Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cheers

My GMail account is a pretty awesome motivator right now. Ive got emails for my:

-Flight confirmation for Glendale
-Hotel e-reservation for Glendale
-Two different tailgate ticket e-confirmations for THE game
-E-reservation for the cabin for our Crater Lake snowshoe excursion
-Flight confirmation for my trip to Kansas City
-Order confirmation for my new schnazzy waterproof hiking shoes
and
-A list of trails I emailed to myself that I want to hit soon.

So uplifting. Life is truly beautiful. Sometimes you just have to slow down and smile.
(But for now, back to work!!)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Flee

I recently finished the book Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (Yes, I know I am way behind--apparently everyone else read this book years ago) The story follows Chris McCandless/Alex Supertramp on his Alaskan voyage at the age of 24. Four months later, McCandless's corpse was found at his campsite by a group of hunters. I wont get into much more of it, but after graduating college he hit the road (two years before beginning his Alaskan adventure) picking up work, naturally meeting people along the way, including 80 year old Ron Franz, who had befriended him in Salton City. Alex encouraged Ron to put a camper on the back of his pickup, give up his California apartment, hit the road, and begin to really experience life.

He wrote Ron this letter before he parted into the wild. Just thought I would share it. Thanks for the great recommendation Jared.

"Ron,
I really enjoy all the help you have given me and the times we spent together. I hope that you will not be too depressed by our parting. It may be a very long time before we see each other again. But providing that I get through this Alaskan Deal in one piece you will be hearing form me again in the future.

I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing or been to hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one piece of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to this scheme of life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.

And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.

You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.

My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.

-Alex"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Sheep go to Heaven. Goats go to Hell"

I need to start out by reminding everyone that this blog is just simply a medium for me to try to balance and organize my thoughts. I am not pushing, I am not getting up on a soap-box, I am simply trying to organize. I make no promises that at the end of my posts I will have actually come to any "conclusions", in fact I may just talk myself around in circles and wind up even more confused. Read it if you will, but remember that I am writing for myself, not necessarily for you.

Death is a weird thing.

Some believe that when you die you have to go through St. Pete--the bouncer of Heaven--to see if your deeds as a mortal were worthy enough to get your soul through the Pearly Gates. If you don't pass St. Pete's test, your soul gets the elevator shaft down to a fiery pit to go join Satan and all the other serial-killers. I can't accept that we are living our lives in order to appease a "bouncer". Shouldn't we be living towards the betterment of humanity for our own intrinsic rewards; because we want to see our community and our surroundings thrive? I can't live my life only doing good things hoping to get a reward on the flip side. I live my life doing good things because I choose to.

I don't believe in Heaven or Hell.

So what then though? What is the alternative? When my Grandma was dying she was so excited to die so that she could see my uncle and my Grandpa. She knew that she would be reunited on the 'other side' with them. Did she though? I would like to think that she reverted back to her hot 30 year-old-self and is somewhere drinking dirty martinis with them, but I have no idea. None of us do.

I also would like to think that Grandma and Grandpa are somewhere lookin' out for my dumb self, cause every now and then I will catch myself after a sharp turn in the car, or a bad skiing wipe-out thinking "woo-thanks guys!" This one I know can't possibly be true.

I don't believe in Guardian Angels, but I still send empty 'thank yous'.

A hopeless part of me wants to believe that after we die, our souls do something. Maybe convert into an energetic form. I wouldn't go as far as saying that when I die, I will become a bird, or anything like that. But I think it would be cool to believe that maybe my energy harbors at the lake, or in a forest. You know when are hiking along, or for others, walking along shopping--whatever your hobby is--and you feel the overwhelming desire to smile? I want to be that smile when I die.

No one knows what happens when you die. It is the greatest unknown. It is why people cling to religion.

I am not afraid to die.

Not even a little bit.

I accepted long ago that when we die, most likely nothing will happen. No Heaven. No Hell. No energy. It will just be a black void, a black void that we wont even be able to comprehend. We will just die.

It is why I don't think twice about a lot of things that I do, I want to experience everything before I go.

The only thing that pulls at me when it comes to death, and gets me choked up beyond reason, is thinking about the ripple effects of my death. It is why to me, suicide is damn near unforgivable. I am not scared to die per say, but I do have to think about the other people in my life, like my parents, and my siblings--well, my family as a whole. I can't leave them behind. Jared and I had a debate a few weeks back about whether you would prefer to unexpectedly die, or know that you were dying. He chose the former, I chose the latter. Knowing that your end is coming gives you a chance to get your ducks in a row before you go, and gives you the opportunity to say goodbye to those that you love. It provides you that time of transition, where as an unexpected death leaves your family feeling blind sided and blasted.

I am not scared of dying, but I am scared of leaving others behind.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daily Mantra

"For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered.
But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula...
...the big answers don't remain stone-written.

We adjust to new conditions and discoveries.
We are pliable.
Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum.
I am my own god.
We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer.
We are here to kill war.
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Outta My Head

I am back.
I am inspired.
I am am eager and exited to take on my work week ahead.
I am feeling bold.

I have been a working machine lately. I owe my sanity to my coworkers, and my friends for letting me post up in their homes so I didn't have to commute, providing me with never ending candy jars at the office, going out to sushi lunch dates, and simply just letting me vent and go on rants as needed. I have worked straight through the last two and a half weeks with only taking one furlough "day off" for the Oregon home game against UCLA last Thursday. So with the help of my coworkers, I decided that this past Friday I would take that much needed day off, giving myself a three day weekend to play.

Friday was a day of errands, Saturday became a day of recovery and football, and Sunday, today, I dedicated to myself.

I started my day slow this morning while laying in bed texting and reading stats from the last nights Oregon game against USC, finally rolling out of bed around 10-ish. The morning was already off to a good start. I jumped out of bed with a level of confidence and energy that had laid dormant inside me for months. There was only one place for me to go with that energy--the Blue Room of Powells on Burnside. There is something so rejuvenating about not only literature, but books themselves. It is something in the way that you can run your fingers over the printed words and have a story unfold in your mind. And how you can hold the book in your hands, cradling its binding, creating a bond while you are mentally promising the book that you will take care of it, if it in turn promises to take care of your imagination.

Upon my arrival to Portland I parked my car especially far away from Powells forcing myself to absorb Portland in the fall. As I walked along the blocks I found myself in awe of the crisp yellow leaves barely hanging onto their respective trees, eager to join their friends below whom had already shed from the tree creating a beautiful mosaic of Autumn on the sidewalk below. Though the sky was blue, the puddles from the prior nights rain created a gloss over the cold, dark one-way roads of the city. It felt right. Everything felt right.

I shopped at Powells for well over an hour, and with 10 books in hand, decided it was time to leave before I did too much more damage; But I felt it in my gut--I wasn't ready to leave the city. "Onward to the museum!" [I must tell you, that my Portland Art Museum membership was one of the greatest investments....ever] There were things I noticed about the museum today, that I paid extra special attention to that I haven't taken the time to appreciate before. Never had I noticed the tri-color infusion of brick on the building; and how well it meshed with the granite/marble stone that laid the steps as well as trimmed the doors and windows of the museum. Never had I appreciated the large stone benches, deep charcoal in color, placed outside in the courtyard until my friend called right before I walked to the membership desk to check in, forcing me to step outside and sit on one while finishing up the conversation.

