Monday, October 29, 2012

Soundtrack: What happened to 92.9 & 96.1 Edition?

[The title is less thematic and more of a question.]

Remember how back in January I declared to blog more this year than last? I'm not certain that I'm going to accomplish that goal because we all know that sooner as opposed to later I'll run out of things to say for a little while. I suspect that some of you are hoping that "sooner" comes very soon. The good news is that even when I'm yammering on endlessly here in the blogosphere, my preference is actually to listen. Well, to some extent. More on that later. Today I bring you some of my current favorite tunes that is music to my ears.

Madness - Muse. I like this song almost as much as Uprising. And that concludes my comprehensive knowledge of Muse-ic.

Midnight on the Interstate - Trampled by Turtles. Where do these groups come up with their names these days? I mean, seriously. For instance...

Man on Fire - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Ringtones. I heard this song on Parenthood, I think. Who here is watching Parenthood this season? I love the Braverman family. I do not love that Christina has cancer though because my eyes are red-rimmed and puffy at the end of every episode. Sometimes I forget that the Braverman family isn't real, but then it doesn't make me feel any better when I remember that they are not because there are real families everywhere dealing with the same issues this television family deals with each week. The Braverman's just have the luxury of living it with cool theme music in the background.

One More Night - Maroon 5. Since my first true love - Justin Timberlake - recently married, I decided it's time to crush on a new musician. I'm not typically one for super inked up bodies and skinny jeans but Adam Levine wears both quite well.

Stars  - Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. I'm always jealous of a girl that can play both the guitar AND piano. Or just one of those instruments for that matter. My parents should have forced me to learn how to play a musical instrument. Darn them for letting me choose my extracurricular activities!

The Once & Future Carpenter - The Avett Brothers. Seth and Scott are two of my favorites but watching Joe Kwon the crazy cellist play during their live shows is probably one of the primary reasons I saw them three times in less than a year. I also love the rich meaning found in their lyrics. Particularly the message in this song.

Babel - Mumford & Sons. I'm talking about the entire album, not just that title track. I love, love, love Mumford & Sons. I declare this one better than Sigh No More. If my daddy could hear me declare my love for a banjo-centric group such as this, he would roll his eyes and shake his head because I always complained endlessly when he would listen to anything with a banjo in it. I can't declare a favorite song, but I do love Ghosts That We Knew mainly for the arrangement of stringed instrument goodness in the middle of it (I am quite skilled at speaking technically, aren't I?). It's like church for me. While I'm on the topic of church...

Jesus Paid It All - the Kristian Stanfill version. I'm not a girl that really likes to show emotion in church but it never fails: I cannot listen to this song live without crying at least one tear, sometimes two.

Stubborn Love - The Lumineers. How ironic that a song with this title follows a song about unconditional love in my little line-up. 

Striking Matches...Y'all. Their new EP is out! Now. Check out their website to see for yourself all of the exciting happenings that is going on with them right now. I am so proud of them! A song of theirs will be on that new show Nashville on ABC very soon. They are kind of a big deal on iTunes right now. They've always been kind of a big deal to me.

Two Step - DMB. This one never gets old. It's certainly a sweet life, isn't it?

Home - Phillip Phillips. Let's ignore the fact that it's from American Idol and that it was on every single Olympic commercial back in the summer. If this song doesn't make your heart full of happy, then we need to work on that.

Free/Into the Mystic - ZBB with a hint of Jimmy Buffett. I always love a good cover musical mash-up. This is one of my very favorites.

Till the World Ends - Britney Spears. So sue me, I kind of love Britney. Dance on, fellow fans.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A couch. A camping chair. A crate.

While today's subject line does sound like an element of a bad joke, it's really just the main contents of my apartment these days. What can I say, what I lack in accessible worldly possessions, I make up for in written words here on the blog.

I am continuously grateful for my fantastic family for coming to help me load everything up and carry it to the next [still undetermined] destination. Something makes me think this guy's appreciation isn't as great.
He's less than enthused to not have the foot of the bed to sleep on for the next week. Take a number, buddy, I'm less than enthused to not have a bed to sleep in the for the next week.
Cash the wonder Lab knows something is up, and he will not let me out of his sight. Which really is no different than the last 4 years of my life now that I think about it.

At least I have options in the event sofa sleeping becomes too much of a first world problem for me to continue to endure. Seems that I've got a friendly neighbor. When I went out to leave on Sunday morning, this was on my windshield:

Poor guy really had no way of predicting that grammatical shortcuts are a major turn-off for me. You know, because otherwise leaving random anonymous notes with a phone number on an old gas receipt is how I've always imagined the future Mr. Heather Page would make his introduction.

When Ethan came over on Sunday night and I showed him the picture, he giggled and giggled like a school girl. I'm not sure what was so funny, the fact that someone showed interest in his sister or that he was thinking of all the times he tried a similar tactic and it didn't work for him either. He didn't laugh too long though because he's smart and knows better than to bite the hand that feeds him. During our most recent dinner outing, we had fun brother-sister bonding served with a side of cardiac arrest:
I can't believe he's been in Athens since August and hadn't discovered The Grill yet. Of course, I should probably be thankful that he hasn't because we all know what conditions make for the most enjoyable trips there.

It's officially my last full week as an Athens resident. It's bittersweet but I'm excited because I still have a couple of more fun stops to go before I finally head out for good. [Until week after next when I'm back in town 2 days in a row.] The last few weeks have been fantastic. Great times at great places with great people. I think one of the main takeaways from my "farewell tour" is that when I get to where I'm going next, I hope to remember to treat it as if I'm already on my way out of town. It's so easy to take people and opportunities and fun for granted because we can always find time for that tomorrow or next week or the next. Until suddenly we can't and there's more people and opportunties and fun to be had than there is time to have it.

Carpe diem, indeed. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Advanced Education.

The song stuck in my head on today's run was "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons. It's a current fave but on this particular day, the last part of the chorus set off a little debate in my head. It goes like this: "but then I'll admit I'm just the same as I was / Now don't you understand that I'm never changing who I am"

The question that came to my mind was should we change who we are? Because never is a pretty strong word. The deep philosophical conclusion that I arrived at fairly quickly somewhere around mile 2 was that it depends.

Then I started thinking about it within the context of my own life. Fact: In 10ish days, I'm leaving this town a changed person from the girl who arrived here 5ish years ago. I moved here for the purpose of advanced education. My goal was to be here 2.5 years. Max. It was a means to an end that would in theory broaden my career opportunities with the added bonus of my boss finally hushing up about how I needed to go back to school. Because I came here with that goal, I suffered from a pretty severe case of tunnel vision until I finally graduated [a semester behind schedule] and realized that it was ok to like, even love, where I was at even though I had determined in the beginning that I would not.  

So, yeah, about that advanced education that brought me to Athens. Unbeknownst to me, I was in for so much more than I had imagined. I will always remember Dahlonega as the town where I lived when I became a "grown up". My first real job, my first apartment, my first apartment without a roomate. I cannot say for certain yet, but I think Athens is going to be remembered as the town where I lived when I gained an understanding of what it means to live. Not physical breathing and eating and sleeping, but actually living. Because I've lived many years waiting to start living. Does that make sense? Probably not, but we all get trapped in the "I'll do this when..." cycle every once in awhile. I was trapped in it for a long while.

I'm sure years from now I'll still be tracing lessons learned back to this stage of  life but before I shift my attention to the next stage, I feel it necessary to document a few big ones now for posterity to ensure they do not get lost in the shuffle. Plus, you would quickly be bored out of your gourd if I documented them all here in the public domain.

As trite as it sounds, Faith, Hope, and Love hit the highlights.

Faith. I learned that it's pretty easy to say that you have it until something big happens that brings it into question. Never have I read, journaled, questioned and studied my faith like I have here. Talk about higher education.

Hope. I learned that as long as we have hope, we have a chance to make tomorrow better than today. I learned that it's hope that enables you to survive the things that until you're in the middle of them, you would have never been able to imagine experiencing. I have learned those unimaginable experiences are quite subjective and different for everyone so our compassion is much more necessary than our judgment.

