internship before they even put me on the books. I loved the excitement and the camaraderie. I used to love being a step ahead of the game, the feeling of being unshakable. I don't feel any of that anymore. I still realize there's honor and integrity in my job, but I don't love it. I'm reblogging some feelings here now, but I can't help it. I used to tell my trainees this: "If you don't love this job, it won't love you back."

I want to tell myself: "If you don't love this life, it won't love you back." I do want to love my job. I do want to love my life. I do want to just love. I do.

I don't want to just exist, I want to live in a world full of passion for my work, for people, for places, and for all of my life around me.

It's time for me to get back in the race. It's time for me to put on my running shoes again and get back on pace. I think that it's time to set a new goal and start putting one foot in front of the other again. If you can't learn to pick yourself up after falling, there's no point in entering the race. I'm not a quitter, that's for damn sure and sitting on the bench while life rushes past me has never really been my style.

Priceless

You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse. Well this woman thinks in extremes. Either I carry around the "dead zebra" packed to the brim with cables, bottles of pills, multiple pens from local insurance companies, a calendar from 2009, a book for that "downtime", a pay stub, old water bill, a couple of paper clips, some lip plumper, dental floss... You get the point, it's like the purse of a crazy person. Option B, I just carry my wallet. I cleaned it out today and in the place of cash money, I found receipts, baggage claim slips, and ticket stubs and I smiled. Money has value but memories and experiences are priceless.


I think it's the wallet of a cool person, even if it does live in the purse of a crazy chick.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Badass

Volcanos are badass.


Period.


There is no denying the badassedness of something that is actively creating Earth. Something that forms the inhabitable masses of bubbled up land from the center of the hot, molten rock we live on has got to command some respect. I had a chance to ponder such things last week in Hawai'i at the Kilauea Volcano Park.





It was a long, windy, and desolate ride out to the volcano in the rain to the park. Three matching plastic ponchos later and we were off for a guided tour with Pat the Park Ranger to learn about steam vents, plant adaptation, and what is really at the center of our Earth. And yeah...it did feel a little like Jurassic Park.


As much as the three of us were standing there wishing that the thing would spew lava like mentos in a bottle of soda, I think we would have all run for our lives if so much as a rumble from the ground happened. Standing there on the edge of the caldera looking down at the topography of that canyon, I had the thought that we were standing on top of something that absolutely nothing else in this world, no defense system or man-made shield could possibly hold back. That is awe-inspiring and oh-shit intimadating all at once.


It was a surprise to find that the park is open 24/7, and after hearing about the glow of molten lava that we could witness during the night time hours, it was no question that we would stay and check it out after the sun went down. When else can you say you visited a volcano at night? Really...if there is one thing in life that I am striving to get right, it is taking advantage of the experiences that are within reach when they are and not waiting until next time.



From where we stood at the observation point, it turned out to be little more than similar to the the glow of a flourescent bar sign with a constant column of smoke billowing from it. Being out in the dark with people from all over the world, cameras in hand, was like being at some big community camp fire waiting for Big Foot to show. I cannot lie, I did have an urge to roast a marshmallow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

(insert evil look)

Today is a rotten day. I didn't get enough sleep, I woke up exhausted, running late for lunch a county away and not giving a damn about going to work. On my way out of the door, the straw that broke and then continued to beat the camel's back was again (AGAIN!!!) the dog hair and dander covering the couch and the handmade blanket I got at Christmas, and this is not even to mention the violent bird massacre in the garage that left feathers, a half eaten carcass, and a fat, happy cat lounging uneffected by the scene around it. As if that wasn't enough for the 11am hour, the cherry on top was the hurry up and wait update from the city council about co-workers layoffs and the never-ending political game that we call a public service career...the call never came. Limbo is the current state of events.

On my way across town, I contemplated calling in sick but couldn't justify it to myself since I JUST got back from Hawaii and I only have a 3-day work week. Mental health or not, I just couldn't bail on my team on a Friday.