How had I never noticed these things before? Why did the Lee Kelly exhibit speak to me the way that it did today when this was my second time seeing the exhibit? The way the bronze sculptures formed such fluid, circular patterns, and were balanced-poised-and engraved. I know that I broke every single law of museum-hood by taking the picture seen below-But I couldn't walk away without one. My justification of course was "Well, if I can take a picture of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre without a flash, I can take a picture of a bronze sculpture without a flash."



I feel like post graduation, I have shed all ideas about who I was supposed to be as a girlfriend, and as a daughter, and really just allowed myself to breathe, and take joy in the simplest things that make me sit back and smile and say "damn, this is incredible".

I've allowed myself to relax.
Travel.
Read....
...a lot.
Laugh.
Trust.
Get lost.
Share.

"Good rare feelings come at the oddest times"

I am ready.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hello Seattle!

Last weekend I spent some much deserved time in Colorado,and this past weekend I ran up north to Seattle for work. As bitter as I was about traveling alone, I actually had a fantastic time! It sounds odd, but it was almost nice just being by myself and not having to carry a constant conversation with someone else.

Friday night after I checked into the hotel I was in desperate need for some grub, so naturally I hit the town with sushi in mind. About 5 blocks south of my hotel, I bumped into a restaurant called the Red Fin--Local Seattleites, I highly recommend it! And as I walked up to the host he asked how many were in my party, and I replied: "Just me!" as I smiled ear to ear. I couldn't help but think back to the scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Peter goes to dinner alone and Jonah Hill, the host says "Okay, so just a table for one. Sucks. Here's your wine list, your menu, come on. You want, like, a magazine or something? It's gonna be boring if you're just sitting by yourself.I would just be so depressed." But my host at the Red Fin was a total crack up and instead of being like Jonah Hills character he goes "But you're cute!I see no wedding ring, so come with me!" He quickly raced towards the back area of the restaurant while explaining to me that they have a really cute shift working, and that he can put me in a booth where I can see the traffic from the busboy station, sushi kitchen, AND back kitchen, so that way I could at least have some good eye candy while I ate. He was right. The crew on shift that night was very attractive. I may or may have not had a few extra glasses of water for some extra service....

Mid dinner, a woman asked if I was eating alone (uh,yes-duh) as she sat in the other "single booth" next to me. Naturally, we struck up a conversation. I wound up chatting with Lisa for about 45 minutes before I realized that I was running late for an event with some work buddies. While on my way rushing to a bar to meet up with them (mind you-I have no idea where the hell I am, nor where I am going) I passed the Greyhound station. I bumped into some young travelers (all with backpacks-my kind of people!) and we walked the city together until we all figured out where we were and which way we needed to go. They made the maze of Seattle seem a bit more entertaining and a little less stressful! Sure enough though-I found myself at the bar with my co-workers. Hooray!

Saturday though was the big day! The BATTLE IN SEATTLE! Knowing I had to meet the Hares at the hotel at 1:00 in order to take of for Qwest Field on time, I decided to wake up early and hit the city--starting of course with the market! I shopped and played allll morning, until I had to go back and get into work mode. Below are some pictures I snapped off while walking the streets.







Overall, it was an outstanding weekend despite the fact that the Wolves lost to the Wildcats. But it was great to soak up some of that Seattle sunshine (even if it was like 50 degrees outside) and spend some time gettin' lost in the city!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

But did thee feel the earth move?

"Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has no personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it."

-Travels with Charley: In Search of America


I have learned that I easily get wrapped up in the question "what comes next?" Whether I am planning the "little things" such as my next fund raising strategy, skype dates with distant friends, or frankly what I am going to wear to this weekends events; Or the "bigger things" such as when I can take off an go adventure again, and where I will go. I wind up planning myself into a very excited state of anxiety.

I have an ever-onward look on life. I love to dream, imagine, and plan. I constantly look forward...But today, I stopped to take a look back. I wish there was a cooler story of why I stopped to take my last few years into review, but it wasn't really anything awe inspiring. I sat bored at work on facebook, and decided that it was time for a new default photo [looking back now, I never actually changed it] and clicked into my online photo albums. The titles of these albums read as follows: "Paris. College Life. New York. Placid/Vermont. Michigania. Aegina. Crete. Prague. Berlin. Peloponnese. Athens. Delphi. Santorini. Mykonos. New Jersey/NYC. Cross country road trip." And a slue of other albums filled with pictures from day trips to the beach, crater lake, camping, hiking, climbing, college graduation, the lake, etc.

Holy hell. Go me.

I know that I have done a post before where I wrote out all the things that I am grateful for, but even then I hadn't taken the time to really sit out and fumble with this idea of all of my adventures. Golly. Last weekend I spent in Colorado Springs, and this weekend I am headed to Seattle, yeah, it's for work, but so what. How in the world could I ever complain? Looking back on these past four years when I started college I have met many people, loved many people, and unfortunately hurt many people. I have successfully survived living in a small town such as Monmouth and mastered living in large cities such as Athens. I have been greedy, and I have given it all away. I have pin pointed my pet peeves and discovered my passions. And for those who know me well enough, they too know that, my heart is on the move.

I will forever plan out my "next big thing". Its who I am. The itch to be on the move runs in my blood. But that should never stop me from remembering all that I have already done, and all of the incredible people that I met along the way. Its okay to slow down and look back and smile every now and then.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie

[This poem was introduced to me this past weekend and I have grown to love the message. Every time I read through it, or listen to Bob Dylan read it on his youtube clip, I gain more and more appreciation for it. Enjoy]

When yer head gets twisted and yer mind grows numb
When you think you're too old, too young, too smart or too dumb
When yer laggin' behind an' losin' yer pace
In a slow-motion crawl of life's busy race
No matter what yer doing if you start givin' up
If the wine don't come to the top of yer cup
If the wind's got you sideways with with one hand holdin' on
And the other starts slipping and the feeling is gone
And yer train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it
And the wood's easy findin' but yer lazy to fetch it
And yer sidewalk starts curlin' and the street gets too long
And you start walkin' backwards though you know its wrong
And lonesome comes up as down goes the day
And tomorrow's mornin' seems so far away
And you feel the reins from yer pony are slippin'
And yer rope is a-slidin' 'cause yer hands are a-drippin'
And yer sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys
Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys
And yer sky cries water and yer drain pipe's a-pourin'
And the lightnin's a-flashing and the thunder's a-crashin'
And the windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops a-shakin'
And yer whole world's a-slammin' and bangin'
And yer minutes of sun turn to hours of storm
And to yourself you sometimes say
''I never knew it was gonna be this way
Why didn't they tell me the day I was born''
And you start gettin' chills and yer jumping from sweat
And you're lookin' for somethin' you ain't quite found yet
And yer knee-deep in the dark water with yer hands in the air
And the whole world's a-watchin' with a window peek stare
And yer good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flying
And yer heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin'
And yer jackhammer falls from yer, hand to yer feet
And you need it badly but it lays on the street
And yer bell's bangin' loudly but you can't hear its beat
And you think yer ears might a been hurt
Or yer eyes've turned filthy from the sight-blindin' dirt
And you figured you failed in yesterdays rush
When you were faked out an' fooled white facing a four flush
And all the time you were holdin' three queens
And it's makin you mad, it's makin' you mean
Like in the middle of Life magazine

