the truth is…

April 29, 2009

alex and i have been going through serious house drama over the past few months, but we have found a new place to call home.  a (town)house that will be where we throw the “welcome home ben and erin” party, my 33rd birthday party, perhaps host our first holiday, and most likely be where we are living when we…gasp…have a baby.

no.  i am not pregnant.  bite your tongue.

but, THE TRUTH IS, i could never imagine having children before because we had nothing substantial to call our own (like real estate).  all we had was each other and a mountain of debt.  the each other part is about the best thing i could ever hope for, let alone have.  alex will leave me silly voicemails that make me smile in that way that shows anybody watching that yeah, i’m in love, and yeah, it’s with a pretty rocking guy who loves me back.  but, the mountain of debt part is pretty shiteous.  and it takes over my brain sometimes and doesn’t let me see that there are things far worse to be out of than money.  like peace of mind, or love.  but knowing that we are going to have a place to call our own, a place that will provide us with equity and security, it made us realize that we would have more than hope and a mountain of debt to offer a child. does that sound weird? i get that it might seem to odd to determine wanting kids based on property acquisition, and that’s not exactly what i mean.  we wanted kids all along, but we couldn’t see it because we were so afraid of not being enough for a child.  

so finding this house solidified a future that we hoped for, but couldn’t picture prior to finding it.  and then bad weather hit on saturday night, and i got scared about buying a house with no basement.  scared enough to try to cancel the contract which would mean losing $1800.  which would mean back to the drawing board and the house hunt.  which would mean undue stress for god knows how long. but, THE TRUTH IS, i don’t think i was actually all that scared of the weather.  i think i was scared that buying this house meant i am going to be an official adult.  a house owning, child having adult tied to lawrence and this life that i never imagined for myself. 

see, i always thought i’d be…larger than life.  a presence in my own life, and in others’, by way of some form of stage.  and while, yes, i perform all day long as a teacher and my classroom is my stage, the time to do things that i once deemed essential has passed: i am not going to live in new york city with four roommates and work in a diner while going on auditions.  it just isn’t going to happen, and feeling nostalgic for something that never occurred, or is going to occur, is just, well, stupid.  i’m never going to be on broadway, or be a member of the steppenwolf theatre company, or win over the crowd at the apollo with my stirring rendition of come rain or come shine.  and that is OK, but when you have believed yourself to be one thing for so long, it takes awhile to accept that that image is out of focus.  not wrong, exactly, but  hazy.  the your coming true is a shade off the color you had always envisioned: teal instead of turquoise, indigo instead of navy. and, THE TRUTH IS, i love my life.  have loved it for so long that i don’t really think about NOT loving it until a major decision looms and i find myself scared to death by the finality of said decision.

so i guess, dear reader, THE TRUTH IS, when i tried to cancel the contract on this house (which didn’t succeed and we are getting it and we close may 20th and you are all invited to come see how awesome it is whenever you want) i wasn’t really scared of bad weather, or the future.  i was scared of saying that this me is the me i was meant to be, and that means my plans were pointless.  and i am planner.  a ducks in a row type person.  so realizing all my plans won’t lead anywhere, means i have to learn to let go.  i have to stop trying to be in control, and just float.  breathe.  accept.  it is a hard lesson, but i am embracing it.


my musical

April 21, 2009

ok, seriously, i am thinking of writing a musical. i can barely read music, certainly cannot write it, and play no musical instruments, but i am going to share my musical writing genius with the world.

basically it’s because i had this idea: a girl named amy who works in a bookstore meets a, well, um bookish young man named bradley. bradley is not interested in a relationship but amy finesses and finagles the situation until they end up on their first–and last–date. she convinces herself that they are in love and begins stalking him, but sweetly, not scarily. she calls and leaves messages on his phone, the most detailed of which occurs while she is in a hotel room at a book convention. it goes a little something like this:

i am staring at the carpet in my hotel room
and bradley this may come as a surprise
but there on the floor right by the bathroom door
is a stain that looks just like your eyes
the paisley print is hard to see
i’d guess the culprit was coffee
but still you’re staring back at me
from the floor

and i can’t fight it anymore, bradley
i am missing you so much
and though our first date was our last
the time is creeping slowly past
until i see you again

oh what are you waiting for, bradley?
please get back in touch
when i look back on my life
i want to have been your wife
and your best friend

but until then,
i am staring at the carpet in my hotel room
at the stain in the shape of your face
lately i am seeing you
all over the place
and i keep hoping maybe
you’ll want me like i want you
if you’d just let it
this love could be true
imagine, bradley, me and you.

ok, i’m biting this idea from joe, but it is too good not to do…that sounds like i’m biting joe and have an idea in my mouth…i can live with that.  and i should point out, it’s impossible for me to rank these, so they appear in the order i think of them.

