Friday, December 31, 2010

Jackie - You Are Uniquely You

I have great news! And I can't believe I forgot to share it with you a few weeks ago. My check engine light turned off! I added some oil, talked to her gently and the check engine light is no longer staring me down every time I drive my car. Maybe you're like me and you're thinking, that car is pretty old, is it possible the light just burned out? Except that whenever I start my car and all the lights in my dash come on, it let's me know it still works. [Unlike my gas light, which really did burn out.]

Here's the bad news: my car got totaled last week. I was in a small accident, but my 13 year old Honda Accord took the brunt of the damage and the estimate to repair her is over $4,200. The upside of this is that they think my 13 year old Honda Accord is worth almost $5,000. I'm sure I won't get the whole amount, but that's a great start to a down payment. As far as it affects my financial goal - I don't think it will too much. I chatted it through with Financial Guru Lisa and if I can keep my car loan payment less than my current credit card payments, I'll be just fine. [Spoiler Alert: That means those credit card payments are about to go away soon!]

The other good news is that my cousin, Kaleigh is going to be flying in on Sunday to spend a few days with the family. She is one of my favorites so I'm looking forward to spending a few days reconnecting with her. I'll let you know how it goes.

The last day of the year is a great time for reflection. So I'm including a piece I wrote for the current issue of the magazine I work for. As you're considering the year behind - all the things you wanted to accomplished and all the things you wish you'd accomplished but didn't... and as you're considering the year ahead - all the things you'd like to accomplish and the items from that list you might be doubting... consider the fact that you are who you are on purpose.

You Are Uniquely You
Consider this.
And really take the
time to think about
it. You are unique.
There will never be
anyone else who can
fit into your mold.

And that was on

Reflect on the detail
put into creating
your physical body.
Think about the oneof-
a-kind way you
taste food, make
and grow babies and
see color and all the
complex processes
your body carries
out every day.

Examine the way
your mind works.
Ponder the individual
way you experience
emotions, think
about complex
ideas, enjoy others
and love deeply.

Contemplate what
makes you — you.
The combination of
your genetics, life
experiences and
choices are exclusive
only to you.

And consider that it
was all on purpose.
You are uniquely
you. And you are
loved for exactly
who you are.

-Jackie Alvarez
Originally appeared in November/December 2010 MomSense magazine. Used with Permission.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jackie - charity: water

Christmas is over and now it's back to real life, huh? It's amazing how fast it comes and goes and then the day after Christmas is left in an erie silence of "normal" we haven't seen since the middle of November.

In an effort to keep a little bit of the Christmas spirit alive, I'll tell you a little about my holiday this year. And it even relates to a goal. You're impressed, I can tell.

Over Christmas I got involved globally. What? Over Christmas? Yes. It's not the grand jesture I had imagine when I wrote my goals almost a year ago, but it was a step. I little step toward engaging people across various borders. At TNL [that's my church], we got involved with an organization called charity: water [] for the holiday. The premise was this: give one less gift to someone who doesn't really need it and donate the money toward building a well so that somewhere across the ocean people could have a basic necessity of life: clean drinking water. And not just one sip of cool, clear refreshing water, but a well that will provide water for 20 years! They're a fantastic organization and you should check them out!

This year, I set my Christmas budget, went minimal on the gifts and gave everything left over toward the cause. And I'll tell you what, it felt fantastic! I've given to other organizations before, but this time it felt different, more significant. Maybe it's because I'm in this season of financial limits, but it felt like I really gave of myself toward others who have even less. It gave this year's Christmas more purpose than usual.

I'll leave you with a couple things you might be interested in checking out:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jackie - Things Are Moving ... Slowly

I'll start by saying I have quite a few things to write about. However, since I'm already struggling to get all my posts in, I'm going to save the significant things for their own posts. [Did I say that last time, I feel like I did... ] It feels a little like cheating, but think of it as getting out of reading one really, really long post.

First, GOOD NEWS!! My financial aid came through! I'm a little late with the news but I received my full financial aid for the fall semester that just finished. AND, they awarded me full financial aid for spring semester. The letter [which I didn't receive until a few weeks ago] explained that I will continue receiving financial aid on a term by term basis as long as I'm working toward completing a goal and my grades are good. Woo hoo!!

On that same financial note, I think I got my second job back. Which is a blessing and a curse. They couldn't manage without me [ha, ha] so over break I'm going to be putting in some extra hours and earning some extra money. The problem is that my school schedule next semester isn't going to be easy and I'm not sure how I'm going to make it all happen successfully. But I'll deal with that when it comes.

Also, I decided it's time to tackle my spiritual goal. I'll be honest, for the past few months I have been intentionally ignoring this goal. I haven't been in the right place to engage my questions and I wanted to do my best to give this whole process a fair chance. But for the past few weeks I've felt something in my heart and now I can't ignore God whispering to my heart any longer. It's time. So, I actually drafted up 5 proposal letters to people I'd like to "interview" with my spiritual questions and sent them out. By the amount of time I took writing the letters I can tell that this goal is going to be very humbling.

In an effort to enhance creativity I've committed to working through The Artist's Way. The book has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time with the intention of working through it, but I always put it off. It's a 12 week adventure [that's not the right word, but go with it] and for that reason it would be more appropriate to do over the summer, but I'm decided it can't wait any longer so I'm delving in. I might also have some other creative news, but I can't say. Which is kind of rude for me to even bring up, but I wanted to let you know that something is happening.

So... my box of random papers. Christmas break. I'm going to make it happen if it kills me.

I realized that I've been putting off posting my photos until I can sort through them on a new, better computer I was hoping to have had by now. However, my 2005 Dell that doesn't recognize Word documents and says "YY23E21" instead of "My Computer" has to stick around for awhile. So I'm going to have to get over it and just go through my photos.

And last, though it pains me to say so, I think I am going to concede on Goal 1:: Start teaching. I did some work talking to other music teachers about books and what things work for them, but I'm afraid that it just comes down to enough hours in the day. This is something I'd really like to do, but I think it's going to have to be something for a future year.

So that's where I'm at.

Thanks for sticking with is this long. 
You're support is appreciated!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mansfield Park- an Incestuous Tail of Impropriety, and What Sarah Learned from It.

We start with the sweet, humble, and good Fanny Price.  Her wealthy uncle, Sir Thomas, brings her to Mansfield Park at  a young age, in hopes of avoiding an unfortunate love match between Fanny and his own sons-- should they meet later on in their older, more attractive, and passionate years of the mid-twenties.  The idea is that they will grow up as brothers and sister and, therefore, never consider one another as a love match.  I'm sure you already know where this is going.

Sir Thomas is married to Lady Bertram, a rather lackadaisical woman with good intentions but very low motivation.  They have four children- Tom the playboy; Maria the diabolically flirtatious, easily bored trollop; Julia the immature, overly excited sidekick; and Edmund the righteous, moral, soon-to-be-clergyman.  As they grow together, Maria and Julia torment Fanny, Tom stresses her out with his unscrupulous behavior, and that leaves Edmund.  Fanny finds solace in their mirrored values and he takes her under his attendant wing from an early age.

