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.
...a lot.
Get lost.

"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

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


"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?