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!


How I know it’s spring.

I don’t really keep it a secret – spring is my favorite season, and it always has been. I love summer, I love fall, and I love winter, too, but there is something about spring that makes me want to sit in my window, read a good book, and have a cute little songbird come perch on my finger (this has actually happened before, no lie). I just love everything about it.

I have been particularly anticipatory of this spring. I remember days in February when we would catch the faintest glint of sun, and I would run outside in a t-shirt and sunglasses even though it was only in the 40’s. There were many times when I would find myself moving from campus bench to campus bench, following that tiny bit of bright warmth. If spring were a boy, I would want to marry him, but he would probably file a restraining order against me because I’m too pushy. That’s just how it is.

But now – finally – after months of imagining cherry blossoms and clear blue skies, my season has arrived. I’m generally a pretty happy person, but now I just have the urge to frolick everywhere, which is embarrassing and not an exaggeration at all. I am breathing in the smell of flowers and I can see the mountains so clearly and I am just so in love. I have quite a vivid imagination, but I can’t imagine a time or a place more lovely than the Northwest in the spring, and I can’t imagine better people with whom to spend it.

How do I know it’s spring? Well first of all, the spring equinox happened. I am also officially on spring break. So those are pretty clear cut. But there are a couple of other things that always seem to signify spring for me: wanderlust and happy music.

I told one of my roommates last week that I always feel some degree of wanderlust, but my levels see a steep, steep increase once spring comes along. This year, that spike is attributable to Aerial Americaaka one of the best shows to ever grace the pages of Netflix. For a long time, I thought everything I could ever want to see was somewhere across the ocean – Italy, Morocco, Japan. Even now, one of my most-sighed phrases is “I want to go everywhere,” but I feel like my previous attitude has changed a little. Of course I want to see Rome before I die, but I also feel like I’ll hate myself if I never drive the Pacific Coast Highway in its entirety. Thanks to some striking aerial footage and history-focused narration, I’m determined to embark on the ultimate road trip across America and see all the things and meet all the people and yeah. As I said earlier… I want to go everywhere.

And what is a road trip without great music? Answer: a shitty road trip. Luckily I have been able to compile a list of songs that are evocative of spring (for me, at least), most of which are featured in my two-disc “O Canada” collection – being the queen of thrusting mix CDs at people who don’t ask for mix CDs, I couldn’t not play DJ on a quickly-approaching two-day excursion to Canada with my roommates. A sample:

DSC_1158If there is one song that has prepped me for my favorite season this year, it is “I Can See Your Tracks” by Laura Veirs. I’ve probably listened to it too many times, but judging by how quickly I go through jars of peanut butter, I am not one for moderation.

So there we go. Yes, spring makes me a very sappy person. But trees are sappy too, and people love trees. (please love me) Okay bye!

The Day I Sacrificed Comfort for Cuteness

Remember about a month ago when I was raving about how marvelous the weather was? Yeah, the times have changed, guys. The times have changed.

I’m generally a pretty reasonable person, and I don’t think I’m wrong in believing I have my share of common sense. But alas, I have a weakness: looking cute. I wouldn’t call it vanity, exactly, although I will admit to being a frequent mirror-gazer (might as well enjoy the way I look, since I’m kind of stuck with it). What it really is, though, is this rarely-acknowledged innate desire for my life to be a movie; a movie in which I am the endearingly quirky protagonist who has witty internal monologues and a wickedly eclectic soundtrack. So sometimes I can’t help but dress in pretty florals and walk around campus listening to the Kooks.

Usually, this habit/inclination/mental condition causes me zero problems. But it’s February in the Northwest, and do you know what that means? Massive amounts of precipitation. I am no stranger to it, but somehow I still forget rain exists… even though I have windows and look out of them pretty often.

So today, I decided I wanted to look like the human embodiment of springtime, with flowers and ballet flats and all that jazz. Even after my roommate came in from class complaining about the rain and the wind and the fact that she had worn flats, I still didn’t change my outfit.  For purely referential purposes, this is what I was wearing:

What can I say, selfies are awk.

What can I say, selfies are awk.

Walking down the hallway, I was really cold. Walking outside, I sort of wanted to die. Those leggings, if you can’t tell, are verging on paper-thin. My umbrella was seriously trying to invert itself because the wind was ridiculous, and I am frankly surprised I didn’t get picked up on one of the stronger gusts and blown into the clouds like Dorothy and Toto. The shoes, however, posed the biggest problem – those stupid flats are difficult to keep on my feet when they’re perfectly dry, but when they’re rain-soaked… ah man. I was slipping and sliding all over the place, and I actually lost one of those dumb shoes while walking up some stairs. Outside. With people around. People who are smarter than me and wear rainboots when it’s raining! What a novel idea.

Needless to say, this will not be a recurring happenstance. I no longer care how nicely the pattern of my shoes contrasts with the pattern of my leggings. Because of the rain, I am a changed woman.