Sayonara Summer Playlist

Monday, August 26, 2013

Right before my accident, I committed to a small handful of folks that I would be part of an international music swap. Oooooo! (Okay, so only one member of our group lives outside the USA and she lives in Canada, but hey that totally counts, right?) And while I had the perfect excuse to bail from the entire operation I'm glad I didn't; focusing on something other than my pain was good for me.

Baring my musical tastes to this group was a little different from my previous music exchanges. Mainly because I didn't know three of the four people in the group. And full disclosure, the one person I did know and happen to be happily related to, is one of the most musically savvy people I know. (Translation: the probability that he has heard every artist and song EVER produced is pretty high. I wouldn't put it past him.) Fears aside I decided to stick with songs I like. Well-worn tunes I've deemed worthy and have been listening to lately. Most of the songs ended up being a little somber. And since there wasn't a time limit on the compilation I leaned on the conservative side as I tend to get bored of CDs after about 14 tracks. Three of the songs and one of the bands I gratefully attribute to my other musical muse, Katie. My only regret? Not figuring more jazz into the mix.

Long-winded introduction aside, I made you a mix. True you can't pop it into your car stereo and take it with you on your next road trip, but you can stream it now for free. Go, enjoy!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

My 34th birthday came and went and I made a commitment to dedicate myself to the gym at least five times a week. And that's when the Universe laughed IN MY FACE. A huge belly laugh that clearly said Oh yeah? I have something else in mind for you.A summer cold to be precise. Several housebound days of movies and ginger tea. Tissue box after tissue box and all the accompanying glamour of a cold. Then, last Thursday, just when life was starting to look promising again, I decided to harvest our basil and make pesto. But I was out of garlic. Which meant a quick run to the grocery store.

Except I never made it.

Instead, I lost my footing and fell down a flight of stairs (15 to be precise) headfirst. After somersaulting once I slid the rest of the way down, scraping my entire right side: shoulder, arm, hip, leg, and little toe, on the black sandpaper coating covering each step. My fall ended as the right side of my head jammed into the corner of the snow shovel sitting upright at the bottom of the stairs. Our neighbor, who owns the wine shop bellow us, heard my scream and called 911.

I told them not to cut my clothes, since I had just put on a brand new outfit.

Sky, sun, and ceiling melted into a giant blur as I was transported by ambulance to the hospital.I was terrified and couldn't breathe. I thought my entire rib cage had been crushed into my lungs and I could see the blood oozing out of my arm.Once I got to the ER there were a million questions. What's your birthday? Who's the president? What year is it? Are you on any blood thinning medications?All I wanted to do was breath and cry. Since I couldn't do both at the same time I focused on staying alive, grateful that I was in fact still breathing. Finally one of the case workers helped me get in touch with Ken and he rushed to the hospital.

I slept for 12 hours last night. Woke for an hour to eat something and went back to sleep for three hours. Aided by pain killers I've been able to sleep these last few days and recover. During lucid moments I realize how lucky I am. It could have been worse. My fall could have been fatal or I could have broken my neck. Once, when I was in fifth grade, my canvas tote bag got caught in the front wheel of my bicycle and I somersaulted on my bike, landing face-first on the asphalt. The similarities of both incidents replayed in the back of my mind.

Of course there are a million scenarios I have to force out of my mind. My head still throbs and my scrapes are raw, and it hurts to breathe, but the reality is I'm okay. I'm okay.My bruised and sore body will recover one day at a time. I'm grateful for this healing process. Grateful for the unseen aid I received during my moment of crisis. Grateful for the power of prayer. And I'm especially grateful for GH and all the help he has given me over the last few days. Here's hoping the rest of the year bodes a little better.

From Missouri to Utah in Pictures

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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Mi Familia

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We all know there's the family you are born into and the family you create. Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to interact with some mighty fine folks. People that make me feel right at home no matter how many miles or years pass without seeing each other. Friends that I have traveled with, shared meals with, cried with, laughed with, sang with, debated with, shared stories and fears with, and even lived with. People that I consider my family. People that make me feel secure in who I am and whose company I genuinely enjoy. Sometimes they remind me of things I said or did that I had completely forgot. They take me despite my imperfections and even help me laugh at myself. These connections strengthen my entire soul and I feel happier when I get to interact with my family on a regular basis.

GH and I have lived in our new home for nearly a year and while there are some people I like and see once a week there hasn't been anyone in St. Louis I have felt a strong bond with. And honestly, I miss having a friend to go to movies with, or run off to the beach with, or ring up for a spontaneous weekend brunch. It's true that I have a great husband and I certainly don't discount him in my life, but there's something really important about having girlfriends close. Then again it could just be the reality of making friends as an adult. The reality that time constraints and other responsibilities make finding new friends in your mid 30s tough. That said, you can only imagine how elated I was to spend the last two weeks of July with my family.

Before we left for vacation I made a deliberate goal to capture people in my photographs, as opposed to food and vistas. Of course I ended up doing both, but looking back I'm so glad I have these pixel memories of people who mean the most to me. We drove from St. Louis to Salt Lake City, stopping in Colorado Springs to visit with GH's parents. Our time in Utah was divided between friends and family and I felt especially lucky to have so much one-on-one time with my nieces and nephews. After our time in Salt Lake we ventured north to Bear Lake, where we spent time with a group of friends from my time at Utah State University. For three nights we relaxed in this massive house, which fit our group of 20 adults and 25 kids with no problem. Each day I literally found myself feeling lighter. Happy and at ease. In addition to seeing old college chums, I squeezed in a few special lunch dates. And isn't being surrounded by familiar faces, feeling loved, and spending time with those whom you have a shared history what family is all about?

Music Monday: Passion Pit

Monday, August 12, 2013

There aren't a lot of bands I can say I knew them when. But Passion Pit, oh man I knew them when. Sort of. It's not like we went to high school in the Northeast together or anything, nor did I date any of the band members. But I do remember finding them from a Starbucks Pick of the Week back in 2008. I subsequently wore out the song "Sleepyhead" on my iPod shuffle. I even forced my then roommate to listen to the track, which is a sure sign a song has made it. Fast forward several years and GH mentions a new band he recently heard and really liked. Which meant, on our drive from St. Louis to Utah a couple weeks back, we made a deliberate stop at a record store in Colorado Springs to pick up Passion Pit's latest album Gossamer. In the days of digital music and streaming playlists that seems an anomaly, right? Think about it, when was the last time you bought an album at a local record shop? An entire album. Who does that? We then made "Take a Walk" and "Carried Away" part of our official road trip mix. Half the songs on the new album are great; the other half are heavy on ambient sound and were just kind of meh. But that's the beauty of discovering new music, no? Finding keepers and then forcing other people to listen to what you like.

Passion Pit—Carried Away

Salsa Sunday

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Heeeeeyyyy! **waves wildly ** It's been awhile. We've got a lot to catch up on and I promise I'll get to that, just as soon as we talk about other important things. Like food. Does anyone else feel like summer is trying to run away? Nooooo. Don't leave. When I get nostalgic for something that hasn't even ended yet that's when I know I've been inside for too long.

Making salsa requires two things: a sharp knife and patience. Okay, so it takes a little more than that. But not much. Salsa is basically like throwing the garden into a bowl and eating it with an entire bag of chips. Ridiculously good. The remarkable thing about salsa is it's virtually foolproof. Combine heaps of colorful diced tomatoes with crunchy cucumber ( I like the round lemon variety). Toss in cilantro, onions, and pepper for kick. Sweeten with diced nectarine or peach. Then finish it all off with minced garlic, a drizzle of raw honey, freshly squeezed lime juice, cracked black pepper and adjust flavors to your taste. Besides, isn't saying salsa fun!

Images by me. 

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