I want to be here.

It was a week ago today that I was in the ski accident. The ski accident where I lost control. Couldn’t gain control.

The ski accident where I hit a tree. With my face. Whiplash. Lost consciousness. Blood everywhere.

The ski accident when I broke my nose and cheekbone and bit through my lip.

The ski accident that gave me my first IV. My first CT scan. Two CT scans. The first when they thought there was bleeding in my brain. Where they might have to drill.

The ski accident where I was taken down on toboggan, driven in an ambulance to the hospital in Bozeman, driven in an ambulance to the airport in Bozeman, flown to Missoula, driven in an ambulance to the hospital in Missoula.

Right after the accident, there is a lot I can’t remember. There is also a lot I do not want to be reminded of about that day. That accident. The ski accident.

But there are some moments I don’t want to ever forget.

G E T T I N G   T W E N T Y   S H O T S   I N   M Y   F A C E

The pain of the actual accident was actually surmounted after the fact. After realizing what had happened to me, that it was serious, that I wasn’t going to make happy hour, that I needed to get about 40 stitches in my face; I waited for the plastic surgeon to come sew me up. A man walked in and looked at me. Just stared at me. Turned around.

– Hi, I’m Rachel. Who are you?

– I fix things like this. [stares at me again.] I think I can fix this.

And then he turns around again.

I give Evan the WTF? hands and he just shakes his head in confusion. The doctor prepares the needles and adjusts my bed so that I’m laying down flat.

– I’m going to numb up the area and then I’m going to stitch you up.

– Okay. I’m very scared of needles, but I think I’ll be okay.

I am scared of needles. When they put morphine in my IV, I asked, “Will this make me less scared of needles?” It didn’t. I don’t think it did anything, really. My adrenaline was too high.

This doctor did not care about my fear. He was so cold, he felt heartless.

He started putting the needles in my cheek. I tried to be brave; I really did, but it hurt so bad. And there were just so many needles in my face. So aggressively.

It wasn’t long before I started crying and it wasn’t long after that, when he started putting shots in my nose, that I started bawling.

He stood there silently, relentless, and stuck me over and over. It felt more aggressive with each needle.

By the time he got to my lip, I was begging. I was pleading with him to stop. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt and it felt like an attack.

Blood and tears streamed all over my face and I begged, screamed, as I sobbed, for him to stop. And he wouldn’t. Not for a second.

– Please, No, No, No, Please stop. STOP! PLEASE! NO MORE! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, please, please, no, no, no, no…

As I cry now, remembering it, I try to figure out why, why exactly, I want to remember this. Why do I want to remember?

Do I want to be able to compare every little pain I complain about to it? Remember what real pain feels like?

To realize that it was all worth it? In the end, the doctor did an incredible job stitching me up. His work was beautiful and those shots were ultimately a part of that.

To find faith in compassion? As I begged, he pressed on silently. As I bawled, he didn’t flinch. A hand on the shoulder or a “there, there, I promise it will be okay” would have beamed a bright light into my life. Empathy. Compassion. Something I want to remember.

T H E   S T A R S   I N   B O Z E M A N   T H E   S T A R S   I N   M I S S O U L A

The bathtub keeps bringing me back. I can’t take showers right now, to keep my face dry. So I take baths. To wash my hair, I have to lay my body down, my head horizontal, to dip it in the water. I’m rarely ever that flat, with nowhere to look but straight up. But recently, I was like that for a very long time. And these baths bring me back to the stars.

In Bozeman, they told me that there might be some bleeding in my brain and they were going to fly me to Missoula to get checked out. I cringed as they brought the backboard in. They put a neck-brace on me, they rolled me over onto my side, slid the board under me, rolled me back, and strapped down every part of my body, including [especially] my head.

The ambulance was ready in a parking garage, so it wasn’t that cold, it was nothing to see [upwards, at least].

When we arrived at the Bozeman airport, they opened the ambulance door and the cold took me over. After wheeling me out, I could instantly see the fog of my thick breath. But beyond that were the beautiful stars. So gorgeous in their perfect, comforting placement. It was like they were the only ones really [really] looking at me, understanding. We stared at each other with a pumping vein of tenderness and then I was lifted into the small plane.

The plane ride was almost miserable. I couldn’t move any part of me and every part of me hurt. Claustrophobia set in quick. A man who was flying with me, making sure I got everywhere safe, noticed my tears and rubbed my arm. When I told him my head hurt from the board, he loosened my head-strap and massaged the back of my head. I would have never guessed that the reassuring touch of a stranger would be so comforting, but it saved me.

We landed in Missoula. As they opened the plane door, the cold consumed me again. When they lowered me down and started rolling me to the ambulance, there they were. In the same exact place, the same exact pattern, like they had waited to make sure I arrived safely, the stars were there. And I realized that this was the same sky, these were the same stars, that shine on everything, everyone that I love. Everything can look up at these stars and find the encouragement of love, hope, and beauty.

This huge world filled with so much that I love, so much that I don’t even know yet, can all be united under this gorgeous blanket of stars. As they put me in the ambulance, my third ride of the day, I realized I want to be a part of that world.

Something I’ve never had to worry about wanting before, something I’ve never had to question, something I’ve had the privilege of being a given, suddenly became a question. And I answered with a feverishly adamant, “YES.” I want to be in this world.

I want to be here.

get uncomfy.

not much time to talk…

unless by, “talking”, you mean, “let’s cuddle in bed… whilst watching re-runs of 30 Rock… whilst rapidly falling asleep”… then, yes, let’s talk.

a handful of exciting things…

an illustration of mine published to a fashion magazine’s blahg.  awesome article, christy!  xxo.  <–click, click, boom.

the other day, whilst riding my bike to work… i slipped on the ice and fell… hard.  but it’s all okay because my favorite dj from my favorite radio station gave me a shout-out [<–click, click, boom.]… and then all kinds of cycling organizations started calling up the station and asking for requests.  i loved it.  this is the song i requested:

well, now, this just looks like the best. 

dear wes anderson, don’t you favorite-disappoint me like miranda july did with “the future.”  ya hear?  xxo,r.

25 Female Graphic Designers Who Kick Ass and Have in Turn Made Me Pledge to Myself to Step It Up. <–click, click, boom.

gonna get a bit uncomfy this weekend.  maybe i’ll tell you all about it.

oh, and ex-ci-ting things are happening tomorrow-ish.  exciting for a geek like me.

stay tuned.

much love, lovelies.

The Demoralizers.

The title is in capitals… that’s how you know this is serious…

Demoralizer #1: Baking.

I love ginger cookies… like, a lot.  And Char Davis [no blahg link… she’s cooler than the internet] makes the best chewy ginger cookie I’ve ever had.  So, in a fit of self-betterment, I decided I wanted to be more like Char Davis and make a damn good chewy ginger cookie.  I got the recipe, and went to the fancy-pants organic/local market in town.  Ran into a friend at the market and told her on this exciting Friday night, I was baking cookies.  She was psyched for me and informed me about the store’s awesome bulk section and the reusable jars that people drop off to fill up.  AWESOME.

Got my stuff, went home, it was later than most bakers get heated up, but I heated up.  Got all the ingredients separated, mixing, going good.  And then it was time to put in the molasses.  I opened up reusable jar of bulk molasses, took one sniff and almost gagged.  It smelled HORRIBLE.  I then noticed what the reusable jar was from… Thai Peanut Garlic Spread.  I almost threw up… OMG, It smells like garlic molasses.

I immediately poured the jar down the sink, gagging the whole time.  I was livid.  I wanted to call this “awesome” grocer and chew. them. out.  BUT it was after 10pm… and that’s when they close.

LIVID.  I went to the less-conscientious grocer three blocks away [open ’til 11] and bought a bottle of molasses… because, well, I have a half-mixed batch of cookies… what else am I gonna do??

Came back.  Opened up the bottle, poured it in the 3/4 cups measuring cup… took a whiff… hmm… said… out loud…

– Oh… I guess that’s just how molasses smells.

Yep.  Yep.  I’m not a baker-lady.  Molasses smells sulfer-y.  Yep.  It was fine the first time.  That time when I poured the whole jar down the sink… gagged… eyes watering… livid… yep… that was just how molasses smells.

The cookies were delicious.  I made three batches for friends, co-workers, loves and myself… Yep.

Demoralizer #2: Cyclocross.

Have you ever cyclocross raced?  [this is a legit question to blahg readers because i know that Anna Davis and Dan Abraham don’t “read blahgs… sorry.”]  Anywho, IT. IS. HARD.  But it looks like so much fun!…

Okay, that’s a little different than the Missoula races.  The Missoula races are DIRTY.  Dusty.  And there’s about 70 people all going together.  Up dusty, steep hills, down crazy hills, jumping… a lot of jumping… and carrying your bike.

So, anywho, I decided to race this week.  Why?  Mehdunno… It looks like fun!… Right?  Am I right, guys?  Am I right?  Guys?…

After the race I sent this text…

– MOST DEMORALIZING THING EVERRRR.

…to three people.

And I’m not kidding.  Maybe the most demoralizing thing ever.  And that’s coming from the girl that dressed up in a full-on dog costume in high school to raise awareness about the Animal Shelter in her hometown at a public event.  [yeah, don’t think anyone else besides the two other kids that went on to be bio-chemists that where there knew about that one.]

Yeah, most demoralizing.

I started in the back… the very back.  Didn’t pass a single sole.

Did I get passed??  Oh, eff yeah.  Eff yeah times two.  I got lapped twice!

And AND I took a HUGE digger right in front of the most spectator-heavy area.  Not like in the video where there were a bunch of other people around me messing me all up… nope.  This was just me… crashing… all by my lonesome.  There was a collective…

– Ahhhhh…. Ohhhhh…. [silence]…. You okay?

– Me?  Oh, me?  Yeah, I mean, somebody’s gotta be out here to make everyone else look good, right?  [suppressing tears… flashbacks to my high school crush recognizing me through the dog head.]

And then there were about 35 more minutes of that.  It was the worst.  But you know what?  Almost not the worst.  Laughing… at myself.  And random encouragement that kinda made my day.

– You know you’re doing awesome, right?

[a passerby… flying by me… being so encouraging.]

I dunno.  It was a weird/demoralizing/encouraging/tear-brimming experience.

The start time is 5:30pm and a couple times I thought to myself…“You know?  I am so much better at happy-houring than this.”

But that’s what this move is about.  Starting anew.  Trying new things.

Pouring a stinky bottle of molasses down the sink, going out at 10:15pm on a Friday night to buy more molasses only to discover that all molasses is stinky.  Laughs.  Smiles.  Cookie-dough eating like it’s a competition.

Racing in a race that you are nowhere near prepared for.  Getting one encouraging word that you hold on to, capture in your hands by clapping around a firefly, hold on to it tight to place it in a jar and look at for the next couple hours thinking, “Remember that time I did something insanely hard and one person [one stranger] thought I ruled at it?… I remember…”

That’s what this is about.

And it’s fecking hilarious/beautiful.

[beautiful.]

and then there’s this for you to dance… dance…

go and enjoy yourself.

So much snow and sickness for a week or so made cabin fever inevitable.  It was time to get out.  Get to Salt Lake, see fresh faces of friends I haven’t seen in so long.

Friends from different walks of life at different times, living in one city… and they all became friends!  A circle of friends, all connected.

And go see my favorite band!  Arcade Fire!  They’re playing in Orem tomorrow night… so exciting.  An adventure.  An escape.

We went through Idaho Falls and were making great time.  Through Pocatello… sun starting to set… beautiful golden light… snow disappearing.

Car slowed quickly.  I asked…

– What’s the matter?  Are we getting pulled over?

– What?  No.

Evan looked at me very worried.  I still didn’t catch on.

The car [evan’s car] just stopped working.  Slowed down.  Stopped.

Crap.

We tried everything.

Evan gave it more oil.  Checked other motor things.