After picking up my lunch date an hour late, I managed to merge on the the wrong I-80 in Sacramento, a city that I ALWAYS get lost in despite the live GPS directions that had me on the way to Lake Tahoe, which in most circumstances wouldn't be a bad idea except that I was trying to make it to the Sacramento Hard Rock Cafe's last day of business, eat, and go directly home for 12 hours of Spring Break Friday night joy, AKA, a shitload of calls for service. After landing in East Sacramento, 2 GPS units now, and another 25 minutes driving in circles, I found our restaurant and the parking garage right next to it. Remember how much I love my boyfriend? Well, as much as I do, I forget that he' is 6'8" and not the 6' 4" which caused me to nearly rip the entire roof off of him as I drove down into the bowels of the parking garage after some busybody insisted that I had enough clearance to proceed forward. Yeah, I almost ripped the top of my $50,000 car on the suckiest day ever...shut the F up busybody.

Over my Cobb Salad and being the worst lunch date ever (sorry Kelly), I actually uttered the words "today won't be a successful day unless someone shit's their pants in fear." I was done and yes, I was completley that kind of pissed off. Not a good place to be, yet I keep finding myself there. I keep considering my overall attitude in life being more than less bitchy and I just can't figure what lesson I'm being taught right now. The justified pissedoffedness and the unjustified pissedoffedness are less distingushable these days.

I had a conversation yesterday about letting negativity win. Letting the egomaniacs across the room speak louder than the voice inside that tells me to just do what I know is right and not get caught up in it. Somewhere recently, in months, maybe years, I gave up. I know I did...now I'm in some limbo state between regaining my composure without overinvesting and finding a happy medium that will give me enough armor to get through to the end of the day without leaving me on the wrong side of "fuck you."

So what is it? Patience? Slow down? Cheer up? Look on the bright side? Greatfulness? Be Happy? Grow up? Calm down? Get back to the middle?

I can't shake the idea of quitting and running away to some little shack on the beach on an island with limited roadways, where my only responsibility is if the beer is cold for the customers and there's enough colored sugar to rim their glasses.

(SIGH)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Camera-speak

I ka nānā no a ‘ike
By observing, one learns.

Sometimes, words are just overratted and underheard. Maybe that's why I'm so fond of my camera...Aloha my friends.


From the top of Diamond Head, Honolulu, O'ahu:

Sunset at Ko'Olina, O'ahu


USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor, O'ahu

Kilauea Caldera, Volcanos National Park, Big Island of Hawai'i


Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Carry-ons


My favorite carry-ons. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thankful

During my 5 1/2 hour flight yesterday I thought about a lot and realized I was greatful for a lot of things in life. These are only a few of them:

I enjoy my own company.
I'm not 23 anymore.
I'm not afraid of saying it just because I know it might hurt.
My mom...I appreciate her more and more as I get older.
I live in the US.
Job-security.
The small handful of friends I know I can always count on. That's really a handful more than most people have and I know I'm lucky to have that.
Having a good work ethic early in life, learned from my father, that has carried me through the last year of my career when I just felt like giving up.
Not getting married in my 20's.
Western Medicine.
An Education.
A sense of humor...what a lifesaver this has been.
Figuring out you only have (1) Mom and (1) dad before it's toolate.
Sushi...and having tried it for the first time in an apartment in Germany.
Having a voice about want to do in my life, what I think about my world, and how I want to change things.

Aloha and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Auntie: "Oh, you answered. You must be happy. I'm calling all the Irish people I know to tell them Happy Saint Patrick's Day."
Me: "Well, I'm in Hawaii right now." (7:20am Hawiaiian time)
Auntie" "Oh, then you really are happy!!! Aloha and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!"


Aloha and Happy Saint Patrick's Day my friends!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

50K

Miles that is.

I have started the Lauren 2010 odometer. My goal is to put in 50,000 travel miles this year. My January jaunt across the country put me on the bubble real quick. By the end of April, I will already have clocked 33,900 miles and more than a dozen states.

