beautiful. fighter.

There’s not much that either one, or both of these songs cannot cure.  Pretty sure of it.

Sometimes you have to get a little angry.

Then remember: Yes, you are.

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wanderlusting (with links to CO donation sites).

I have a nearly-unbearable case of itchy feet.  I have some vacay planned mid-July, driving to KC for a conference, and then on to Colorado to visit friends, so there’s a goal in sight!  And that helps alleviate (somewhat, very mildly) the urge to pack up and drive away.  For now, I won’t do that.

In my mind, summer is for road trips to the mountains, and it’s been several years since I’ve stared at a high-altitude sky and counted falling stars and satellites.  It doesn’t help that I have an ever-growing playlist (found here) dedicated specifically to road trips, and here’s a little sip of the cheesiness (you expected nothing less, correct?):

Since our camping trips began when I was still in diapers (perhaps before, as my mother once hinted I was conceived in a camper.  We have never revisited this line of discussion.), many of the songs are old.  Most share the bluesy-country-alt country vibe: my mom has always been a lover of country music, my dad leaned more to rock and blues, while my brother, at one point, would listen to nothing but Led Zeppelin and the Guess Who.  Indeed, I cannot listen to any song from the American Woman album without being immediately transported to a rocky, secluded campsite in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, somewhere betwixt Red Lodge, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone.  We owned American Woman on cassette, and when we weren’t driving, would listen to the tape on a clunky old battery-powered tape player.  A little of this, anyone?

I experience strange satisfaction and joy in having reached an age when something so commonplace in childhood has now become an ungainly dinosaur, even to my eyes.

What are you summer songs?  Best road trip memories and locations?  Leave your comments below!

And quickly, since mountains are to Colorado what pretty toenails are to Essie polish, donation and volunteer info from the Summit Daily News follows:

• El Paso County Sheriff’s office: Large animal shelter at Norris-Penrose Equestrian Center needs volunteers: 719-520-7773.

• The Red Cross in Colorado Springs is at 719-632-3563. Those wanting to donate money to the Red Cross can go here.

• Help Colorado Now, a partnership of Colorado Division of Emergency Management (CDEM) and Colorado Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (COVAD), has a list of donations needed and Fort Collins location for drop-off.

• The Salvation Army can take monetary donations; specify ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – High Park Fire’ or ‘Northern Colorado Chapter – Waldo Fire:’ 303-866-9216, The Salvation Army, 1370 Pennsylvania Ave., Denver, CO 80132.

• Donate online to Larimer Humane Society 15or mail checks to 5137 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80525. Society currently coordinating rescue of all animals in High Park Fire area, providing water to animals that have not been evacuated, reuniting owners and pets and sheltering evacuated animals: 970-226-3647, ext. 7.

• Text HIGHPARK to 80108 to donate $10 for fire relief in northern Colorado through The mGive Foundation: mgivefoundation.org

• Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department 17Donations can be mailed to: RCVFD-Treasurer, PO Box 2, Bellvue, CO 80521.

Or visit Help Colorado Now’s site, for more specs.

today, part II: and then. (or, how to shake the blues!)

This afternoon, I had a little shift from the wackiness of the morning, and I just felt a little down.  In a nugget, moping. You know how sometimes you just feel it?  Probably just the lack of chocolate in the week’s diet, but it just stuck around.  And wouldn’t go away.  So, I just let it be there, and went about the business of working.  Which really is the best way to get through it anyway.  Much better than lying on the bed, listening to old Cold Play songs that, perhaps, remind you of happier days, say 10 or so years ago, and approximately, oh, 9,000 miles away.  With palm trees, and sunrise diving, and midday hammock time…

Digressing.  Self-pity.  Pity party.  It’s so pathetic, because you can identify it, and you know it’s not rational, and YET.  I was on my way to a friend’s house, to visit her newborn, and I really f*cking needed to shake it, at least a little.  So I started employing some tactics, and I thought I would share.  Yes, I still feel a bit blue, but not so much as earlier.