Love. I learned what it means to love another person more than myself. This was a biggie for me. I learned that it's risky. I learned that it's worth the risk. I learned to let down walls and be loved. This was a biggie for me too. It's risky too. Worth it? You bet.

So back to my original question and answer. I think if we refuse to change, we are refusing the opportunity to grow. If we change for the wrong reasons, we will never grow. If our ears and nose never stop growing, why should our brains and our hearts?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Girl Should Not Live On Cookies Alone.

When I'm stressed out I do one of the following: run, bake, and write.
Saturday, I ran 8.5 miles and wrote some notes. Sunday, I baked 4 dozen cookies. Monday, I ran 3.5 miles. Today, I'm blogging. And I just offered to bake pumpkin bread for a pal to take to a breakfast tomorrow.
It's nice to know that my coping mechanisms are fully functional.

While I'm on the subject of stress, let's just go ahead and get a few things straight. Sure, I'm twirling my hair and wondering how in the world I'm ever going to get every single thing on my to-do list accomplished. [A good start would be to get off of the silly internet.] Yes, that's stressful. BUT, it's not "your dad has a 10% chance of living through the night" stressful. I've experienced both types, and I've learned that when one is in a really critical, stress-inducing situation, one does not have time to document miles ran and cookies baked on a blog. In other words, I'm not complaining. I believe the term for this they teach the youngsters in Health Psychology class is "eustress". I suspect that the term which best describes me right now is "frazzled" or "Liz Lemon". Because it's normal to unknowingly drop your keys when walking the dog in the morning only to return back to your locked door before realizing something is missing, right? And then you get to retrace your steps completely while on the hunt for said keys. In the rain. Or refer to a male coworker as "Ms." in a printed document for a little event that I'm responsible for planning at work. Hello, Monday. You really should come around more often.

My Monday continued when I returned my defective running shoes that I had previously ordered online to the local sporting goods store in my future town. If you are my FB friend, you've already seen the bang up job the postman did of hiding them upon delivery:

I still giggle when I think about his decision to put the doormat over a gigantic box as a cover. While at the store, I learned that they have been discontinued and it was that pair or nothing. I might have grieved the loss by swearing off running for good and drowning my sorrows in a Five Guys cheeseburger. I'm super stoked to start the hunt for a new favorite running shoe because I have about as much success in that area as I do in finding an intelligent and charming man who appreciates my sardonic wit and humor. Hmmm, maybe one works at the shoe store. Two birds, one stone. Oh how I love efficiency.

For dinner last night I had some of the cookies that I baked on Sunday. They really complemented that burger from lunch. That is one thing that I don't mind about being a little bit stressed because my metabolism responds by morphing into that of a 14 year-old boy's. I can eat and eat and eat and not gain an ounce. It's deee-light-ful. The other day I took the baby brother to lunch and ate more than he did. He's 19 and looks like this:
Tall and skinny [and incredibly adorably cute but I'm a big sister so of course I could be biased]. I am particularly fond of this picture because it was taken recently and he's wearing a shirt of mine from when I was in the 9th grade. In fact that's really the only reason why I'm including the picture. What? Didn't every girl from Georgia go through a future-lumberjack stage and wear flannels from American Eagle? It was only a phase, people. I'm a total girly girl. I've always admired Ethan for his ahem, sense of style. Down to the black crew socks with shorts and Sperry's. Lord bless the middle child. Anywho, back to my metabolism. I try not to take it or my good health for granted and abuse it so I must check myself before I wreck myself and abstain from eating cookies for dinner 3 nights in a row. Starting tomorrow. I'll probably run out of cookies between now and then anyway.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One Bourbon. One Scotch. One Beer.

Perhaps you're wondering why the title of today's post is inspired by a song that my mind most commonly associates with George Thorogood's voice. You really shouldn't waste your time wondering such things, but the truth is I would like two of each, please, bartender. I suspect just half of one though would send me straight into a state of slumber that would make Rip Van Winkle look like a power napper.
See this?

It is a snapshot of my work desktop earlier today. Ridiculous. Yes, one could argue that what is even more ridiculous is that I stopped to document this nonsense. The snipping tool accessory is my new favorite discovery though so I make the most of every opportunity to use it. [And that's why you should elect me Queen of the Nerd Herd!]