I don't know waht came first. The wanderlust or the restlessness. Maybe I'll contemplate it tomorrow afternoon on a beach in Hawaii.

Aloha my friends!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Simplify

"What's really important is to simplify. The work of most photographers would be improved immensely if they could do one thing: get rid of the extraneous. If you strive for simplicity, you are more likely to reach the viewer."
~ William Albert Allard

1. I need simplicity in a bad, bad way - in the entirity of my life.
2. I need to spend some quality time with my camera.
3. Breath.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

friendship euthinasia

03/15 - I wrote this last week and then talked myself out of putting life into these words. Then it happened again...

Here's what I'm really thinking. This is what is what keeps me up at 4am. How do I call it quits after half my lifetime? When do I say enough is enough? After repeated efforts, after blow out arguments, after getting it off my chest time after time with zero results? If nothing ever changes, what do I do? What do I do?

Imagine what you will with my barrage of questions...it could apply to so many situations and relationships. But this isn't just any old relationship...this one is specific. It has a lot of background for me.

Why do I feel guilt that you have no one else? Why do I feel like this is just a phase when it seems like this is the real you? Why do I feel such attachment after this always seems to be all about you? Lack of interested until you have some free time isn't friendship. Lying isn't friendship. Playing guessing games isn't friendship. Well, OK, unless you live in the OC. No, it hasn't stopped, not even after all the repeated apologies. There are no more excuses or labels that will cover this up again.

You're not a person I would call at 3am if there was an emergency. You're not the person I would call at 3pm for that matter. I am only at the top of your list when you don't have a man in your life, and that's just pathetic. I don't count on you for emotional support. I can't count even count on you to make it to dinner on time or stay until the end of the meal. I don't count you as someone I trust with the serious things in my life. I don't see you standing next to me when I get married.

You drain me. I cared until I couldn't care anymore...I did. I promise you, I talk myself out of caring now because I know it is a wasted emotion. I talk myself out of caring because I have to start caring more about myself.

Have you even noticed? Have you noticed!? Look. I'm right here in front of you. I'm on the other end of the phone. I'm not just a bunch of words in an email...just stop and look.

I stopped responding to you when you told me about your latest outlandish plan. I stopped asking questions about your new relationship that is riddled full of holes and waving more red flags than a battleship game. I stopped giving you my opinion, my congratulations, and my feelings. Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows that is a sign that something is not right. Do you even notice? Do you care?

I've been a good friend. Actually, scratch that, I've been a great friend. I've been a better friend to you than I should have been. I don't want repayment, I just don't want to be your door mat anymore. You can't only talk to me when you need something and ignore me when I don't agree with you. That is not how it goes. You're selfish and childish. You don't even know who you are and that is the most frightening part of it all. If you're friends are mirrors of yourself, I don't want you reflecting back on me.

But why do I care if you read this? Why do I care that this is a truth that might hurt too much?

I can't do this anymore...maybe we can pick up again after some time has passed, but I have to take you out of my life right now. Too much damage has been done. It's not because I don't care about you...it's quite the opposite. I care too much.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Slow down woman, you're driving too fast!"


Those are the infamous words I've been hearing about since I was a kid. Apparently, I was in the back seat at 2 1/2 and shouted that to my mom as we were driving down the street. I've been giving directions all my life.

As I heard the clack of my heels echoing through the midnight streets of Chicago tonight, I thought of that and smiled. I found myself once again wandering a big city alone for a few minutes after hours in seek of some good night shots. I made it through a few dozen before my fingers were too cold to find the camera button as I stood on one of the city's many bridges over the freezing cold river, feeling gusts of even colder wind rush by with every taxi.

Listening to my heels get closer to the hotel lobby, I was doing two things...listening for any other footsteps coming up behind me (too many years with cops and a traumatized childhood have made me super cautious even in my non-chalance for the hour). The second thing I was doing...just listening. When is the last time you had enough free time or space to listen to your footsteps or the sound of your breath?