Sir Thomas ends up having to leave the Park for an extended amount time to see to some business in Antigua.  Enter the Crawfords.  Henry and Mary Crawford are the siblings of the local clergyman's sister.  Earlier I described Maria as "diabolical" but, compared to these two, that's a bit unfair.  Perhaps I should just say she's bored and kind of bitchy.  Henry is rather short and really quite ugly.  All he has to rely on is his charming personality. And, to compensate for everything he's lacking, he makes women fall in love with him for sport.  Despite Maria's engagement to a rich oaf, Henry takes her on as any good sportsman takes on a challenging prey,  And all the while, he leads Julia on by both insulting and complimenting her enough to make her irreversibly devoted to him.  The beautiful Mary Crawford decides to sink her teeth into Edmund (because he's seemingly rich and handsome).  But when she hears of his plans for the cloth, she immediately begins to belittle him in hopes of guiding him in a more profitable direction.

Eventually they all make some bad choices- they put on a play (apparently an immoral thing to do back in the day), Edmund falls in love with Mary, Fanny gets jealous but she hardly ever speaks so he has no idea, Henry breaks Julia's heart, Maria gets married to said rich oaf, Henry falls in love with Fanny but has an affair with Maria leading to her divorce, Edmund is still in love with Mary, Tom falls and hits his head in a drunken stupor- this inexplicably leads to a fever and a near death experience, and Julia runs off with the guy who suggested the horrifying play 200 pages earlier.  Eventually Edmund realizes Mary is a waste of time and a horrible human being in general.  He finally decides that he's totally in love with Fanny because she's lovely and good and everything Mary is not.  And the two cousins who grew up together as brother and sister lived happily ever after.

Incestuous, right?

Okay, so now you're up to speed on what took me about 10 times as long to get through.  But what is Jane Austen's point in all this?  Is she really into "keeping it in the family?"  Does she have a thing against beautiful girls?  Or perhaps she was feeling especially dramatic and bitter at this point her life and wanted to write about rich people mucking up their boring, spoiled lives.

All of those things could very well be true.  However, without having to make rather large inferences about Jane's personal history, we know that virtue is a big theme in this book.  Good morals are rewarded, while those without seem to get their comeuppance.   Fanny is constantly attempting to find the correct reaction to situations.  She has to walk the fine line of knowing her place and standing by what she knows to be right.  When the idea of putting on a private play at Mansfield comes up, she is desperately against it.  But, knowing no one will listen to her opinion on the matter, she lets them do as they will.  However, when asked to participate, she staunchly refuses, despite seeing Edmund and Mary growing closer during every rehearsal.  Her internal dialogue is a constant debate of what she ought to do.

I've been feeling like this a lot lately.  An unwritten goal of mine has been to be more intentional in my relationships.  The further in I get, the more I find myself constantly searching for the "appropriate."  What should I say, what choice is best, and how can I impact this situation to the betterment of both people involved.  That kind of inner dialogue presents a constant dilemma- when does an intentional relationship become simply a checklist of do's and don'ts?  Always trying to do the "right thing" often leaves me feeling non-present and detached, clinical even.  And, in a frightening revelation, that's kind of comfortable to me.  If I always fly above the relationship/friendship/dating weather, I'm really not in danger of feeling any sort of disappointment, rejection, or [insert negative feeling here].

This is not to say I don't get attached to my relationships, or that I don't care about the people in my life.  Because I do- sometimes to a fault.  And it is because of that I always want to "do right by them."  It all comes back to my constant inner struggle to be real and open and vulnerable, but also mature, responsible and "virtuous" (if I may use an Austen term).

Honestly, I didn't like Mansfield Park much.  And if I handed in this "analysis" to an English professor, they'd hand it right back to me and say I'd missed the boat.  But it's not about that.  It's about these weird, unrelated-to-the-plot messages I get from Miss Austen as I read her stories.  I sat down to talk about the dangers of making bad choices out of boredom, and ended up with this recently unearthed truth: that I still really struggle with being intentional with people and what it means to truly invest and be present in relationships.

So cheers to Jane for keeping my eyes set on living a well-balanced life.  And here's to not flying above or below any sort of relationship, but right through the crux of it.  If you have any thoughts on how you live intentional lives with intentional relationships, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sarah's Feeling Prodigal

Oh well hey there!  It has been a shameful amount of time since I've written.  And would you like to know why I've been so absent?  I'm tired of this intentional living situation.  I know, you're not supposed to say things like that out loud. But I am.  I'll be honest with you all, I'm tired.  Tired of looking at my list of goals and knowing that most of them are not attainable by the end of our time here at Shake the Dust.  Tired of constantly feeling guilty about what I'm avoiding.  And tired of knowing people are reading this and seeing my shortcomings in real time.

The last couple months have been a jaunt into the realm of selfishness.  And trying to live an examined and intentional life hasn't exactly gelled well with that mind set.  I'm having a hard time finding that zeal I began this journey with.  Moving to Portland was such a huge soul searching event on its own.  When I'm not dealing with homesickness, missing friends desperately, or trying to assimilate into this new city, I rarely want to delve deeper into more self examination.  During that time, I mostly want to have fun.

And on that note, my final excuse is that I've had copious amounts of friends in town for the last three weeks.  Good friends are wonderful distractions.   I have no regrets.

But now is not the time for excuses.  Now is the time to focus on living a good story again.  My story currently is getting a little stale and I for one wouldn't want to read about myself.  So, dear readers, let's renew our vows, shall we?  I promise to do my best in attaining my goals and living a story worth talking and reading about.  I promise to respect this chance I've been given by filling it with all the meaningful experiences I can.  And I promise to remember and appreciate all the magic wrapped up in this inexplicable thing called life.  All I need is for you to promise to keep reading, to send me your thoughts and quips from time to time, and to not judge me too harshly when I get to the end of this and have to reconcile all that I did not accomplish.  Because I have a feeling that no matter what gets checked off the list, I'll come out the other side with a richer and deeper story that may even be worth sharing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

You're in 'the middle', Genevieve

Probably one of the greatest things about setting out on new adventures and aspirations is the newness of it all, the excitement on embarking towards something unknown... and then the thrill eventually wears off. You get stuck in the actual work and methodical, tedious tendencies of achieving those new goals. I'd have to say I'm there right now and have been there for a bit. It has its ups and downs, but overall it can be overwhelming.

Sarah and I were discussing this a few weeks back and I distinctly remember her saying, that us as a generation are so used to instant gratification that sometimes we forget how to actually fight for what we dream to be. It's so true. You want the fame, the success, the relief of having a finished product in front of you, but the work that it takes to get there, in reality, is daunting.

One of my favorite entrepreneurs once said, "If something comes easily and without sacrifice, it's rarely significant."

So here's to being caught in 'the middle' as Sarah phrased it. It's not at all glamorous, but it's necessary to get to where we all aspire to be.

Here are some updates on my goals... since everything doesn't make itself in a day...
Personal Goals:
1. Submitting a piece to Relevant Magazine: To be honest, I had kind of forgotten about this one and then suddenly became pretty inspired to write a few weeks back. What developed was an article on the power of forgiveness. I just submitted this a few nights back and am waiting to hear back. I won't be crushed if it doesn't make it on to their online magazine. And if it doesn't, I'll still post it on here to gain feedback and maybe aspire towards another article or CD review.

2. Being a good owner to Mr. Keith Moon: I've started dog training with him over the past few months, and let's just say, it hasn't been easy. We're on to group classes and I'm sort of nervous, because he's definitely got an aggression problem.

3. Going to Australia: I'm half way there as far as money saved!

Church/Spiritual Goals:
1. Being heartfelt and genuine in my role as a worship leader: We have an all night of worship with my church coming at the end of January. I'm excited to be in on the planning of it and participating in such a great experience.

2. Participating in more community service events and creating a bigger presence of giving in my life: I've started going to a Bible study every Tuesday night with my church and am loving it! The great thing about this group is that we make it a point to help in our community once a month. This month we're going to help with a Christmas party for Save Our Youth and have fun with under privileged kids:)

Musical Goals:
1. Playing/performing more: My wonderful friend, Ms. Leslie Brown, is having her CD release in January. I'm jumping on board as one of her back up singers and am loving this opportunity:)

2. Recording an EP: I finished 5 songs and am finalizing everything creatively in that realm.

Career Goals:
1. Pushing myself at my current job: I've been taking on more responsibility, am booking more shows, learning about budgets and have put in a proposal for them to pay my way to go to SXSW. Cross your fingers for this one!

Entrepreneurial Goals:
1. Making Hear Us Loud happen: I'm currently in the process of registering everything as a sole proprietorship and getting design ideas finalized in order to print in three weeks:)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jackie - I'm living alone!

 [Note: This photo has nothing to do with my blog post, it's simply to show off Sarah and I's costumes for the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie. Amazing, right?]

I've written this post three times now. The first one was right after I moved across the hall and it was raving about how living alone is the only way to go. I had tons of motivation, I was being creative and getting lots of things done. I even picked a photo from Home Alone of Macaulay Culkin jumping on his parents bed saying, "I'm loving alone!"

The second time was couple weeks later after I came down with a stomach bug. I was alone and completely bored without a tv or Internet to entertain me, and I was missing my mom and Sarah who always take good care of me when I've been sick. I also learned that it's important as a single person to always have ginger ale around because I was in no shape to go get some when I needed it most.

Now it's been about six weeks and I think I've settled into a groove about what living alone looks like.

I'll start by saying, I think it was a great choice for me right now. It's nice to come home and be with just me. I've never been the introverted type, but I feel like I'm in the middle of one of those seasons that brings change and growth and all this alone-ness is giving me the opportunity to invest in what that looks like.

However [and that's a big however], I also find that living alone means a lot of accountability to myself. If I waste an entire evening [or week of evenings] lying on my couch doing absolutely nothing no one knows or even notices... just me. If I don't eat good meals and eat ice cream for breakfast no one knows... just me. If I live like a slob or don't wash the dishes for weeks no one knows... just me.

Maybe I'm late to the game, but I feel like all this living alone stuff is an entirely new way of experiencing all this deciding what my life should look like and what is worth the investment of my time.

Anyway, since this blog is about goals, I thought I'd update you on my financial goal. As of today, I only owe $1772.27 in credit card bills and $300 to my dad for my car. And I'm feeling pretty good about it since I started the blog with $3,300 of credit card debt, $1,100 of medical bills and a $700 debt to my dad. For us math nerds that means I've put $3,027.73 toward becoming debt free in the last 7 months!

My progress on this is probably going to slow down because I lost my second job a couple weeks ago [which I'm not entirely upset about since it was really stressing me out], but I still have hope I can get it all paid off by the end of 12 months.

I have other things to update on, but since I'm trying to get in 52 posts and I'm grossly behind, I'll save them for next time. Until then...


Friday, October 29, 2010

Go to Portland, Genevieve!

Some goals, I must say, are easier than others... like my traveling goals. I mean, I guess you do have to save the money to get there, but once you go, you can check it off your list. It's not a 100 step process that you're committed to for the long haul.

So here I am in Portland! I've been waiting to visit this mysterious, hip, trendy spot for a few years now. I've always been told that I would love this city, so when Sarah decided to move out here in July it was all the more reason to discover it:) It's kind of cloudy, with a bit of rain on the pavement this morning and I'm so excited to see what the rest of this weekend will hold. We have fun Friday night plans, Halloween parties tomorrow and a day in Seattle in Sunday. Ooohh the possibilities:)

Oh and don't forget it has been wonderful to be reunited with the BFF after 3 months. There's something to say about a person that you've know for 12 years, that has seen you live and grow through the ups and the downs, can read your mind before you even say anything and will still do the cast and reel with you in a crowd of dancing hipsters. I <3 you, Sarah:)

Now off to the adventures!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's Wrong with Sarah

What is wrong with me?

There are many answers to that question but they all differ according to the context of what is being asked.  In this particular instance, I am alluding to the fact that no matter what I do, I get no thrill from writing anymore.  I'm sure you've notice my prolonged absences from the blog.  But I've also been neglecting my personal blog, my journal, and the fiction pieces I've had hanging over my head for the past two years.

It's like the minute the thought "I ought to sit down a write something" comes into my head, this switch flips.  It literally feels like a steel barricade comes slamming down, separating my creative juices from whatever receptors send them to my typing fingers.

The mere thought of writing used to get me so jazzed.  I used to go to Stellas at 6 am on Saturdays with my friend AJ and we would write for hours, except that it generally felt like no time at all.  I'd get so wrapped up in my characters, what they were doing and where they were leading me.  The pure adventure of it was enough to get me up that early on my precious weekends.  But now I have this steel barricade.  And this complete apathy towards writing.  But the more I remind myself of things like this last paragraph, the more I want to delve back into my practice.

I've moved, I've settled, and now I'm just wasting time.  I don't have any real excuses to hide behind other than, "I don't know what's wrong with me."  But the idea of just getting over it and writing through that barricade makes it seal itself even tighter.

Two of my goals are to finish a piece I've been working on and to publish something.  I have until March.  And really, I could probably man up and finish one of the stories I've been working on.  The publishing thing has got me a little weak at the knees though.

I haven't asked our readers for much help throughout this process, and maybe I should've a while ago.  But I'm asking for it now.  I'm probably going to need to some encouragement, inquires, and thoughts on how the heck I'm going to pull this publishing thing off.

And I have some questions for you all: Have any of you felt this way about something you loved?  It doesn't have to be writing, it could be anything you were/are passionate about.  Are you still struggling (maybe we could commiserate) or did you come out the other side?  I could use thoughts, tips, advice, anything really to get me out of this slump.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Failure is OK, Genevieve.

Well, October has been going at full speed and I've barely had enough time to catch my breath. Everything from life changing concerts to new friends to giggling when I shook Collin Hay's hand to dog training to writing/recording music to finding the perfect dress for $8 to booking some great bands to weddings to supporting my family in some recent hard times to just. LIVING. life.

I'm actually quite proud of myself. I'm not slacking. I'm not sitting back and wistfully hoping for change or for my goals to accomplish themselves. I'm out there putting myself on the line and I've realized that even if some of these things don't ever come to fruition, that's OK.

My mom recently asked me if I had ever watched JK Rowling's commencement speech she gave to Harvard graduates a few years back. I hadn't, so on her suggestion I sat down one evening to see what she was raving about. The speech was well... a swift punch to the gut... BUT in the best way possible. JK Rowling talks about how stepping out on a ledge and taking risk, with the potential of failure, is the better than sitting in a defined box and thinking there will be progress. Sometimes it takes frightfully big steps outside of your comfort zone to realize your true potential. And sometimes in that, you fall flat on your face. But you know what? I'd much rather die knowing that I gave my all to my passions than wondering, "What if?"

So, below I've attached the link to JK Rowling's speech. I hope you take the time to watch it and maybe embark on some potentially life changing failures.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jackie - It's All Up to the Man Now

Here's the deal. When you've been in college as long as I have, the Financial Aid people don't like it. In fact, they try really hard to make sure you aren't in college as long as I have been -- and generally, with good reason. However, I am still in school -- with my own good reasons.

I knew I was approaching the credit limit for financial aid assistance and had some plans in place for when it was going to run out. I thought everything was hunky dory for this semester when the school computer systems said my financial aid was planned to come through just like normal. I even got a postcard in the mail telling me that everything was in order.

