Story, Goal, Song: part IV


I made a mistake last week. I started watching Aerial America again. And now, while everyone else has come down with a cold, I have come down with yet another bout of wanderlust.

So today my mom and I hopped in the car and drove toward the mountains. She probably just did this to shut me up, because whenever I’d caught sight of them earlier in the day it was all I could do to not thrust my hands in the air and yell “HOLY SHIT” (not an unwarranted exclamation – they were seriously majestic). But anyway, we drove toward the mountains, and then we turned around and headed toward the water, practically chasing the sun at this point, and one of the pictures I took during this leg of our journey is up yonder. I don’t know why my natural response to a beautiful day is to shout swear words, but HOLY. SHIT. What a breathtaking day.

Just had to get that out. Moving on! (if you missed them, part I can be found here, part II here, and part III here)

A story: Spring break trips are sort of a rite of passage for college students, as I’m sure everyone knows. Most, understandably, migrate toward the equator for that week – my friends and I decided to go north, to Vancouver BC. Vancouver is a beautiful land where the drinking age is only 19 and every building looks like this:


The four of us arrived in this gorgeous city and settled in (shout-out to my dad for hooking it up with the Marriott points), soon venturing out again to find sandwiches and, more importantly, explore the Granville Island market. Many photos were taken – the background/wallpaper for this very blog is actually a picture I took of the water around Granville – and we discovered the soap shop of all soap shops. Feeling pretty grand about our touristing skills, we went back to the hotel to do some crucial pub/bar research; we are four young women who do not settle for mediocre cocktails. And we kind of wanted an Irish pub atmosphere. Priorities.

On a sidenote, the restaurant where we ate dinner had the coolest bathroom ever (so cool, in fact, L-dawg sent me on a secret mission to take a picture of the sink, which could be turned on by stepping on a pedal):

Canada, you really have it  all worked out.

Canada, you really have it all worked out.

By 7:30pm on that Monday evening, we were sitting at Doolin’s Irish Pub, not even getting carded for the drinks we ordered because those who “go out on the town” before 10 are probably harmless. Worked for us. There was live music. We had fries. We left by 9:30, grabbed some fancy dessert from a local cafe, and fell asleep watching the Food Network around midnight. This is good because, first of all, it’s kind of my ideal night, and secondly, we definitely needed our energy for the next day. I mean…

TOPSHOP is paradise, and it basically doesn't exist in the US (for those of you who don't know)

TOPSHOP is paradise, and it basically doesn’t exist in the US (for those of you who don’t know)

After taking advantage of the continental breakfast (since that is the point of staying in a hotel, after all), we went on a shopping spree and then a walking spree. Overestimating our speed/endurance/patience and underestimating the amount of rainfall that would occur that day, we attempted to walk all the way to Stanley Park. I cannot even give a rough estimate of how many blocks we traversed on our way to this so-called gem of Vancouver, but I can tell you that by the time we actually reached the park we had all silently agreed that a picture of a few ducks in the first pond we encountered would suffice, and we turned around. If there was ever a day, in the whole year of living together, when there was a nearly-palpable feeling of annoyance bouncing between the four of us, this was it. But a hot cup of tea with a towering tray of pastries can pretty much solve anything, and luckily that was next on our agenda.

This was my spring break, and these are my friends (all of whom I get to see on SUNDAY! *shrieks with happiness*). Such good memories – even walking in our rained-on misery.

A goal: Today’s goal, believe it or not, is actually related to both my intro and my story. When does that ever happen? Soak it up, guys.

Maybe you’ve already picked up on it, but I have this desire to see cities and mountains and canyons and grassy hillsides and practically everything. You know, the spirit of a traveler. Regrettably, though, I do not make enough time to really get out there and do stuff. I want to get out there and do stuff. I see these pictures of people I know road tripping and going on hikes and whatnot, and I always have that what-am-I-doing-with-my-life moment, when suddenly you can see very clearly your priorities have somehow been thrown askew. I’d like to get them back where they should be. And one of my top priorities is seeing and experiencing places. (I’ll start off strong by watching the Aerial America marathon all day on New Year’s, Smithsonian Channel if you’d like to participate from your own couch)

A song: Now we come to yet another song that has stayed with me through all the seasons: “I Can See Your Tracks” by Laura Veirs. In February, I sat on various benches and listened to it on repeat. It was on our spring break mix CD. I listened to it on the bus over the summer, and it is (predictably) stuck in my head now, at the very end of December.

It is so relaxed and sweet and makes me feel like I’m wandering around a prairie at sundown. If that doesn’t make you want to listen to it, I don’t know what will.

As always, thank you very very much for taking the time to read, and stay tuned for the final part of this series (and final post of 2014)!

