So Many Stories of Where I've Been

Last night while walking back from King Soopers with two canvas totes full of groceries (containing both a watermelon and a jar of pickles-poor planning on my part), this song came through my headphones. Though I've heard it possibly thousands of times in the past 11 years that I've been a Brandi Carlile fan, I realized that the meaning of the song has changed. And so have I. 

The lyrics, "All of these lines across my face / Tell you the story of who I am" were a little lost on the 21-year-old version of me, but hearing them yesterday revealed what I had missed before. I guess aging will do that to you. Now I hear the song as a tribute to the way that life effects us, both our skin and what's beneath it.

So today on the eve of my 32nd birthday, I'm going to try to see my imperfections, the visible signs of wear and tear on my face, as parts of my story. My laugh lines are commas, my crows feet question marks, my gray hairs the ellipses. 

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true, I was made for you


A Good Time Had By All

31 years ago this month, my dad left for work, leaving behind this note on the kitchen counter.
10 years ago this month, my dad left for work and never came home again. 

It's been a full decade now, and I've missed him and those "quiet evenings respite of angling" so much. He was right though, about that night and our time together: a good time was had by all. 

Idk why we had a Lopressor note pad lying around though.. 


Wait, June is over?? (I'm seeing a trend)

It's July now, but here are some things that happened in June..

On June 1st, I simultaneously babysat, dogsat, and did my actual job from home, proving that I can "do it all" (you know, for like 8 hours). Then I packed up a picnic dinner with CM and went to Red Rocks to see Murder by Death, The Wood Brothers, and The Devil Makes Three.  I ran into CH and TR in the parking lot, and our groups merged, collectively grooving together to the tunes all night. By 10:30, though, I could barely keep my eyes open and that's when I realized that "doing it all" is possible, but damn it's exhausting. I needed a full day to recover.

EH, Nezy, and I had a picnic in Cheeseman park, and PD and her bf joined us as the sun went down. I offered to give everyone a ride home, and EH asked to borrow PD's boyfriend's longboard to ride on the sidewalk out of the park. EH was wearing a full length white floral summer dress, and as she boarded down the hill, her long black hair and white dress fluttered in the wind. I swear to God she looked like an swan floating in the twilight, until--she wiped out. Though it appeared to be a graceful tumble, many tears, bags of ice, hours spent googling, and one MRI later revealed that EH had torn her ACL. It turns out that EH isn't a swan, and as her Orthopedic surgeon pointed out so lovingly, she's not a "spring chicken" anymore either.

TBK and her boys (husband and baby B) came to Denver for her birthday weekend, and we had the best freaking time. I feel like I have a special connection to Baby B because he came into the world the night after I threw T a baby shower (also 5 weeks before the world was expecting him); I think he did it on purpose just to meet me. 16 months later, having him in Denver to pal around with was the best. We took him to B's pool, and he scooted around in his baby floatie, accumulating adoring fans at all corners of the pool. We also took him to his first Rockies game, where I didn't know we would meet so many fellow KC fans. TBK and I had some much needed girls time together too. We got pedicures, drank wine, and stumbled upon a punk rock drag show at a brewery--you know, a regular Friday night. The weekend was full of girl talk and baby talk and it both filled me up and chilled me out.

B and I had an impromptu Friday night get-a-way in Boulder to celebrate his birthday. We stayed at the St. Julien and wore lush robes and ate great chocolate and had an 8-course meal with wine pairings that left us with satisfied taste buds and dizzy heads. Because B leaves town and returns again so often and for such unexpected lengths, I sometimes feel like our relationship is like an episode of the Bachelor (I don't watch the show--but I think this is what happens). One minute we're drinking champagne sitting first class on a flight to San Francisco and the next minute he's gone and I'm alone eating canned tuna on my couch watching old episodes of Younger. Sometimes I miss the mundane aspects of being in a relationship. I miss guessing songs on the radio and going for neighborhood strolls and drinking sour beer on my couch together. Being wined and dined is lovely, don't get me wrong, but I also sometimes crave more than what's on the menu.