But then it didn't come through and when I contacted them to find out I'm on financial aid suspension. You're shocked, right? Me too. I get good grades and I haven't reached the limit [thought I'm on the brink], so I was completely blindsided by this news. Turns out, they won't let you go over the limit, which is why I was put on suspension [without warning] now. The very friendly person answering my emails told me I can fill out a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal in hopes they will change their mind in my case and continue my aid. I filled out the form, wrote a personal statement and had to meet with my academic adviser. She's a rather busy person, so we had a brief email conversation about what was going on and I dropped off the form for her to fill out. That set got lost and I ended up dropping off another set a few days later. When I went to pick those up, they had been filled out wrong. After a third, successful, attempt, I walked all my forms down to the Financial Aid office yesterday and turned everything in.

I'm asking for prayers, thoughts or good juju -- whatever it is you go for -- in the direction of the person reviewing my case, because it's all up to the man [or woman], now. And I literally see someone at an old desk examining every word I wrote to determine of I'm worthy. ... Wow, I shouldn't think about that anymore. It's a little overwhelming. But on the brighter side, this person can both approve for me to get my financial aid this semester and can increase the credit limit to include the rest of my schooling education, if they see see fit.

Now, if they don't my financial goals are pretty much out the air because I'll have to come up with $4,000 in the next 9 weeks or I won't be able to continue my education. But right now, I have high hopes.

In case you're interested, I included my personal statement in the comments section if you've ever wondered for yourself what the heck I'm doing with my life.

Oh... and did I mention my check engine light turned on last week?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Shameless Eating

One goal I've been really avoiding is the first on my list- weight loss.  I've avoided writing about it and avoided it physically.  Mentally it's been quite pervasive.  Really I haven't written about it because, unless your succeeding, it's rather embarrassing to talk about. So far I've defined this goal in two different ways: to lose as much as possible and to lose 10 pounds by the time I got to Portland.  Neither of these has exactly been accomplished.  But, like I said, I have been thinking a lot about this goal, which is the first step to integrating it physically... right? But I should explain what exactly I've been thinking about.
I've been thinking- I kind of like myself, you know, just the way I am.  It's odd to say that out loud, or rather, type it determinedly.  When I set that goal, all I felt was guilt.  Guilt that I ran two miles instead of three.  Guilt that I ate more than I should have.  Guilt that I wasn't fitting into an unrealistic size or image I had set for myself.  But now I have this new found reverence for my body- the way it heals itself, the way it knows just what i needs to be at its best.  I'm learning to listen to it and take queues from  within myself to know what the true meaning of "healthy" is.  
Since moving to Portland I've had a flux of emotions over the issue.  There are a lot of healthy people here.  And I mean, a lot.  And that can be intimidating and sometimes soul crushing.  There are also a lot of really really really good places to eat.  And that can be hard to avoid or deny.  And to round it out, generally the people around this town are happy- they walk around with this glowing contentedness.  And I've been thinking a lot about what makes someone happy and healthy.  Is it a number?  Is it a notch on your belt?  Or is it found in an ice cream carton?  Really, it's found in none of these.  It's from a sense of enjoyment and a fulfilling life.  And I'm sorry, but if I'm killing myself over a number on a scale, forcing myself to run so far I throw up, I am not enjoying myself.  Just like I'm not feeling fulfilled after I eat a bunch of junk filled with sugar, chemicals and preservatives.  It's a balance found between being able to enjoy really good food living a life not defined by what I ingest.
A dear friend was in town the past week and it was then I started to really consider my relationship with food and my body's health.  We ate.  Oh how we ate.  But generally the center of those meals wasn't the food.  Everywhere we went was delicious, don't get me wrong, but the main object of those meals, seated across from each other, forks in hand, was conversation, bonding and creating a moment in time that could be remembered.  Remembered for the relationship being cultivated as well as the wonderfully crafted and delicious items going into our mouths. Had I been worried about calories or whether or not I'd be able to work that brie and toast off the next day, I would have missed out on some really beautiful moments we had together.  One of my favorite moments was at a French bakery.  When our server asked if I'd like the wheat toast or the butter croissant with my eggs, we both looked at each other- the server and I- as if to say, "Is that even a question?  Of course I'll have the butter croissant.  And the dark chocolate mousse to follow.  And a mimosa while you're at it."  Being at that patisserie has got to be one of my best memories with my friend.  We drank our mimosas, ate our croissants and cake and deliciously hand crafted egg dishes and then toasted to the best cup of americanos we'd ever had (and yes, we used real  cream and real sugar).  And in the middle, we talked about our futures and what scared us, laughed about shared secrets only true friendships breed, and grew closer than ever.  That is what makes a meal.  Calories be damned, I regret nothing.
But let's not forget the "healthy" part of the equation.  In a real world we can't all go around eating butter croissants, justifying them because we had a good time doing it.  No no, my arteries would not appreciate that.  If I'm going to indulge, I'll indulge- and that's the fact of the matter.  But it's not going to be on a bag of generic brand chocolate chips or a carton of cheap ice cream.  It's going to be on the good stuff- made of pure ingredients and put together in an artful and deliberate way.  And yes, those things are usually expensive, which means it probably won't happen that often.  But when it does, oooh mamma, I won't be holding back.  Because, as it turns out, Weight Watchers was wrong- LOTS of things taste better than skinny feels.  (And shame on them for creating such a damaging and limiting mantra).
Exercise is something to be considered as well, of course.  And that too should be as good for the soul as it is for the body.  I love yoga.  I really really do.  I think it's worth the investment because it is so wholesome for your body and heart.  I have never felt like I did when I was going to yoga three or four times a week.  I plan on getting back into that.  I may be done running for a while. I only did it because it was the fastest way to my weight-loss goals.  But, generally, I hated ever mile of it.  I'm determined to exercise in ways that make me happy.  Because, seriously, what's the point otherwise?  I bought a Groupon for a pilates-yoga-arobic studio that I'll be checking out soon.  After I've used that up I'll be taking ballroom dancing lessons!  It may not be the high-impact, get-thin-quick route to go, but I can pretty much guarantee I'll be enjoying myself.
So, basically I've decided to not drive myself crazy with this weight thing.  Is there a bit more of me then there used be?  Well yes, but I'd like to believe a little more Sarah Van Wyke in the world isn't such a bad thing.  Does that mean I have an ass, curves and a bit of a belly?  Well, it's still a little embarrassing to say so, but yes.  Yes I do.  And instead of longing for the days when everything will lie flat like the body of a jr. high boy, I'll just use what I've got- love on it, embrace it, and flaunt it in the most flattering and classy ways.
I'll leave you with a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat Pray Love.  I feel like it applies to my own adventure here in the Pacific Northwest.  Just replace "Italy" with "Portland" and you've got what I'm trying to say in a nutshell.
"I did not know yet what I deserved.  I still maybe don't fully know what I deserve.  But I do know that I have collected myself of late- through the enjoyment of harmless pleasure- into somebody much more intact.  The easiest, most fundamentally human ways to say it is that I have put on weight.  I exist more now than I did four months ago.  I will leave Italy noticeably bigger than when I arrived here.  And leave with the hope that the expansion of one person- the magnification of one life- is indeed an act of worth in this world.  Even if that life, just this one time, happens to be nobody's but my own.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jackie - Silent September

I decided to try somewhat of an experiment this month. I called it: Silent September.

Here's what it entails: no tv and no music... ok, some music, but only classical, ambient and music I'm working on for school.

The idea was tri-fold. [Is that how you say two-fold +1?]

First, I finally got a schedule worked out... you know, that one I was talking about where I wasn't scheduled for 12 hours a day in hopes of engaging the things I actually want to make my life about? That whole scheduling issue at school threw a little wrench in things, but I have a schedule with considerably more wiggle room than I've had in the last year and I don't want to get in the habit of wasting this extra time watching tv... which is really, really tempting. [As a side note, I'm so glad they cut the school's budget, raised tuition and spent millions of dollars on a new registration system that is horrible and does things like arbitrarily change course information to list it at the wrong time.]

Second, I've had a lot of stuff happen in the past few months. A lot. And most of it pretty craptastic. And at the same time, I've bee so go-go-go that my thinking and processing have gotten back logged. And this back-log is causing stress and anxiety like I've never had before. [I apologize to any one with anxiety that I've ever misunderstood -- this is horrible.] That was the main cause of the no music rule. What it really means is that I'm taking all the time I spend in the car and instead of passing the time, letting the tunes entertain me, I'm engaging the time to let my mind sort some stuff out.

Third, I am attempting to exercise more and tv tends to get in the way. That's all I'll say about that at the moment.

Oh, and side reason... Donald Miller gave up tv, so I figured... erm... I should stop here before I say something embarrassing.

So far it's been amazing! I've taken to working on one project per evening when I'm at home instead of watching tv. I'm caught up on my school reading [which is a lifetime first], I fixed an antique dresser, I have done a ton of cleaning up and cleaning out, AND I finally started going through my box [+ bag + pile] of papers and other things I've never known what to do with. That's right, turning off the tv has helped me attempt Goal 9:: Clean out my box. And my car time has definitely become good thinkin' time

But don't be misinformed and think I've been perfect. I definitely finished Season 3 of "30 Rock" and watched the first disc of "My So Called Life." But I have also been housesitting for my aunt with a super big tv and a million channels and I'm proud to say I haven't turned it on once.

Also... in other news.
Finances: I think I've taken a major, huge, catastrphic set-back because I'm having trouble with my financial aid at school. I'll update on this when I know more. 

52 Posts: There are 52 weeks in a year and I committed to posting every week. We're half way through and it turns out I missed a few weeks. Don't be surprised if you hear from me a couple extra times this half of the year as I'm determined to have 52 things to post about.

Until next week...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Being Fragile

It's been a while, I know.  But, instead of presenting you a list of reasons why I've been so aloof (moving, adjusting, laziness, etc), I'll just say "sorry" and jump right back into it.

I finished Pride and Prejudice a few days ago.  I've been trying to think of what to say about this story that hasn't been said yet.  While reading it, I was trying to think of the characters as if they had been written about today.  Because a lot of the issues, character flaws, and circumstances are still timely.

Elizabeth is strong willed, a quick wit, intelligent and fun loving.  To put it in a more current light- she's that girl that shares at least 30 mutual friends with you on Facebook.  And I'm sorry for the cliche, but she's beautiful inside and out.  You want to hate her, you really really do.  She's lovely and talented and well loved by everyone.  But the more you see her at parties, you just can't help but want to be her friend because she's so genuine.  Try as you might, you love this girl and can't wait to go get coffee together.  However, she's not perfect- thank God.  In Elizabeth's case, she's quick to judge- but, in keeping with her genuine sort of character, it's never totally without warrant. In many instances, it seems she makes snap judgements out of self preservation.

Darcy is stoic, to put it pleasantly.  Really he's emotionally cut off from almost everyone.  He's the guy that doesn't even have a facebook.  Or if he does, he's got like, one photo album of his sister's piano recital and has never posted a status.  He's mysterious, to be sure, but also kind of an ass.  If you were to send him a friend request, he'd definitely click ignore if he thinks he doesn't know you well enough.  Darcy's insecure and shy- two qualities that usually present themselves as aloof and and "judgey."  He is pretty judgmental about Elizabeth's mom being a nutter and her sisters being flighty, empty headed and boy crazy.  He's that guy that grew up under the stifling label of "old money" and closed himself off after being only pursued because of his wealth.  Again, self preservation.

The last post I wrote about Jane Austen was about self preservation as well- being the mistress of yourself and being quiet and reserved enough to protect the joy and volume with which you live your life.  But this is a slightly different take on it.  I think she might be saying that when you guard yourself too closely you tend to judge too harshly.  Elizabeth overhears Darcy say one snarky thing about her and from then on she can only see the nastiness in him.   She already had it in her head that because she was poor and her mom was crazy that no man of any sort of value (both monetarily and otherwise) would ever want her.  The insult she overhears from Darcy only adds to that insecurity and makes her shut him out.

Darcy's no saint either.  Like I said, he's incredibly guarded.  Like I said, he's spent his entire life being surrounded by people only wanting him for his money.  He can't function in social situations and falls back on being pompous because that's easier than opening up to people.  It was only when the two of them were vulnerable with one another that they were able to soften their hearts and open up a bit more, and eventually fall in love.

We've all been like this.  Being judgmental seems to have been encoded in us from birth.  Let's be honest, putting people into boxes makes us feel better about ourself.  But even worse, I'm guilty of searching for the bad in someone and fixating on it because I'm scared of liking them too much.  This can be true of friendships or romantic relationships.  They send up one red flag and that's all I need to call it quits.  Or I see them talk to another girl and throw in the towel because "I don't compete."  It's easier to give up in the beginning than be disappointed down the road.  And there's something to be said for that- the self preservation I talked about last time.  But there's also something really beautiful when you're open and are vulnerable with someone- when you take the risk to trust someone enough to place your honest and delicate confessions in their hands.  I'd like to say that Jane has inspired me to put myself out there completely with the strangers I'm meeting on a daily basis in my new home.  But honestly, I'm not in a place right now where I want to be so fragile.  Moving across the country, away from everything familiar, and being rather uncomfortable everyday is enough of a challenge.

For now I'll just keep my eye out for potential Darcy's- people who are more than meets the eye- and try to stay as open as I can.  And if they say things like "thither," "bewitched," and "I ardently admire and love you," I may be open to a possible courtship.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Let's Take Some Creative Control, Genevieve

I've been at my current job for almost a year now, which is crazy to write. I started everything with no clue on how long I wanted to stay or what I was going to gain from it. I only had the idea that this would be a great starting point and ultimately a stepping stone in my music business career. But 11 months later and with about 200 shows under my belt, I'm just now starting to realize my potential.

The first few months of a job, obviously, is a learning curve of trying to understand the process thoroughly and proving yourself to your new surroundings. It took me a good six months to have everything down to the point that I could do it with my eyes closed. And then the summer hit with in-house shows, a summer concert series at the Botanic Gardens and music festivals galore. It was full of 15 hour days, lots of lifting and crazy artists. But I must say it was a great learning experience and I've confirmed the fact that I never want to be in the production side of the industry full time. A bit of it here and there will suffice.

Now we've hit the lull of fall and I am finally beginning to catch my breath. I'm discovering some creative aspects to my job that I never had the chance to before and am loving it. As I stated for goal #1 under my career goals, "I want to be an irreplaceable asset for my company, not a commodity. And ultimately learn deeper facets of the industry." I've been learning that I need to not only be in charge of events and organizing them, but creating them and running with the marketing side of my brain as well. I'm booking a new series of shows in our cafe and feel inspired to present artists that I'm passionate about and that I know the Denver music scene needs to hear more of. I am making something of my own and taking responsibility for it. It's all so refreshing. There were so many times within the past year that I almost threw in the towel, but I'm glad I didn't. I think this is where I was supposed to end up. I have this assurance I'm heading towards exciting new horizons.

