let’s make up dances.

I’m into defining my years. Naming them. Calling them out.

I’ve had the bad year: circa 2009.

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sad sketches of me from a friend. and the appropriate end to 2009.

Then there were fours years in between that escaped official titling. I was feverishly tornado-ing through life and the west, looking for purpose, creativity, love, adventures, paychecks, and more purpose. I picked Evan up on the way and we kept on spinning.

Then there was the year of survival: 2013.

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so much scar maintenance.

Then the year of thriving: 2014.

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lots of smiling. lots of winning.

And then there was 2015. Well, January 21, 2015 through January 20, 2016. [I go by my accident anniversary to ring in the new year.] So we’re coming up on the time to call it.

Evan and I recently came home from our honeymoon in Maui. It was so many wonderful things, but—maybe mostly—it was a gentle, invigorating, beautiful time for reflection.

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a quick snap when I went back to the van to get the camera. it’s not the best photo, but I love so much about this moment. love.

Relaxingly sitting on the beach or in this van was the best place for some 2015 reflection, because even thinking about the last year is exhausting.

So much happened. We made so much happen. I’ve figured out, it wasn’t the worst year, it wasn’t the best year [though some incredibly good things happened].

It was the year of change. Things changed.

And a lot of that change began on January 13, 2015. Today—a year ago today—I was offered a job at MERCURYcsc. We had made many a sneaky trip to Bozeman to interview and expand on the opportunity and on January 13th, the conversation of picking up and moving ended with an exclamation point… and then a question mark… and then a period.

This job is—hands down—the best thing I’ve done for my head in a long-ass time. The people, the work, the laughs, the opportunities, the learning. But we had to leave Missoula. We had to leave so many of the amazing friendships we had made. It sucked. It sucks.

The move wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad. Change.

And things were so crazy [exciting! devastating. surreal.] changing in the last year, that I didn’t even look hard at a lot of them. So that’s what I’m doing now.

In an effort to jump-start some of my resolutions [drink less! write more!], I will recount some of those changes, these things, for better or worse, on this here blahg.

Here we go. Let’s look at this change. Reflect. Write some things. Connect some ways. Look 2016 in the eyes and dance with it… no matter what song it sings… there’s a dance for every note…

[thank you, ashely, for the heads-up on the kanye song. on the pulse, as always.]

[let’s make up dances.]

 

 

move with eyes open.

Yesterday, while working at my desk, I had a little internal dialog with myself…

Okay, tomorrow’s my birthday… how old am I turning again? 27. Oh, 27? I’m just gettin’ started!

I loved this genuine interaction with myself.

It does feel like I’m just getting started… just finally figuring out the beginning of figuring out this part of life.

It’s been a banner year… one for the books… pretty amazing. Besides moving away from a community and landscape that I love and all the hardness that comes with change, being 26 was so wonderful to me.

So, as I sit in my Missoula bed for the first time on my birthday, the window open, the community radio station on the alarm — telling me it’s past time to move with eyes open, I am thankful for this life, this last year, the loves that fill the days, the excitement of 27…

…I’m just getting started.

cleaning up.

I love the creative nights, but my goodness, they are messy.

Why can’t I be the graphic designer who has a home that looks like this?…

[found here.]

Instead, I’m sitting in the living room with the following on the floor:

• multiple newspapers… some scrunched, some not.

• two bikes… neither complete.

• a bag of cotton balls.

• a childrens book with semi-freshly spilled wine upon it.

• a frisbee.

• a typewriter.  [side note: there’s another typewriter in the room… not on the floor… they’re taking over.]

It really is a mess.  You are not invited over for dinner.  Give us a couple days; then we’d be happy to have you.

In the internet world, the looks of things are changing… cleaning up.

What do you think?

Now, you can run all the bases.  What do you think of my Second Base?  Think it’s all my best goods?  Anything I’m missing?

You let me know.

Until then, I’ll keep finding things and other things that inspire…

And I’ll keep on keeping on.  Working hard.  Creating.

[goodnight, loves.]

may all your glasses be clean.

A couple weeks ago, I entered a contest on Facebook to win a pair of sunglasses.  I can’t tell you just why I entered, or how I even found out about it, but I’m glad that I did… because I won!

The sunglasses are made by Bodega + Shwood out of whiskey barrels from Bushmills Irish Whiskey.  Cool, right?