How to: Debbie Downer

  1. Say thank you.  Say it out loud, or in your mind, or in the windows-up radio-down seclusion of your Ford Focus.  For whatever damn thing that comes to mind: your car, the fact that you have a pair of shoes that fit, whatever.  And not in a smart-assy way.  Say it genuinely, or as close to genuine as you can get.
  2. See the opportunity, if applicable, in the situation that upset you.  In my case, I recently lost a client.  If you can remove yourself from the situation (e.g. it’s so damn nice to have a regular gig), and gain some perspective on the actual situation (I didn’t feel particularly good about the type of biz said client was in), you can see that it might, somehow — in even the minutest sort of way — be a good thing.  And really, it is just a matter of allowing yourself to see the tiniest speck of light that can make all the difference some days.
  3. Get the hello out of the house!  Depression equals wanting to sequester yourself and bask in the badness of it all.  If you can, get your butt outside, even if you’re only going to scowl at people at the library.  Just get away, if only briefly, from the energetic raincloud you’ve been inhabiting.  Stare at a tree.  Buy some notebooks and new pens at CVS.  Eat 15 samples of homeopathic-organic-vegan brioche at Whole Foods.  Make fun of hipsters getting lunch from the food trucks.  Just. get. out.
  4. Exercise.  This should really be higher up on the list, because it’s the best one.  It’s hard to cry when you’re at the gym, watching reruns of House Hunters.  Also, you just feel better when you’re doing something great for yourself and your body.
  5. Go to sleep.  Sometimes it’s just better (unless it’s a habit, then you need to talk to someone).
  6. Listen to a good/inspirational/high-energy song.  Faves include “I can only imagine,” by MercyMe (a disclaimer here, this song is highly, highly religious, but it is bound, indelibly, to Team Hoyt [see vid below], and that is one amaze-balls story, right there.  Much inspiration.), maybe a little Eminem, and loads of other either cheesy or horrible songs that I’d prefer not to make you privy to.  Start paying attention to songs that make you feel good, that give you a little boost when you’re driving, check the interwebs for exercise/running playlists to get some ideas.
  7. Write it out.  I tend to express myself better in writing than I do with the speaking, so it’s always worked for me to have a come-to-Jesus with some loose leaf.  I like a little Q&A, though it can just be a rant, or a drawn-out wallow.  Simply expressing it outwardly can extricate it from your body, and leave you some room for relief.
  8. Scream.  Preferably where no one can hear you.  Again, the car works pretty well for this particular option.
  9. Talk to someone.  A friend, parent, spouse, whomever will listen.  Don’t go on and on for an hour, or they may never listen again 😉 but if there’s a trusted someone you can talk to, see if they’ll lend an ear.
  10. Spend time with an animal.  I love dogs, because they just love you.  Cats sometimes let you get close to them, and they might let you pet them, and it’s possible they’ll purr.  Pets don’t carry around the stuff we do, they just love.  You know what they want, and they want to give it right back to you.  I hug my roomy’s dog as often as I can.  I kiss him between the eyes, I talk to him and call him stinky, I’m intoxicated by his dog-smell.  There’s nothing more joyful than watching him swim in the lake.  Even just thinking about him makes me happier.
  11. Find a way to gain some perspective.  I lost a client.  In the scheme of things, so what!?  As I drove away from the house this afternoon, the aforementioned song “I can only imagine” song was on the radio and I was instantly reminded of the video below.  Lost a client?  Boo f’ing hoo.  This dude runs/jumps/swims/bikes in IRONMAN competitions with his full-grown son in tow.  I like to call this method buck-the-f@ck-up, because sometimes the touchy-feely shite doesn’t work, and you just have to knock it out of yourself.  Which I think is what just happened for me (finally!).
  12. Which leads to the last suggestion: help someone else.  Volunteer, stalk old people in parking lots to help them carry things, wait at a door somewhere and just open it for people.  It feels good to help people out, and it moves your focus away from what’s bothering you.

I know I have more than this, so I’ll update when I can think of them.  What works for you?  Leave your suggestions in the comments!  (Also, see if you can make it through Team Hoyt without crying…)

wagon wheel, 1st ed.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here are some nuggets (or nougat, if your taste buds swing that way), that I’ve happened upon during this week’s frolicks amidst the interwebs. 