We did chants for the car as we tried to start it…

– GO, CAR GO!  GO, CAR GO!

Nothing.

I was in disbelief…

– Try it again.  It has to work.  We have to go have dinner with our friends.  Get to the concert.

– Rachel, it’s not going to work.

– Try it again.

It didn’t work.

The car had to be towed.  We decided it would be best to get it towed all the way back to Idaho Falls… for reasons too logical for a blahg.

We waited.  Cracked a beer.  [we found our favorite favorite oregon beer at a random IF grocery store…!]  We waited for the tow truck.

Todd showed up.  He was driving the tow truck.

He rigged everything up, we got what we needed out of the car…

– [whispering] This guy is a character.

– Yeah, he is.

Todd was a short guy, smelled of smoke, gruff, moved with a purpose.  We got in his cab of his truck.  Justin Timberlake was playing.  Hmmm… Todd and I might actually get along.

I, of course, sat real close to Todd… in the middle of him and Evan.

We were quiet for a long time.  Evan on the phone a lot trying to figure things out.

I started talking to Todd… asking about his life.

He’s been in Inkom, Idaho [population 738] for 47 years [his whole life].

He has five kids from 29 to 16 years of age.

And that was all I got out of him for a while.  Evan and I started feeling less sorry for ourselves and started to laugh at it all.

– It could be a lot worse.

– Yeah, it’s only a car.

– And money.

– Yeah, but that’s only money.

And Todd chimed in.

– This job is hard sometimes… I see a lot of fatalities.

And it hit us.

We are so lucky.

We all realized that and we started to talk more.  More like we were humans.  Dealing with human things.  Life.

Jackson is expensive.  Kids are expensive.

– You two married?

– No.

– Oh.

– How long have you been married?

– 29 years!

Math, math, math… He got married at 18!

The more we talked, the more we just randomly opened up.  We cursed every so often.  Complained.  Vented.

– Buddy, you better get her to that indie rock concert.

– Yeah, I know… I’m tryin’.

– Says it’s her favorite… Gotta keep the lady happy.

[like i wasn’t even there… sitting right in between them… hilarious… ah-mazing.]

Started talking about families.

His kids.

– They’ve had their fair share of DUIs.

– Oh, I’m so sorry.

They’ve spent their time in jail.

– It’s just a rough place to grow up sometimes.

And then we were to the shop in Idaho Falls all of a sudden.  Evan got out of the car to deal with things.  I asked.

– Is there a lot of meth down in Inkom?

– Uhhh… No, not really.  A lot of cocaine.

– Oh, yeah?

– Yeah, my wife and I used to deal.  Used to use a lot too… It was just so much damn money.  I’ve been clean for 19 years now.

– Wow.

And then we just talked and talked [for what was in reality minutes… but felt like years of a friendship unfolded] about addiction, family, darkness, reality, light, hope.

Then, on his own time, he drove us to our hotel and helped us unload all of our stuff from the truck to inside.  He didn’t let me carry more than him… it was cute.  And when he left he looked me straight in the eye, shook my hand and said…

– Hey girl, I hope you get to your concert.  Go and enjoy yourself.

 

ah-mazing/slightly depressing things.

Well, as the title promises, I must show you these ah-mazing/slightly depressing [with a sprankle of morbidity] things.

The first is something I found on my incredible friend, Lisa’s Facebook.  I don’t know how I missed this before now.  It was posted in 2007 and it’s in an album called, “How I Will Die.”

Ummmmmm…….

just plain incredible.

You might call it morbid, I call it genius.  When asked, Lisa told me that her and all of her theater friend [oh, those kids] from High School took pictures acting out the situations in which they assumed they would go.

I’ve thought about mine.  It’s unclear.  It would probably be some compromising photo of me getting electrocuted trying to watch 30 Rock on my computer in a bubble bath.  That or choking on nachos.

The second thing I want to show you is Garfield Minus Garfield.  It’s old Garfield comics with Garfield taken out.  Oh, man… I just love it.  John Arbuckle, who knew you were so so sad?