Not frequently enough that it isn't a foreign sound. As much as I am planted securely in my own driver's seat, I feel like I'm living life in the fast lane. Too many hours a slave to insomnia and then spent sleeping in after the sun has come up, I keep hearing that one thought rattle around in my head "you only have this one life to live."

I came to Chicago for one reason alone...to see Alicia Keys in concert. I could have very well stayed at home and waited for her to come to me, but I would have had to take a Saturday night off once she got there. Yes, it has come to this...flying 2,000+ miles to not miss a day off for a concert. Be not mistaken, it is not for the selfless love of work, rather than the abysmal lack of paid time off. I used to dream about the time in my life when I could get on a plane just to go see a concert. I'm here. Hey kid who used to dream about those things, you made it.

On chance, Tyler Perry and Madea herself (yes, I love, love, love me some Madea) were here at a near sold-out live musical and there were two seats with our names on them. If a Tyler Perry movie is like Bible study, a live show is like being IN the chior. It was beautiful, funny, moving, inspiring, entertaining...it was like the warm embrace of the extended family you know you can always count even though you don't always see them there, the family you're not ashamed to cry in front of. There were too many messages in that show to count...forgiveness, redemption, love, family, making your time matter, doing this life right. Do this life right...I'm listening Madea. I'm listening. You and that little girl are telling me the same thing, I know. Listen to your footsteps...hear yourself breath.

"Slow down woman, you're driving too fast." I hear ya kid.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh sick day

Laying in bed in a semi-codeine cough syrup coma, watching Couples Retreat in an old tshirt from Cabo San Lucas, getting poked by my own leg hair stubble, my upper torso slathered in Vicks Vapo Rub like I was 5 years old again, I try not to inhale my slobbery bite guard as I cough so violently my brain begins to throb and then...I laugh. I laugh at me and the scene that could fit right into Bridgette Jone's Diary. Oh sick day...welcome to my comedy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hey Mr. DJ, play me a tune

and it continues...
Miles Davis
James Taylor
AC/DC
Justin Timberlake
Andrea Bocelli
The Black Eyed Peas
Marvin Gaye
Lynard Skynard
Rascal Flatts
3 Doors Down
Jay-Z
Maroon 5
Randy Travis
Christina Aguilera
Alicia Keys
P!nk
Kings of Leon
Charlie Daniels Band
Janis Joplin
Will.i.am
Muse
Billy Currington
Ella Fitzgerald
Bryan Adams
Trisha Yearwood
Emmylou Harris
John Hiatt
Jason Mraz
Dave Matthews Band
and I'm just scrathing the surface...

The Ipod storing never ends. If CD's were currency, I'd be a millionaire. I've discovered that I have a great ifinity for motion picture soundtracks.
Chicago
50 First Dates
Save the Last Dance
Coyote Ugly
The Notebook
Braveheart
Romeo & Juliet (both volumes circa Leo DiCaprio, yeah, don't ask)
Office Sapce
Hitch
Sleepless in Seatle
Moulin Rouge
Mamma Mia (the Meryl Streep version)
Ally McBeal (like 4 seasons worth)
Armageddon
Titanic (just jump overboard already)
The Lion King (Broadway, which is fabulous by the way!)
Zumanity (Las Vegas, which I haven't even seen...)
Movin' Out (the Billy Joel musical which is signed by the lead singer/piano man - no, not Billy Joel, some guy named Darren)
Pulse: a STOMP Odyessey (purchased in London after watching STOMP - yes, garbage cans, music made of garbage cans)
I mean really? Who has this stuff?

If not to make things worse, I have a constantly growing list of new music to purchase. There are more new bands and artists with incredible talent than you can reasonably keep track of. My list...my list...it took all I had earlier today to not spend 27 1/2% of my tax return on an iTunes gift card entirely for myself.