The 5 Creepiest Urban Legends (That Happen to be True)

Cracked is one of those horribly wonderful sites that ropes you in with some random Facebook post (in this case 6 Great Old-Timey Comics for [Traumatizing] Kids) and then keep you sucked in by peppering each and every page with lists of stupidly innocuous things that for some reason you MUST find out about right this very second.  I found 5 Creepiest when I navigated over to their Horror section, seems like it might actually be worth a read.

Radiolab : Crossroads short

I love me some radiolab.  Topics are usually pretty obscure but well researched, and the production is kind of campy and odd, so it makes for a fun and experiential listening experience.  Perusing podcasts this week to facilitate my morning toilette (which, in French, means getting ready, and not anything gross or poop-related), I came across this short which piqued my interest ginormously.  The subject is Robert Johnson, a 1920s Blues musician who, initially, was really, really bad.  Until, that is, he sold his soul to the devil.  He is still considered today to be one of the best Blues guitarists who’s ever lived.

Outside Mag + Gluten-free feature

And, heading back into the known world… I’m pretty sure pre- and post-race festivities (read pasta feed and beer gardens) are not nearly as fun for gluten-free runners they appear to be for the non-allergic counterparts.  It’s been an interesting challenge to find advice suitable to my needs, to the extent that I basically stopped trying, and just rely on my Clif and Luna bars to get me through.  This article (Are You Too Sensitive? The gluten-free movement isn’t just a fad. It could be the performance boost you’ve been missing.) popped up in an email and, while it’s a bummer that more and more peeps are becoming sensitive/allergic to gluten, it does make me happy that there’s more exposure and thereby more info available.

Pre-run eating, quelle PITA.

In case you’re wondering, I’m basing the quelle above on my belief that pain, in French, is douleur (and I’m totally not even bothering to look this up right hyeh), which would make PITA (aka pain-in-the-arse) feminine, necessitating an appropriate, um… ah, I don’t have any idea what form of speech or whatevs that would be.  Rejoinder?  Nope.  It’s quantifying something.  Again, not looking it up, yo.

Back to the original point: trying to figure out when and what to eat before runs makes me want to stab myself in the groin with an icepick.  It really doesn’t, but it’s fun to think about, isn’t it?  Yes, yes it is.  Anyhoo, this is a good post to check out if you want some suggestions about how long in advance to eat stuff if you’re doing a long run, or a shorter run, or what-have-you. Basically, I think it all comes back to this: eat a Clif bar.

1 space after a period. It’s a real thing (and yet it feels so wrong).

This is a real thing.  It’s not just laziness.  And yet… I simply DO NOT WANT to do it.  It’s in my make up to double-space after the full stop!  Yes!  I did learn to type on a typewriter!  It was in a dingy old classroom at Harding High — on green typewriters, I’m almost certain of it!  Alas, I must move with the times.

And finally, in honor of 2 beautiful babies born to friends this week, a bit of Monty Python irreverence:

…with a devil on your back

I always want to call Florence, of Florence + The Machine, Florence Henderson.  It just rolls off the tongue, really.  Too many Brady Bunch reruns in my youth, to be certain.

But this Florence blows my mind:

Florence + The Machine / Shake It Out

Did I mention this blows my mind?  If you watch it all the way through without experiencing an epidemic of the goosebumps, then you have no soul.  This woman is BELTING THIS SONG OUT!  It’s like she’s alone in the Serengeti, with miles of wide open space upon which to unleash that beautiful, massive, warbling tone.  But she’s in a television studio.  And you would think that would be so limiting.  But NO!  Not for Florence-not-Henderson, that woman just throws her head back and sings to the heavens.

My favorite piece of lyrical goodness:

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart

This song and her voice, quite simply, make me very happy.  Thank you, Florence + The Machine.

the little things.

I’m feeling crabby today. Working on letting the mood lift, but it’s there and, to some extent, I just need to let it be there.  Do you ever notice that sometimes you actually want to feel grumpy?  I find this happening to me periodically, like when I’m in traffic and someone is driving too close behind me, or when I’m rushing in the morning and fumbling every damn thing when my hands are full and I’m trying like crazy to get the right key to lock the damn door!  I think you know the feeling…  It almost feels like a habit, like I’m just running through the inevitable schedule of events.  But more and more, I realize it’s contrived, a synapse fires and then the most logical pattern emerges, but it’s no longer genuine, no longer authentically how I feel.  I can’t push it away though, so, like today, I just let it run its course.

