Friday, December 23, 2011

Of Love and Introspection

It is not often that I am asked "What does it mean to love/be in love?"  This question was brought up in a very blunt and surprising setting not too long ago (this week) and as I ponder it more and more I realize that I have so many answers and many experiences to draw from.  Consequently, I feel the need to write them down. It is all still a jumble in my head so let's get organized. None of this is earth-shattering or new, I just feel as though "2011: Year of Change", has really impacted me in this particular area and I would like to clarify my thoughts.


It all started with being told when I was 18 that love is a choice. You simply choose to love someone or not.

Then, someone said that love is simply the reflection of yourself in another person. You love them because you love yourself and see yourself in them.

I have also been told that love is total acceptance of another person. Not trying to change anything about them, but simply appreciating them as another person with all their beauty and flaws.


Often I find that we fall in love someone because we love the 'idea' of them. We have this grand perspective of who they are and conjure up a personality that we think they have and when it is proven wrong we get upset and fall out of love. I find this to be true with both friendship and romance.


So what did I say to this exceedingly deep question? I boiled it down to these main ideas and we rambled on for quite some time about it. Here is a more focused summary:

~ I feel as though love is based on respect. It is not just about total acceptance of another person. You have to uphold yourself and if you let go of all opinion or sense of self then you can lose yourself in that person. When you respect someone you have still created the boundaries of your own personality and asked them to do the same. Mutual respect is absolutely necessary for love to grow. Because respecting doesn't just mean accepting the other person, it means you encourage them to be themselves in all aspects of life - hobbies, emotions, lifestyle, opinions, etc - and you ask them to do the same for you. 

~ Trust comes from respect, but is still an element that deserves it's own spot. Positive emotions grow from trusting another person. Nothing kills love faster than jealousy, neediness, co-dependence, or demanding 'things'. When was the last time that someone demanded something from you were you thrilled to oblige? Also, when you trust someone then their actions are not questioned nor is their love. It creates a feeling of simply knowing. Trust creates comfort and love resides where there is comfort.

~ Communication then can happen once respect and trust are established. And I don't mean the kind of communication that is based on 'you should' or 'I want' - rather the kind that creates more understanding and growth in the relationship. Sometimes it comes in the form of asking their likes, or being able to stand up for something that you need in order to be fulfilled. But always, it comes back to not having any guilt attached to the communication and what does that mean? Respect.

~ It is difficult to have love without passion. You could say passion in the intimate and physical chemistry sense of the word, but in terms of loving a friend you still have passion - even if you will never make it to the bedroom =). That other person sparks a part of you that isn't often touched. It could be a sense of humor, shared delight in climbing trees, being spontaneous, eating gelato, discussing politics, or live music - no matter what it is there is a little extra brightness between you that isn't created with other people.

Again, I know none of these things are new ideas. They are simply thoughts manifesting themselves and being put into practice in so many areas of my life. It was fun to be asked this question by someone I hardly knew. They had no idea I have been giving it serious thought for the past oh, say, year and a half. Thanks.

"I’ve done everything in my life that I’ve wanted to do except just give and feel love for my living. And I don’t mean like: Roman-candle-firework-Hollywood-hot-pink-love. I mean like: I-got-your-back-love!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011: Year of Sophomore Albums that Don't Suck

Usually a sophomore album is forgettable...pale in comparison to the original release...shallow and overproduced...less of the artist and more of the company that snatched them up.
However, 2011 has proved me wrong three different times. And this is a time when I am perfectly happy being completely wrong. If you have more follow-up releases that you would like to make note of pleeeease share!!

1. Bon Iver - Bon Iver

Holy balls, Justin has a voice and a sound that better not go away anytime soon. I was so in love with For Emma, Forever Ago I had serious doubts about his self-titled album that came out right before I left for Roadtrip of Winning. The album quickly became my soundtrack and I can't hear any of the tracks without daydreaming of solitude and the open road.

2. Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials

Could this woman get any more fucking epic? I don't think so. Sweeping melodies, full choirs, diverse instrumentation, and lyrics that tug at the heart. I was braced for mediocrity, or a bunch of songs that just sound the same...and was met with exactly the opposite. She keeps her sound, and yet shows artistic growth at the same time. Beautiful.

3. Drake - Take Care

I have a soft spot for Drake. He could be just another pretty face on the pop charts. No, he isn't. He has hooks, a unique sound, and can spin a lyric that makes you want to hit repeat. Switching back and forth between rap and singing with a liquidity that makes me * swoon *.  I am digging his second album almost as much as his first. Can't wait to see where this kid goes...

Drake // Marvin's Room ( Official Video ) by AROBAISE

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stress-Hardy and Resiliant

During an extremely random search on the psychology behind smiles (don't ask) I stumbled on this blog. Written by a woman I would love to meet someday, she outlines what she finds to be traits of people who can say "Stick it." to the stress and changes in life and make shit happen in a positive and healthy way. How is your stress-hardiness?

On another, somewhat related note, I watched the movie Invictus for the first time this weekend. Damn, that is a good movie.

Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People
1. They have a sense of meaning, direction, and purpose. They are value-centered rather than reactive and defensive. They understand that emotions are great sources of energy and motivation but are often poor guides for action. Instead these people use their values as guidesThey realize that the quality of our lives depends on how we focus our energy and our attention. They try to align their thoughts and actions with their values. They know how to motivate themselves to take action.

2. They don’t judge themselves or others harshly when things go wrong. They focus on what they want, not on what they don’t want.

3. They are able to tolerate ambiguity, uncertainty, and imperfection. They have a long-range perspective, so they give themselves and others room to grow. They can afford to be resilient, flexible, and creative because they are centered in their values.

4. They are reasonably optimistic and have a sense of humor. Even though they are dedicated to doing things well, they don’t take themselves too seriously.

5. They take responsibility for their mental programming, their emotions, and their actions. If they have ineffective ways of thinking and behaving, they evaluate them and make appropriate changes.

6. They look at adversity as a challenge rather than as a threat. They realize that no matter how the present situation turns out, they will learn and grow from it.

7. They respect themselves and other people. They have a spirit of cooperation, looking for win-win solutions rather than trying to win over other people or ignoring their own wants and needs because of fear.

8. They are grateful for the good things in their lives.

9. They know how to mourn the inevitable losses in life. They know how to let go of things they have no control over.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How does she do that?

Billie. Damn, that girl knows what's up.

her insistently mellow timbre. 
lyrics that tug you both ways.

She evokes that which you forgot
that which you dare not remember.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


"Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth. Situations don't make you unhappy. They may cause you physical pain, but they don't make you unhappy. Your thoughts make you unhappy. Your interpretations, the stories you tell yourself make you unhappy." ~Tolle

What are you deciding to believe today?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Automnal Equinox & 108

Why, hello there, Fall. It is so great to see you, finally. You and your weather that mellows and calms. Temperatures that call for scarves, hot tea, and a cozy blanket. I welcome you alongside many others in an ancient tradition of sun salutations. Three sets of 6 -- plank, lunar, warrior 1. 