Bouncin' around a pinball machine
And there's something on yer mind you wanna be saying
somebody someplace oughta be hearin'
But it's trapped on yer tongue and sealed in yer head
And it bothers you badly when your layin' in bed
And no matter how you try you just can't say it
And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it
And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head
And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead
And the lion's mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth
And his jaws start closin with you underneath
And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind
And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign
And you say to yourself just what am I doin'
On this road I'm walkin', on this trail I'm turnin'
On this curve I'm hanging
On this pathway I'm strolling, in the space I'm talking In this air I'm inhaling
Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard
Why am I walking, where am I running
What am I saying, what am I knowing
On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailin'
On this mandolin I'm strummin', in the song I'm singin'
In the tune I'm hummin', in the words I'm writin'
In the words that I'm thinkin' In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinkin'
Who am I helping, what am I breaking
What am I giving, what am I taking
But you try with your whole soul best
Never to think these thoughts and never to let
Them kind of thoughts gain ground
Or make yer heart pound
But then again you know why they're around
Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down
'Cause sometimes you hear'em when the night times comes creeping
And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping
And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin'
And you can't remember for the best of yer thinking
If that was you in the dream that was screaming
And you know that it's something special you're needin'
And you know that there's no drug that'll do for the healin'
And no liquor in the land to stop yer brain from bleeding

And you need something special
Yeah, you need something special all right
You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track
To shoot you someplace and shoot you back
You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler
That's been banging and booming and blowing forever
That knows yer troubles a hundred times over
You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race
That won't laugh at yer looks
Your voice or your face
And by any number of bets in the book
Will be rollin' long after the bubblegum craze
You need something to open up a new door
To show you something you seen before
But overlooked a hundred times or more
You need something to open your eyes
You need something to make it known
That it's you and no one else that owns
That spot that yer standing, that space that you're sitting
That the world ain't got you beat
That it ain't got you licked It can't get you crazy no matter how many
Times you might get kicked
You need something special all right
You need something special to give you hope
But hope's just a word
That maybe you said or maybe you heard
On some windy corner 'round a wide-angled curve
But that's what you need man, and you need it bad
And yer trouble is you know it too good
'Cause you look an' you start getting the chills
'Cause you can't find it on a dollar bill
And it ain't on Macy's window sill
And it ain't on no rich kid's road map
And it ain't in no fat kid's fraternity house
And it ain't made in no Hollywood wheat germ
And it ain't on that dimlit stage With that half-wit comedian on it
Ranting and raving and taking yer money
And you thinks it's funny
No you can't find it in no night club or no yacht club
And it ain't in the seats of a supper club
And sure as hell you're bound to tell
That no matter how hard you rub
You just ain't a-gonna find it on yer ticket stub
No, and it ain't in the rumors people're tellin' you
And it ain't in the pimple-lotion people are sellin' you
And it ain't in no cardboard-box house
Or down any movie star's blouse
And you can't find it on the golf course
And Uncle Remus can't tell you and neither can Santa Claus
And it ain't in the cream puff hair-do or cotton candy clothes
And it ain't in the dime store dummies or bubblegum goons
And it ain't in the marshmallow noises of the chocolate cake voices
That come knockin' and tappin' in Christmas wrappin'
Sayin' ain't I pretty and ain't I cute and look at my skin
Look at my skin shine, look at my skin glow
Look at my skin laugh, look at my skin cry
When you can't even sense if they got any insides
These people so pretty in their ribbons and bows
No you'll not now or no other day
Find it on the doorsteps made out-a paper maché
And inside it the people made of molasses
That every other day buy a new pair of sunglasses
And it ain't in the fifty-star generals and flipped-out phonies
Who'd turn yuh in for a tenth of a penny
Who breathe and burp and bend and crack
And before you can count from one to ten
Do it all over again but this time behind yer back
My friend

The ones that wheel and deal and whirl and twirl
And play games with each other in their sand-box world
And you can't find it either in the no-talent fools
That run around gallant
And make all rules for the ones that got talent
And it ain't in the ones that ain't got any talent but think they do
And think they're foolin' you
The ones who jump on the wagon
Just for a while 'cause they know it's in style
To get their kicks, get out of it quick
And make all kinds of money and chicks
And you yell to yourself and you throw down yer hat Sayin',
''Christ do I gotta be like that Ain't there no one here that knows where I'm at
Ain't there no one here that knows how I feel Good God Almighty
THAT STUFF AIN'T REAL.''

No but that ain't yer game, it ain't even yer race
You can't hear yer name, you can't see yer face
You gotta look some other place
And where do you look for this hope that yer seekin'
Where do you look for this lamp that's a-burnin'
Where do you look for this oil well gushin'
Where do you look for this candle that's glowin'
Where do you look for this hope that you know is there
And out there somewhere
And your feet can only walk down two kinds of roads
Your eyes can only look through two kinds of windows
Your nose can only smell two kinds of hallways
You can touch and twist And turn two kinds of doorknobs
You can either go to the church of your choice
Or you can go to Brooklyn State Hospital

And though it's only my opinion I may be right or wrong
You'll find them both In the Grand Canyon At sundown 

-Bob Dylan

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Timshel

"The Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not...But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest."

Sure enough, it is 130 am and I cant sleep. I have tried it all, I watched a movie, listened to music, and finally picked up a book. Thanks to todays conversation with Jared and our text quote messages from EOE, I decided to thumb through my copy and skim the pages. Though my copy is riddled with pencil marks and bobby pins, only one page in the book has its corner perfectly creased. I opened to the page and looking back at me was the quote:

"It’s a hard thing to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it."

And damnit, I cried.

I am a loyal person. If I make a promise, I try my hardest to come through with it. I have made a promise to my job. I have made a promise to the students that I will work my ass off to raise them scholarship money so that they can continue in their education and have one less thing to worry about. There really wasn't much say for employees when the job descriptions were re-written- we were essentially told that we would fill into these positions, and we signed our names next to the X's. I have learned something about myself throughout this process. I learned that I have the ability not to regret; but resent. I resent the 'promotion'. But here is what I do know--I wont quit. No chance in hell.

When talking to Jared on the phone it is easy for us to day dream and plan our next big adventure. I can't say how much of it is true on his end, I don't know if he would ever grab my hand and launch into some unknown travel adventure. But ladies and gentlemen-trust me when I say that I would do it. I just cant do it right now.

As we do on most nights, Jared and I got onto the topic of adventures (shocking. I know) He outright said "Quit your job and lets run the fuck away" My reply? "How far can we go?" Baja,Mexico: The Sea of Cortez was the place for us. All I asked him was to "give me till June." His reply to this stung like hell. He said "I don't believe you. Not even a little."

I interpreted that as him feeling like I was all talk, and that I wouldn't ever do something like that. I am doing all that I can right now, and maybe that's me flying to CO for the weekend, but its the best I can do right now without breaking a promise to my job. Last week when I sent him the blog link for my list of places I wanted to go to. His reply was spot on. "I love it. Now you have to decide what you're going to do with it. You could "wait until the time is right". You could avoid it out of fear, be it based on money, transportation, supplies, and what-have-you. You could choose to sit and let it fester, coming back to it from time to time with false hopes and inspirations. These are what most people would do. But you're not most people. You're not even some of the people. You're one person; Melissa Fucking Carlin. Let your actions follow your aspirations."