The office has been quiet for the past several days, and today everyone has returned and there are many, many people around.  Wonderful though they are, you realize how much easier it is to be productive with fewer conversations happening all about.

With all the bad juju running through my brain, a friend posted something to the facebook which helped me feel just a little brighter: “Finally reached the point in my used textbook where the slacker that had it before me stopped highlighting. It’s the small things that count.”  It is the little things that count!  So I’m taking a little inventory here of the little things that I’m happy about (the obvious I’m-breathing, I’m-healthy, live-in-a-beautiful-home variety are implied).

  • I indulged a little and topped my salad with blue cheese/catalina dressing;
  • It’s fashion week, so much of my work for the next few days entails browsing the web for company mentions;
  • I have the weekend to look forward to, with very little planned;
  • I finally received my 2010 Louisiana tax refund.

Ok, so there are a few things.  I’ve also put on my headphones to block out a bit of the noise.  See?  The little things.

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Bob Dylan / Hard Times Come Again No More

the afterlife.

I wanted to bring it full circle, after my post re: my uncle’s death.  Yesterday, the first song I heard on my way to work was Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t She Lovely,” which is a beautiful song in its own right, but more poignant in light of events.

What do you believe happens when we die?  I do think we’re reborn, or set free.  Not in an evangelical Christian way, but just set free of the burden of our physical bodies.  I don’t know how to accurately describe, I guess, but I don’t believe in heaven or hell.  I don’t think that there’s a god, or God, up there racking points for or against us based on petty indiscretions like using the swears, or not going to church.

So, that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment.

31.

Ugh.  There’s really no good, or witty, or original way to start a post like this, and I wouldn’t even share but for the interesting peripherals.  My uncle passed today.  He’s been suffering from cancer for several months and opted out of continuing chemo.  He slipped into a coma after receiving the last rites yesterday, and died peacefully, surrounded by friends and family.  My mom has been with the family in Iowa for the past few days and has kept me updated.  When I talked with her yesterday, she told me he would go within the next day or two; when I talked to her today, he was holding.  With the arrival of his oldest son, he was surrounded by his family and the unspoken understanding was that this was what he’d been holding out for.  Tonight was my first class in a beginner’s series at the Shambhala Center of Minneapolis. Walking in, I turned off my phone, knowing that Chris would be gone by the time I left the building.

I was mostly fine in class, if a little distant.  During the second hour, I started feeling really agitated and even cried a bit.  At one point, Chris’s face entered my mind, the way I remember him looking: jovial, kind, smiling and laughing.  I wouldn’t claim to be psychic or similar, but I have had a few of these experiences before, I suppose they’re so powerful, especially when it’s a family member, that you can’t help but feel the vibe even many miles away.  The distraught faces of my aunt and my mom co-habitated with this peaceful image of Chris for a while, and then it was gone, then I carried on my meditation.  When I left and turned on my phone, there were two messages from my mom, and one from my aunt that Chris was gone.

I called and spoke briefly with my mom and aunt, shared my vision with them and gave them my love.  When I hung up, I turned on the Radio K-tuned radio, smack-dab in the middle of this:

Stylistically, it’s not at all appropriate for Chris, but the message is.  Rest in peace, big man.  May you be pain-free and joyful once more!

things I don’t want to like: Selena Gomez’s music!

I definitely want to hate this song; or, at the very least (as my mother always corrected me as a young’n), strongly dislike.  Unfortunately, I like it, and it’s spinning in my head right this very moment.

Selena Gomez & The Scene / Love You Like a Love Song

12.

Weeks and weeks since I’ve felt like writing. I vacillate between maintaining a regular practice of things, and the dreaded feeling of obligation and being tied to doing something I don’t like to do. I also don’t have much to say at present. Autumn so far has been amazing, with lots of adventures. I have rediscovered Meetup, and have been working on fitting some of these into my schedule.

Jeff Buckley / We All Fall in Love Sometimes