The first round of 18 was delightful. A warm up.
The second round of 18 poured sweat out of pores I didn't know existed.
The third round of 18 was a release. The focus and intensity of martial arts that I haven't felt in years. The familiar measured and careful movement of dance. The emotion of contentment. Only breath and movement.

I didn't make it 108 tonight, so 54 will have to do. We just didn't have enough time...maybe in March I will be up to the challenge.

Why 108 Sun Salutations?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

changing seasons, changing music

 It's about time for a music collection update. My recent trip to NC reminded me how much I love good country. The kind that isn't processed and run through the pop ringer. The kind of music that tells a good story, pulls your heart strings, and every instrument has a distinct voice. Some artists/groups I was already familiar with, and some were introduced over the course of three days in the quiet, back-country mountains of western North Carolina. A place I would like to one day call home.

Ryan Bingham - Hallelujah
First listen of his album Junky Star and I am hooked. 

Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel
I heard this song forever ago, so it was not a new discovery, just a new addition to my library. Even though this song is clearly about NC, all I can think of is Colorado when I hear it.

Jason Isbell - Razor Town
How I never heard him before I have no clue. I will be doing my damnest to see him in Athens in October.

Steve Earle - This City
What a beautiful homage to New Orleans.

And so the variety of my music collection grows...more to come soon.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why I paid for ULHS

I dig ULHS. I dig it so hard. I dig the energy, the authenticity, the music (duh), and the organic nature of the entire event. Only having attended the last three, I might not exactly be the most qualified person to review the event, but as someone who has attended a great deal of events, and this one before it moved to Nola, I feel as though I might have a fairly solid perspective.

Disclaimers aside, I am here to explain why I paid for a full ticket - which seems to be one of the major points of discussion about the event. I was conversing with a close friend about attending and they were hesitant about buying the full pass. My bottom line was in regards to two major points - music, and the organizer.

ULHS brings it in terms of music. Hard. Which is not surprising since it is in New Orleans, the birthplace of some of the best damned Jazz music in the country. As someone who understands the bill behind booking live music I am all about supporting this trend in our scene.

Amy Johnson has heart. She is in it for the love of the event. She gets it. Three words. Happy. People. Dancing. She is willing to throw herself out on a limb to see that the dream is pulled off. The event has evolved and changed due to a new home, and she doesn't appear to be stifling it - rather encouraging the direction it is going. It seems to be more of a break-in event, a lot more organic, and 'rootsy'. Which is something that I dig so hard about it. I attended in 08 and it was awesome -- but '09 and '10 were simply ridiculous. I tell everyone I know to attend this event for those three words. You will be happy. You are going to meet new people. You are going to dance your feet off. (You are also going to find that your bedtime has nothing to do with day or night, cool kids ride bikes, and dancing in a 2ft x 2ft area is quite possible)

As an event organizer I really appreciate the insanity that goes into an event of this magnitude. I would never want to do it myself, but I really admire and want to support people that make it happen. 

So, with these two things in mind, I happily pay for a ticket to an event that is pushing the boundaries of being a structured dance weekend and a 4-5 day party that takes over the French Quarter. Thank you, Amy, and all the other people that work so hard to keep the spirit of ULHS alive. I can't wait to submit my request for two personal days and make my sub plans =)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Be here now

I want to wake up to whispering trees.
To mellow sunlight washing patterns of morning over the covers.
The reassuring chorus of crickets.
Plops of rain as they find their way through fresh foliage to the moist earth ...

...and the feeling of your arms as they wrap around me with a gentle, comfortable, sense of 'here'.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fall Creek Boys Choir

Oh you know...just another Bon Iver post. Thank you, NPR.

Here is Justin's collaboration with James Blake: Fall Creek Boys Choir

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Astrology is interesting. Not science by any means, but more so entertainment. I put as much stock in it as tea party logic, but it is fascinating to read about personalities in general. Like to categorize, much?
Here is one more site with an interesting slant on things. However, Aquarius, you still ring so true.

Shevat (Aquarius)

The month of Shevat correlates with the astrological sign of Aquarius, which is an air sign. It is the third of the air signs: Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Aquarius represents the Left Column of the three. Aquarius is ruled by two planets. Traditional astrology attributes control of this month to Saturn, and modern astrology has given credit to Uranus, discovered by the astronomer William Hershel on March 13, 1781.

Saturn, the seventh planet in the solar system, is the planet of judgment, order, responsibility, discipline and laws. Uranus is the eighth planet in the solar system, the one that breaks the proximity and limitations of seven - seven days, the seventh day, seven colors, seven notes etc.

Uranus elevates us to new consciousness and new concepts beyond limitation. This is why the Age of Aquarius and the month of Aquarius are considered times of change. Both are times of new knowledge, inventions, humanity, the need to help, to understand and to support the needy.

The energy of Uranus also connects to the air element - intellectualism, innovations, and new concepts that will bring the world to a higher level of consciousness.

Aquarians are rebellious by nature because they are constantly faced with penetrating questions concerning their individuality, their uniqueness and their identity. This is the reason that they strive to break old boundaries. To Aquarians, the past is but a fleeting moment, and they disconnect from the past in order to find a fresh and unfamiliar reality, a new truth to fit the new times. Uranus orbits the sun every 84 years, which explains the common phenomenon of the “midlife crisis” that plagues 40-42 year olds. It is actually a case of Aquarius-it is, when we begin to question our life’s purpose and make plans for the next 40 or so years.

Aquarians make excellent computer technicians, scientists, and social workers. They thrive doing anything revolutionary, especially in tasks that carry the flag of social-political revolution.

Age of Aquarius

The Kabbalists explain that the Age of Aquarius began approximately 400 years ago and is considered the Age of Revelation, or the Age of Redemption. Why does Aquarius, or "Shvat" according the Hebrew calendar, symbolize redemption? Because Aquarians perceive the world as unified, and Kabbalists consider this to be the basis of true redemption. Redemption is when all negativity is cleansed, when humanity is free of evil and fragmentation. Because of their higher level of consciousness, Aquarians are directly linked to this redemptive moment.

Aquarians are unique… they stand out in a crowd and cannot be ignored. They show great promise as children and as adults they are idealists who strive to change the universe with original ideas. They are rebels, and their concern is the well being of humanity as a whole. They rebel against established ways of doing things, always looking to find new, better ways to solve world problems.

Though Aquarians seek justice for all, this is a global quest, not a personal one. They support things that are grand and noble, while they fail to be sensitive to those around them who are suffering. Aquarians often lack a sense of the practical, and they are passionately independent and private. Their desire for originality causes them to set themselves apart from the crowd. Despite their friendliness and open-mindedness, they are also the most stubborn of all signs. They reject all established structures, and fight to maintain their individuality and freedom in order to exercise their innovative ideas. They detest confinement of any sort.

Yet the most challenging barrier they face is most often their own egos. Even as they begin to make changes in their lives, their focus tends to be external, and they have trouble really changing from deep within.

Aquarians have the power to break free of the limitations of the physical world. But to manifest this power, they must control the aspects of their nature that interfere with its accomplishment. Aquarians are capable of helping humanity, as long as their own ideas do not become more important than the cause itself. True spirituality means being part of humanity, not above it. Unfortunately, Aquarians usually have such high opinions of themselves that imposing their own views can become their sole objective. Aquarians must conquer their pride, and realize that they have been entrusted with their attributes in order to manifest a certain force in this world. They are merely channels for this energy, and so are not entitled to personal glory.