The Longest Day

Tonight I'm eating Red Vines on my couch reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions." I look outside and the sky is cobalt blue for only a moment, before my eyes adjust to the darkness. I remember that today is the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. I miss Brooklyn tonight, and Blue Dog Lake, and many people I love. I chew on another piece of licorice, turn to another page in my book, and feel equal parts nostalgic for the past and grateful for the present.


Quotes, Lately

"I'm sick of mainstream white guys who have money."
--CH, on who's she's voting for for Colorado Attorney General

"Good isn't always right."
--LS, talking about boyfriends as people and boyfriends as boyfriends

"You don't know who Val Kilmer is?!"
--My boss, after telling me that he was at Comic Con last weekend

"I just like sitting and visiting."
--My uncle Adam, on his boat eating sunflower seeds on Father's Day

"So I guess I have a half-sister!"
--GG, after getting an unexpected call from her mom last week

"I'm so sorry I scared you."
--A glittery gay unicorn, to EH's pup Nezy after the Pride parade

An Ode to my Closet

To clarify, this isn't really an ode. I tried writing one but poetry is HARD. So instead here is a paragraph about my teeny closet that I love.

The closet in my bedroom is the only closet in my 450 square foot apartment, and as the only storage space available, it has a lot on it's shoulders...err shelves. My bedroom is proportionally as small so my queen size bed leaves zero room for a closet door. Instead, the door is hidden under my bed and a cloth shower curtain serves as a separator between my room and all that lives inside. Which is:

a vaccume
a mop
a yoga mat
a snow shovel
all my linens
all my winter clothes
an ice scraper
a dust broom
6 pairs of boots
my luggage
and oh yeah, all. my. clothes.

I'd like to thank New York City for teaching me how to make the most of a small space and to get rid of what doesn't fit. I'd also like to thank command hooks, skinny hangers, and my height for allowing me to reach to the very top shelf without a step ladder. Would a walk-in closet be nice? Of course. But for now I'm happy to have a big life in a small space (I'd always prefer that over the reverse anyway).


Songs for My Father

In the almost 10 years that have passed since I lost my dad, I've missed him in big moments like graduations and cross-country moves. Even more so, though, I've missed him in the small moments, like those that fall within the length of a song. Sharing music with my dad was one of the most defining aspects of our relationship and on the last Father's Day that I spent with him, I gave him a burned CD with new music I thought he'd love. Together we listened to the whole thing 2 times through. Now, almost a decade after we lost him, in moments of melody and melancholy when I hear a song I know he'd love, I file it away hoping to get to share it will him again some how.

Here are some songs for my father:

S.O.B.--Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Wasting Time--Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Find Yourself--Lukas Nelson
If We Were Vampires--Jason Isbell
You're Gonna Live Forever In Me--John Mayer
Most of All--Brandi Carlile
The Eye--Brandi Carlile
If It Hadn't Been For Love--The Steeldrivers
My God Has a Telephone--The Flying Stars of Brooklyn NY
Runnin Just in Case--Miranda Lambert
Vice--Miranda Lambert
River--Leon Bridges
All Your Favorite Bands--Dawes
Kocaine Karolina--Elle King
Mr Jukes--Grant Green ft. Charles Bradley
Smoke--Luke Levenson ft. YEBBA
From Eden--Hozier



I'm like falling water, set me free

I saw Maggie Rogers perform this song a couple weeks ago at Red Rocks, and I cannot. stop. listening. to it.

This song is incredible.
This performer is incredible.
These dance moves are incredible.

EH and I have already agreed to get drunk in bathrobes and learn the choreography.


Wait, May is over??

Last month...

I met a friend for a walk around Wash Park. We talked work and relationships and work some more, and then we sat on a park bench where the most amazing thing happened. We encountered a parade of wiener dogs. Technically it wasn't a parade; it was a meet-up of dachshund enthusiasts who go on a group walk through Wash Park every few months, and we were lucky enough to be sitting alongside their route. The leader of the pack was a particularly striking 3-legged doxie with a nose in the air like she just don't care. Following her were wiener dogs of varying shapes and sizes, but you know, pretty similar shapes and sizes. The whole thing was freaking delightful, and I squealed obnoxiously and unapologetically for 10 minutes straight. Weiner dogs for the win.