Funny thing is--I am not scared. Not at all. I fact I am wickedly confident. Most people don't have the balls to walk out of a job, or walk away from their comfort zone, but that gut adrenaline gets me high. But when it all comes down to it at the end of the day, I would feel like a coward if I broke my promise to my responsibilities.

γιατί όχι is the tattoo that I wear on my wrist. It means "why not". It was my first tatt and I got it the day before I left Athens, as a reminder to myself to go with my gut, and to roll with the adventures, just as I had done my whole time in Europe. To be honest with you--I feel like I am not living up to my tattoo any more.

I cant tell if I love or hate the fact that a person like Jared has become a part of my life. I cant tell if I love or hate the fact that I laugh at every stupid text, and sit humbled in awe when we swap quotes from literary icons. What I can tell you though is that my gut loves it. My mind is stimulated once again, my "filter" for my thoughts has a chance to relax, and my spirit is awake. I feel energized and excited. With that said, this is not entirely thanks to him, a lot of it stems from living at home again, and having an incredible support network. I think a part of me is scared by that he has rattled me, and opened my eyes. I have never met someone so god damn accepting of every single one of my flaws.

I am dying to get to Colorado for the weekend. I am dying to take a break from the harsh reality of a 9-5. And good lord I hope that someday I really can pack my shit and hit the road. I say wholeheartedly that there is nothing else I would rather do. I feel like this post has turned a little teenage angst-y, so I will take this moment to point out the fact that I recognize that I am not all talk, and that I too wish I wasn't locked into a job, but it is where I am at in my life right now; And frankly I think it is where I am supposed to be right now. I will have my adventure someday, and I will start crossing off my list of places and adventures--But for the moment, I will find peace in the fact that I am blessed to have a job, blessed to have a family who supports me in all my wild ideas, and friends who inspire me. Maybe I'm not out exploring right this instant, but man, really-how could I ever complain?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh The Places You'll Go

Today has been quite an emotional day. Period. So here is how I will choose to cope: Last night I sat and wrote out a giant list of places I want to go. I broke the list up into 3 categories: 1) state side adventures, 2) international adventures, and 3) Oregon adventures. Though each list averages about 10 places, I will share the top three that I listed from each category last night. Enjoy.

State side:


Moab, Utah














Sedona, Arizona














St. Paul, Minnesota












International:


Austria















Whistler















Indonesia













Oregon:


Climb Smith Rock












Hike South Sister











Relax in Ashland

Monday, September 27, 2010

East & West That Highway Roam...

Last night I decided to go back and pick up some more crap (I thought I got it all the first time!) from the Pink House. Oddly enough, I found myself with a car filled with hiking gear, climbing gear, my bike, backpacks, snow skis, poles, boots, a tv, a wii, and a mattress topper. Why yes, I DO drive an Elantra! Those years of playing Tetris really paid off!

Though as I brought all this gear back to my room at my parents, I realized that I was putting all my gear to shame. I literally stood there, hands on my hips, and sighed with discouragement. Something has to change.

I made a list at the beginning of the summer of all these different things I wanted to do by Septembers end. I got a lot of them checked off, but there were still a few that went unanswered. Kayaking, Climbing lessons at Smith Rock, Road Trip to Moab, Ceramics class, etc. I guess I didn't realize that I was lying to myself, because when I glanced over the list I INSTANTLY blamed these unanswered adventures on lack of funds and lack of friends with funds. Uhhhh hm. I have an excellent job, with a decent salary, so scratch that excuse. And as for friends to go with me--who needs em? Whats wrong with going out by yourself?

I think there is a lot of pressure to explore while using the "buddy system". This is garbage. One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is go on a hike by myself with a good book and literally get lost. For some reason, I need to keep this hobby a secret because hiking alone is "dangerous"--yea, so is driving.

Here is a usual breakdown of how the conversation goes:
Them: "What did you do this weekend"
Me: "I went hiking!"
Them: "With who?"
Me: "Oh, no-one, I just went by myself"
[And my god ladies and gents, the expression on most peoples faces make it seem like I just told them I spent the whole weekend working at the whore house]
The next line they ALWAYS say with shame is: "You really shouldn't hike alone."

What is so wrong with being alone? This societal need to take part in the buddy system all the time is really holding me back. I didn't touch my snow skis ONCE last season!! Why? Cause I had no one to go with. Looking back I realize what an idiotic response this really is. I don't ski the back hills, double black diamond runs. There is always usually one person around me in case I decide to accidentally ski into a ditch.

Why do I do this? Why do I wait for others to join me in my adventures? My new personal goal is to get out of this buddy system rut. I will always ask if people want to join me in an adventure, but never again will I not do something because I will have to do it alone. I also vow to stop creating excuses. For example: I am an active person, therefore it is time for me to get a car to match my personality. I can't rely on others with 4-Wheel drive to get up to the mountain when it is snowing. It's time for me to get a car with 4-Wheel drive so that I can take my adventures into my own hands.

So here is where I will leave this rant. Two quotes:
1) Found this on the side of my NF Hiking bag "NEVER STOP EXPLORING"
2)Famous Bukowski quote" "You have to die a few times before you can really live." Damnit I have died enough, I am ready to live!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When I Grow Up....

As kids, when we were always asked "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I went through an assortment of answers that ranged from Organ Tuner (not like a doctor who works with organs. No no no. More like the piano thing that was at church), Cheerleader, Dolphin Trainer, Mad Scientist, etc (Lord only knows how I actually wound up graduating college, let alone come out with a job with aspirations like that...) Unlike my peers though, I never ever ever ever wanted to be the President.

While driving today an interesting commentary came on NPR about culture and Presidency. This all came about because of NPR's Question Of The Day which was about the Senate repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. Here is the quick break down of the issue: Each year, Congress approves a bill that spells out the national defense policy. But this year, the National Defense Authorization Act is being held up. Senate Republicans object to one provision -- the one that would allow the Pentagon to end the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. It keeps gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

I am not going to sit here and waste your time and tell you my thoughts on the issue, but instead what I will do is point out some cultural trends that have ensued with Presidents and gay marriage in the last 10 years. In the 90's, gay marriage was still very taboo subject matter, and around 1996 churches loved the matter because they knew that they would always win when it came to marriage. Politicians fell silent on the matter; but then again, that's what every one did. Being homosexual was an underground phenomena. In 1993 John McCain said that gay issue matters would go away in a couple of years, and that they weren't a big deal.

Mind you, politicians are out to win. Period. They will do and say whatever they need to in order to get elected and they effectively do this by adapting to the culture of the time. 10 years ago, gay people were a mystery to the masses; they were a fascinating group of outcasts. Now days with shows such as Will and Grace and icons like Ellen DeGeneres, homosexuals are a very common place part of society. I thank the media for this. And as much as I believe that our corporately owned media is corrupt and horrible, I will praise them for bringing gays to the mainstream.

Here is what I am getting at here (yes, this all has a point). In Washington, political leaders are not really in fact leaders at all. They are actually followers. They always follow the culture. They are just now catching up with the fact that gay issues are no longer that big of a deal. With that said, I foresee a more Partisan House and Senate in the years to come. American culture has shifted, and I hope to see that with time, Washington will recognize that gay matters are NOT fiscal issues, social issues, or really issues whatsoever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Drivin' Along In My Undies

Eh, Eh--Can't say that title didn't get your attention!