1.  nebraska

easily the only album you need on a long road trip, to get over a heartbreack, to smoke in silence–if we all still did those things.  atlantic city is the track that kills me every time: “put your makeup on, put your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in atlantic city.”

2. pneumonia

my time at bethany college, 1999-2001 is this album.  particularly jacksonville skyline. “Well, Jacksonville’s a city with a hopeless streetlight
Seems like you’re lucky if it ever change from red to green / I was born in an abundance of inherited sadness /And .50 cent picture frames bought at a five and dime if whiskeytown was bethany, then this ani album is florida.  i drove around in an oxidized jetta with an overheating problem: i had to run the heat to keep the car form overheating. in florida.  and i listend to this album almost everyday of the 2 years i lived there.  i won my copy when i won tickets to my first ani concert.  11 years, 6 shows and 20 albums later, i’m still hooked.

4.  allman_brothers_live_at_fillmore_eastthe allman brothers, live at fillmore east.  this band always reminds me of my dad, because of the killer blues riffs and hammond organ.  gregg allman was a genius, and this record proves it.  i dare you to listen to it and not imagine yourself in a dark bar, playing pool and drinking cheap beer in ice cold mugs.

5. let-it-bethis is certainly no tthe only album by the beatles that could be here, but it has such a comprehensive loveliness.  let it be, get back, across the universe and of course, two of us.  thank you thank you thank you john, paul, george, and ringo.

6.  astral-weeks van morrison gets better and better with age.  astral weeks because is a concept album, rich and full of eerie orchestral instrumentation that perfectly matches the irish brogue of morrison.  there’s a live version of it out now but my money stays ont he original. 

7.  august came out when i was in high school and i am still in awe 15 years later.  round here may be one of the most perfect tracks ever written.  it also ties me inexplicably to jason who is my borther in every way but blood.

8.  why-do-birds-sing others may argue for add it up, but i like american music, and this one does it for me.

9.  the-bridge my dad’s a piano player, so i have always loved billy joel.  when i was kid, i would dance around my basement bedroom to matter of trust and this is the time thinking this was what adults listened to, and how awesomely mature i was for loving it.  now that i’m older, i realize the gem on this record is the duet on baby grand with ray charles.  flawless.

10. white-ladder brilliant in so many ways, but particularly because as say hello, say goodbye fades out, david gray starts sining lyrics form van morrison’s ‘into themystic.” ‘we were born before the wind.’  this album, late night, windows down, no reason to talk, just driving and holding hands.  yes yes yes.

11. new-adventures many will argue for other r.e.m. albums and yes, there are fantastic ones, but this album has ‘be mine’ on it, and leave includes the following lyric that i have always wished i’d written: 

And if you make me your religion
I’ll give you all you will need
I’ll be the drawing of your breath
I’ll be the cup if you should bleed
I’ll be the sky above the Ganges
I’ll be the vast and stormy sea
I’ll be the lights that guide you inland
I’ll be the visions you will see
Visions you will see

12. sweet-baby-james this was one of the first records i bought on vinyl, from the goodwill in salina when it was still downtown–do you all remembner that?  when it was where martinelli’s is, and tehre was that arcade next door?  i found this record, took it hime, played it on my stereo where you pushed a button and the record player came out all mechanically magical.  i loved that record player, loved j.t. and realized that simple melody and honest lyrics are pretty much all it takes to win my heart.

13. disintegration1 i am very close to agreeing with stan marsh, of south park, who once shouted (after watching robert smith defeat barbara streisand in a battle of robotic celebrity smackdownage): “disintegration is the best album ever.”

14. mermaid-avenue this is how i discovered wilco.  everyone should be so lucky.

15.  erasure   i found this tape in a bin at…god, what was the name of the record store in the salina mall?  anyway, i found this tape and it hooked me to euro-trash dance beats from fascinating gay duos.  i would later love pet shop boys as well.  there is no reason to judge me…i am totally down with this record, and you should be, too.

16. rent this soundtrack is defining on two levels.  i thought i would be a starving artist, the bohemian new york life style was one that i truly believed was my destiny, and listening to this record, i fantasized about who i would be.  and then, when the film version came out (notice, i am NOT choosing the film soundtrack–the original cast is the ultimate) when the film came out, i had to revisit that dream and realize i had chosen a different, and incredibly fulfilling, life…but this record will always symbolize the me i thought i’d be.

17. sticky-fingers the perfect mixture of rock and ballad, and yes, i do own the zippered vinyl, thank you very much.  brown sugar is THE song that makes me want to be outside, beer in hand, singing at the top of my lungs in the ol stuga beer garden.  i don;t even know if this song is on the jukebox, but i associate it with that place.  and moonlight mile is one of the sweetest and most underrated songs of all times. 

18.  pauls-boutique i could have chosen almost any album by the beasties, but this is by far the quintessential record.  if you don;t own anything by them, this is the one to run, not walk, to purchase.  it is funky, clever, rife with pop culture references, and an all out good time.  if you don’t blare ‘shake your rump’ at top volume, something is super wrong with you.

19.smithbig21 the self titled “big smith” album may be the best damn bluegrass dance your ass off like you’re in a field in the middle of summer.  and, if you get the chance, you MUST see them play live.  a bunch of related good old boys from missouri makin’ sweet jams.  and their cover of ‘long black veil’ is stunning.

20. denver this is my childhood christmas story.  and when i went away to college, my mom made me my own taped copy so i could listen to it in the dorms and feel less lonely.  and she did the same thing when i moved to florida.  this record is my heart.  

21.  ritter a recently discovered genius, josh ritter is prolific and powerful.  this adam is complete and perfect, but if you want a little taste, you should download ‘the temptation of adam.’  brilliant, moves the adam and eve story into a silo under the threat of nuclear war.

22. bowie i hate to include compilations, but this one is SO incredible, plus the copy i have came with an acoustic live album from a concert the sexiest man in music did in london.  bowie is…in space.

23. the-story ‘these days we go to waste like wine / they turn t turpentine / it’s six a.m. and i’m all messed up / i didn’t man to waste your time / so i’ll fall back in line / but i’m warning you, were growing up.’ this lyric could sum up more situations in my life than i care to count.  you owe it to yourself to check out brandi carlile the next time you head to itunes.

24. pontiac my dad used to pick me up from rehearsals in lindsborg when i was in high school, and on the drive back to falun, we listened to this album,  i will always associate lyle lovett with those nights, singing along and laughing with my dad, really getting to know each other in a way that many fathers and daughters never get to.

25. billie billie holiday is tragic, beautiful, haunting, and she recorded the first song i ever remember loving to sing.  ‘god bless the child’ is one of those songs that, no matter when i hear it, i feel overwhelmed by the raw honesty of it.  

there are so many more albums that could be here, but these are 25 that blow me away consistently.

friday night i went out with alex, jamie, matt, joe, and holly and had a ball.  we went to the barrel house: BOO to that place: but then we went to the tap room and got our dance on to a dj…pretty hilarious, but it reminded me of how much i like to move it, move it.  even if  look like a total dink, dancing is FUN.  and it’s a workout, which is awesome since i joined a gym—oh yeah, i said it, a gym—and so even though i didn’t go to the gym on friday, the dancing compensated, right?

i joined maximus total fitness on tuesday, 3/31.  the district i work for has a great partnership with them so  my membership is only $15/month.  i had planned to go in the next day but the girl i talked to when i called said to come in that night to take advantage of their $1 enrollment fee special that ended that night.  i had my first complimentary session with a trainer–steve–on thursday night.  he sat down and talked to me about the benefits of fitness, showed me how my health risks would deplete if i lost my goal of 50 lbs, and helped me set some goals: 

run a 10 minute mile.  i cannot walk a mile this fast and running at all freaks me out, but it’s going to happen. climb the mayan ruins in mexico for our 5th anniversary in 2011.  be a size 8-10 (i have NEVER been this small). the big one is to realize it’s not about a number, it’s about the changes to my body that happen.

after sitting down with steve i rode the stationary bike for an hour.  dancing friday night, then an hour on the bike yesterday morning and 15 minutes lifting weight this morning followed by 35 minutes on the treadmill.  i’m feeling like a BAMF, for real.  and these pictures are totally keeping me motivated.  there’s a website called–it’s actually a facebook app. which i discovered after i started the process–anyway, you upload a full body pic of yourself and put in how much weight you want to lose, and then they render the photograph to show you what you’ll look like.  these are mine, before and after…i’m gonna be HOT.

before       after