Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Music Revives the Soul

Once or twice a year I like to encourage others to join me, if not in my fanaticism, at least in my appreciation of a musical artist.

Allow me to introduce the lovely Missy Higgins.

Perhaps I should start with a little bit of back story. Five years ago, I had a friend hand me Missy's second album On a Clear Night. There were one or two Sarah McLachlan-esque type arrangements therein, and I appreciated it on a pop, superficial level. Nevertheless, soon she fell off of my radar.

("Where I Stood," from On a Clear Night had my attention for a little while)

It wasn't until a month ago, when I bought an album by Katie Herzig (a folk pop artist favorite of mine), that I discovered Katie had recently co-written a song with Missy Higgins. I thought, "I remember that name," so I felt compelled to check out Missy's newest album.

("Tricks," by Katie Herzig and Missy Higgins)

Missy's third album, "The Ol' Razzle Dazzle" is a far cry from the minimally produced, folksy, sometimes angst-driven, pop songs found in her first two. Evidence from this latest effort suggests she dug a little deeper for her inspiration.

Missy suffered from writers block after the international success of her first and second album. At one point, Missy admitted she had seriously believed she would never write another. During her "Block," she decided to explore other parts of herself. She visited India, went to university, and basically resigned herself to a life without music.

Thankfully, in 2010, even though she had strictly prohibited her manager from taking gigs, a call from Sarah McLachlan (ironic, I know) to play a Lilith Fair revival lulled her out of semi-retirement. She went on to play Lilith, and there she met Butterfly Boucher, fellow Aussie and Mclachlan's bass player. Missy and Butterfly formed a strong friendship, and eventually it was decided Butterfly would produce Missy's new album.

She's now up for three ARIAs (Australian Grammys) next week. I've got my fingers crossed that she'll come away with one or two to add to her already impressive collection of 7.

Below are some making of videos. I hope you take some time to browse.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Job Satisfaction

We’re closing in on the second year of my depression, and, sadly, I’ve not spent a lot of time pouring into this blog (I tend to be pretty useless when depressed; it’s been like bleeding a creative stone).

In any case, because of this, I never mentioned I quit my job as a secretary and have been working as an industrial light technician/parking maintenance flunky for the last ten months.

A lot of people have asked me how I’ve handled the transition from working in an office (which I HATED) to working outside all day.

Well, let me tell y’all.

At the beginning of last week, my boss told me to go down into one of our garages to clean up some standing water. He said it would be best to take my assistant, a power washer, and a push-squeegee to clean it up. After one very messy spray of water toward the drain, we realized we weren’t pushing standing water at all; we had just power sprayed sewage all over some very fancy-schmancy cars. It took us another four hours before we could safely say we had cleaned up the poop.

This assignment was not my favorite.

Nevertheless, at the end of last week, my boss told me he had another assignment: get rid of 100 cans of paint. Apparently, it’s illegal to toss that many buckets of paint down the drain or chuck them into a dumpster.

We found a loophole, though. You can legally pour it out, let it dry, and toss it afterwards.

Who knew?

So my stooge and I took enough plastic drop cloths to comfortably cover 15 yards of a football field, went to one of our vacated and decrepit properties, and dropped every last bucket of paint we had onto it.

Here are some of the results.

(My favorite color mix)

(My favorite composition)

So what is the moral of this story?

I’d rather clean up real crap than proverbial if it means they’ll pay me $15.50 an hour, for an entire day, to make modern art/finger paint.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shots from Paradise Hill, Banff & Glacier

A more substantial written post is coming, but I wanted to get my shots up first. As always, double click to get a better look.

(Moonrise, Paradise Hill, BC)

(My Bedroom, "The Workout Room," Paradise Hill, BC [More stories to come...])

(A Disappearing Glacier, Banff National, AB)

(Lake Sunrise, Banff National, AB)

(Waterfall, Glacier National, MT)

(Apocalyptic Sunrise, Glacier National, MT)

(Water in Motion, Glacier National, MT)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two New Things

At the beginning of the year, I was totally convinced I should get a dog. I had the breed picked out and everything. I was going to be the proud owner of a toy aussie shepherd. They look like this:

They've got a sort of pomeranian mixed with a border collie look to them, and they're as smart as a whip. It seemed like a match made in heaven.