Hi, my name is Lauren, and I'm a music hoarder. But...I'm not really. I am currently at 13.48GB of music....that's 8.2 days worth, 2919 items and counting. I guess it would be hoarding if I let it sit there and grow mold, go unheard, and not pushed up on friends and played openly to new listeners. I see 8.2 days worth of music and think of all the places I'm going to drive to with my ipod plugged into the car steroe speakers. I love the thought of being able to listen to anything I want to at the touch of a button while I fly 35,000 feet above the earth. I love the idea that I can get double use out of a CD purchase...load it on my player and then send the CD to someone else to enjoy.

What a collection to have. Crazy how much we can accumulate these days in mass quanities or instantly to a MP3 player that is smaller than the size of a credit card. I can't imagine what it must have been like to wait for a vinyl to become available and shipped in a giant sleeve the size of a toilet seat cover. Waiting patiently for the needle to pick up the song and not scratch the record that was the size of a steering wheel while all your friends and family gathered around to hear the sweet sound of music come out of a wooden box. Those were the real music lovers. The ones who had to wait patiently for one album at a time.

Early records could only hold a song or two. Now you can speak to your car and have it play an entire genre of music for you beamed down from satellites circling the Earth. Crazy. Does it ever seem like we are the Jetsons, here, now, today. Maybe back in the 50's and 60's the view of the future was....this.....computers the size of your hand, being able to talk to someone on the other side of the world at the snap of your fingers, cars that ran on oil and bio fuel and electric power, computer graphics that put you IN the movie. Yeah, maybe we're not floating on moon boots or travelling back and forth in time, but we're not doing too shabby.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to wander back to Tower Records Jr. and shuffle through the small empire I have built. Viva la Musica!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Birthday!

0301 hours: "911 Emergency:"
0301 hours: "27 year old female in labor"
0302 hours: "baby is born"
0303 hours: "mom is ok"
0304 hours: "full term baby boy"

In the midst of a felony hit and run, domestic violence victims being dragged into apartments, suspects at gunpoint, drunken arguments, out of control parties, not enough officers, code 3 runs, fire alarms, suspicous overdoses/dead bodies, and all manner of public safety emergencies, a baby was born in the IHOP parking lot, healthy, full term, and crying his little lungs out. As it would be, of all the passerbys to notice a young couple in the parking lot at 3am, a woman with labor and delivery experience delivered the baby and helped it breathe it's first breath.

Before I left I noticed these two calls sitting side by side:
01:53:22 DEADBODY
03:01:22 MEDCOMPLEX (IHOP Baby)
We are in a constant state of leaving and entering this world.

Sometimes, I really, really love this job.

Happy Birthday Baby!!!

Valentine's Day


It doesn't matter how old you are, your dad is always your first Valetine. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blind Date Monday

Mondays are my reality TV guilty pleasure days. I don't get involved in too many of those mind numbing "reality" TV shows, but I got sucked into this season's The Bachelor (ok, and last season's The Bachelorette with ED - E.D. Ed). Who can't resist a house full of caddy women comically bearing their souls and their bresteses in competion for the heart of one man who is simultaneoulsy dating them all AT THE SAME TIME. Really, it's like the most fabulous social studies experiment ever!!! Monday has come to be known as Dumb Bitch Monday, DMB for short.

I am normally happily satisfied sprawled out across my couch with no makeup, hair a mess, wearing Sunday's clothes, and ready to roll right into Tuesday without so much as a thought about accomplishing anything for the rest of the night.

I pulled a fast one this week. A fast one for Monday and a fast one for me in general. I went on a blind date. "How Lauren," you might ask yourself "how do you get yourself into a blind date situation on Dumb Bitch Monday, if you don't ever leave your house except to go to work or leave for the airport?"