For those born under the sign of Aquarius and for those now about to become influenced by the cosmic energy of Aquarius, you can attain the consciousness of a cosmic reality and feel responsible for humanity as a whole. You can know true friendship and perhaps even universal fraternity. And Aquarians have the strength for this task, from past lives. You can experience an exceptional and unique adventure in the history of humanity if you manage the most difficult restriction – silencing your ego and practicing humility and modesty while living in simplicity.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A simple little kind of free

This song didn't really make sense until now. What a great feeling...

~Perfectly Lonely~
Had a little love but I spread it thin
Falling in her arms and out again
Made a bad name for my game round town
Tore out my heart and shut it down

Nothing to do, nowhere to be
A simple little a kind of free
Nothing to do, no one but me
That's is all I need

I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely, yeah
Cause I don't belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me

And this is not to say
There never comes a day
I'll take my chances and start again
And when I look behind
On all my younger times
I'll have to thank the wrongs
That led me to a love so strong

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Otis by Jay-z & Kanye

Every once in awhile I am surprised by rap/hip hop music. Living in the city with the BEST radio in the country I am treated to early releases and underground tracks that take months to hit the rest of the country. Live broadcasts from places like the Velvet Room make Sunday night car rides all the more entertaining.

I found this track just because Atlanta is the ish when it comes to new music -- and keeping the classics alive. Thank god soul is back because hip hop now has a future. Put away the Autotune, real beats are back.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Advice from a Tree

Stand tall and proud.

Sink your roots into the earth.

Be content with your natural beauty.

Go out on a limb.

Drink plenty of water.

Remember you roots.

Enjoy the view!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Winning at Everything

In light of my Road Trip of Winning and all the nonsense about the subject these days I thought it appropriate to wrap up my summer with an interesting article about the topic:
I like relating it to dance too...

Why Winners Win...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Road Trip of Winning: Videos 2 and 3 - Duck in Boulder

Duck goes bouldering in Boulder...because that's what you do.
"Being in Boulder is hard. You have to climb stuff to be cool."

Classic Road Trip clip of me finding Duck doing something ridiculous before leaving town.

Road Trip of Winning: 1 of 3 - Duck in Boulder

So many adventures in Colorado - as usual. Here is the first of three videos:

After a failed attempt at busking in Nola, Duck attempts to sell her hippie wares to an unsuspecting local.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Road Trip of Winning: Duck makes it to Colorado

So we didn't get a video of Duck at dance practice in Abq as previously planned. Crossing the state line into to Colorado will have to suffice...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Road Trip of Winning: Driving Austin to Abq

Just in case you didn't know...Duck is an excellent driver.

If you're not first, you're last!

Bon Iver covers Bonnie Raitt

I credit my mother for my eclectic taste in music. She raised me on soul, oldies, folk, rock n roll, jazz, blues, and the always 80s mother favorite, Raffe. Her favorites included The Beatles, Roberta Flack, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Rolling Stones, Carole King, The Pointer Sisters, and Whitney Houston.

Finding this cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bon Iver was unexpected and perfectly timed. So far I am three for three.

He does a beautiful job of capturing the elegant melancholy of the lyrics:
Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
Cause I can't make you love me if you don't.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Road Trip of Winning: NOLA and New Music

Being in NOLA brought a lot of joy back to my dancing. Just showing up, grabbing a beer, and letting it all soak in. The locals could not have been friendlier -- I was welcomed into their scene right away. It was southern hospitality at its best. The element that pulled us all together was definitely the music. Toe-tapping rhythms that just didn't let you sit still.

At the going away party (for two people I met at the party) there was a live band. Luke Winslow-King. A name I had heard before, but not experienced. So good. Check out his stuff here: Then, go buy his album like I did =)

While the entire album is full of gems my two favorite songs hit home for music and lyrical reasons. The first I can't find a video of, so here are the lyrics. Just replace 'she' with 'he' and it is spot on. I realized it took me about a year of being single, and 6 months of really being alone for it to be true. But is.

~Lost Soul~

woke up this morning,
found i was no longer sad
it's only a memory of what's been hurtin' so bad
i'm walking down the street
and i do not dispaire
i'm singin' i'm smilin' not havin' a care
i'd have me locked up like i was in the county jail
what had me beat down
like a storm of hail
i couldn't see for nothin'
all darkness, all night
now it's high noon
not a shadow in sight

she's a lost soul
it don't matter anymore
she's so far behind the axious days of yore
she's lost to me, but it don't matter
_______ i've got to soar.

in this wide world there' open roads ahead
no time for mournin', heavy hearts of lead,
look over yonder see the wonderous trees
so much beauty in the open seas
she's a lost soul,
just a memory

i'm so far beyond
she's got no hold on me
don't keep rememberin;
don't even try
you found ____ she was just a lie
she's a lost soul
it don't matter anymore
Shes far behind the achient days of yore
she's a lost cause but i dont' care
i'm a ____ without a burden to bear in this world

My other favorite caught my eye because of the title, but upon listening I like it more and more:
Dragon Fly, Dragon Flower Video

Friday, July 1, 2011

Road Trip of Winning: NOLA Video Blog

This clip was meant to be an introduction to a much longer movie...but I said screw it and just uploaded them separately.

Thursday morning...I am packing up the car and trying to find my phone...

Road Trip of Winning: Video Blogs

This road trip has a few unique elements that makes it a bit more...special. One being that a small, yellow friend is accompanying me. Cookies and all. You see, we have a duck in our family, so to speak. She arrived when I was about 14, and has in some strange way become a personality in my circle of family and friends. I don't know how else to explain her, when you give me that weird look except by asking, "Well, have you ever watched Sesame Street or the Muppets? People interacting with personified objects/characters is not the weirdest thing you have ever heard of, right?"

She is a knock-off beanie baby, has been all over the country via car and plane, traveled to France, eats a solid diet of cookies, loves to sing and dance (with dreams of being famous), knows Duck Wong Foo, is exceptionally mischievous, and has a side kick named Kitchen Mouse. She has the very original name of C.D. Quacker Duck, but just goes by Duck for simplicity's sake.
With the arrival of my new MacBook and it's built-in camera I got the crazy idea to make videos of duck. So I made a fun birthday dance video for a friend...and now I can't stop. It started with a 'getting ready to leave Atlanta' video, and now I am determined to make a few more of her in each respective city. We will see how and where this goes...

These videos are not about the quality/editing of the video. I could give two craps about that. I am not a video producer, nor do I aspire to be. It is about capturing the Personality and Adventures of Duck. As her Main Voice, it is interesting to observe how I have really created this alternate personality. Did I ever mention I want to be a Muppeteer....?
Ok, enough explaining the fact I am a total dork. Here is the first video.

Duck Packs for the Road Trip of Winning:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writing Challenge #14

10 Year Text by Tia Singh

Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?


1) Stop being afraid.