About three months into the year, I started to research breeders. Sadly, the more I searched, the more I got this obnoxious twinge of the spirit telling me, "I know you think this a good idea, but it isn't. You live in an apartment the size of a comfortable shoe box. You enjoy weekends in National Parks (mostly, very non-dog friendly destinations) at least once a month. You tend to take week long breaks outside of the state or country on a semiannual basis. You treasure your space. Dogs don't tend to do any of the above very well. So you may think you want this, but you're wrong. So very, very wrong."

Don't you just hate it when the spirit is right?

I admitted defeat, and put the idea to rest shortly thereafter. Nevertheless, I still had a nagging feeling that my search for a pet was not over; I just wasn't sure which animal might be a better fit. The dialogue went like this in my head: "Rat? No. They die way too easily. Chinchilla? No. They eat better food than most of their owners, due to their specialized diet. Iguana? Snake? No and no. I don't want a pet whose only thoughts are living, breathing food and heat. Cat? No. [Pause] Well. Maybe. I'll think about it."

Then about a month and a half ago, I saw this on the Salt Lake City Public Library website (click on the picture for a better look):

It was then I had an overwhelming thought flood my brain: "I want one of those."

After a little bit of research and studious observance to the Salt Lake Humane Society website, I did eventually find the exact cat I wanted. (Can you spot her? I named her Two Sox, because she has two spilt milk paws and I love Dances with Wolves).

In addition to acquiring a new cat, I also managed to finally purchase a new computer. I've been without one for the last little bit, and that has greatly hindered both my ability to post and to download at least two months of pictures from my camera.

I've begun the arduous task of editing, but here is a sneak peak of some of the cool shots, so far.



(Bridle Veil, Yosemite)

(Salt Flats)

(Salt Flats)

(Salt Flats)

More to come...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One of These is Not Like the Others

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
E.E. Cummings

I remember being in kindergarten and one day noticing the gender segregated groups of kids playing in the schoolyard. First, there was the girl group, who seemed more interested in remaining sedentary, playing house and dolls. Then there was the boy group. They were busy splitting up into teams, making imaginary war boundaries, running around, and smacking the crap out of one another when Mrs. Skinmore, the teacher, turned her back.

I remember very seriously wanting to join the boy games, but I was finally rejected by the lot of them, because I was a “cootie infested” girl. I felt totally underwhelmed by the games the girls were playing, so I didn’t even bother asking to join them. Eventually, I decided to start my own group: The Tomboy Club. I cheerfully advertised under the slogan: “The Tomboy Club is a club for girls who wanna be like boys.” I remained its only member that entire year. I spent my recesses alone or playing with the daddy long leg spiders that hunted in the shade of the school walls.

Five seems like such a young age to realize life is inordinately hard on people who are different.

So the questions I have now, 25 years later, gravitate around the following problem: “What do you do when your own nature is against you?” I find more often than not, boys are afraid of me, because I tend to be better at things they should be good at. Should I try to be less me? Am I less myself, when I attempt for a more feminine personality or appearance? Should I play dumb or weak? I figure, in the end, they’re just going to realize I prefer to wear jeans or cargos, cowboy boots, and t-shirts, and that I can actually smoke most people if challenged to a game of wit.

The hardest question that nobody can answer for me is this: “When will I be loved for exactly who I am?”

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pancakes at Midnight and Pizza for Breakfast: Modern-day Balms of Gilead

Life has given me some incredible opportunities to stretch and grow, as of late. Most of the situations I can’t really discuss in much detail, because they are not necessarily my stories alone to share; but I will say this, I am humbled by Heavenly Father’s careful hand with our hearts. He holds them with the delicate and healing touch of an omnipotent surgeon, cutting when he must, but knowing just the right moment to tenderly massage them back to life.

I also find myself in awe of His ability to time the meeting of things, ideas and people. As I have stood to help lift another, I find myself surprised to look up and find a hand reaching out for mine when my strength is all but spent. Whether it’s chatting it up all night making pizza with my cousin-in-law, only to eat it the next morning for breakfast, or hanging out at my BF’s house and, while I’m busily babbling about my world of cares, she’s making pancakes at midnight: A soft couch, a warm meal, and a listening ear are my balms of Gilead.