I expected to just receive a flimsy cardboard box with the sunglasses in the mail and that would be great, but today I got the glasses in the mail… and… wow.

It was just the most amazing packaging ever.  I love this stuff.  LOVE it.  I had to document it.  And, now, I would like to share it with you…

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Amazing box.  With a little tool?  Yes?  I’m a little embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to open the box that was nailed shut.  A moderately competent human [or monkey] would have figured out instantly that you use the handy pry-bar they have provided.

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Open sesame…

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Look at how amazing even the box is!  With the wood texture and the laser-cut lettering.  [evan in the background being as patient as ever about my ridiculousness… side note: i came home singing a song and doing a dance about how excited i was about these glasses.]

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“Handmade In Oregon”

Isn’t that just the best?  I can’t get over how awesome and personal opening that box felt.  And all for sunglasses!  AH-MAZING sunglasses… but it was like one of my best friends made them for me and then packaged them up to send them to me.  LOVE.

And then Evan tried to take a photo of me wearing them and I just felt so awkward…

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But, you know when I don’t feel awkward?  Singing “I Wanna Be a Supermodel” and posing with lovelies…

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Thanks so much Bushmills, Bodega, and Shwood!  The prize was more amazing than I could have imagined!

[xxo!,r.]

the themed patterns of nowness.

I find that there are themed patterns in my nowness that I vividly recognize.

Comfort/Sameness, Newness/Excitement, Inspiration/Aspiration.  Repeat.

[comfort/sameness]

I have been with this boy for two whole years.  [on saturday.]

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That boy.  The one in the other room working.  Working on things.  Working on bikes.  Tools.  Giving it his all.

We still laugh at the most ridiculous things.  We are singing the same made up songs [with the same made up dances] about nothings/everythings in our lives.

We hold each other every night, even when we don’t want to.  Even when we [i] cry all evening and we have long, cold silences after short talks about how we just don’t know things, everything is just so hard… we still go to sleep and can’t help but embrace.  Comfort.  Love.

We still sing along to every word of our same favorites… just like we did in March two years ago…

[newness/excitement]

This Missoula thing is still new.  Still exciting.  Every outing outside of work feels new.

I am going to Europe for the first time ever this summer.  I am going to be with my best friend ever, Lisa, in Italy and then we’re off to a Greek isle to celebrate her birthday.  It’s been hard to contain my excitement in every day life.  All I want to do is wrap myself up in the anticipation of this newness.

These new songs, even, somehow, they make me more excited about this upcoming adventure…

[that video is pretty great.]

[that video i cannot say the same about.]

[inspiration/aspiration]

Tonight, Adventure Cycling helped Jacob Segel-Boettner with a screening of his film With My Own Two Wheels.  Wow.  It was so inspiring.

Bikes are powerful.  This film showed how they can be tools that I had never fathomed before.  I highly encourage you to take 42 minutes out of your day to watch it.

The film is beautiful.  Makes me want to make films.  Makes me want to tell more stories.  Makes me want to find stories.  Makes me want to listen.  Makes me want to go do something.

Biking home from the film, the city was alive with bicycles.  Evan and I pulled up to a stop light and not too long after, another cyclist pulled up.

– Did you guys just get outta that bike movie?

– Yeah, we did.  Wasn’t that great?

– Oh, yeah, so good.  It kinda made me feel spoiled.

– Totally.  It’s like, “Why am I not doing that?”

All things to consider.  Inspiring.  Aspiring.

It’s what keeps us moving when the comfort turns into watching How I Met Your Mother in bed over and over and the excitement turns into Pinterest rampages and social networking that makes one, oh, so antisocial.

[i like this pattern.  let’s keep this up.]

top eleven of twenty11.

[happy new year’s eve, y’all.]

Oh, 2011… What a crazy year you’ve been.  In looking for the music I listened to most this year, I perused the whole last year of this here blahg and at one point had to say aloud to myself, “It was a damn good year!”

And with the newness and the sameness, there will always be music.  This year so much different than last, though.  At the beginning of this year, I still lived in Jackson, Wyoming and still had two shows at 89.1 KHOL.  This time last year I did my…

I was constantly surrounded by music and my top album was a clear winner.