Also, I would like to wish a very happy birthday to my dear Olivia Rose – can’t promise I won’t cry when I see you


Story, Goal, Song: part III

It has been one of those lazy winter break days – one of those in which my most “energetic” moment consisted of shyly bouncing to “Steal My Girl” amidst the racks of polos at American Eagle. The remainder of the day was spent either laying down or sitting. And although I remain sitting at this moment in time, I am telling myself this is productive. I’m producing words. It’s a good thing my standards for myself aren’t this low when school is in session…

Anyway, this is my third “story, goal, song” post. If you missed the first two, you can easily find them here or here. For those of you who are caught up/don’t care about the previous installments, let’s get this show on the road.

A story: This will not be story, but rather some stories, because apparently I get a thrill from breaking my own rules. And admittedly I just can’t decide which 2014 concert I want to single out, so I’m taking the wordy route (a road I travel frequently) and telling a story about each of them.


The 1975: The initial struggle to find any joy whilst sinking into a shrieking pit of flannel-clad flower crown-wearers ceased when my sister and I withdrew ourselves from the tangle of teen girls. Upon our arrival in the breathing zone, we made friends (by means of eye contact and the occasional smirk) with a dance-crazed Ian Somerhalder doppelganger who made the already-delightful music of the 1975 even more so. I will always remember this beautiful man. And I will always wish I had joined in his dancing. And married him.


Bruno Mars: I thought I was one of the few who could claim having a Bruno Mars-obsessed mother… until I went to a Bruno Mars concert. Surprisingly middle-aged crowd there. A great show, nonetheless – if nothing else, proof of how futile my previous efforts not to love him were. In the eternal words of REO Speedwagon, I can’t fight this feeling anymore. He has found his music niche, he owns it, his band is SO FUN to watch. Might have taken a leaf from fake Ian Somerhalder’s book and danced a little.

Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer: (sadly no pictures were taken at this show – cry with me) One of the perks of being a college student is discounts, considering my friends and I paid a mere $10 for this concert while there were well-dressed old people shelling it out in the $50s. Tough to beat. Especially for Chris Thile, a world-renowned mandolinist, and Edgar Meyer, a world-renowned bassist. I already wrote an entire post about this, so I’ll try not to repeat myself, but watching these guys was a wonderful mix of easiness, tension, and perhaps hypnosis. And to my delight, their newest album, Bass + Mandolin, is nominated for a Grammy.

photo (36)

Relient k: A concert I was not planning on attending, but I ended up (accidentally) emotionally manipulating a scalper into selling me a ticket for roughly $2 in profit – sincere thanks to that man, as a Relient k concert was precisely what I needed. It served as a reminder that, no, I have not outgrown a good, brash punk song with a redemptive bridge played on piano, and YES okay I still love Matt Thiessen. ‘Twas an evening of friends and nostalgia, and is there really a better combination? Doubtful.

A goal: This is just speculation, but I think humans like knowing where they stand with other humans. I don’t mean this to be some bitter reflection on the world of dating, in fact I’m not talking about dating at all – isn’t it just nice to hear “I’m so glad you’re my friend/sibling/personal chef/dentist” every once in awhile? One of the people I’ve grown really close to in the past year is so unbelievably talented in this area, always genuine, and it’s something I’ve really come to appreciate about her personality. Unsurprisingly, it’s something I want to bring into my own life. I want to affirm people, whether that means telling someone their hair looks nice or yelling “YOUARETHEBESTIMSOGLADWEREFRIENDS” in an unsuspecting person’s face. To put it concisely: I want to get better at out-loud appreciation, because people deserve it.

A song: It’s somewhat surprising that “Don’t Get Married Without Me” was my most-listened-to-while-driving song of the summer because, traditionally, car time is harmonization time, and it is so hard  for me to find a singable harmony for this song. But I love Punch Brothers, so I forgive them.

Ah. Reminds me of July.

Hope you have the least manic of Mondays! Till next time xx (that was me trying to be British, did it work?)

Story, Goal, Song: part II

It is time for the second installment of this enthralling series (if you missed the first part, you can find it here). Ready? Okay.

A story: Sometime in October, I sent this shame selfie to my good friend and coworker:

photo (31)

At least my hair looks shiny.

Aside from being unquestionably one of my favorite people to text, she is also a music student who could both understand and laugh at a mistake I made as the only non-music major working in the music library. While trying to help a patron with looking up a piece in our catalogue, I made a “W.C.” out of what was really a quickly uttered “Debussy.” So I searched for this W.C., silently chastising the guy for arrogantly assuming I would understand his slangy nicknames for composers… until I realized he was actually asking for a very well-known piece by a very well-known composer. Oops.

Well, the aforementioned friend and coworker decided to give me a crash course in the pronunciation of composers’ names, much to her own amusement. I will say, I think I did an exceptional job considering I have little to no knowledge of classical music, and I do have witnesses – an elementary understanding of French, German, and Russian pronunciation certainly came to my aid. There were a few that tripped me up, I admit, and these were a source of raucous laughter for my teachers (WHATEVER PROKOFIEV). But I was given a passing grade, and as a reward I got to smile a smug little smile with the composer-laden sticky notes on my fingers. Good memories, good memories.