Thank you, my loved ones. You are my strength.

Oh, and Sara…congrats on the new home! It’s been a long wait. You and Morg deserve it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Absent Mind: A Study of An Adult with ADHD

This has been a busy week for me.

Sunday: Lost my brand-effing-new iPhone (PS I LOVE IT!). Took me two hours to find it. Thought it was in my BF’s car, but because my mind was racing and I didn’t find it right off, I just left. Guess where it was two hours later (After I went back to my apartment to search, and after I enlisted the help of other people, and after I searched several levels of parking garages)? In my BF’s freakin’ car. [Simmer] What the hell!?!

Monday: Lost my keys.

Tuesday: Ran out of gas (Thank you again BF for rescuing me in the snow and sleet. Too bad it was so late at night. I would have bought you something from Mrs. Baxter’s Pastry Shop, 'cause that's precisely where I ran out).

Wednesday: Found out my rent check for January hasn’t cleared, and I’m wondering if I sent it at all. Oh, and I can’t find the receipt I got when my bank issued the cashier’s check. It’s going to be a long time in the bank tomorrow, because I also have to get next month’s rent in the mail.

Okay. Are we seeing a pattern here?

Can I even tell you how many times I’ve lost my keys, wallet, cassette player/CD Player/ipod, phone, and Leatherman/Gerber in the last two decades?

My brain is an effing nightmare. And you know what’s worse? I’m totally self aware, and I still can’t seem to help myself. It bothers me exceedingly.

“So what are the general symptoms of people with ADHD?” you might be wondering.

Here’s me.

Predominantly inattentive type symptoms may include:
 Be easily distracted, miss details, forget things, and frequently switch from one activity to another
 Have difficulty maintaining focus on one task
 Become bored with a task after only a few minutes, unless doing something enjoyable
 Have difficulty focusing attention on organizing and completing a task or learning something new or trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, often losing things (e.g., pencils, toys, assignments) needed to complete tasks or activities
 Not seem to listen when spoken to
 Daydream, become easily confused, and move slowly
 Have difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
 Struggle to follow instructions.

I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of the mind I do have. It is very good with information I deem pertinent: literature, film, critical essays & music. I just wish, for once, I wasn’t my own worst enemy when it came to keeping track of things.

PS Girlyman, my favorite band, is putting out a new album in a month. I'm SO happy. It's like an early birthday or late Christmas.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things Change

I think it’s fairly idiotic to suppose a change in the calendar year could possibly alter a person’s entire outlook on life; but I gotta say, since 2012 started twenty days ago, I feel like the glacial wall surrounding my heart has come crashing down in an abrupt “we-should-all-be-freaking-out-about-this-metaphorical-global-warming-because-the-seas-are-rising” kind of way. (Does that metaphor even make any sense?)

To put it in more understandable terms: I feel a lot better about life these days, and sometimes, I cry a little about it.

What’s different?

Have I suddenly met “The One” (AKA “The Eternal Sucker”)?


Have I gotten into grad school? Landed a better job? Decided to join the Peace Corps?

No. No. And I’m thinking it over (Though, probably not. Can you imagine a $7,000 a year paycheck? Or living on nothing but beans and rice for two years? I know people do it for missions, but there’s a reason I never went on one of those, people).

I can only say this much: There is a reason for it all.

What is that reason?

I haven’t the foggiest. But here’s something I do know. In the last month I’ve found hope in unexpected places: new friendships, stronger connections in old ones, and reasons to keep believing that my life isn’t such a waste. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I have a sneaking suspicion somebody else does.

Am I no longer lonely? Frustrated? Restless? Confused? No. I’m still all of those things, but I’ve discovered an indescribably precious truth: Things Change.

P.S. To the person responsible for a story about an elephant named Georgina and a leopard named Leopard: Until the day I die, I will never be able to express how much our adventure meant to me. It made me remember possibilities are only limited by the mind.

(Winter Shots)