This year was different.  There was a move to Missoula, Montana and leaving KHOL.  Training at 89.9 KBGA and picking up a couple shows there.  Music was still constantly on, but in a different way… in a different community.  So, this Top Eleven of 2011 was oh, so different than last year’s… but still so beautiful.  A different kind of beauty.

So much music.  So many jams that I cannot get enough of… and I hope you’ve gotten your hands on…

AND…

Click on those and getya some… if you haven’t already.

Life has been beautiful, but different.  Still dancing, but differently.  Less talking about music these days and more listening… just listening.  Reflecting.  Smiling.  Dancing.  Being.

It’s all so great.  Yes and yes.  So, now I present to you… not the Morning Scramble’s top albums… not any radio station’s top albums… but mine…

My Top Eleven of 2011

[eleven] We Are Augustines, “Rise Ye Sunken Ships”

These guys came later in the game for me, but their album is solid… and wonderful.  I felt like I wanted to share this music with everyone, just everyone.



[ten] Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Tell Me”

Oh, pretty Jessica Lea Mayfield.  The beginning of this year was defined with her comforting voice and raw lyrics.  There’s no replacing songs that bring you back to a vivid time.  A realization.  A feeling.  A drive over the pass to ski with friends and look at life, laugh at each other.



[nine] Thao & Mirah, “Kill Rock Stars”

“When love is love, don’t let it go away.”  I was introduced to this album by reviewing it for KHOL and I listened to every track over and over.  Addicted.  Love it.  It’s something special when albums work out like this.



[eight] The Decemberists, “The King is Dead”

This is definitely the longest love on my list.  The Decemberists.  College called, am I right?  But I just love them.  And after surprising my boyfriend who helped me look for apartments ceaselessly in Missoula with tickets to The Decemberists at one of our favorite breweries, these guys have stolen my heart again after so many years.  We danced under the Missoula stars and sang along to almost every song, reveling in everything… everything from their gorgeous concert posters to double fisting brews to stories of Missoula to “The Mariners Revenge” antics.  Love.  Love it.



[seven] Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”

These guys really have something.  As much as I tried to not like this album because aforementioned boyfriend liked it first [not dysfunctional, just a condition of oldest siblings], I could not help myself.  I would come into the apartment and say..

– Oh, really?  You’re listening to Fleet Foxes again?  Ugh…

– Oh, I can change it…

– NO!  I mean, whatever… It’s fine… I’ll live…

And then sneakily turn it up.  It’s just too good not to love.  And so good for the winter time.  Try it.



[six] Adele, “21”

Not sorry.  Not at all.  I mean, come on…

And then…

But, I won’t lie to you, what really did it for me was the Glee Mash-Up…

You can stop judging me now, cuz I’m just not sorry at all.

[five] M83, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”

“Midnight City” swept us all away…

…and I was so scared that this would be a one-hit-wonder album.  But, no.  The whole thing is gorgeous.  In fact, “Midnight City” might be my only “play on repeat” jam that had it’s album make it to the list.  Because with lovely, childhood-yearning hits like this…

…how could it not?

[four] Head and the Heart, “Head and the Heart”

There’s no denying how this band is just amazing.  I knew every word to this album in about three days.  And while they might not be the most original band on the planet, their beautiful lyrics and stomping beats will win their way to your heart without even buying you a drink.



[three] TV on the Radio, “Nine Types of Light [Deluxe Edition]”

This is a solid album all around.  TV on the Radio does it again.  I don’t have much to say about this album, really.  Don’t know why.  It speaks for itself, I guess…



[two] Foster the People, “Torches”

It’s a shame the teenie-boppers got a hold of this one.  If I hear one more thirteen-year-old singing, “Pumped Up Kicks,” whilst obviously not realizing it’s about plotting a shooting, I’ll freak out.  That being said, damn-you-me, I could NOT stop listening to that song when it first came out.  I couldn’t stop listening to the whole damn album.  I LOVE IT.  And maybe it’s because I’m part teeny-bopper, but I was/am obsessed with this album…

And my dad said they weren’t so bad live at Austin City Limits either… not bitter… in the least… at all…

[one] tUnE-yArDs, “W H O K I L L”

This was not a clear winner, but when it came down to it, I don’t think I enjoyed any other album more than this one.  So unique.  Such jams.  It might move you.  It might make you move.  Makes you sing along.  Makes me excited about everything.  Makes me wanna break things.  Makes me wanna practice some high-fives.  Makes me wanna dress up.  Makes me wanna wake them up and dance.  Makes me wanna create.  Makes me wanna share.

