I wish you all the best for the new year. May you experience everything life has to offer. May your dreams be realized. And may you all find more love than you know what to do with. :)
And to ring in the new year, here's a mash-up of 2009's top 25 songs. Enjoy!
We were crammed into the pews, but no one cared. It was negative something outside (does it matter much after -1?), but no one cared. It started late, but no one cared.
I was so moved by the intense passion he displayed and by his ability to layer sound after sound after sound, creating a rich, overwhelming sound. He used large horns to project the sound (versus a traditional P.A. system), which added to the whimsy and mysticalness of it.
To be moved by a single person putting all of their talent on display confidently and unabashedly is moving. What a wonderful memory.
So along with this birthday comes the renewing of my driver's license. And I realized this funny fact: This (Minnesota) is the first state I've ever lived in long enough for my driver's license to actually expire. So today I made the trip down to the DMV to ceremoniously recognize the commitment I've made to the great state of Minnesota. And it was delightful.
Though you might think I'm being a bit sarcastic, I'm actually quite serious. The place was filled with a myriad of cultures and colors and ages and basically contained a perfect representation of the United States. And since people watching is one of my favorite activities, it was quite a thrill. I eavesdropped on the Brazilians sitting ahead of me and laughed at the mixed race couple's exuberant children. When I was finally called to the window, I was greeted by the most delightful Middle Eastern woman. She acted incredulous when I answered that I was in fact over 21 years old, so I wouldn't be needing a special driver's license. That in fact, I'm turning 27! And she went on and on about how wonderful and cute my drivers license photo was. I could have hugged her.
So a special thank you to the Minneapolis DMV for turning my annoyed-at-having-to-renew-my-drivers-license frown into a smile in just under an hour. The pleasure was all mine.
- Bought a car! After nearly 5 years of being a single car family we finally broke down and bought a second car. A car that I'm still learning how to drive because it's a manual. We fell in love with the 2005 Saturn Ion and after it was explained to me that once I got comfortable with the manual system it would be like driving a race car, how could I resist?
- Eric is a real life attorney! One Saturday in April, Eric and I were driving down to Marshall for my baby brother's prom when he got a phone call. Thirty minutes stopped at a SuperAmerica later, he had a job offer! He now gets all gussied up everyday to fight crime at a small firm in the twin cities. And by fighting crime I mean mostly representing clients in bankruptcies and divorces. If you live in Minnesota and you're in need of competent and good looking representation, email me. I'm just sayin'.
- Baby Brother Graduated! We got to spend a long weekend with my family for my brother's graduation a couple of weeks ago. And when we all get together for a celebration, it gets a bit wild. It was so nice to see everyone and I swear my cheeks hurt by the time I got home.
- Feng Shui'd my office! Okay, I really don't have a clue as to how to feng shui, but as part of my new happiness project I decided to spruce up my office space a bit since I spend 8 hours a day there. A bonsai plant and a new fountain have really made a big difference (although when my coworkers pop in to visit, they keep telling me it makes them have to pee). It's still a work in progress, but I think surrounding myself with things that are calming and motivating are important - now I don't feel as if I'm just sitting in a box. What do you do to make your workspace feel more inviting? (FYI - I was inspired by this article.)
I ran into an old friend at the gym the other night on my way to a weightlifting class. We quickly caught up and I asked about a few people we both had known when we had worked together. I was particularly interested in one lady, Cathy, as I had thought about calling her every few months since I had last seen her two and a half years ago. When I asked about her, my old work friend said, “Oh. She’s dead. She died last June.”
I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I had really admired Cathy and even though we hadn’t spoken in a long time, I considered her one of my good friends. How could this have happened and how could I not have known about it?
Because I did not get the chance to say goodbye, I have decided to do it here and send it out into the universe. So, to the best Norwegian knitter and joke teller that I know, I will miss you and your hilarious stories of the Peace Corp and our gabbing sessions over silly TV shows. Thank you Cathy for your warm friendship and for always making me feel like I had a seat at the table. I will miss you.
The loss of this good friend caused me to think about others I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. So I picked up the phone yesterday and called one of them. And it was so good to talk to her.
My challenge to you is: Find someone you’ve lost touch with and call them, or email them, or send them a postcard. You’ll be glad you did.
P.S. I looked back to see where I was in my life when Cathy died and turns out, I was doing this. And the funny thing is, Cathy would have gotten a real kick out of that.
Happy St. Jordi's Day! For those of you not familiar with this fabulous Catalan holiday, it's a sort of Spanish Valentine's Day. As part of the day's celebrations, the men receive books and the women a single flower. If you find yourself in Catalonia during this time you will see the streets filled with book and flower shops. It's a beautiful sight. And who doesn't love receiving flowers and books?
So thank you for all the cheers and support. And I must ask - now that I've managed to make it across the finish line, how about you?
Anyone who knows me knows that anything more than 100 meters of continuous running is something I would classify as ‘long distance’. (I believe my best race is actually the 40 meter dash.) So admittedly, a race that is 5 kilometers (or 3.1 miles) is a bit of a stretch for someone like me. But I liked the idea of it…
Last summer I was determined to find the closeted long-distance runner that I knew was hiding somewhere deep, deep, deep down in my soul. I spent several months gradually increasing my stamina until running one mile no longer seemed impossible. In the end, I was able to go almost 2.5 miles (stopping halfway through to catch my breath!). So although I’ve been hard at work at the gym since January, it’s been awhile since I really consistently ran a ‘long distance’ without stopping and I’m a little anxious to see how it’ll go. But of this I am sure: I will make it across that finish line.
To breathe fresh, warm, ocean air and be surrounded by all the colors of the rainbow is good for the soul. The colors on this trip were so vibrant and inspiring that I couldn't help but try and photograph them all. The blues of the ocean, the pink and yellow of the flowers, the green of the palms, the orange of the fading sunlight, the white of the sand. I drank them all in and stored them up, because you never really know when spring is going to show its face in Minnesota.
Pepto Bismol can be used as a preventative measure when traveling - just take a dose 4 times a day and your likelihood of coming home healthy are much, much higher. You're welcome.
So one of the coolest things about the Cancun area are the thousands of cenotes scattered about. A cenote is basically a sinkhole, usually with crystal clear water and some other amazing feature. While in Mexico, we visited two: El Gran Cenote near Tulum and the Ik Kil Cenote by Chichen Itza. At the first cenote, we got to sport our snorkel gear and marvel at all the amazing fish and coral and plants and caves up close. At the second, our timing was perfect. Eric and I had the whole cenote to ourselves for a whole 15 minutes (which is a lot at such a popular destination). Cenotes are one of the most amazing natural wonders I've ever seen. Though it can't quite capture the wonder of the 'happy accident', I've posted some pictures below.
The Grand Cenote:
The cenote at Ik Kil: