Tag Archives: friends

Day 118: 72 Things.

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I’ve clearly been delinquent on this daily posting about what I’m thankful for. I can blame it on a lot of things, but laziness wins out if you scrape all the bullshit out of the way. I majored in PR, so I’ve got enough bullshit to power a rocket to the moon and back.

After having a conversation today about my ’30 Before 30′ list, I realized I’ve done a lot in my life so far that I can be really happy about; proud of even. While I have friends with Superbowl rings and sitcoms who can toss humble pie into my face, I’m going to be proud anyway. Because good for them – I mean, really. Good for those people who have accomplished such amazing things; they’ve worked their butts off for it. But good for me too. I’ve not done too bad. You probably haven’t done too bad yourself if you think about what is really important to you. And if you haven’t done great, then get off your ass – time is perpetually running out.

While having goals is important, realizing what you have accomplished is equally so. I can’t say every moment in the last 25 years has resulted in the kind of photos that would allow me to run for office, but I’ve had a really good time being politically/socially/economically incorrect. I think life is something like 10% what you’d like to do and 90% what you actually muster up the courage to do.

Here’s my 90% so far:

  1. Swim with wild dolphins
  2. See the Grand Canyon
  3. Visit Roswell
  4. Appear on TV
  5. Kiss a stranger
  6. Help plan an event for charity
  7. See a solar eclipse
  8. Go whale watching
  9. Set free baby turtles
  10. Have a night in Vegas that stays in Vegas
  11. See the bats at Carlsbad Caverns
  12. Go to a rodeo
  13. Paint  pottery
  14. Perform on a stage
  15. Go to Disney World
  16. Pull an all-nighter
  17. Go Spalunking – that’s cave diving, people
  18. Break a bone (it was my middle finger, none the less)
  19. Get a tattoo
  20. Kiss someone of the same sex
  21. Graduate college (with two degrees even!)
  22. Ride on a trolley
  23. Sleep in an airport
  24. Have a near-death experience (coincides with the night in Vegas)
  25. Ride in a limo
  26. Build a float for a parade
  27. Go snorkeling
  28. Throw someone a surprise party
  29. Take a “hit” (I’m talking peace circles, not bar fights)
  30. Go white water rafting
  31. Go deep sea fishing
  32. Take the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  33. See an opera
  34. Go on a terrible first date
  35. Be a bridesmaid
  36. Adopt a pet
  37. Go ziplining
  38. Donate blood
  39. Learn an instrument
  40. Go to a concert
  41. Win something off the radio
  42. Go to a professional sporting event
  43. Visit the nation’s capital
  44. Ride a mechanical bull
  45. Tie a cherry stem in a knot
  46. Go skydiving
  47. Be a Big Brother/Big Sister
  48. Ride a jet ski
  49. Parasail
  50. See a tumbleweed
  51. Become student counsel president
  52. Go to a strip club
  53. Enjoy (or try to enjoy) a lapdance
  54. Ride on a party bus
  55. Dance on stage
  56. See the St. Louis Arch
  57. Wait tables for a living
  58. Build a snowman
  59. Take a roadtrip
  60. Sleep in a tent
  61. Wait in line on opening night of a movie so you’re the first one in
  62. See the Chicago Bean
  63. Build a gingerbread house
  64. Have surgery
  65. Bet on a horse race
  66. Build a sandcastle
  67. Water ski (or get drug behind a boat with water skis on.)
  68. Have a night on Bourbon Street
  69. March in a parade
  70. Be sent to the principal’s office
  71. See a shuttle launch
  72. Move to a foreign country (pending)

And I’m sure there are a lot more. But still, I’m off to an okay start. How many have you done off my list? What else have you done that you are proud of?

Day 59: Dance, Dance

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Headed straight downtown after work to meet Paul for some shopping. That turned into dinner and drinks, which turned into me drinking too much at a little bar in Over the Rhine and crashing at his place so I didn’t have to drive home. I know I have a lot of these nights in my future, but there is something so great about catching up with a friend, walking around downtown aimlessly and dancing to Billboard’s Top Songs of the 80s on an overcrowded dance floor.

Day 50: Care Bear

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Today, I’m thankful for one of my best friends on the planet, Ms. Carrie Stribling. I could have easily written this post last week, while I was in Phoenix and staying with her and Jake. We had a great time entertaining ourselves all week, the same way we have since we were in grade school. But, after talking to her until late last night because I was upset, and continuing our conversation again throughout the day today (thanks to Voxer… you’ll get a post soon too my little voice-activated friend) I realized how valuable a friendship is that you don’t have to be physically around for.

So, let me take a minute and tell you why she’s so great. First. She works really hard. She not only works a full time job, but she also runs her own photography business, and she’s actually really good at taking pictures. I’m not saying that in an obligatory ‘she’s my friend so I have of’ sort of way. When I first saw her work I was shocked. Not because I didn’t think she was capable, but because I didn’t realize we were at a place in our lives where we  were able to be really good at something. She’s creative not just in her job, but in the rest of her life as well. She’s planning an adorable wedding, she can draw, she blogs, photographs, works for a design company… she has a vision and she makes it work. She took a risk to do the thing that she loved, even though a lot of people told her that it wasn’t a stable form of work. She started out slow, but now she has a steady stream of work, and her skills continue to grow with every shoot. You can see for yourself here.

So there’s that. The hard work, integrity thing that makes you say, “wow, that person really gives a shit about their life.” I can’t help but admire that in a person.

Second. It’s who she is as a person. It’s only fitting her “pet name” in high school was Care Bear. (Sorry, “nickname” wasn’t quite the right word there). Carrie doesn’t only give a shit about her life, but she gives a shit about other people’s too. We were joking tonight that we will always be the people that cling onto the leg of a person trying to run from us, the way a toddler does when it wants to be picked up. Carrie will always be the apologizer, even if she don’t completely understand the reason for it. Not to be insincere when apologizing, but to be completely dedicated to a friend and a relationship. And she always is. She notices when people around her are off, if only just a little. She’ll follow you to the bathroom to hold your hand when no one else even noticed you were crying. And she doesn’t tell you everything will be okay because she knows you know that. She just lets you be sad, and then she hugs you and tells you she loves you.

And I’ll end with one more – although I could go on for the remaining 90 days.

I love how much she’s able to love. I can honestly say she knows the darkest, most character-degrading deeds I’ve committed, and she loves me anyway. She’s had a hard time telling me things in the past, but she trusted enough to let me in so that I know her twisted, hard-to-tell stories too. And then there’s Jake. Soon to be husband, always to be a character. They just fit together. He’s thrust her into change (I know he’d appreciate my word choice there) and she’s made him an honest man. They’ve been through it, but she loves him so unconditionally. Little Ms. Life-Plan-to-be-Married-and-have-Babies-by-25 put in almost nine solid years and her blue print is with the engineers. Pretty soon she’ll have 14 kids and that many more to love.

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So, at risk of sounding like a complete lesbian, I just want to express gratitude for one of my very best friends, and part of my family. When I was out dress shopping with Carrie and her mom last week, her mom said that she thinks we all got to be so close because we all had brothers and no sisters. I think that may have something to do with it.

We found our own sisters in the world.

Who would have guessed our taste would have been so spot-on as third-graders. I love you Carebear. I’m so excited to see where you let life take you.

Day 45: Total Eclipse of my Heart

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Today, one of my best friend’s told me I get “sloppy”.  And ya know what? Damn right I do.

I am 24 years old and my life is at least a quarter of the way over. I’m not running for Congress or marrying a Duke of whatever so who cares what people think? Real friends know me and love me anyway. I’m worried about having fun while I know what the word means. If that makes me sloppy, so be it. Life’s too short to wear a tie to bed.

Tonight, I sang karaoke with a very hoarse, manly voice. Total Eclipse of the Heart? Oh yes we did. Thanks for singing backup John. We KILLED IT. And don’t forget, you owe me a child before I hit menopause. You can have one too if you want.

 I leave for home tomorrow and I’ve had such a great trip. Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting moments. Some yelling, some confusion and a lot of awkward silence. But when it’s all said and done, I’ve got really amazing people here who really know who I am. Sure, we will get into fights. We will dig our claws in and twist. We will make the wrong decision and hurt each other. But even that is beautiful in its own right – to be able to screw up and say irrational things and be forgiven.

At the end of the day, there’s mostly laughter. The tears are mostly happy. There’s always a shoulder to cry on, a hand that will hold yours. There’s another round of drinks at the bar, another song we know all the words to. Where every other sentence is an inside joke. Where you can see an expression out of the corner of your eye and know what your best friend is thinking. We sing junior high hymns at Applebee’s and talk our way into happy hour prices after happy hour. We take pictures until our cameras die. We double over laughing. We sample each other’s cocktails.
 

Arizona has a special little corner in my heart. It’s beautiful to know that regardless of where I end up, I can always come home.

 

Day 44: Jack Ass of all Trades

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My little brother always reminds me that a Jack of all trades is an expert of none. I like to think that I’m pretty darn good with words, with people, with getting a message across when I need to. I won’t say I’m always good with any of those things, but when I make up my mind to be particularly social, I make new friends; when I’m trying to get something for nothing, become a damn good sales person; when I need to whip out a 20 page paper in a few hours, I turn into quite the Wordsworth. So I may not be an expert, but I’m good enough to get by, better than most. I don’t think even Einstein would call himself an expert – the more you learn the less you know – you know the cliché I’m referencing.

So I’ve got the things I’m “good at,” if only in my own head. But I’m also okay at a lot of things. I can look at a problem and figure it out pretty quickly. I can work through numbers (calculus aside), I can draw okay, my handwriting is decent, I can cook and clean and change the oil in my car. So, expert or not, I’m glad that I’m okay at a lot of things. I’m glad that when people need a second opinion, they value mine; when they need someone to confide in, they call me; when they need someone to draw an outline for painting pottery, they give me the marker. Being okay isn’t all that bad.

Day 42: Things that Never Change

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Today I had lunch with my oldest friend, Cassie, who I’ve  known for 19 of my 24 years. I saw her mom, who I have referred to as mom since I was old enough to tie my own shoes. It’s crazy how quickly life flies by, how much can change overnight, how fleeting each moment is. Cassie and I used to spend nearly every day of our summer together. We’d pack bags for weeks at a time and stay at each other’s houses. As we got older, went to different schools, started working and going to college, moving even farther away, we saw each other less and less. We’re not the people we ever were before. We’re lucky if we talk every six months anymore. But even so, we can sit down and chat about life, laugh about the way things used to be, and let each other in on our darkest secrets. I love that no matter time and space and how much we change, she’ll always be a sister to me.

Day 39: OOOO OOOOO wicky-wicky-wicky.

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Ludacris and I share the same profound love for Saturdays. This was a good one. We had an adult social gathering, with friends from high school, many of whom I’ve known since grade school. There were new faces as well, friends of friends who I’ve seen tagged in photos and heard stories about.

First kisses, first crushes, first boyfriends, and a lot of other firsts crowded Carrie’s living room and kitchen, singing songs about the glory days, toasting to the future. So many of us have known each other since we were single digit, greasy headed little kids playing foursquare on the playground. Our initials are carved in the tree past the basketball courts, little hearts outlining love we thought was final.

And here we are, over 15 years later, discussing wedding dresses and admiring photos of each other’s children, complaining about long work days and trying to forget how far past our bedtimes it is. Don’t get me wrong – we aren’t old quite yet. Fighting for the title of beer pong champion, chasing shots of vodka with shots of Malibu, running circles around the pool table in a hyperactive game of ‘Blue Balls,’ imitating Street Fighter characters in the kitchen (okay, maybe that was just me), and dreading the sun coming up because we could stay right here forever.

So much changes in our lives every day. We lose people we love, we move to new places, life deals us cards that change who we are and what matters to us. It’s good to know that even with the world spinning madly on, we can fill a house with thirty people, new friends and old, have some beers, and freeze time, if only for one night. 

Day 38: Painted Desert

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Today was action packed with so much fun. I woke up and did yoga on the patio (in the shade, mind you) and then got around with the girls to take a day-trip up to Prescott. The weather was about 15 degrees cooler, and the grass is about 40 shades greener. We had a lazy day, wandering the streets, snacking liberally and enjoying time in the car with familiar music and a painted landscape. This is the part of Arizona that people forget is here.

Day 35: Soulsong: Music that Moves Us

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Music has the power to transcend a murky soul or damn it further into submission. It takes us to a place where heartache heals, love prevails, passion ignites – where pain has a repeat button, and snotty tears break a shaking voice. And it’s so intimate in that way. We wallow with our favorite singer/songwriter when we need someone to understand that we haven’t moved on yet, but are too afraid to say it out loud, to admit to ourselves. We scream the lyrics to an empty room, wishing we had the courage to say those words aloud to someone… wishing those words were our own. We bob our heads at our steering wheels. We turn the volume up when we get ready on a Friday night, soaking in the energy of every pop!beat!ye-ah! We sing happily and freely with our friends at the bar, words uniting us, subtle reminders how similar we are. We cha cha slide, we macarena, we show how low we can go.

We associate songs to our experiences; those cries of pain to our own, or a distant joy that fuels us. We relate them to people; when we are in love, when we stop loving. They make us sick to our stomach – a reminder of a life you thought was yours, now mocking. And even though we shouldn’t listen to those songs – the ones that make us remember a time that now seems a million miles away – sometimes we do. And sometimes our hearts are broken all over again for it. But we are able to find another, and speak through a voice that’s not our own. We find strength through a streaming courage.

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Every time I hear the Spin Doctors I am reminded of driving to my brother’s t-ball practice in my mom’s minivan. Whenever my Format album is playing, I am transported to my 16-year-old self, the back seat of an old Civic, windows down, a car full of giggling girls. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s We Ain’t Much Different will remind me of my father until the end of time. I Want it that Way was my first couple-skate song in the fifth grade. I belted Lady Gaga’s Speechless to my steering wheel in a mellow dramatic frenzy for weeks on end when stitching up my heart. It still gives me the same feeling of empowerment, even more perhaps, now that I’m on the other side.

And, I know it almost seems too obvious, but Modest Mouse puts a smile on my face on the worst of days with “Float On.”

I’ve had Fun.’s Aim and Ignite album in my car for weeks (yes I’m still living in the age of CDs…) and every time I hear The Gambler, nearly without fail, I start sobbing uncontrollably. I’m not sure why- it’s not intended to be sad, nor do I feel sad when listening to it. It’s a love song. A life-long, old on the porch, sort of love song about falling in deep and having babies and growing old. There is something so beautiful about it to me that I just can’t hold back. I don’t imagine anyone else could really feel the same way toward it. And, that’s the beautiful thing about the music. It’s one of my soulsongs.

What are some of yours?

I swear when I grow up, I won’t just buy you a rose.
I will buy the flower shop, and you will never be lonely.
Even if the sun stops waking up over the fields
I will not leave, I will not leave ’till it’s our time.
So just take my hand, you know that I will never leave your side.

Day 19: Katie

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This project to find something every day to be thankful for has made me realize how many little things happen in my life that I enjoy so much. Some of them are small, like a good nail polish color or getting a free drink at Starbucks, and some are a lot bigger, like being healthy, having a good family and having everything I need. Because of 140 days of Prague, I remind myself all day, multiple times a day, how many great little things are happening all around me. And the funny thing is, they always have been. Now, I just have my eyes open because I know, at the end of the day, I get to pick the thing that tickled me most and talk about it. Bad things don’t seem so bad, and the little pleasures become larger.

So, everyday, I find myself being thankful for 140 Days to Prague. I’m sure I drive anyone crazy who follows my blog with posting so much, but this is the best therapy I’ve ever had… and I’ve seen professionals.

Back to today. I woke up this morning and talked to my dear friend, Katie for a while. We’ve been trying for weeks to catch each other. With a 13 hour time difference and extremely busy lives, today was the first day we were able to take a full hour and catch up.

Today, I’m thankful to be friends with Katie.

I’m sure many more of these will come because I love so many of my friends so much, but Katie and I had a good chat this morning, so she’s up first. The usual catching up, plus a little bit of politics, a little bit of philosophy, a lot of life.

We haven’t known each other very long – we were no more than acquaintances during college. It wasn’t until after we both graduated and she commented on a facebook post of mine that we even started talking. Although she is on the other side of the world and we haven’t known each other very long, I love that we can sit on the phone and chat about life openly and without judgement. I don’t know many people who I can have meaningful conversation, disagree with on a topic, and still enjoy the discussion so much. If Katie and I would not have become friends, I’m not sure I ever would have taken the leap to Prague. I look up to her courage, her spontaneity, and the joy she gets from life. I know it’s going to be a while until I get to see her again, but I know we will be friends for a long time.

I’m thankful you’re in my life, Katie!