(yes, same sweatshirt as before)

(yes, same sweatshirt as before)

A goal: I like to think I’m a kind person, but I am also an intense critic. Like, needlessly. See, I have always fancied myself a pretty intuitive young lady – for a long time, this meant first impressions were sufficient to understand another person. I met them, I got them. And although thankfully I’ve moved on from this naive notion, I still find myself, from time to time, flattening people for my own convenience. In some cases this means I imagine a person as divine perfection (laughable), in others it means I caricaturize someone for a private laugh with my friends (can range from questionable to reprehensible). Nixing this practice is going to be a challenge, partly because I am so reliant on my so-called “keen social observations” for my day-to-day comedic bits, but I really want to be, first and foremost, a truly kind person, and I believe that starts with imagining people complexly. It’s a lot harder to sneer or scoff or criticize when everyone is perceived as fully human, singular, with experiences that are unique and unknown to any passing stranger. To put it concisely: I want to get better at recognizing the multi-facetedness of every person and, in so doing, lessen the unnecessary criticism and up the kindness (even if it’s just in me talking to myself).

A song: This song I have definitely mentioned before, and I mention it again because, seriously, I have listened to it at least three times a week for the past seven months (no wonder spotify recognizes it as my top-played song of 2014). Melancholy but powerful, “Byegone” by Volcano Choir stuck with me through spring, summer, fall, and winter, and I still have not grown tired of it. Atta boys.

Also, this video is literally just fluorescent lights strapped to a tree, but it might be one of my favorite music videos of all time…?

Catch you on the flipside.

Story, Goal, Song: part I

Here begins a series of posts I can really only describe as cliche (a label I am consistently trying not to care about). I know I’m not the only victim of the tidal wave of sentimentality that accompanies the last month of the year, so I’m deeming it okay to kind of give into the appeal of both reflecting and resolving – so that is what I shall do. I am going to tell a memorable story from 2014 (with a grainy iPhone photo, naturally), explain one of my goals for the coming year (unrelated to the story, because who has time for that kind of thinking?), and since it brings me great joy to incessantly barf music recommendations on everyone, I will include a song that has come to embody my year. Let’s go!

A story: In February, I took a little weekend trip to Oregon with my family. My little sister’s volleyball team was playing in a tournament at UO, aka the worst place in the world:

My father and I wondering what we are doing in the land of the Ducks.

My father and I wondering what we are doing in the land of the Ducks.

It was incredibly cold, so much so that inhaling felt like unwillingly swallowing a 10-gallon bucket of ice water (no exaggerations to be found here). Pretty much everyone was sick, the girls were losing their games, and the coaches were visibly grumpy. Also, as I said, we were in Eugene. Enough said? Enough said.

But despite all of this, I count that weekend among my favorites of this year. Everyone else was quite clearly miserable, but I was having a delightful time – I got to spend three straight days with my parents, eat nachos and experience a Seahawks victory in a local pub, watch episodes of Lost as I went to sleep at night… and to top it all off, my parents and I were the first to stay in a newly remodeled room at our hotel, meaning I was the first ever person to sleep on this pull-out bed mattress:

Am I weird for being excited about things like this?

Am I weird for being excited about things like this?

So, yes. Against my better judgment (being a natural-born rival), I made some fond memories at the University of Oregon. And on the drive home, we happened upon a Noodles & Co, which we had only ever seen in Denver – dreams do come true.

A goal: Apparently 2014-15 is the year of mass scattering for my close friend group – one of my best friends is on a multi-month whirlwind tour of Europe, another has been in Norway since August, and yet another will be in Scotland for the remainder of the academic year, while many others are in different corners of the state. Come April, I will actually be putting pen to paper in the sun-soaked streets of Rome, so I suppose I have jumped on the bandwagon as well. But as exciting as all of this is, it has been and probably will be problematic for me – I am not phenomenal at keeping in touch.

Although I’ve been lucky to have a lot of close friends who are persistent enough for the both of us, I’d really like to step up my game in the coming year and combat the whole “out of sight, out of mind” state of thinking (a state which is involuntary in my case, I assure you). It’s really a matter of re-prioritizing and being intentional, which, unsurprisingly, is an idea at the heart of most of my resolutions. To put it concisely: I want to get better at showing the people who are important to me that, even though I am far away, I still consider our friendship very valuable and something that is worth maintaining. (and I refuse to apologize for how cheesy this is)

A song: With a whopping 1,700+ tracks saved to my many spotify playlists this past year, picking out just four or five to include in this series of posts is SO HARD. So, to make things easier for myself, I am making the first one a very recent favorite (recent, like I discovered this song a week ago). It’s called “Even the Darkness Has Arms” by the Barr Brothers.

One of the many songs with lyrics I wish I had written, and one of the many songs that makes me really, really want to pick up a guitar and learn how to play it. I am seriously excited about the music this band is making, and I encourage you to listen to their newest album, Sleeping Operator – you can stream it on spotify, or just buy it (probably the better of the two options).

And with that, I will say “till next time.” I hope your day is lovely!