Jackie - Mexican Monday

Mexican Monday was something Sarah and I instituted when we first started living together. It was our own play on Taco Tuesday... except on Monday. I think we only celebrated Mexican Monday once [maybe twice], so I thought I'd bring it back for another hurrah.

And not only that, but I actually worked on a goal at the same time. Shocking, I know.

Last Monday, I went and had some Mexican food with Paul. I think I've known Paul as long as I have been alive. Or, at least as long as he's been alive since I'm a little bit older. We grew up in the same church so I saw him on the weekend and at major functions and our parents played softball together. Sometime around high school we drifted apart. Then one crazy day as I was serving dinner at the Denver Rescue Mission with some of my girls, it happened that Paul was among the other group we were paired with to volunteer for the night. So we started keeping in loose touch and got together one other time about a year ago.

It's at this part of the story where I am a little bit embarrassed. I'm pretty sure Paul contacted me about hanging out again sometime during the spring -- that's before summer, back before all the trees had bloomed. And if it wasn't for the fact that he kept emailing me and texting me even when I didn't respond, I'm not sure it ever would have happened. Turns out, I pretty much stink at making plans to get together with people. =/ I'm glad Paul and I know each other well enough that he felt comfortable pestering me over and over again.

Dinner was really fun. We caught up on life and such, but it wasn't one of those awkward conversations where I'm running down a mental checklist of all the things we should make sure to talk about. It was very relaxed; relaxed in a way that only happens when two people have known each other for their entire lives. We caught up on life - school plans, living situations and how the fam is doing. We talked a little bit about religion while we walked to a nearby park, discussing the likes and dislikes. And parted ways.

It was nice spending time with someone who's known me through my awkward phases. It felt like a little bit of home.

Here's to actually accomplishing something, goal #3:: reconnect and chips and salsa!

Friday, September 3, 2010

You Should Have Some Fun and Spend Some Money, Genevieve

Well, well, well, what do you know. I'm actually holding true to my word of posting regularly again:) I decided to make this a focus for me and am now riding my 1 speed around the corner to a cute little neighborhood coffee shop every Friday morning and blogging. I'm so hip. I'm so trendy. Not really. At all.

After a pretty emotional past three weeks, I've finally gained a sense of reassurance. I'm not saying I have it all figured out or that every day is perfectly happy all the time, but I think that I'm coming out on the other side (famous last words). Every morning I wake up, I feel aware and raw, but stronger, and that's an eye opening realization for me. And then it hit me a few days back... I need to get out there! I need to have fun! And this subsequently led to me buying a lot of things and I will continue that streak today (with my mother's credit card not mine;)

So here is a list of things I've bought in the last week::
1. A ticket to dance the night away with the Local Natives, September 28th at The Fox.
2. Two tickets for a roomie date night on October 2nd to Jimmy Eat World.
3. 5 cups of iced coffee
4. Tickets to watch a newly aquired musical favorite of mine, Foals, October 12th at The Larimer.
5. Tickets for Apples In Stereo, October 22nd, which happens to be the day after my birthday, SO if you're a friend of mine and you're reading this, you better buy yourself a ticket and help me fill the Bluebird with my favorite people to celebrate my 24th year of life (bleeehhhh, I'm getting old).
6. A PLANE TICKET TO PORTLAND (this fulfills #3 under my personal goals) - Sarah and I will be buying big hats and rampaging the city for Halloween. Costume ideas??
7. A new haircut, complete with dark red color and blunt cut bangs. Shazam.
8. A new business casual wardrobe - My mother and I are hitting the mall this afternoon and I have a serious plan of attack.

And there you have it... I'm slowly getting back into the groove of life. Come join me:)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Genevieve, You Need To Focus On You

Heeey, remember a good two months ago when I promised I'd start posting regularly again? Weeeell, that obviously hasn't happened. BUT guess what?! I'm back.

The past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions, experiences and realizations. The final and biggest realization I've had... I need to focus on me. This summer has been an amazing learning experience on people and relationships. But what it has boiled down to is the fact, that in the midst of this hurricane of hurt, love and confusion, I am the most vital piece to keeping me in tact. No one else is in charge of that or should be in charge of that. And after watching close friends constantly being hurt and loosing others, I finally have put a stop to it.

This is Genevieve, pulling out all the stops and going into self preservation mode. I am currently reassessing my goals, because I've come to find that there is a fine line between what you aspire towards and what you think is expected of you. I want to love what I'm doing. I want nothing but passion and an unadulterated drive to get me to where I want to go and that cannot be clouded by anyone or anything.

Hang in there. I'm sensing new horizons. I feel like I'm on the verge of something because...

‎"Before the beginning of great brilliance there must be chaos"



Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jackie - I'm working on it

After rereading my last post, I felt a little dramatic. And I thought if I were reading what I'd just wrote, I would give myself some advice to make it happen.

Plus, I was really inspired by Sam's comment on my last post! It was fascinating to think about using an eraser. Of course! Artists do it all the time. They pencil in the main idea before they paint. But they aren't afraid to erase and start anew! And really, if they aren't pleased with how it's turning out they can cover it up and start again. It's brilliant! [If you didn't read her comment, she had lots of good things to say! You can view it here.]

As you have all become well-aware, I've been frustrated that my life isn't a reflection of who I am and who I want to be and I thought, maybe I should figure out what it is I end up spending my time doing, cut out the crud and rewrite how my week is going to look. I can't, nor do I want to, completely start over, but I thought, I could just change little things.

So that's what I've been trying to do. I've been piecing together a schedule that includes time for the necessities [sleep, work and school] and adding time for the things I want to do like exercise, do creative things, working on goals, going to church and home group and, naturally, having at least a little fun. The past few semesters I've been scheduled 12 hours a day all week long and I think I'm still recovering from the wear and tear of all that. So I decided enough was enough and I wasn't going to do that to myself anymore.

I wanted to title this post by saying, "Well, I've done it." But, alas, my school schedule got all messed up and I'm still in the midst of piecing it all together.

I'll have to get back to you with the final results when it's done.

Thanks for joining me in this journey -- even though it's taken quite a few unexpected turns and we're currently WAY off course.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jackie - I am written.

I can't believe Sarah's gone. It feels like our apartment is extremely empty. If I'm honest, life feels a little empty.

I've experienced a plethora emotions the past few weeks -- new emotions I'm not entirely sure how to process. They are deeply emotional, heart-wrenching and, yet, welcome. I've never had a friend like Sarah before. We say we're kindred spirits, but somehow those words don't seem to do it justice. We know each other and can read the other person. And when one of us is in a bad mood, the other doesn't get offended. We look out for each other. We can share secrets, fears, pipe dreams and embarrassing admissions knowing the other won't judge. We can agree to disagree.

I care more deeply about Sarah that I do myself... which is why I can send her off to a new life with honest-to-goodness well wishes.

We've become somewhat of a team and share future goals and dreams, and a hope to remain friends forever. We laugh that when the two of us have had our adventures, we'll be sitting side by side in wheelchairs next to each other in the nursing home "activity room" gabbing about nothing in particular and commenting on life. And least I hope. But then again, I just launched her off to a new life.

That's what the [first] trip to Portland a few weeks ago was all about -- launching Sarah into a new life. And that's what we did: a car load of Sarah's belongings, 20 hours of driving, settling her into new place, getting matching tattoos, finding our way around town and trying to locate the places the cool kids hang out. But in the back of my mind has been the reality that to truly launch her means that she if finds a new best friend, I have to be happy for her that she's found someone to be close with in her own city, so she's not alone. And if that happens, hopefully I will be.