2) I would say exactly what I want to say when I want to say it. I would stop procrastinating. I would start believing that I have something worth contributing or saying and not doubt myself so much.

Writing Challenge #13

Overcoming Uncertainty by Sean Ogle

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on. For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal. Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty. When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from. Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal. So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”


I really don't feel like doing this today. I didn't get the state director job. Back to looking for high school positions and a commute.

Time for more beer on Frenchman Street!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Writing Challenge #12

Alive-est by Sam Davidson

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.


A new friend lent me his bike for my stay in New Orleans. A massive beast that only a Shwinn can embody, this bike came complete with white wall tires, cushy seat, soda rack tied to the back, and handlebars fit for a second passenger. Now that I have lowered the seat to fit my height he is a dream to ride. Bouncing around the potholes in the quarter this weekend I was hit with a sense of being gloriously free. I couldn't help but smile and a laugh escaped me for no good reason. The smells around me were a mixture of southern food, gutter garbage, and salt water. I was surrounded by french-style architecture, sandwiched together; bright, shuttered, with each house as unique as a fingerprint.

I don't know if I can or want to capture that feeling all the time. It was pretty marvelous. However, I will treasure it and go back to that moment whenever I need to remember how incredibly amazing life can be.

Writing Challenge #11

Personal Recipe by Harley Schreiber

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think about the type of person you’d NEVER want to be 5 years from now. Write out your own personal recipe to prevent this from happening and commit to following it. “Thought is the seed of action.”


I NEVER want to be selfish, petty, demanding, controlling, or ungrateful. I NEVER want to be a complainer or whiner. I NEVER want to be a fake friend.

My personal recipe to keep this from happening is to: give respect, require respect, practice compassion, and have a habit of perpetual integrity. I am going to love my friends with wild abandonment and surround myself with people that share a mutual appreciation for positivity. I will have a smile, eye contact, and a firm handshake when I meet someone new. I will make an effort to have unconditional support for, and communication with, my friends. No apologies for who I am and what I stand for, but maintain a gracious attitude in regards to other people's beliefs.

Thought truly is the seed of action. I have been doing a lot of thinking the past 6 months - of which my actions these days are a surprising reflection.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Writing Challenge #10

Call to Arms by Sasha Dichter

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair.

You’re just written your own job description. You know what you have to do. Go!

(bonus: send it to the CEO with the title “The things we absolutely have to get right – nothing else matters.”)


Well, if I get the job that I interviewed for, I will be the Head Honcho =)

- Get the finances in order. Recover all files and start a ledger for 2011-2012. Get the real balance and set up for the next year.

- Organize all physical items. Create an inventory of materials. Organize where and how we order all materials.

- Create a budget for material purchases and contracted design work.

- Make a list of the top 10 teachers in GA that I need to meet. Set up meetings and travel to each school to meet their chapters and introduce myself. Get feedback and advice about the organization. Figure out what people want to keep and what they want to change.

- Create the calendar for next year's conferences.

- Assess the conferences and lay out the schedule and organization of each one.

- Set up board meetings and clarify everyone's role at each conference.

That would just be the short term things. With the organization in such an upheaval, I have a lot of organizing and refocusing to do. Long term?

- Meet with businesses and strengthen connections for sponsorship.

- Align the roles of the Foundation and DOE for TSA. Work out a plan for improved collaboration.

- Set up 2012's calendar of conferences and book all event spaces.

- Organize tax information to make it smooth and automatic every year.

- Research schools that do not have TSA and set up meetings with the technical education teachers to discuss how we could make it possible for them to have a chapter.

That ought about do it. The organization should be self-sustaining and keep rolling once the major hurdles of relocation, finances, and the calendar are taken care of.

New motto?
"I thrive on task lists, not time clocks."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Writing Challenge #9

The last few challenges have been kinda...lame. Or at least ideas that are not really applicable to my life. Hopefully this weekend will prove to be better. This one looks interesting....

Most Ordinary by Susan Piver

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.


1) What are my false comparisons?
I compare myself to dancers who are working professionals or people who have been doing it for much longer than myself. As a fiercely competitive person that pushes it all underneath I struggle with feeling less than amazing. I have to constantly remind myself that my life path is not to be a famous dancer. I love dancing, I love the challenge, social circle, and joy it gives me -- but I am not going to dedicate 100% of my time and energy into it. I have other things to give the world. I have mad respect for the people that put their heart and soul into it, but I have to remind myself that since I am not one of those people, the result (my level of dancing) is just never going to be the same. (I am actually going to write a mildly controversial post about dancing/teaching and that whole concept soon...still working on formulating my thoughts)

In terms of my job/career I tend to compare myself to people who have been doing it for 20+ years. Guys that started teaching Tech Ed when it was shop, and used band saws instead of keyboards. Hmmm...I know that I have a hefty knowledge base, work experience, and two degrees so why do I compare myself? Well, being a female under the age of 30 does not give you much street cred when you walk in the door. I am constantly having to prove myself and over-discuss topics for anyone to give me any kind of respect. Grrrrr...

2)What are my false expectations?
I guess I keep expecting people to give me more recognition without proving myself so much. But, I am a firm believer in hard work paying off. Weird combination.

3) What are my false expectations in a story?
I am ready to move forward in my career -- and am doing what is necessary to make that happen. But, I buy into the feeling that I am just not good enough. There is no way that I could ever be the director of GA TSA. I am so young, and no one would take me seriously. But, then I turn around and say holy crap, I am so overqualified for this position why would they even bother looking at other applicants? I have content knowledge, teaching experience, leadership experience, event organizing experience, and a solid track record of promotions. Insert expletive.
It is difficult not to buy into the story that I am not an adult with a strong resume. So easy to keep feeling like I am just fresh outta college...

I must admit. I am not a huge fan of this post. It took me forever to write it and I kept getting distracted. Boo.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Writing Challenge #8

Intuition by Susan Piver

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you?


My intuition would look like a free spirit. A broad smile and easy laugh. A sense of openness and friendliness that does not overwhelm, suffocate, or demand. The first thing she would say to me is to stop being afraid. Stop holding back. Reach for the stars and nothing less.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing Challenge #7

Courage to Connect by David Spinks

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.


Done and done =)

Writing Challenge #6

Enthusiasm by Mars Dorian

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” is a great line from Emerson. If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it? Answer it now.


More enthusiasm? Hmmm...I think that I could do a better job of reading technical and/or educational journals, articles, and sharing such things with my peers. I need to attend more conferences and network more. I am absolutely in love with my career and content area. I think it is a very necessary part of education. Engineers are sorely needed in this country -- and students need the opportunity to see all the different options they have in the field.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Writing Challenge #5

You Know by Jen Louden

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life. Someone might know a particular something better – like how to bake a three-layer molten coconut chocolate cake or how to build a website – but nobody else on the planet knows how to live your life better than you. (Although one or two people may think they do.) For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”


Ok, it is seriously taking me forever to formulate a response. I think that I addressed this idea not too long ago. Maybe not quite with the same question, but I have always rejected the notion of advice columns, experts, and make-over shows. I dislike the fashion industry, and abhor magazines that depict models encouraging the masses to look and dress a certain way. It is all a means for more money to be spent on things that will be discarded in a matter of months if not weeks for the next best thing.
When it comes to advice columns they are just recycled garbage. No two people are alike and you shouldn't treat them as so. One way to deal with people will not work with the next. Stand firm in who you are, be a good person, give and require respect. All the games and bs will eventually fall by the wayside. Tough? Yes. Idealistic? Absolutely. Possible? I am a work in progress.
Whenever I read something that is trying to convince me of something to buy, change about myself, or apply to my life to 'make it all better' I stop and reflect.