There are some things that just happen. They are so organic, and so unplanned. These are the things of life. Situations that literally just fall into your hands. (Man, doesn't this just sum up my last six weeks ha) It's how I met Jared, it's how I met Matt, and today, it's how I met Marta.

This story is quite simple. I rushed out of work today remembering that I had to get to my blood drive appointment by 5:15. Sure enough I rolled in at 5:14, parked my car,and grabbed my purse, which bumped into my Dutch Bros cup, sending melted-ice-once-red bull-water flying. A little perturbed I grabbed my cup and a to-go bag from Big Town, and marched towards the back of the building to the dumpster. And there she was, dressed in a brown cloth, her hair nappy and braided. She was startled when she saw me, but I struck up a conversation with her as if I had known her for years. "Hey man, how are you today? Aren't you loving this weather! My name is Melissa." It was that easy.

Her name was Marta. She was gorgeous, she appeared to be from a Latino decent, but I can't honestly say that I cared enough to ask. She was young, when I asked her her age, she shrugged and answered "28? 29? I don't know", and I loved the fact that it wasn't a big deal to her. Marta and I literally sat in the back alley of the Red Cross and talked for at least an hour [side note: Yes, I did make a commitment to the Red Cross for a blood donation, so I ran inside....late....and asked if I could reschedule for tomorrow. Of course, they said yes. I thanked them and ran back out behind the building to pick up our conversation where we left off]. We talked about everything. But here was the beautiful thing about it--I never asked why she was on the streets, dressed in a sheet, and chillin' next to a dumpster. That wasn't what I cared about, I cared about her story, and how she defined herself; here is the crazy thing, when she was telling me her story, she never brought up why she was on the streets either.

I feel that society forgets that those who live on the streets are people with stories, beliefs, ideas, passions, etc. For some reason they just get scoffed at, and in turn, people love to create their story for them. "Oh she's a drug addict", or "oh her parents threw her out". Uhm...Did they tell you that? No? Oh okay--Then don't stereotype. "Homeless" to me is not a turn off, in fact, its quite the contrary. Why? Because homeless people often have outstanding stories. [other side note: I recognize that maybe these stories that she told me are false. I don't mind. If this is the story that she wanted to tell me, then it must be a story that she wanted me to hear. I wasn't there to judge Marta, I was there to learn from her.] Homeless people such as Marta live outside of society, therefore they get don't really get wrapped up in the conformity nonsense that the rest of us do. So jealous.

Nevertheless, Marta told me the story of her childhood on the Oregon coast. Her sisters raised her, and they always had; she never met her parents. She has a daughter, who's name I can not remember for the life of me. Her daughter was not with her during our conversation, she didn't mention where she was, so I didn't either. Her face lit up when she told me about her daughters most recent third birthday. She told me about how they went to the park and played in the fountain, and how her daughter laughed, and laughed that day. You could see Martas eyes get whiter and her smile get wider. She didn't need to tell me that her daughter was her life, it was clear.

Marta and I yakked at each other as if we were old high school friends just catching up, but the time came for me to leave. Marta is my size, maybe a bit wider in the hips from child birth, but over all the same stature, and here she was in a sheet. I literally asked her if she would take my clothes and wear them. She turned red in the face and shook her head no. I made some comment about how "I knew it wasn't the cutest outfit, and I would have planned ahead had I known better" and Marta's eyes filled with tears. She looked at me, and I will never forget what she said, but she said "Melissa, why are you being so nice to me?" The question totally confused me and threw me off guard. I said "Marta. I like you, and I want you to have my clothes. It's a gift, I will be fine." She looked around, nervous for who would see the clothing exchange, while silently nodding her head in agreement.

And ladies and gents, as I stood there in my boy short underwear, sports bra, and dress flats, looking back at Marta who was totally rocking my clothes, I too began to cry. We didn't say much after that. She hugged me, kissed my head, asked me if she looked alright while she pulled self consciously her new clothes [which fit her great by the way!], and slowly folded up her sheet. I smiled at her, walked proudly to my car in my underwear mind you, jumped in, and hit the road for home. And man, it felt so surreal. But then I would look down at my naked legs and smile cause they totally proved that that last 2 hours had in fact happened.

Most people never get to really give someone the clothes off their backs. It is more or less a figure of speech. But for me, it was exactly what I did. Meeting Marta was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I feel that this post doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how uplifting and incredible the experience was. I hope to see Marta again someday, maybe even meet her daughter, but for now, I will be content just knowing that we both impacted each others' lives for the better.

Marta, you rock.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some People

Some people come into your life to rock your world, break your norms, test your knowledge, and inspire you.

Some people recognize your strengths and abilities more than you might ever be able to see in yourself. They push you, they make you crazy, they ride your ass until you follow through. But when you do follow through they just simply smile; they smile because they see your inward sense of pride that is all encompassing. They see the pay-off of when you finally put yourself out there and leap into the scary or unknown. They know all along that you will be safe.

Some people just don't get it. And they wont ever, and thats okay, because you will always have those few people in your life who do get it. They are the ones that you call on when you feel completely alone and intolerant of the idiots in the world. They are your mental match, your intellectual partner, your confidant in questioning. These people are the glue to your sanity; they just get it, no explanation needed. Better yet, because they 'just get it' you are able to discuss, pursue, and expand your knowledge on the subject at hand. It is this that makes them your truest of matches; without discussion, and the passion to learn more, you merely have physical company, and physical company may fill your void, but it will never inspire you the way that someones intellect can.

Some people are more accepting of your flaws than you could ever be. Some people recognize your beauty and the strengths and are able to accept your flaws and move along with your friendship. Often there may be judgment, that is to be expected, but it never hinders their overall view of you. Some changes may ensue but these people will still stand by you, and most importantly, still respect you. Once this occurs you fall silent with respect, and are truly humbled by their yield.

I have gone through a lot lately. I have been through the normal roller coaster of young-adulthood, college, and dating turmoil. I have lost a lot of friends along the way. But man alive, have I met some incredible people, and these are the people get me out of bed in the morning excited about the day. These are the people who not only listen to my crazy ideas, but also discuss them with me, help me brainstorm, and even stand by me as I turn my thoughts into actions. I suppose this post is my tribute to them.

Amanda, Jared, Lisa, Sara, Travis--You are all incredible, and truly beautiful people.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thank you Steinbeck

"Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite… A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then—the glory—so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quantity and number of his glories.

In our time mass or collective production has entered our economics, our politics,and
even our religion, so that some nations have substituted the idea collective for the idea God. This in my time is the danger. There is great tension in the world,tension toward a breaking point,and men are unhappy and confused.

At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of
extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man… It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most
valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual…. If the glory can be killed, we are lost"

-John Steinbeck, East of Eden.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Sweet It Is

This weekend was a weekend filled with wonder! It was the season opener for the Oregon Ducks, and so I got to return to the motherland, Autzen Stadium, and be reunited with my 59,565 best friends as we took the win. I am so fortunate to be able to have season tickets and very grateful to spend that time with my dad. He rocks.



