Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Music for Healing

The violence in Kalamazoo since the new year began has me tired.



I've been getting into Google search holes of reading everything related to what happened here on Saturday. Reading about the victims, details, gun control, mental health awareness, racial double standards, white masculinity in the United States... yesterday morning I looked up and an hour had gone by. Then another.

Then I stopped. And I thought about my job.

I work for a youth leadership organization that is rooted in the community, We do community work every day. Yesterday, I did a variation of what I do every day, what makes my job amazing and enjoyable-- I talked to people in Kalamazoo about upcoming community events, community projects, ideas for improving the community. It gave my tired soul some energy.

Last night, we had one of our twice-monthly meetings and we opened the floor to our young people. Many of them expressed anger that they didn't get to talk about what happened at school. That in 2016, the thought that you could easily hide what is ugly from the youth if you don't talk about it is an idea I can't even entertain. Their conversation moved me-- let's come up with ideas to raise awareness, let's do something, let's give ourselves time to grieve, let's understand, we can't understand... I love them.

After our conversation, we moved outside for a small gesture to send something good out into our community. Each of us took a glass votive and on it, we wrote what we want to put out there to Kalamazoo.





We lit our candles and stood together in community. We left them burning until the end of our meeting.

I listen to music all day at work, every day. Yesterday, I couldn't do it. But last night, after the conversation and candles on my way home from a very long day of work, I passed through downtown Kalamazoo. As I drove by every news truck stationed all over our small city, the tears flowed while Death Cab for Cutie played in the background. Now I can't stop listening to music.

Today, I'm listening to music that heals me. These are the songs that pulled me out of bed early this morning.

What are yours? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp a Butterfly is an album I return to week after week. I find new lyrical bombs that blow my mind every time I listen to it. No doubt that I've spent too much time on Rap Genius for this album. Kendrick Lamar's Grammy performance last night made me feel more passion than the Bernie rally. Check it out in all of its beauty here:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Feeling the Bern

Yesterday, my sister told me that Bernie Sanders was coming to Michigan. Since I had the day off for President's Day, I decided to drive over to Ypsilanti and check out the rally with her.

When Obama was campaigning in 2008 and 2012, I felt so much passion for what he stood for and his campaign-- especially in 2008. This time, I'm not feeling particularly passionate about either of the Democratic candidates. I want to be more excited about Hillary, but I'm just not feelin' her right now. I decided to get to the Bernie rally to see if I could drum up some excitement for this election, especially with all of the talk about a new Supreme Court nominee.

Bernie's message resonates with me and continued to do so today at his rally. It's hard to listen to presidential candidates talk about what they're going to "change", especially now that I'm a little older and wiser than the last two elections. I wonder if it's just like this for everyone as they get older and see more and more elections. There were a few eighteen-year-olds sitting behind me screaming and freaking out about everything Bernie said. It gave me a wistful feeling, like I was looking at myself eight years ago.

While I felt myself slow-clapping a few times, I still remain wary. However, Bernie said something that stuck with me because it is something I truly believe, no matter how much watching Scandal makes me go all conspiracy theorist in my imagination:

"When we become politically engaged and stand together, there is nothing we cannot accomplish."
I hope our country can find a way to remember that. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fourteen Questions for Valentine's Day

This was going around Facebook and although we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, I wanted to answer these fourteen AOL throwback questions about my lifetime love because it gives me the warm fuzzies to think back on our life together so far.
1. Where did you meet your other half? 
We met at house party when we were in college. It was his house. He was playing the piano so I heard him before I saw him. 

2. How long have you been with your significant other? 
Together for thirteen years, married for seven. 

3. What was your first date?
We got Taco Bell and ate it on his back porch. I feel like we also drank Rolling Rock, since that was really in back in 2002. 

4. How long were you dating your other half before he/she proposed? 
I think it was a little over five years. 

5. When did you say "I do"? 
June 21, 2008-- Summer Solstice!

6. What song did you dance to at your wedding?
Two songs:


7. What stands out the most from your wedding? 
It was hailing and raining and we were doing everything outside so I was freaking out a little. Then it cleared up and everyone partied like crazy around the bonfire while the band played. 

8. Do you have any children? 
We have two fur babies. ;)

9. What's your favorite thing about your other half? 
He's so funny, caring, and kind. 

10. What's best dish your other half makes? 
Everything he makes is delicious. He makes an amazing steak. Also, his cheesecake is the bomb. Oh, and his deep dish pizza. And everything else too. 

11. Where is your favorite place you have traveled with your other half? 
I love going up north with him. I also like exploring cities with him and trying every kind of food we can. 

12. When did you know your other half was the one? 
We were on east campus at WMU walking around one warm spring night and I was just thought, yep. 

13. What does your favorite date night consist of?
Movies and food or some kind of crazy adventure, like trying to ride bikes around in the dark or turning down a weird road to see what's at the end of it.

14. How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
We don't. Valentine's Day usually makes me feel like this:
But less so now that I'm not working in a high school every day! 

Anyway, I think it's pretty clear what I'm really all about:


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Beyonce, Duh.

This. Song. Is. So. BADASS.

It just renewed my love of all things Beyonce. 

There is some ish going down in our country and pop culture is so on top of it. 

Update! This just happened and will continue to crack me up FOR DAYS:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Year of Thirty Days Check-In (and a Tune for Tuesday)

First, a song for your energy level on this odd rainy day in February:

The first month of my Year of Thirty Days is over. 
I finished another Whole30 and Yoga With Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga Camp. I feel pretty good, the same as I felt at the halfway point. I'm not gonna lie, though. On my first day of freedom from the Whole30, I ate a soft pretzel and drank a coconut milk stout. They were both excellent. That being said, I'm going to stick with paleo eating most of the time. I'll let you know how it goes! I want to write about how I feel now, but prior posts say it all. 

In a nutshell:
-I'm more flexible and my body feels good.
-I have an awesome morning yoga habit established.
-My skin is glowing. 
-My clothes fit better and I feel like a fly girl.  

Now... February's 30, er, 28 days. 
If you know me, you know I have two books in mind. A novel and a teacher book. I'm working on the teacher book right now, but...

...you guys, it is really hard to write a book. 

Do you ever feel like you're faking everything you've ever done? It's called Imposter Syndrome and I'm suffering from it. I heard this TED Talk from Kirsty Walker on Imposter Syndrome and it really hit home, especially as I try to write this book. 
I question everything I do and all of my past experiences. A day in the life of a negative self-talking, self-doubting person is not cool. 

The goal for February is to write for this book every single day. I have some deadlines to meet that aren't self-imposed, so I've got to put some elbow grease into this. 

In fact, I want this post to be longer, but I've already been writing for close to three hours, so I've got to go watch Freaks and Geeks for the tenth time to unwind from all of this writing. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tunes for Tuesday: Winter Weather

Today's song goes with the weather:
I think I played this song at least six times today. It was good workin' music. 

Today was gray and cold and wet. This winter hasn't been as terrible as the last two because I can make it out of the house without my face falling off, but I think it's time to bust out my sun lamp.

This one was going in today's gray rotation too:


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