EH hosted her first cocktail hour(s) at her new uptown loft. I brought chips, salsa, and a house-warming succulent and the other girls brought the FUN(gi). We popped champagne and drank out of 4 unmatched glasses that had been acquired in recent thrifting expeditions. KA noticed EH's tarot cards on a bookshelf and 2 glasses of bubbles later, EH and I were sitting cross-legged facing each other with three tarot cards between us. With a buddha statue behind me, crystals in front, and wine in my hand, EH read my cards. It was my first time having my cards read; I feel the same way about tarot cards as I do about fortune cookies--they speak to you when you want them to. And man, my cards spoke. The wine and FUN could have had something to do with the intensity of the experience, but either way, I felt resolution and assurance (and also a little buzzed). It's so fun being a witchy woman!

Photo taken from EH's loft. I didn't levitate; I'm not that witchy. 

My new job has been challenging and exhausting and fun and most of all fulfilling. Is that crazy?? I've had a lot of jobs in my life (A LOT), but I've never felt this level of joy from the work I do during the day. And the craziest part is that my job isn't really even that cool. I'm not at an inspiring non-profit that serves the homeless community and I'm not at a tech start-up with other millennials and beer on tap. I work as an Instructional Designer for a patient-centered communication program at a health organization. BOR-ING. But for some reason it's not. I get to have ideas and share them and see them valued and implemented. Whaaaat? I also get to train physicians which can be both rewarding and brutal,  but I can't deny that I still love to teach. So anyway, I'm a real professional woman now--hi, nice to meet you--and it feels good.

Part of being a real professional woman is having a professional headshot.
Mine all turned out horribly, so I'm trying to get this one approved. 

You want to know the only thing better than getting a new puppy? When your best friend does! Thanks, EH for adopting and being wholly responsible for this little nugget while I get to cuddle, play, and do all the fun stuff. Inez is the newest lady to join our girl gang, and even for being a puppy she is so chill and brave and smart. She fits right in ;). One night this week EH and I took Inez (I call her Nezy, for short) for her inaugural walk in Cheeseman park, and I honestly couldn't tell you who was more excited for the experience--the pup or us. At the end of our walk I realized that for the entire 4 hours that we had been together, the only topic of conversation was Nezy. We literally didn't talk about anything else. For 4 hours. Instead of being a married couple obsessed over their first newborn, we're just a couple of best friends in their 30's obsessing over a 4-legged queen angel baby named Nezy. Hopefully real human babies come later.

Portrait mode was made for this pup.

Also of note--this month I got to spend an afternoon with LJK visiting from Brooklyn! I played in the Great Sand Dunes National Park (and weeks later continue to find souvenir sand in some unfortunate areas.) I've babysat, dogsat, and sat on the edge of my couch watching Handmaids Tale. I drove to the mountains for work and spent a little time by a creek in Frisco, CO reminiscing about a different time. Life. is. wild.


I love it when we play 1950

This amazing Sears home built in the 1878 belonged to a saint of a woman named Dorothy Gilmore Roman. (Of course she was a Gilmore!) She was smart, generous, adventurous, an active Democrat (yas kween!) and she lived to be 101 years old. Her home is now open to visitors of Buena Vista, Colorado to stay--like me and B this past weekend--and her style and legacy and story live on. 

"What is the purpose, the meaning of living? One must use the difficulties, disappointments, and hardships that come our way as material, which the mind can force to become somehow good. The desire to look back over the past is a sign of age and weakness. We need to look forward and develop into what we are capable of becoming. We may be sure there is deliverance from every unfavorable condition in our lives when we have fitted ourselves to accept it. Believe in yourself, believe in humanity, believe in the success of your undertakings. Fear nothing and no one. Keep in touch with today. Teach yourself to be practical, up to date and sensible, and then you cannot fail."

--Dorothy Roman Gilmore