But enough of the sad talk... back to the point.

And I have to admit that mixed with all the sad emotions of coming home alone and the happy emotions for Sarah to start something new, is more jealousy than I'd like to admit.

There was this advertisement we saw a lot driving around Portland that said, "What's on Your Canvas?" It drove me nuts to think about. Sarah gets a completely blank canvas with which to work --  she can decide how her job, social life, friends, writing, personal time, and everything else are going to look. She gets to recreate life.

I'm frustrated because I feel like my life is stuck. I have a life that is already full. And it's hard to add more to full. Oh, how I would love to scrap all the everyday obligations and to-dos and build a new life. To start from the bottom up creating life exactly as I want it. The problem is for the most part, I kind of like the things currently on my canvas and when I think about getting rid of something, I'm stumped.

How can I become this person I want to be, doing the things I want to do when it doesn't feel like it's humanly possible to make it all fit? So that's where I've been... frustrated. Annoyed. Confused. And wondering, why did I get "I am written" on my wrist?

Because here's the deal with that:

When an author writes a book, they start with an overall idea and create characters. They very intentionally create characters including their names, personality traits, the things they're good at, the way the dress, they way they talk, everything has a purpose. And any author would tell you that when they write a story, the character writes the story with them. The author has the overall idea, but as the story progresses the character contributes, adds, colors the story with their own unique flair. [Thanks Donald Miller for inspiring us.]

Sarah and I are saying with our tattoos that we were both created intentionally, to live out a story and that it's our responsibility to write our story with the author.

Right now I'm stuck in the midst of an internal battle between "just living what I've got" and "living an intentional story."

I wish I had something more profound to say and a positive report on at least one of my goals. But I'm feeling really stuck at the moment and my goals have taken to the wayside.

I don't know... what are your thoughts? How much of the story should one write intentionally? And how much of life should you just live what you've got?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sarah Says Hello

I tried to post last week.  I really did.  But as I sat on the floor of my half empty room, sweltering heat swirling around my head and the weight of a late night (early morning?) hanging down on my eyelids, all the words that came out sounded flat and meaningless.

Let's flash forward to today- I'm sitting at the Random House Cafe on Alberta, the sky is overcast and the breeze outside is refreshing.  I have a vanilla latte in front of me (because that's what Jackie always orders and I miss her today).  I'm not in Denver anymore, but I don't feel entirely out of place.  Things don't feel unfamiliar to me here- you know that uncomfortable feeling you get in a a different place you just don't get.  No, things just feel new here.  Things feel good here too.

The weeks leading up to this moment in this cafe on this street in Portland have been many things: a whirlwind, emotionally draining, emotionally encouraging, but mostly unforgettable.  I've been trying to come up with a word to describe what it feels like to have people in your life that love you enough to go along with a long and ridiculous list created solely to satisfy my every whim.  Things like going to Lakeside and camping out in the back yard.  Acting like an 8 year old at Water World and ambushing friends just to make sure I got to see them before I left.  That word still evades me, but perhaps a wordsmith greater than myself will think of something.  During those weeks, I had about one emotional outburst every day- whether my friends knew about it or not- not because I was afraid to go to Portland and leave them behind, but because I was afraid they'd leave me too.  I guess I should stop talking in past tense here because it's a fear that's sticking around.

I am afraid that I'll come back home and things will be different- because things were really great when I left.  I'm afraid I'll come back and my good friends will be acquaintances.  No matter how much they say it won't happen, I still worry.

I don't worry about falling on my face here.  I don't worry about finding a job, or doing well in school, or living in a place that suites me.  I worry about my relationships and my community- it was something I was just starting to get the hang of before I left and now I worry it won't be there when I come home.

This post isn't about my goals so to speak, it's just to say hello, and that I miss you.  It's to say I want to work hard to still be your friend from far away.  It's to say come visit me soon and let's write letters.  It's to say I promise to not forget your birthday and will you call me on mine?  It's to say I'm doing okay, don't worry about me, and how are you?  And it's to say I love you.  More than anything it's about that.

If you're so inclined, leave me your address in the comments section (or email) and I'll send you letters or postcards :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Jackie - The Road Trip

I have gotten some things done in the last couple weeks! Turns out it wasn't on my list, but I feel accomplished anyway and wanted to share. Since Sarah's been doing some cleaning out and packing, I felt inspired to do my own. I got rid of an entire bag of clothes and twice that much "junk!" And I'm feeling pretty good about the situation. It feels so much nicer to have less stuff. Especially with 2 moves on the horizon.

My landlady said I could move into the one-bedroom in our building for a couple months and keep paying the same amount of rent. And I couldn't say no to that! But, moving 15 feet is gonna stink. [Who wants to help?? :)]. I still might move in with the folks for a couple months to get a jump start on paying down the debt, but I couldn't say no to her offer to stay on Columbine St. a little bit longer.

Since I haven't been working on my goals, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what I have been doing. We've been marking things off Sarah's bucket list like crazy! She hasn't posted... probably because she's been too busy doing the list and having breakfast with a lot of people before she goes... and I don't want to steal her thunder, but here's what's been going on.

Lipgloss... twice.
Buffalo Exchange
Leela's for chai
Water World
Lost Lake Lounge
Camping in the backyard
Show at the Marquis
Watercourse for breakfast
Planning something secret... hee, hee
City O' City
Wolf Pack Hangout
Making new friends [that wasn't on the list, but we did it anyway for good measure]
Having people over... a lot
She-wolf Hangout
Going Away Party
Feels like there was more. Sarah... what am I missing?

But now it's time for the big move. I mapped a route, found us a place to stay half-way and acquired us 20-some-odd hours of Harry Potter on CD. Sarah got her car service and acquired us road snacks. All we have left to do is load up the car and head out in the morning.

Watch out, Portland, here we come!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why Don't You Take A Breather, Genevieve

Well, it is officially summer folks. I'm sort of following suit to what Jackie posted last week... I've been slacking (I haven't posted in a month! eep) and I apologize, but it's all for good reason. For the past month or so I've been really focusing on friends and deepening some great relationships I have. And as Jackie mentioned, Sarah is about to head out for the adventure of her life and we're trying to give her a good send off! On top of that, I flew out to Los Angeles this last weekend for some amazing R&R with two fantastic friends out there. And two other life long friends are flying to Denver for some vacation for the next week or so, so of course I'll be running around with them. I promise to get back on the regular posts this upcoming week and not leave you all hanging!

Here is an update on my goals and what they look like at the moment::

Genevieve's 2010 Goals

Personal Goals
1. Exercise on a semi-regular basis.
- Some options may include...
- Running 2 times a week - Have NOT been doing this
- Taking Mr. Keith Moon for walks - Keith actually has to loose 4 lbs., vets orders, haha
- Biking - I got a bike and am loving it!

2. Get published in Relevant Magazine for a CD review.
- I have to admit, I sort of forgot about this one...

3. Travel to the Pacific Northwest
- Since Sarah will be there now to stay with! I am looking into dates in late September:)

4. Go to Australia
- When my best friend & travel buddy, Steph, comes into town next week, we are going to buy our tickets!

5. Be a good owner to Mr. Keith Moon
- I am slowly adding more dates to my calendar to have him at my apartment, we took him for his yearly check up last month and am looking forward to his birthday in August:)

Church/Spiritual Goals
1. Lead worship reflective of God's heart
- I was able to gain reflection and inspiration at my home church, Rock Harbor, out in LA last week. I'm also planning a worship night within the next few months.