What a great question to ask yourself. I like how the author phrased the question.

Writing Challenge #4

I don't think this prompt could have come at a better time in my life...

Speak Less by Laura Kimball

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know I. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I once received a fortune cookie that read: “Speak less of your plans, you’ll get more done.” What’s one project that you’ve been sitting on and thinking about but haven’t made progress on? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you actually went for it and did it?


Sometimes when you speak less of your plans you don't have the witnesses to say "Well? Didn't you say that you were going to do so and so?" It is easier to slip, and lie to yourself about what you have actually accomplished. We are our own best excuse. I used to be really private about my plans and realized that I had covered up my dreams with reasons. It is still difficult to share too much about my future plans, but I like to keep myself accountable with a few.

So, project? I don't really think in terms of projects -- rather goals or 'things to do'. Honestly, I am really doing all the things that I want to right now. I think I would rather answer this in terms of personal development. The project I am working on right now is 'maintaining'. Not fluctuating my mannerisms, humor, thoughts, silence, conversation, or laughter (just to name a few) depending on who I am with. Living and relating without fear. That is my project.

What would happen if I just went for it and did it? Well, I think I am starting to figure that out. It is absolutely terrifying sometimes. The "what ifs" overwhelm my thoughts. But you know what? The best part about it is that the reality that is experienced from pushing through that fear is so much more amazing than the dreams that plague me when I don't.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Writing Challenge #3

Ok, I don't have enough time to go into great detail with my responses, but I want to stick with it...

Dreams by Michael Rad

Abide in the simple and noble regions of thy life, obey thy heart. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Write down your top three dreams. Now write down what’s holding you back from them.

1) Go to Europe.
What is holding me back? Finances. Debt. But, definitely not fear. Cannot WAIT to get out of this country and see more of the world.

2) Work from home.
Well, I already took the leap and applied (and interviewed) for a job that would allow me to do just that. It is a position that I feel overqualified for, and yet totally overwhelmed by. I guess the one thing holding me back is a board of directors voting on whether I get it or not =) I have done my part.

3) Live in the mountains.
I moved to Atlanta in 2008, and it doesn't look like I will be going anywhere anytime soon due to career, friends, lovely condo, dancing, and working on feeling like I have roots. However, I am not discouraged. I see this as a long-term will happen eventually. I am patient.

What about you? What are your three dreams? Anything holding you back from them?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writing Challenge #2

Since I am already a bit behind and I have a few minutes I will post the second challenge right away.

One Thing by Colin Wright

Do your work, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take a moment, step back from your concerns, and focus on one thing: You have one life to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted. Sounds simple, but when you really focus on it, let it seep into your consciousness, you realize you only have about 100 years to get every single thing you’ve ever wanted to do. No second chances. This is your only shot. Suddenly, this means you should have started yesterday. No more waiting for permission or resources to start. Today is the day you make the rest of your life happen. Write down one thing you’ve always wanted to do and how you will achieve that goal. Don’t be afraid to be very specific in how you’ll achieve it: once you start achieving, your goals will get bigger and your capability to meet them will grow.


Wow. Let's just say that it is difficult for me to narrow it down to just one thing. Live on top of a mountain in a house that my family built, be a muppet, work from home, be a college professor, win a major dance competition with my dance partner, the list simply goes on. Let's pick the college professor...

I will achieve this goal by getting out of the middle school classroom this year. Period.
I will get a job in either my field in industry, leadership, or high school.
Within 5 years I will apply to a doctoral program. UGA or NC State are my top choices.
During the 5 years of working and gaining experience I will look into teaching community college classes -- either in-person or online.
As a full time doctoral student I would like to be teaching classes as adjunct faculty.
Once graduated I will have a solid resume of public school, leadership, community college, and part-time faculty positions.
I will then decide where I want to live and apply at universities in areas of the country that support my lifestyle, mindset, and love of nature.

Yes. that ought about do it =)

What is your one specific goal? You can just list your goal or give me details. I would love to hear about your dreams...

Writing Challenge #1

Inspired by a visit to Illuminated Mind I signed up for the Ralph Waldo Emerson 30 day writing challenge. Mind you, I signed up late, and I know for a fact that I will not be able to write a post every day (but maybe I will), however, the prompts are some good food for thought and I will on occasion write an entry until the challenge is complete.

Wholly Strange and New by Bridget Pilloud

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?

Write about that moment. And if you haven’t experienced it yet, let the miracle play out in your mind’s eye and write about that moment in your future.


Yes. I do remember that moment. Very clearly.

I was driving on 75N. I had a jam packed day. Earlier I had driven up to a lake house to celebrate a friend's birthday. Then, duty called and I drove down to dance to Blair Crimmins and the Hookers at the Dogwoods Arts Festival. All dressed up and handing out cards, I encouraged other lindy hoppers to show up and help market our scene by doing what we do best - dance. It worked and I handed out about 30 ASEDA cards. With a smile on my face and my vintage suitcase in hand I left the park and headed back up to the birthday party. On my way it hit me. I was living my life. For me. Not in a selfish way -- because my entire day revolved around activities that would either make someone else happy or support my scene -- but in a way that made me feel completely in control. Not at the mercy or whim of another person. I made the decision to have such a crazy schedule and drive about 100 miles that day. But, you know what? It felt great. I felt free. I felt like Atlanta was my home. I had real friends. I had the freedom of choice.

I haven't looked back since.

So, how about you? Have you had this moment? When and where was it? Or, do you imagine it to happen in the future?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rex and Wingy

It occurred to me that I would not have a laptop once summer rolled around. My plan is to find a new job and that meant my trusty IBM Thinkpad would have to be left at Snellville. So, with a bit of advice from an exceptionally informed (nerdy) friend I went ahead and purchased a refurbished MacBook Pro. It was like Christmas and my Birthday all rolled into one when she showed up. There was a great deal of jumping around and then sitting around as everything was transferred and updated. The point of this story is that now I have enough room for allllll my music on my new shiny Vento - all of which I was not familiar with. So, I have spent a great deal of time combing through my new-found library and organizing it in typical Type A fashion.

One of the gems I found is: Rex Steward and Wingy Manone - Trumpet Jive! Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot stop listening to this album. I feel as though I need to thank Brooks for this one. Of course I dig Wingy and play him regularly, but this collaboration album is the ish. Do yourself a favor, and if you do not already have it -- go get it! (Which is excellent advice for life in general)

And on the note of digging through my music collection and getting excited over finding albums that are simply divine I would thoroughly enjoy some suggestions. DJing has turned out to be so much more fulfilling than I ever imagined. I started doing it as a personal challenge, and it has slowly turned into one of my favorite parts of being a vintage jazz dancer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unschooled and always learning

Reading an article about alternative schooling always gives me a bit of a rise. Well, maybe more along the lines of a spark of hope. In turn, the comments always make me a bit sick. First, read the article and then what I am going to say will make a bit more sense.