I was also able to spend my Sunday hiking around Crater Lake with two of my girlfriends. We sang, we laughed, we hiked, we dipped our toes into the lake, we explored, WE CONQUERED. It was a fantastic fantastic fantastic day.








Life is truly, beautiful.

Friday, August 27, 2010

All Things Rosie

Reading back through my old posts, I can't help but smile a little bit. I am not sure if it is a smile of happiness, or a smirk while I sit here and think to myself "Oh honey, you really had those rose-tinted glasses glued to your face." On my previous post, I alluded to the fact that the breakup was coming between my partner and I, and I ended by saying that things wouldn't change overnight. But it has been only two weeks, and everything has changed, the breakup happened, and the repercussions are present. I am now living part time with my parents, and part time with the boys. Oh boy are those commutes hellish.

I guess I didn't realize just how much I justified the things he did. I justified the drug use, and just told myself that eventually he would grow up, but the reality check came when I realized that drugs had become a part of his life and it was permanent. I pushed him, and almost mothered him. I supported him financially and mentally. But I can't do everything for him. I shouldn't need to pay for him to go to therapy, if he really wants it, it will happen. I cant push him to go to Brazil, the place that he has always dreamed of going to, if he really wants it, it will happen. I cant push for him to love me, be proud of me,respect me and be grateful of all of the things that I do for us, he needs to do that on his own.

The breakup was easier than planned. We both knew it was coming. We both realized that I grew up mentally before him, and that I am too excited for life, and ready to explore. He simply said that "he just isn't there yet, and he can't just force it, and someday it will come naturally, just as it did for you (me)." And so it was. The tears poured, and the sentiment rained, and the closure came. I am no longer the student who can goof around like he is, I am stuck in the adult world. Right where I should be.

There is no bitterness, there is no shame, and there are absolutely no regrets. He is still my best friend, and I really don't see that changing. I adore him. I just can't be with him anymore. It's time for me to be 22 and single. Its time for me to weave my way through this awkward time in my life, and really evolve as an individual. I can't tell you how exciting it is.

There are two people in my life right now that are really helping me get excited about this transition. One is an old high school friend of mine who I have recently reconnected with. He has made me fall in love with my childhood all over again. We go on ice cream dates, and go on spontaneous trips to OMSI and the ZOO. He has reminded me of the power of laughter, and the beauty of excitement over the craziest things. He possesses an energy that is simply beautiful and uplifting.

The other guy is a new person in my life, who I have known literally less than 10 days. He is powerful, woah damn let me tell you. He is traveling the U.S. in a van with his cousin and is truly living life. He is a societal outcast, I think its what I adore about him the most. He really doesn't give a fuck about what others think of him, he focuses his time and energy into those who truly deserve it, and I guess oddly enough, I have been one of them. The gods were in sync when the introduced us. He has inspired me, both through music, and through words. And the other night I finally cracked and asked him just how he does it:

M: "What is it like being you? You are truly experiencing all that life has to offer."
J: " Doesn't take much to find out. I know you have an adventurous mind. Use it!"
M: "I do. But I cant seem to jump that last hurdle of selling my possessions, quitting my job, and hitting the road."
J: "And you don't have to. But I've learned enough about you to know that you wouldn't regret it. Promise mama."
M: "Some day I'll jump. For sure."
J: "I hope you do."

And I hope that I do too. I have before when I left for Greece, and I can again. These two guys have restored my inner confidence and have gotten me to tap back into that adventurous and bold person that I once was. I am not saying that my boyfriend ever held me back from these day dreams, but he never promoted them the way that these two have. I don't have a crystal ball, I don't know if I will still be friends with these two guys in a week, a year, or in 50 years, but I will always be so thankful for their passion about life. They have helped me take off my rose-tinted relationship glasses, and remember what it was like to see all the colors that this world has to offer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dual

"In most cases, our so-called limitations are nothing more than our own decision to limit ourselves." ~Daisaku Ikeda

Well that was certainly one hell of a night... Last night I decided to follow through with my commitment to myself to seek some therapeutic guidance. I am not depressed, angry, anxious, or anything that like that, I simply am awkward. I am done with college, living with my boyfriend and best friends, salary full time job, and kinda just struggling with my self identity I suppose.

Because it was my first time ever meeting with her, there was a lot of get to know you type questions. "What is your living arrangement?" "How is your family?" Tell me about your friendship circle." "How is your relationship?" It was very basic...until I hit the relationship question. I told her about everything, no filters, no limits. I explained that we were friends long before we ever dated, and how I loved our adventures and conversation. Though I also explained to her my resentment for his drug use, and his work hours. I explained how much I missed him, and our present relationship has placed him back into my best friend, occasional sex partner. We don't go exploring any more, we cant, we don't have the time. We don't get lost in literature anymore and talk about what we're reading.

In fact, we don't do much of anything together anymore. I often come home from my 9 hour day at work to a high boyfriend who has slept in, tidied the house, played horseshoes in the back yard and napped. I get frustrated coming home to kiss the lips of a man who tastes like weed. And its not even because of the taste. Its because when I taste those lips I am forced to question what mental state hes in. I find myself wondering "If I tell him about my day, will he even process what I'm saying...?" It kills me. It exhausts me. So I asked him last night if he feels dependent or if he could stop. Sure enough, bickering and bitterness ensued. Long story short, it came down to him asking me if I felt that "drugs were holding him back" Uh YES DUH. And not even that, but its holding our relationship back, its holding me back!!

So we talked, er--well I talked, and she listened for well over our 90min session. And I left with two ideas pulling at me.

1. I am leading dual lives right now. Fact of the matter is that during the day, I am a hard working professional who feeds off of creative energy, fund raising, day dreams of global travel, new relationships with friends, my family, and everything humanely possibly positive. But at 6:00 when I roll in the driveway, I just become one of the boys. Come home hit the bong, hit the recliner, and hit the bed. I hate it. But I do it because a)its available 2)its what my living situation consists of and 3)My friends are too zonked out and high to want to do anything else. I recognize this about myself, so I try to start doing more things that are active and positive like go to concerts with old friends, go to the beach with new friends, go work out at the gym, go hiking, etc. Problem with this is, that my boyfriend has no trust. He thinks I'm naive and that my male friends are out to rape and kill me. Thanks honey. The question I need to ask myself is how much longer can I be two different people? But he needs to recognize that I am not going to stop doing the things I love to do, because he can't do them with me. He needs to trust my better judgment and let me pursue what makes me happy.

The question I was left with at the end of the session was, 2.Say that this situation was turned and my best friend was in my position. How would I guide her and support her? What would I say? Oh sweet Jesus I've never thought about this! I would tell her to get the hell out of the situation, because she is stronger, and too driven to have a ball and chain of a pot smoking partner. Okay, so maybe I wouldn't say quite that, I would be more sensitive. Honestly, I don't know what I would do if Amanda was in my situation. I have to think more about this one.

SO! In sum, I drew a lot of conclusions from last night. I believe in my partner, he has a kind heart and has the best intentions, but frankly he doesn't know how to follow through. And I believe he just truly doesn't have the tools to move himself forward. I would like to see him also seek therapy. I am even willing to pay for it, because I know that money is an issue. I do resent how much he smokes, and I believe it does limit our relationship. I also learned that I try to justify a lot of different things that maybe I don't need to justify.