This is a fantastic illustration of my current state of affairs. Lots of important things to do. Lots of things that I want to address. Yet I'm dragging my feet because while I know that there cool things ahead in some new windows, I still really like my current view. So I want to keep them open a little longer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Insane Courage.

So, remember my last post about Stone Paths? I wrote it as a reminder to myself. Actually many of my posts serve that purpose because if I put it here instead of in a journal there's a little bit more accountability to actually walk the talk I'm so good at talking.

Here's the deal: I am dug in with both heels on my current stone. I wrote that post late Friday night when I should have been sleeping [or packing boxes]. In fact, I should be packing boxes right now or at least chipping away at something on my to-do list that is so complex it closely resembles an org chart of the soon-to-be consolidated institution I know and love dearly. There is nothing about me that wants to leave Athens. I'll write about that irony another day.

On Sunday I went to church and I'm a little surprised the bulletin didn't say "Dear Heather, listen closely 'cause this one's for you." because hello, relevant. Now, if you happen to be reading this and the word "church" makes you break out into hives, stay with me. Please. I promise not to preach. Thank you.

Have you guys ever seen "We Bought a Zoo"? I haven't either. However the current series at church is titled "20 Seconds of Courage" inspired by a part in this movie. Here's the hyperlink if you want to catch the under a minute snippet. The point is that Matt Damon's character is talking to his son [I think] and tells him "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."

When I'm really honest with myself, I know that there are times and situations when I'm driven more by fear than courage. It's nothing that I'm exactly proud to shout from the rooftop but it's me...HP. Now I'm not talking about conspiracy theory bury all of your money in coffee cans in the backyard type of fear. I'm talking about the fear of being told no or rejected therefore I just choose not to try. Sure, it may be great that I am hardly ever told no, but I have significantly limited my potential for "yes". I get that the person I'm hurting more than anyone is myself but good heavens, who all am I not helping as a result of this mindset? It's quite ridiculous when I actually type out the words.

At some point in the sermon the pastor mentioned that today is the day of salvation and I honestly kind of stopped listening for a few minutes because I was busy writing the following in my journal:
Today is the day of confession.
Today is the day of surrender.
Today is the day of obedience.
Today is the day to choose faith over fear.
Today is the day of freedom.

I think it's fear that often prevents us from confession, surrender, and obedience which is turn prohibits us from living a life where we are free to live courageously. We're afraid someone may find out there actually is a heart under a tough as nails surface. We're afraid that if we stand up for what we believe in, we will be shunned by the people we want to like and respect us. We're afraid that if we stop trying to control circumstances then our lives will spin completely and totally out of control. We're afraid to let go of our own agenda to take hold of a better one. By "we", I mean "I'. I'm guilty of all of those things and it's quite exhausting to let fear lead.

Sure, having courage can generate a type of fear too, but it's typically pretty temporary when we experience the outcome of showing courage. I have much more regret over decisions made in fear than actions taken in courage. So, if we truly believed that showing just 20 seconds of insane courage would lead to something great, what would we accomplish? We can hold our breath for 20 seconds and live to tell about it. This means we can be courageous for 20 seconds and live to tell about it too. [Most of the time. Unless your definition of courage involves only actions taken by Evel Kneivel.]

What does 20 seconds of courage look like?
Saying yes to an unknown future filled with potential that is yet to be seen?
Saying no to instant gratification in exchange for something better a little further down the road? Calling a friend and saying "I'm sorry"?
Calling a loved one and saying "I forgive you"?
Asking her out for coffee?
Telling him you're just not that into him?
Texting "99999" to a disaster relief agency?
Committing to volunteer somewhere outside of your comfort zone?
Admitting you were wrong?
Recognizing and celebrating the accomplishment of someone in your circle?

The possibilities are quite limitless. I actually need a few minutes of courage to catch up on some things that I have been allowing to hold me back. It doesn't matter where I start, as long as I start. So um, please remind me of this, ok? Thanks.

Fill in the blank: Today is the day of _________________________. Go ahead. Go insane.

"This is my command - Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -Joshua 1:9