NPR - Unschooled: How One Kid is Grateful He Stayed Home

Ok, so I am a bit appalled that Sam didn't learn how to read until he was 10. But, in turn I think that his mom was trying to really 'stick to the program'. So, kudos to her. When I was a wee one I told my mom that "I don't ever want to learn how to read. It's stupid and boring." (This sentiment stemmed from my sister neglecting to play with me 24/7 because her nose was always in a book) My mother was horrified, naturally, but then just chilled out and gave me a little more time to figure out that if I was to keep up with Lydia I would have to learn on my own. So I did. Sure, it was a bit later than some other kids, but it certainly wasn't until I was 10. I think my mom used a great method for home schooling -- a mixture of encouragement, exposure, modeling, and personal choice. With an exceptionally nerdy older sister (by 4 years) to compare myself to, I had no other choice than to keep up. And it NEVER occurred to me that she *should* be better than me at everything. We were the equivalent of a 5th grader keeping up with an 8th grader.

Subjects like math, science, and foreign language were all presented with texts specifically designed for the self-taught. Language Arts was more of an 'immersion' approach. She didn't harp on grammar (which rared it ugly head in college, and still today), but was a huge advocate of reading. We would spend hours and hours in the library. Vocabulary, spelling, and the correct use of words (their & there), were her focus instead of where that pesky little comma is supposed to go. Oh well.

When it came to electives I was allowed to explore at my own pace. After positively hating piano lessons she gave up and let me choose my own musical path. Voice lessons and guitar were my choices and I dove right in. One of her best friends introduced me to the joys of painting and I spent a summer in my room painting skies and mountains. Sports have always eluded me though, and despite multiple soccer camps I am still terrible at all team sports. Determined that we would not be entirely sports-less she enrolled my sister and I in martial arts when I was 12. At 16 I earned my black belt. Oh yeah, and I figure skated for a few years before I realized that I would rather be a ninja instead of develop anorexia on ice. In retrospect I think that all my electives were very unschooled. I would randomly develop an interest in a topic and then immerse myself in it as much as possible. It is still how I tend to learn.

So what did the rest of the family think? I am certain they were horrified. My grandmother dragged us to as many museums, operas, concerts, and historical sites as possible in hopes that my sister and I would not turn out like cave children. After all, she was a school teacher her whole life. In reflection I think I went on more field trips than a regular ed student. But now when I travel I make an effort to hit a few 'points of interest' in every city. Take that, public school!

Enough rambling. I would like to address some of the concerns that people have and provide my own opinions.

I think that social outlets are the responsibility of the parent. Kids that don't have enough interaction with other children are simply being sheltered on purpose. Between martial arts, figure skating, soccer camps, and church, my sister and I had a lot of interaction. I even went to a junior and senior prom.

Language Arts is a huge problem for all home schoolers. It is just isn't a topic that is easily learned. We need feedback, editors, and the rules explained. English is a difficult language to say the least, and it is my biggest regret. I read voraciously and feel as though my vocabulary is quite extensive. But in turn I cried over three page papers in college and am still crap when it comes to the little things -- like commas. Oddly enough, journaling is one of my favorite past times. However, I have two degrees and have written multiple papers 20+ pages. I disagree with letting a child learn to read and write at their own pace. It is by far the most important thing in getting a job and people who have poor vocabulary/spelling/writing skills are often disregarded more quickly.

Contextual learning is simply a way of life for a home schooler. We know how to budget, calculate, and apply pretty much everything we learn -- because we have to. Grocery shopping is math class. Mowing the yard is PE. Spending hours simply being outside and looking at everything up close is science. Why and how? Go read about it. Then go exploring some more.

I am afraid of home schooling my kids. I am afraid of sending them to public school. I don't think there is a perfect solution. I think my sister is doing a fantastic job with her young'uns. They are very bright and inquisitive. She talks to them in a very adult manner, and treats the world as a constant place to learn. They will (and are) attending school, but I would like to see how long that lasts. School can be very confining if the teachers are not equipped to deal with fast-paced learners.

To wrap up this rambling post I have one more link for you to check out. As with most everything in life, don't knock it til you try it.
10 Famous People who were Home Schooled

My final though? With all this innate desire to learn and the realization of where my educational gaps are I think I will do a little homeschooling this summer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

No such thing as usual

Currently listening to Kate Havnevik's album, Melankton. She definitely has a Bjork sound.

~ New Day ~


As small as it may seem you can tell if someone values 'you' by their attention to the spelling of your name.

"So what are your plans this summer?"
"Not make any lists. Avoid a lot of time commitments. Learn how to be a little messy. Dance."

Work on fixing all the things that made your last relationship fall apart -- with your friends. If you can be all those things to people that you are not madly in love with, when the time comes for you to share your life with 'that person' it will be easy. Respect. Compromise. Honesty. Communication. Support. Listen.

In our brokenness, we are unlimited. And that means we are amazing.

Actual Blog Entry:

Today I am upholding my summer routine of holding down a chair and table at a nearby coffee shop. It has taken me about three hours to muster the courage and clarity of mind to be able to write a cover letter. Courage, because it is for a job that I really don't think I will even be considered for, time, because I totally blanked how to write one of these and I am a terrible writer. So many thoughts just spill out into unprofessional rambling. Gah.

The more I am in the classroom the more I consider the fact that I might want to do something different. Yes, I love being a teacher -- or more specifically -- a leader. In reflection I have a history of being promoted by recommendation. Even when I worked at Papa John's I was asked to be a shift manager, in college I was pushed to Photo Editor, in grad school I was hired on as adjunct faculty. I am so young and so inexperienced in the organization that I am applying for, but it is in my field (Tech Ed), and when I read the duties and responsibilities that this person much have it is such a no-brainer. Challenging? Yes. Time-consuming? Yes. Extremely professional? Yes. Frightening? A little.

I could just keep it safe. Stay at Snellville and keep on teaching my familiar lessons. I could push for a high school job (which I really want). Or I could start to stretch a bit further. Like in yoga class I ask myself, "why?". Am I trying to prove something, or do I really need to go a bit further? Hmmm...more self-reflection is needed. I think it is a little bit of both.

And so I start this summer with nothing as usual. Not sure where I will be in the fall, but I have a back-up plan because those things are very important in this economy. What is usual is my summer plans - LEAVE ATLANTA!!!

I am going to Mississippi first to see a good friend for a weekend. Then, down to NOLA for my own version of dance camp. One part immersion, one part classes, one part music, one part vacation I am ready to just show up and take it all in. After I sweat it up in the Big Easy I am heading over to Austin to work with Andrew. We have some really exciting things going on in our partnership and we have a lot to work on. While in Austin I am going to try to get a better feel for the scene, people, and city. My last big stop will be Boulder to see my Shizzle. While a little dancing might go on, this stop is to recharge and rejuvenate. Big skies, fresh air, and clear water. On my way back I will probably stop in St. Louis for an overnight or two and then Nashville. Rough dates? June 17th - July 17th. Let me know if you live in (near) any of these places and want to catch up.