Overall, she rattled my world. And honestly,it was refreshing. I left scared and shaky, but yet confident. Nothing will change overnight, this will be an ongoing process, but things will continue to progress and hopefully I will feel more comfortable with my new life transition towards energy and positivity.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ooh, How Exciting

GOALS:
How does one set their own life goals? I don't necessarily care what peoples life goals are per say, but what do I care about is how they chose the goal, and why.

I came home last night to ask my boyfriend what his goals in life were. They were quite generic. Graduating college, being an R.N. and working towards the betterment of the world. I am not dismissing the fact that these aren't great goals, because the undoubtedly are. But when he listed them, there was no excitement in his voice, no motivation, no energy--granted he was laying down, and all men seem to fade away once horizontal--He told me his list of goals as if he was reading the weekly shopping list. So, me being me, I called him out. I told him to perk up! I needed him to convince me that he woke up every morning to get another day closer to reaching his goals. He tried. He failed. He seemed bored with a conversation that was about something that was all about him, and his view on life, and what made him happy.

Dumbfounded, I got defensive and told him that "this is an opportunity for you to brainstorm, unwind, and dream about all that you can accomplish in your lifetime". He agreed, but still didn't play along. So his punishment was to listen to me go off about my life goals, and why I chose them. It made me analyze why I chose the goals that I did; a task I had never really thought, and especially never talked about. I came to the conclusion that I have lots of goals. They range from short term goals such as losing 5 pounds to long term goals like living, working, and studying in another country. Regardless of the goal in mind, the topic excited me, the conversation made me feel electric. For all I know, my boyfriend could have fallen asleep next to me, and I wouldn't have noticed because I was too busy concentrating on why I was so energized on the goals that I had picked, and not him.

This whole topic of goals came about when my moms friend mentioned that she read her goals to herself daily. She reads them every single morning before she rolls out of her bed to start the pot of coffee, or get in the shower. And what an absolutely great time to remind yourself of all that you wish to accomplish-You have just woken up to a new day, and you can get yourself mentally stimulated and ready for the day ahead. Although I do love her strategy, I can't say that I see myself doing it. So for now, I have printed off my goals, some long term, some short term, and put them in my wallet. My goals are a reminder to myself on those days where I feel bummed, discouraged, or just down right pissed.

I realize now that goals are very personal, and for some, they are secrets. I feel bad for invading my boyfriends mental space. Though honestly, I hope that I might have been able to get him passionate about his own goals, and get him thinking about how brainstorming and goals is actually in fact, fun! Nevertheless, I will end on this note, my short term goal right now is expanding my literary preferences, into something stronger, something unknown. Even if I only grasp one concept, then at least I can say that I grasped one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Religion Dating

I saw my falling out with the catholic church as a bad breakup. I committed myself to the catholic church, I stood by it because they were seen as the moral choice for me. My whole family was catholic and we were a family that promoted love for others, and acceptance. I may have never been the best catholic, but I tried. I went to mass, repented for my sins, and tried to lead a life helping others and making god proud.

Looking back, I see that I was a fool. My religion turned on me. I was practicing a life of acceptance, and virtue, but my church suddenly became crass, and unaccepting of me. This was long before my sister Caitlin ever went public with her sexuality though. The sermons began to change in demeanor, and suddenly my family was seen as "bad". My parents had divorced, and remarried--and our Father led sermons saying that once you had betrayed your vows to your marriage and god, you had just purchased your ticket to hell. But I consider all 4 of my parents as upstanding citizens, who have taken rescue children in before and opened our homes and hearts to them, who have given their resources and their time and put them into the community, who work with children daily and promote kindness. This began to puzzle me, because I didnt feel that my fmaily should be subjegated to hell, like our Father said.

During the '04 elections, the catholic church began to get a little dicey. Sermons about sexuality, abortion, and lifestyle choices became commonplace. The church turned from a loving, accepting place to worship god and his glory, to a stonch Republican frenzy. I remember sitting in mass and watcing my mother latch and unlatch her watch over and over with discomfort. I suddenly questioned my sisters sexuality and defensively thought about how I could protect her from the catholic community.

There was no conversation about religion, the whole family kept to themselves about the matter and carried on going to mass. Suddenly, my family fell together at the dinner table, and we talked for hours about God, and religion, and mass, and the election. We suddenly, as a team, realized that this wasnt a fit for our family anymore.

My mom tried to go back a few times, but eveutally gave up.

I compare this to a break up in the sense, that we were devoted, and we invested, and accpeted this into our life and our home, only to be betrayed. The unconditional love that was portrayed, was only a mere fallacy. After a breakup, one must take time for themselves, and question thier identity, and decipher if the breakup was their fault. Standing by my beliefs, my politics, and my sister, I vowed to never go back.

I than began to explore other options about a year ago. I started reading....tons. I questioned what I wanted out of religion and what the true definition of what faith and acceptance are. You could say I am dating religions. I came across Thervada Buddhism. I like everything about the religion, except for a few things, but overall I have seem to have found a good fit. Though I have yet to attend a sermon, or a practice. Because like after a bad breakup, you are scared to get hurt again. Maybe someday I will go a Buddhist worship or practice, but for now, I continue to read.

This is the histrory of my religious breakdown, where I was forced to question everything, and remove myself from something that I had been raised upon. Thankfully, my family went through this together, and we remained a team. But I still have a hard time with religion, but eventually you just have to move on and find something that is a better fit.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My little Kabita

My buddy Alex introduced this idea to me, and I promised him I would do my part in helping spread the word of good faith. So this post is dedicated to those of us who have always wanted to help someone in need, make a positive difference in this world and be the change we have all waited for, now is the opportunity.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." - Mother Teresa.

Although there are several organizations that sponsor children in need. Children International (the organization that both Alex and I sponsor through) asks for only 22$ a month to sponsor a child. A small price for many people like us, that will make a huge difference in a child's life. The money raised provides food, water, clothes, disaster relief, education, medical care and so much more depending on the child's needs.

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something." - Edward Everett Hale

Please people, sponsor a child and do your part to make a difference. Though we are sponsoring children through www.children.org, there are other organizations with the same cause, and with the same message.

"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Also remember, although we all may not be able to sponsor a child we can always spread the word.

I encourage everybody to take part in making a difference in this world, whatever cause you feel is worth fighting for, go out and put effort, make the difference, by being the difference. Attached is the picture of my little Kabita who I personally sponsor. I also sponsor two boys through an organization with my mom and aunt. I truly believe that our words, and our emotional and financial support make these kids' lives a little easier.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Think Positive


It is so easy for one to focus on their daily negative vibes. But why waste the energy? And don't pretend that they aren't exhausting. Therefore, I devote this post to be solely about my positives.

I am a college graduate.
I am a kitty mom.
I have traveled. Prague, Greece, Germany, Belize, Mexico, France, Canada. With an oppotunity to go to Brazil and Indonesia.
Hell, I lived in Europe for 3 months.
I give to 4 non-profits monthly.
I am an legal advocate at a domestic violence shelter.
I have a job that I love.
I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a lover.
I have an outstanding support network.
I love college football. It has been the best bonding experience for my father and I.
I have experienced love, and I have survived heartbreak.
I have a home, with hot water, and proper plumbing, and a roof to keep me dry.
I am healthy. I am blessed to be in an active relationship where hiking and exploring is our passion.
I am an active community member.
I believe in non-profits, and wild ideas. Some times I wish society would encompass their ideas with the same enthusiasm as I do.