Well, I have 4-7 dormant dating profiles out there that occasionally get some kind of response and occasionlly result in one of the smart ones finding my messenger ID by reading in between the lines. Two such individuals found me a few weeks back before Christmas and hence, the chat began. What would catch my attention so intently? Music. Music as a whole, as blues, as country, as pop, and jazz...these guys both know music and they appreciate it as much as I do. You can get to some people's hearts through their stomachs, through their wallets...me, you can catch my attention with a good love of music.

After changing work schedules and driving across the country and narrowly missing a kidney infection, I plain ran out of excuses to not meet for "coffee or a movie or something" and in my haste, agreed to go out on a date with the one guy who I thought was the other guy, and well...that's how Dumb Bitch Monday (DBM) became Blind Date Monday (BDM).

Fast forward to Monday at 7:20pm, after blinding my right eye with a wayward squirt of Model in a Bottle (go ahead, laugh), I was literally blind in one eye for my blind date. As I played on my iphone pretending not to be listening for the door to open, I noticed a wheelchair bound person rolling past my window seat and towards the door and thought "I could very well be getting punked right now. What do I do if this guy is in a wheelchair? Or if he's a midget?" I wasn't nervous while I was getting ready, while driving the 30 minutes it took me to get there, while I sat in my car out front killing time watching unsavory characters smoke and spit lugies at the corner liquor store, but now going on 25 minutes late, I was nervous.

I have to stop here to say that this scene in itself is not me. At all. I don't date. Ask my closest friends...they can't even tell you the last time I ever went on a date. Yeah, I'm 28 and single and I don't date. I don't know why exactly. I'm not incapable, I'm not afraid, I'm not socially damaged, but I am mostly uninterested. I know, I know...get interested. Get unsingle. Find someone fabulous like yourself. I know. I never posted a list of 2010 resolutions at the beginning of this month, but I had in the back of my mind to do something simple. Go on a date. And so I did...

Back to Momiji sushi (which by the way, 2 thumbs down) my date arrives and very shyly says, "Lauren?". He's big. A big, big guy...not unkept or slobbish or wobbly like Santa Claus. But big, tall and wide, like Paul Bunyan with a big head like he was part bulldog...and hairy. Very, very hairy. Like Chewbacca's cousin kind of hairy. His knuckles had eyebrows. His eyebrows had unibrows of their own. The sushi was not good (my bad), but the conversation was much better, the movie afterwards was superb, and over all the blind date was not a total failure. If it was grading it, I'd say it was a B. Ok, maybe a B+. The grade was good enough that it lead to BDT the next day. Yup, Blind Date Tuesday. (editor's note: Jen's gonna kick my ass for not telling her about BDT til now)

Blind Date Tuesday was kind of as a result of BDM...I said yes to one and I was weak when in the same hour the second one asked me to go out and I said yes again. Like I said, I ran out of excuses, they had both been asking for a few weeks.

A few texts later and then a few phone calls, BDT commenced on the streets of my local college town. Steve the car salesman. Steve the car salesman parked about 6 blocks away from where we were supposed to meet, which left me walking down the cold, wet street to find him. I knew he was tall, but 6'5 on paper is a lot different than 6'5 in real life. My neck still hurts from having to look up to make eye contact. A little jaunt around sleepy Davis and we decided to just settle in the (empty) movie theatre about 30 minutes early. Great, 30 minutes of dim empty space next to a stranger. Despite my perpetual single state of existence, I am not a super picky woman when it comes to men. I date ugly, I date short, I date big, I date emotionally damaged mamma's boys. But...there are still things that I cannot get over. Small, delicate-looking, manicured, long fingernailed hands are not something I can get over. In the dim light of the movie theatre as he joked that he could have Torettes freely, and I quote "I'm really bothered by that large bump on my testicle!", I noticed the pale, uncalluoused hands of the basketball star sized date next to me and said "Self, those are a deal breaker" Again, the conversation wasn't bad, the movie was great, and inviting Lurch to go back a bar with me to hang out with some friends until we closed the bar down wasn't bad either...but we're still talking about a B.