It does good things to me.  Hope it does good things to you as well.

Welp, that’s it folks.  There are many, many runners up.  And maybe I’ll compile a mix of favorite jams that weren’t on fave albums.  And I must give a shout-out to my, “Fave Jam that Wasn’t on a Top Album”…

And Runner Up Album Artists…

Generationals
Matt & Kim
New Division
Oh Land
Zola Jesus
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Florence+The Machine
Bon Iver
Sharon Van Etten
Fiest

Thanks for being here!  Thanks for listening!  Thanks for being part of this kickass year!

[may your 2012 be filled with many more great songs, much more great times, and too many smiles to keep track.]

you did this?

There have been two times in my life when I have been completely affected by a reaction to my work.

The first was when I was interning at a magazine in Jackson, trying to start my working life, secretly wanting to be a graphic designer.

I was told I was in charge of heading up the calendar, gathering all the information.  I took upon myself to design the thing and sheepishly put it on my desk in front of my [terrifying] boss and he looked at my design, looked at me, looked at my design, looked at me, and said…

You did this?  You designed this?

– Yeah…

– Wow.  This is good.

It affected me.  He didn’t say much, but he was surprised.  Taken back.  And I knew I was good.  Knew I wanted to be a graphic designer.

The second time was in Australia.  I was writing a lot a lot.  I decided to let a friend [i hardly knew, because: what’s there to lose?] read something I had written.  His eyes became so wide.  He looked at me, down at the journal, at me, at the journal, and said…

You are a writer.

He was so surprised.  And I was so affected, so proud.  I wanted to write.

I’ve been clinging to these two compliments and sucking them dry in application to everything I design and write.  I actually don’t think I’ve shared a single private writing to anyone since Australia.  I mean, this here blahg is pretty private sometimes… but private in the sense of it’s on the freaking internet.

So when it was my turn to share a chapter in my “Writing the Novel” class, I was terrified.  Terrified.

Because it’s not like I just sit there and read it and we move on.  No.  I email it to everyone a week before and they print it and take a red pen to it while they smoke a cigar and read it under a single lamp in a dark room and cackle every time I forget a comma.  [pretty much.]

Then we all get back together on Wednesday and discuss and critique the chapters for the week.

Terrified.

I literally had nightmares.  In the one last night, one of the best writers in the class looked to our teacher and said…

– I just don’t understand all the blood in Rachel’s story.

And I kept trying to tell them…

– What?!  There’s no blood!  There’s no blood!

– It just doesn’t make sense to me why she wanted to add blood to this story.

Talk about creepy… and let’s not read into that too much.  But, yes, nightmares about my writing.

I would start sweating just thinking about this critique.

I, so desperately, wanted everyone to just look at me wide-eyed, jaw-dropped and say…

– Wow.  You are a writer.

But I know that’s not how this class works.

And tonight was the moment of truth.  So I went to the store and bought a bottle of Big House Red Wine [what we drank at the swamp house] to be reminded of my friends and family who already love me no matter what.  And I bought a Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar [what i always ate in australia] to remind me of when I wrote, when I wrote my best.

I arrived at the home we meet at and sat down.

– Oh, look at that!  I brought a bottle of wine for us all to share.  I’ll take the big glass.

We sit in an intimate circle and I can see that my chapter is top on the stack in the teacher’s lap.  [gulp, gulp, chug.]

They started in on me, my chapter.  I breathed deep, deep breaths.

And it. Was. Awesome.

I mean, not my chapter, they didn’t like it at all… too disconnected, too vague… but the experience?  Ah-mazing.  I’m not kidding.  It was like a high; like a runner’s high.  People cared about my writing and were really trying to help with this story because they wanted to know it, wanted to hear it, wanted to read it.  Not for one second did I go all Flavor-of-Love-Girl-“I KILL YOU!” on anyone… nor did I want to.

It was great.  And the lines that people really loved, repeated, ugh, I could kiss them on the lips.  I loved them for loving any word… even if it was only one in the midst of dozens incomprehensible.

It has made putting myself out there in this way all worth it.

And now I’m addicted.  [ah-ddicted.]

I came home, I looked at myself in the mirror [lips only mildly purple], and beaming smiles from every angle, I thought to myself…

You did that?  Wow.
You are a writer.