So why focus on the negatives, when as individuals we all have such a presence of inner power? We all have accomplishments. Even if its dragging yourself out of bed with out hitting the snooze button, or parking your car further away, forcing yourself to walk a little bit further. So many people struggle to find their daily positives, and dwell in the "what-if's" and the "why's". And I am not immune by any means. We all have our days, but the trick is to remember the positives, because they are your fuel to keep dancin' along.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Title Me Twisted

Titles. Boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, partner, lover, "friend", mate, etc. Why the title?

My frustration over titles began to arise as more and more of my friends began to get married, or get pregnant. Titles unfortunately alter friendships. I have an two old friends who were my support system, roommates, and best friends. One of the girls has been in a committed relationship for four years, and now proudly wears an engagement ring. The other has been with her beau for three-ish years and now lives with him. Both couples have puppies, both plan weddings, both couples have bbq's while the girls catch up and the boys drink beer. So why am I now left out? I have been committed in my dysfunctional, yet perfect relationship for the past year and a half, I have a kitty--who is like my child, I live with three boys (one being my boyfriend), a full time job, and a knack for non-profits. I love my life right now, I couldn't imagine changing anything. Yet, for some reason, the "three musketeers" have singled one man out. Me. I have lost numerous nights of sleep over this debacle questioning everything thing about our friendship. It was my boyfriend who helped me draw the conclusion that the diving force between me and my two friends were titles.

With that said, he managed to make me recognize that they are on an entirely different playing field than I am. We no longer share multiple titles. When I first met the girls, I was dating my high-school sweetheart who left for the military, and in my freshman year of college I saw myself someday marrying this man. We were all committed. Sure enough military man and I broke up, and I went on a "date whoever, find yourself" voyage, which only ended in a lot of sex and a lot of heartbreak. I guess it was then that the ties started to unravel, but we remained friends throughout the years, and became roommates who laughed together, cried together, and experienced together. We had the title of best friends in my opinion. Titles.

Nevertheless, one has the title of fiancee, and the other is soon to gain the title as well. They will be introduced at events and "My wife". What comes next? The pregnancies. They will now gain the titles of "Mother". I am no where near this stage in my life. I don't want to be anywhere near this stage of my life. I am way too young. I have so much more I want to do before marriage and babies. My boyfriend is right, they are gaining titles at a rate that I can not match. The two will rise through the ranks of life, marriage, and motherhood together. Maybe someday I will catch up, but I will never experience it with them, as they will together.

Titles alter everything this is true in every relationship. It can be seen on the most basic level in an workplace, when a manager gets promoted to a director. It happens all the time when best friends shed their title and transform into boy/girl friends. People recognize that titles change everything. My boyfriend and I had been friends at least two years before we let our minds actually begin to contemplate dating. When we agreed that we had killer chemistry, we kept the matter very quiet. We didn't change out facebook statuses until nearly a year into dating. We recognized that titles were insignificant to our feelings and love for one another, but yet very "loud" in society.

This rant about titles is a mix of my beliefs that society gets worked up/praises stupid shit like titles, but I know in my heart that there is a small fraction of jealousy over the fact that I am losing friends because I can not keep up with their ever expanding titles.

Whenever I go on rants like this where I just bitch and moan, I must always close with something positive. If I go after my self image I make myself think of three things I love about my body, or whatever I am whining about. So for this title rant, I will select three titles that I carry that I love: 1)Daughter/Sister. 2)Grassroots believer. 3)Explorer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Bucket List P.1

I decided to use my hour lunch break at work to not only devour my lunch, but to review my summer bucket list thus far. Upon my college graduation, I realized that despite my global travels, and mind blowing experiences, there is much I have not done for myself personally, or local Oregon things I have yet to try. I created a list of 23 random things I wanted to accomplish before the summers end. After one month of being graduated, I have only yet to accomplish seven of them. They are as follows:

1."Buy something totally unique from the Saturday Market". Check. I bought one of those fork rings, where you take the end of a fork (or knife or spoon or whatever) and you twist it into jewelry. Though these have been around for a few years now, and I am sure many own them, this was something unique to my personal style. My accessories are quite bland, and this was a step towards something more bold.

2."Join a gym" & 3."Join Weight Watchers". HEALTH! In the four years in college I let my health go to hell. It wasn't a matter of gaining weight, that is not the issue at hand, I am very comfortable in my own skin. Ive got curves, but I've still got some pizazz. This was more or less my promise to myself that the nights of getting high and devouring pizza's at 2 a.m. wasn't the lifestyle my body needed to put up with anymore. So I decided to join a gym and diet, for the sake or treating my body better so it would put up with me longer. I refuse to get fat and lazy, I like playing too much.

4."Lose yourself in Powell's bookstore." The goal here was to get in check with my inner-geek. I love literature. Love, love, love. Looking back, my high school teachers were well intentioned by forcing me to read Homer, Steinbeck, Kesey, and Orwell, but the fact was, they forced me into reading. Therefore, when handed these great authors, I disregarded them, and cheated off my friends tests. Now, I have grown my collection of literature and am going back and re-discovering these authors, only to find myself in love. Powell's bookstore is my heaven. I literally can get lost in the sea of great literary classics. Powell's has become my safe place...

5."Start journaling." This blog works right? I justified it that way, so...Next.

6. "Buy a print from a local artist." My god, I have already done this one like five times over. My art collection is quickly spilling over into my office. I have an entire house decorated, and I am contemplating having to switch to an art rotation for the bedrooms. Spring, Asian theme, Summer, Warhol inspired...etc. I love art. I wish I didn't have to buy prints from them, I wish I could spend heinous amounts of money their work, but I'm just not there with my life right now. So, for now, I support them through their prints, and dropping their names into conversation.

7. "Stand under a waterfall." This is hard. I have always wanted to stand under a waterfall with my arms proudly in the air so I could absorb the nature and the beauty that is all encompassing. I must say though that this was a hard task. For this instance at the bottom of the waterfall I was met with slippery rocks, and somehow I had to get my feet planted firmly so that I wouldn't get swept away. As I conquered this challenge, I had my boyfriend take my picture, and looking back on it, I don't know if I could even call what I was doing "standing". I was more or less squatting with the weight of the falls on my shoulder, and my arms were kinked at the elbows. But damnit that was enough for me to feel accomplished! Please notice the picture below, and please notice how miserably awkward I look as I fight off the force of the water...




So with a little more of July left I can tell you that I hope to take a ceramics class, write a poem, and plant a vegetable garden in the backyard. Then of course, there will be more to come with August. These may seem like juvenile accomplishments to someone else, but they are the simplest summer things that bring me joy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beginning

This is my first time adventuring into the world of blogging. I make no guarantees that what I say is in fact relative to something you believe, or have experienced. These are my thoughts just simply typed and assigned into a chronological order.

I give you fair warning that I am no expert in any field; in fact, often what you will see here are my brainstorms and thought patterns as I attempt to weave through the questions of life.

I suppose I could say I am old in the sense that I am college educated and enjoy learning, though I am young in my experiences. With that said.... Good literature is a gift, experiences are worth the risk, and uprooting your life to submerge yourself into a 'foreign' culture is necessary for ones self-enlightenment.