And then this horribly mean/awesome song:

That and many other songs were played on this morning’s Morning Scramble.  That show will be posted here in a whole second.  Check back.

not thinking.

I just have to say.

Sometimes there are those films, those books, those songs [even] that you just cannot get out of your head.  They flush themselves to the front of your face so that you feel that anyone who’s looking at you is seeing the disturbance seep out of your eyes, everything you say is tainted.

I saw Blue Valentine last night.

And I hope I’m not ruining anything for anyone, but it’s depressing as hell.

A story of falling out of love and basically how we’re all doomed to never be the person we want to be if we try and trick ourselves into believing in a relationship.

Makes it all feel hopeless.

Cleaning up myself in the bathroom after the movie, I found myself accompanied by many a women who were in the same state of shocked depression.

While in a stall, I hear…

Lady:  Half way through, all I could think about was how this was going to fuck me up like Revolutionary Road did.

Me: [from sitting on the toilet] OH MY GOSH, ME TOO!  Hey, yeah, I don’t know who said that but seriously, this movie is definitely of the same caliber of Revolutionary Road.

Lady:  Seriously!  Ugh.  Too much.

I couldn’t sit at home after watching Blue Valentine last night.

I took myself to keeping occupied.  Not thinking.  Not thinking about love.  Not thinking about relationships.  Not thinking about my relationship.  Not thinking about families.  Not thinking about my parents.  Not thinking about getting old.  Not thinking about sharing life.  Not thinking about compromise.  Not thinking about divorce.  Not thinking about love.  Not thinking about losing it.  Not thinking about falling out.

Not thinking.  Just dancing with strangers and living something, feeling something that’s not thinking.

And then woke up way too early and did this:

I don’t know why I’m sharing these thoughts.  If nothing else, sharing is a fraction of a conversation that’s worth voicing.  Right?  I don’t know.

Anyways, it’s in my head… Blue Valentine is… like Revolutionary Road, it will take weeks, months to finish messing with me.

I’ll need a good love story… stat.

sparklers.

[first off: realized the link to the song in the previous post wasn’t working… fixed it… click away… trust me.]

Woke up yesterday with a lot of work to do.  Decided I wouldn’t stare at my computer in my pajamas and slowly wake up.

Decided I’d wake early, get dressed, make an ungodly amount of espresso and kick-start my day.  Hell, I even put on mascara.

Sat at the window, so early, with snow everywhere lighting up anything, everything.  A blizzard.

Sitting, working, sipping, watching from above as bundled up bodies trudge their way though all the snow.

It was peaceful.

Staring out the window… a time for reflection.

A friend sent me a video, said it reminded me of him.  These are the best kind of compliments: http://pitchfork.com/tv/%23/musicvideo/9957-sufjan-stevens-too-much-asthmatic-kitty

Stared at a computer all day.  Numb, but quavering.

Listened to this:

[probably cried.]

Finally made myself go out of the house in the late evening.

Did my hair.

Did it again.

Liked it better the first way.

Literally tried to push ⌘ Z… Edit > Undo… in my head… for my hair.

That’s when you know you’ve been working on a computer for too long.

Woke up this morning.  Still numb, but quaking.

So tired.

Threw on WHAT. EVER. to go over to the radio station for my show.

Didn’t really care, didn’t really notice… until I noticed.  Wearing a short person’s bright striped dress and flowered long johns… WOW.

Laughing at myself because I was such a hot mess.

HOT MESS.

Laughing at it all.  Cracking myself up.  Laughing out loud.

Dancing in pajamas.

To old, but favorite songs:

Focusing on the joy.

When life is hard, dark, you have to illuminate the good things just so you can see where you’re going.  Watch your steps fall.  Carry the torches of love, of light.  Juggle the simple joys, the tiny sparklers, to help you see where you need to go.

The dance-worthy songs:

The inspiring reads.

The friendly smiles and randomness.

The out-of-the-blue encouraging emails.

The lovely songs:

The funny text messages.

The memories.

The dreams.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

The sparklers.

Those steps.