So, bring it on. I have so much more to lose this time around, and so much more to gain.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Timing is everything

Headlights on the Highway ~ Ron Pope

"And I don't need no secrets, I gave up on lies/
If it's gonna rain I'd rather know then be caught blind"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Free Time

Freetime ~ Kenna

Summer is upon us in all it's 106 degree glory. School's out and I'm out. Where to next? I am taking a giant leap of faith this year and moving on. The road trip is planned, but my fall is not. As I take a deep breath and exhale I remind myself that I have a back-up plan -- which is more than I had when I moved to Atlanta.

So many plans. So many dreams. So much growth. So much left to grow. I am ready. Nervous. Excited. Overwhelmed. Going for it.

"Do one thing everyday that scares you" Today? Check.

More posts coming soon now that I own my own computer (Vento), and I have 7 weeks of free time. So many ideas and thoughts brewing...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's not about the destination...

Five weeks left in the school year. Wow.

Next year holds...?? Not entirely sure yet. I am putting myself out there and seriously applying for high school positions. After careful reconsideration of my finances, life as it is currently being lived, and more personal things, I feel as though I should stay in Atlanta for at least another year. I am tired of running. Tired of moving. My life has been one big giant move for as long as I can remember. I have moved every year since 2002, and let's not even start in on my nomadic, house-less, childhood. I need roots.

Last week, when I was leaving Piedmont Park it hit me. I am living in Atlanta. Not just residing. But living. Life is full, but not cramped. Variety. New faces. Positive activities. Giving and receiving. There is so much left to explore in this city, and I am ready for it! Sure, there are some mindsets that just don't jive with me, and I am frustrated with the need for a car. But, there are so many other wonderful things going on here. This feels like home, for once. And I am going to thrive and grow on that feeling until it is really time to move on - not when I am just running away.

Summer Plans
Work and all it's professional learning ends on June 3rd.
My crazy idea this year was to drive all the way to San Francisco. Each summer I try to travel somewhere new. After looking at the map and the giant expanse between Austin and CA I cringed and reconsidered the reality of such a quest. I would absolutely have to have a road buddy to make this happen--for both money and sanity. I have been cross-country and I know how you can drive for an hr and see the same pair of headlights coming towards you because it is. so. freaking. flat.

Things that will make this trip different? Hmm....I would like to spend a great deal of time exploring the cities I visit instead of *just* dancing. Although, I must admit that my first two stops will be focused on dance. I am going to Instagram the ish out of this trip and meet some other IG'ers. I don't have any driving buddies lined up. I am open to the idea of someone joining me for a leg or two, but I would really like to make the bulk of this journey solo. It's all part of recuperating from the school year.

Summer 2011 is going to be spent in my beloved TDI, Lola. Heart her. Here are my Hopes and Dreams. I will pin down the exact dates soon.

1 week - NOLA
1 week - Austin
10-14 days - Boulder
4-5 days - St. Louis
Overnight in Nashville
3-5 days - Knoxville for a quick stop
4-5 days - Boone

Home to recover and get back in the mindset for teaching and learning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Checklists: Part 2

Now, to follow-up and finish my previous post on the idea of a checklist...

I don't want to spend this post quoting other people, nor do I want it to run away and turn into "journalesque" reflective rambling. So, I will mix it up and do a small amount of each.

I will start with what a dear friend said to me during a phone conversation last night. While discussing 'where we are' in terms of relationships she made a very accurate analogy. Relationships are like dancing. I had to pause for a second, because I really don't like to relate those two parts of my life. It usually ends up very messy for everyone involved. But, since she is such a good friend I let her continue. ;-)

Relationships are like dancing.
When you first start you jump right in, eager and with all of your being. You want everything right away and can't get enough. You spend ludicrous amounts of time with this new interest. You don't really care if you are doing everything right because it is just so damn fun.
When you hit the intermediate level you think you have it under control--you know what's up. Your attitude is of confidence and flashy moves because "this is how it is supposed to be". Take it or leave it is how you present yourself to your partner because damn straight, you are experienced!
When you hit the advanced stage you throw everything out the window and realize that pretty much everything you thought was right was, in fact, complete bullsh*t. Now, you want the nuts and bolts of things. You care about the little details, about what feels good, and how the other person feels. You want things to actually work, not just magically happen.

I. Dig. This. So. Much.

At the tender age of 27 I feel as though I am slowly moving into the advanced stage. Relationships aren't magic. They don't just work. Nor does your dancing. I am doing so much more reflection on my last few relationships and thinking about the details of what worked and what didn't. (end journal-like rambling)

On to my next point.
I am an organizational freak, and I love checklists. And I mean love. They give me a sense of accomplishment and focus for my slightly ADD, fast-paced brain. So, I felt like after every relationship I 'add' to my checklist of what I want and what I don't want. However, even when everything looks amazing on paper, and he added up, I still wasn't happy. wtf. So, obviously since I was the common element in all of these situations it must be me. The last 8 months have been a hell of a ride of freedom, choices, reflection, growth, and realization. And I have come to some conclusions...that I will share with you in the form of a list for the sake of irony.

1. Don't like what a person does, like how they act. I mean, common activities are all fantastic (and stuff) but the real deal is in like how that person relates with the world around them. How do they treat the person at the checkout? Their server? The homeless person on the street? Are you comfortable with their interactions or are you put off? There really isn't a right or wrong way of dealing with people--beyond the expected politeness--so I am not trying to be judgmental. What it boils down to is, does it jive with you? I tend to be a very open person when dealing with society (as long as the new individual isn't creepy) and I am made more comfortable when the people around me exude a similar confident attitude. Again, not right or wrong. Just an observation.

2. Feeling safe is the bottom line. Why do we end up dating our friends? Because they make us feel safe. There are only 2 people in the world outside of my family who have ever made me feel as though they accepted all the little parts of me that make me, well, me. Good, bad, ugly, funny, weird, serious. And for everyone, not just me, that is a big deal.

3. Communicate. This only happens if point two is reached. You never say what you really mean if you don't feel safe doing it. Either you lack the sense to be afraid (brash and insensitive) or you simply keep your mouth shut because you are too scared to speak the truth. No one wants to feel vulnerable. If you are willing to communicate on an open and honest level then you are completely at the mercy of the other person.

4. Repeat points 1, 2, and 3.

So where does that leave us? Checklists have their place. I know what I want. Hopefully someday I can give what another person wants. But, the bottom line isn't things, stuff, or common activities. (I am being vague on purpose) It is about feeling safe, open communication, and are you comfortable with how that person interacts with the world?

I know that whenever the next time happens there is going to be a lot more understanding, communication respect, and patience--both required and given.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lungs: F+tM

A week of blogging isn't complete without musical discoveries =)

Florence + the Machine released her album Lungs in 2009, but I somehow managed to have my head under a rock and miss it. A sweeping epic journey through 13 tracks; Welch powers through her vocals, and pulls you in with some wicked hooks. Love the lyrics and the diversity of instrumentation. Here are three songs that I can't get enough of:

1. Dog Days are Over - on regular rotation on a typical alternative rock station, this song is probably familiar to the average radio listener. It is so positive. Roll down the windows and crank it up.

"Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can't carry it with you if you want to survive"

2. Cosmic Love - this track caught my attention right away. The chorus picks you up and sweeps you along in the current of the orchestrated rhythms...but then you listen to the words. Sadness has never been so beautiful.

"The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart"

3. Blinding - the opposite of the previous track, it took me a few times through to fully appreciate this song. Just keep listening. It has a melancholy quality to it -- minor and deep. She can be difficult to understand sometimes so all I kept hearing was the word 'death'. Upon looking up the lyrics it makes so much sense. She is wanting something that she can't have anymore. He might actually be deceased, or it could just be that they are no longer together. She is trying to convince herself that there is no point in dreaming and wasting time in longing for what is no longer alive -- be it him or the relationship.

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world


Do yourself a favor and add her to your collection if you haven't already. Another powerful, well-written, un-afraid female vocalist with some serious lyrics and beautiful music. And she has an awesome name. Florence for the win.

Checklists: Part 1

I have an acquaintance who moved to Europe a couple summers ago. Talk about ballsy. Just up and left with her boyfriend. I love her writing as it is much more eloquent and precise than my own. Also, she has variety in her blog (poetry, experience, recipes, reflections) which keeps me coming back for more. You can find her blog here.

This poem was an entry on 3/20. With all the thoughts swirling around in my head, changes I am making in my life, and new decisions in terms of what it means to 'be with someone', I find it more than pertinent these days. I will write another entry soon about my evolving philosophy on the whole concept of a checklist when finding a life partner.

an unknown mountain dreamer:
“It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living…
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it….

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty
even when it is not pretty

every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Album: Loaded

I have been listening to a Wood Brothers Pandora station for some months now, but never got around to purchasing an album. I finally broke down this weekend and purchased "Loaded" after I thumbs-upped six songs off of it. I figured that was enough for me to make it worthwhile. I must say it is a new top favorite. Every once in awhile I can't get into an entire album - the artist only has a gem or two - but Chris and Oliver Wood deliver with every tune.

~Favorite Tracks~

Twisted - this was the first song to catch my ear. For just a guitar and bass it keeps your toes tapping and listening for more. The live recording doesn't quite sound as full as the studio version, but this particular video is pretty true to sound. Mad respect.

Why do I dream/of holding you down?/who knows?/'cause I'm missing you so

Fall Too Fast - this song caught me off guard with its brutal honesty of lyricism. I couldn't say it any better. This video recording is pretty weak compared to how the song sounds on the album, but hopefully you get the point. They keep it simple, clean, and folksy with their rhythmic instrumental pairing.

I have been to close
to that flame of desire
I have spoken too soon
words full of fire full of fire

I have fallen too fast
from the top of the tree
bruised by every branch
never landing on my feet on my feet

like a fool im willing
to take that fall again
dont let me fall too fast
I want to fall slowly
I want my fall to last
I want my fall to last

Walk Away - an easy tune to listen to with an undercurrent of bass and addition of harmonica and gentle picking.

Time used to make me wait/now time just makes me late

Buckets of Rain - an old Dylan tune, this version is a bit less on the depressing side of things.

Buckets of rain
Buckets of tears
Got all them buckets coming out of my ears
Buckets of moonbeams in my hand
You got all the love honey baby
I can stand.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Push Play. Repeat All.

Time for music that is new to me...and maybe you. One of the benefits of meeting a person from another country is the diversity of music they have to offer. In addition to living across the pond, person from said place also worked at a music store. Result? Lindsay learning about artists that span all reasonable and unreasonable genres. I am still discovering my new additions.

Artist: Rusko
Album: O.M.G!
Favorite tracks: Woo Boost, Rubadub Shakedown, and Got Da Groove

As I venture into the realm of dubstep I find that I am not a fan of most DJs. Rusko breaks the mold with amazing melodies, guest artists, and diversity of sound. The bass lines are addictive, and the wub wub wub of the dub is not so overwhelming that you get bored.

Woo Boost:

Rubadub Shakedown:

Artist: William Fitzsimmons
Album: The Sparrow and the Crow
Favorite Tracks: You Still Hurt Me, Just Not Each Other, Find Me To Forgive

If you dig on Iron and Wine you will love this artist. Simple melodies, bare instruments, and delicate harmonies create an easy listen with a heavy message. Most of his songs are lyrically heart-wrenching while sounding deceivingly light and sweet. I keep looking for a track full of hope, but I think his message stays the same throughout the three albums I have heard - a hurt soul. While I am not quite in this state of mind right now, I still appreciate his honesty in both sound and word.

You Still Hurt Me:

Just Not Each Other:

Artist: OneRepublic
Album: Waking Up
Favorite Tracks: Good Life, Secrets, All the Right Moves

Talk about a surprise of an album. I am not usually all about pop rock, or radio played tunes, but this band has me hooked. 'Secrets' is on regular rotation, and I dig it, but as usual the tracks not on the airwaves are what caught my ear and kept me listening. The entire album has a nice flow, upbeat sound, and a nice mix of tracks that speak to all kinds of mood. I will let the songs speak for themselves.

Good Life:


Monday, January 17, 2011

til the end of time

I am constantly looking for new music - and have a reputation of being a source of new music suggestions. However, if no new music came along, and someone told me I had to pick just a few albums to spend the rest of my life with they would be...

6) Imogen Heap - Ellipse
Unlike most artists, Imogen's sophomore album is a win in my book. Even more unique mixes of captured sounds, lyrical beauty, and
a nice ebb and flow in tempos. It isn't as melacholy as her first album, so in a sense it serves more emotional variety.

5) Sade - Soldier of Love
I know that this is a really recent album, but Sade has stepped up her game in her latest release. Full of the chill that I love, but with more depth and texture. The lyrics hit home, the instrumentation is diverse, and it is effortless to imbibe her rhythms.

4) Sigur Ros - Takk
When I hit play everything else disappears. The flow of the songs are in perfect order to practice yoga, enjoy a book, or simply cloud watch. Introspection is the muse of this album.

3) D'Angelo - Voodoo
Everyone needs a good 'get down' album. This spans the years for me regardless of how much I love Robin Thicke, or Marvin Gaye. I don't listen to it quite as much as before, but if I am not quite sure how to get in the groove I hit play on "The Line" and it all syncs up.

2) Ray Lamontagne - Trouble
Enter my love of folk music. Subtle lyrics with simple melodies, Ray captures the tender heartaches that with which we are all too familiar. I discovered this album while living in the Blue Ridge mountains of NC. When this album hits my ears all I can see are winding roads , falling leaves, and sweeping mountain views.

1) Radiohead - In Rainbows
This album is it for me. End all. Push play. Repeat. I don't care what mood, location, or mode of operation I exist in, I can listen to this album in it's entirety and be completely satisfied. I have had Radiohead on my list of favorites for many years, but when In Rainbows entered my collection I have to say they are now Number 1.