2. Participate in local community outreach and serve more williningly.
- July is missions month at Scum of the Earth, what perfect timing.
3. Learn, grow and love in my personal relationships and friendships.
- This has ended up being a HUGE focus of my life within the past month and a half and I have grown leaps and bounds in my personal relationships.
Musical Goals
1. Play our first show :) and hopefully have many to follow!
- This one looks a little different, but I'm working on it... kind of top secret at the moment;)
2. Record an EP
- I am saving money and writing songs...

Educational Goals
1. Apply to grad school
- The application process has started! I've picked 7 schools to apply to and am slowly working on the pieces to fit together the puzzle.

Career Goals
1. Push myself at my current job and ultimately learn deeper facets of the industry.
- This summer has definitely been a challenge for me at work. The concert schedule has gotten ridiculously busy, but I feel as though I'm gaining irreplaceable experience.
2. Always keep my options open for networking, going on tour, working internationally or landing my dream job.
- In the works;)

Entrepreneurial Goals
1. Make Hear Us Loud! happen
- I've been threatening to start a social justice company for a while.

2. Put on benefit concerts and a few house shows.
- I have put on two benefit shows this year and am working towards the house show... if it is feasible with the residential zoning that I live in.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jackie - The Bucket List

The past couple weeks I've been busy with the bucket list. The thing is, it's not my bucket list. It's Sarah's. And I'm completely ok with that. She moves in a couple weeksand we're doing all the stuff she's going to miss about Denver.

In the midst of this, especially her going away party last weekend it finally hit me that she's leaving. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty bummed about it. I'm happy for her, but bummed for me. I'll skip writing anything sappy right now, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for that after she drops me off at the airport in Portland and I have to fly home alone.

All that to say, I've been slacking on my goals. I felt bad at first, then thought, I only have a couple weeks to spend with Sarah before she moves and I should take advantage of that as much as possible.

My goal for the last week and the next two are to help Sarah cross as many things off her bucket list as possible... but I'll let her tell you about what's on the list.

In the meantime, I'm going to do a little recap of where I'm at on each of my goals so that when it comes time to tackle them again, I'll have some point of reference.

PS... if you have goals for the summer, I'd love to hear how they're coming or what might be holding you back from completing them!

Goal 1:: Teach: I need to get together with Leslie to discuss how to be a good teacher and contact my student so we can get started.
Goal 2:: Write songs: I'm having a hard time getting started so I'd really like to attempt this with someone who is already a songwriter. Anyone interested??
Goal 3:: Reconnect: In June, I spent a whole weekend reconnecting with Joe and Leah when they were here. I saw them in May, but we were a little focused on the flood and building the Sham-Dam that we didn't get to chat much. In July, I'm going to connect with one of my cousins,
Goal 4:: Engage globally: I haven't approached this goal yet and I'm still not positive what this is going to look like.
Goal 5:: Take 2 of 4 trips: I went to Tennessee in May. I'm going to Portland in both July and August. I've still got it on my calendar to go to New York in November. I'm still working on Dallas. Sarah was going to drive with me, but it might be a bit of a long drive for her. I gotta keep working on that one.
Goal 6:: Redefine spirituality: I got together with Alyssa to make my list of questions. Now I need to contact the people I'm hoping will get together with me and see if they're willing to be involved.
Goal 7:: Define me: See post from 31 March 10.
Goal 8:: Be frugal: Turns out, I might be moving in with my folks for a couple months to save some money.
Goal 9:: Clean my box: The box is still overflowing.
Goal 10:: Post photos: I should work on this.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sarah and the Art of Minimizing

Make that HAD a lot of clothes.

As my departure date draws nearer, my list of things to do over the next four weeks has been growing; it seems that things are being added faster than they are being checked off. But over the past few days I have managed to officially completed one of my goals: Minimize.  On Monday I got rid of nearly all of my clothes; I traded them in at consignment stores for some higher end items that will last longer and keep me dry during the rainy months (which I'm told are January through December, with a slight break in August).

I also cleaned out every hiding spot I've created in my apartment. There's the nook between the bookcase and the window where important papers go to die; the drawers in my desk that have become a graveyard for old (and ugly) stationary and over-sized thumb tacks I apparently thought would be a wise purchase at the time; under my bed where the huge tote bags, satchels, and luggage found their permanent resting place; and, most frighteningly, "The Linoleum Room." The Linoleum room is a spare room that came with our apartment. It has linoleum floor s(hence the name), a sink, awkward and unusable shelves, and windows that lead to the fire escape, that, unfortunately don't open for various reasons. When we moved in, we slid all our odds and ends that didn't have an immediate home into The Linoleum Room with wonderful intentions to sort through them later. Then we made the mistake of hanging up a curtain in the doorway so you wouldn't be able to see the mess. A year and half later, the odds and ends are still there, with many more additions that have settled in quite nicely.
Saturday I forced my way through box on top of box filled with unused decorations, birthday cards, board games, cleaning products, and miscellaneous mementos. My mantra: "Do I really want to pack this?" And if there was still some hesitancy: "Will this really fit in my Honda Accord?" The answer was usually a resounding NO and the Good Will on Broadway is now fully stocked with all the junk I've collected since I moved out of my parent's house 5 years ago.

I looked around The Linoleum Room, with linoleum floors now actually visible and my brain felt so much lighter. I turned to my closets, opened the doors and examined the few articles that survived the purge. My shoulders didn't feel quite as heavy as they did a few days earlier. Even though I'll be going to Portland with nothing but some picture frames and my books, and will most likely be that girl that wears the same outfits every week, I feel so liberated. All that "stuff" was only holding me back. It's hard to wrap your mind around a major life change of any sort when you're anchored by so much stuff.  And it really was just "stuff." None of it meant anything important, none of it was hand made or given to me out of love or importance. It was plastic and cheap and making me feel toxic without my even knowing it.

I tried to look at the experience as an artist's date.  I was able to sort through several boxes of great memories and flip through some old journals and laugh at what a changed woman I am.  But being able to purge so much was also a great exercise in reconnecting with my right-brained self.  As a creative individual, de-cluttering the mind is so important; you have to push away the clutter to let the inspiration trickle in. Creating a clutter-free environment is a huge part of that. I'm a big believer that the space you make around yourself is a reflection of what's going on in your mind. I've proven that fact in my own life time and time again: when I'm distracted or depressed or stressed, the environment around me starts to mirror that with piles and messes and acclimation's.

Handing bag after bag to the employees at Good Will and looking back at my empty car and thinking about that empty Linoleum Room and empty closets, I could feel my mind open up a bit. I didn't feel so weighted down and the task of packing up a Honda Accord didn't feel so daunting. Getting to check that off my list was HUGE and now I'm wondering what to do for the next four weeks before I leave. (Just kidding, I still have plenty to do).

But now I have to ask for advice, and I think it might resonate more with our female readers.  As I was cleaning out those over-sized bags under my bed I came across... The Boyfriend Box.  You know, the box you keep little trinkets you collected from various relationships over the years.  All of the things I've kept only represent truly good memories, and as I flipped through the items I couldn't help but smile in remember the spirit in which they were given.  But, as usual, those good memories come with the crappy realization that are, in fact, only memories.  So, my question for you fabulous readers is: Should I take the box with me to Portland or do I throw the whole thing away?  Have you dealt with a similar situation and if so, how?  Did you burn the box?  Because I'm thinking that might be kind of fun.  Just kidding.  Sort of.