Post date Monday, explaining my spur of the moment actions, my BF asked me if going out made me want to get out on a permanent basis and "date". No, not really. I wouldn't not go out again, but there were no sparks, no fire, nothing to preoccupy my train of thought post-date for either one of them. Well except for the fact that they both were definitley not midgets. Score for me.

My best and most accurate description of the whole two-night date process is simply that I was underwhelmed.

Now a week later, sitting here in my living room, typing away about my dates, I am ironically listening to a live performnce of John Mayer's "Perfectly Lonely"

Nothing to do
No one but me...
a simple kind of free...
...is it really hard to see?
I'm perfectlly lonely...
I have to thank the wrongs
that lead me to a love so strong
I'm perfectly lonely...


I'm overwhelmed in a life full of good things and great people. I see no reason why I shouldn't be overwhelmed in a love just the same. Underwhelmed is no way to be...perfectly lonely is simply poetic and I'm still ok with that for now.

my soundtrack...

It's 10 to 4 in the morning.
I'm wide awake.
I'm home alone watching the Grammys.
One of my all time favorites, The Dave Matthews Band is serenading me...
"You and me together, we could do anything, baby..."
I can't wait for Summer and the concerts it's going to bring.
I've been home for less than a month and I have an itch to go somewhere new and see something beautiful.
I love 4ams like these...<3

Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

I actually really love Sundays. I slept in til 3pm and got up only to watch the Probowl on the couch in my pajamas. Somewhere over cereal for breakfast and oogling over Drew Brees on the sidelines, I decided that it was about time to get sushi with my dad. I've only been inviting him to go for like 2 months.

A few hours later with my uncle and sister in tow, I got my dad to eat raw fish and eel and then over frozen yogurt and minature gummy bears, I showed two old guys how an iphone works...the camera, the instant internet, the emailing, the fart machine, the PacMan game, Shazam, and Pandora.

I've been having a lot of conversation lately with people about how connected the generation of "kids" are today. The entire generation. This is a viral generation that literally has the power to change the world in the palm of their hands and at their fingertips. It's funny to see someone like my dad and my uncle react to the realities of such an instantly gratified reality. When my dad was a kid, he earned money by bicycle delivering wooden dentures to people. I'm.not.even.exaggerating. My dad is kind of an old guy. Seventy to be exact. So an iphone...pusshawww, get outta here!

So after googling the name of the Al Green song that played in the beginning of The Book of Eli to end the debate we were all having about who sang it, I showed a combined 137 years of life how I could instantly search it, purchase it, and play it for them. Even better, after getting back in the car, my dad pointed to his porthole on the dash of his new car...an auxillery for a MP3 player.

So...after a night of sushi and frozen yogurt with my dad and my favorite uncle, I drove a little slower and took the long way home while we listened to an Al Green classic..."I can think of younger days when living for my life was everything a man could want to do..."

I love Sundays.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

IgottaCaseoftheIdontWannawakeUpblues

Mmmm...iphone. My electronic Mecca, my link to the world, my instant music gratification, my flashlight, my alarm clock...ugh, my alarm clock.

I recently changed the alarm clock tone to "piano riff". It's a classic blues paino riff, just like 6 notes that set up that "I'm down on my luck, love has left me, a man done stole my heart and my money, I told my job they can stick it, and grabbed my guitar and walked out kinda blues!!!"

This is how my morning started just the other day:
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "I don't wanna wake up this morning"
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "I don't wanna get outta this bed"
Duh-nah-nah-nah-naaah! "Baby turn the alarm off, I'm laying back down my sleepy head!"

I don't think I can ever change it back to a regular alarm clock sound after the other morning. Ever.

I woke up giggling and channeling my inner BB King...horizontal accapela karaoke first thing in the morning.

Seriously, when is the last time you woke up giggling when you weren't a) drunk or b) being acosted by someone who woke up drunk next to you? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Waking up singing the blues has never been a good thing until now and that's a sound I can stick with!