School. Life. Change.

My first year of school is done. I can’t quite believe it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change, about how everything is changing.
I was with some friends the other day and we were talking about our proudest moment. The first thing that popped to my mind was the past seven years. School is so different now than it was seven years ago. Everything is different. I couldn’t be more thankful, I couldn’t be more blessed.

Seven years ago was the summer between my Sophomore and what would have been my Junior year at UArts. Half way through my Sophomore year, I dropped out of classes. I started second semester not making it a single week where I made it to all my classes. Around midterms, I stopped going entirely. I couldn’t leave my house. If I did leave my house and needed to go anywhere in Center City, I took long, circuitous routes as to avoid the UArts dance buildings. I spent the entire time outside of my house, terrified I’d see a classmate. I heard their whispers, the comments they made behind my back, and I couldn’t take it. That summer, I didn’t sleep. I would stay awake until the sun came up. I’d sleep from about 8am to 1pm. I’d work 2pm to 10pm. I’d stay awake until 8am and the cycle would continue. I lived in my awesome apartment until July, when I moved into my terrible apartment. Terrible apartment was not ready upon move in, so I moved into Gabi and my then-boyfriend’s apartment. Not living with my crazy roommate helped my anxiety and sleeping habits. The school year started and I moved into my terrible apartment. With friends back in town, I was able to mask the depression I was feeling better, but inside I felt like I was dying. Sometime that semester I read Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel. I don’t know if it helped or made it worse.
Somehow in the midst of the blackness, I found the strength to start seeing a therapist. I reached out and very thankfully found Dr. Jenna. And even more thankfully, I continued to see her. Reaching out is the single most important decision I have ever made.
Around the same time I started seeing Dr. Jenna, I also applied at Drexel University as a psychology major. I told myself if I didn’t get in, I would move home to Oregon. I filled out the paper work, but didn’t write the essay. I figured theres no way I’d get in with a semester of Fs on my transcript and no essay. However, I got in. That night I called my Mom and told her I needed her to tell me to move home. I couldn’t make the decision myself, thats why I didn’t complete the application. I needed my Mom to make the decision. And she did. I’m so thankful I moved home when I did. Through the darkness and the fog, I saved my own life.

My depression seemed to get better after I moved home, but really it just changed. The dark fog I was lost in became a pit in my stomach. I stopped eating and started working out late at night in my room. Finally, I decided I needed to get myself together. I struggled a lot, but I fought with all I could. I in no way was recovered, but I stopped actively trying to die.

Eventually I saw through the fog enough to decide to move to Seattle. I love Astoria, but I knew I needed to live some place with more dance. I had found it again and knew it was the only way I was going to live. April 2010 I moved to Seattle and into my friend Lynne’s house. For six months I lived with her family and danced with New Vision Dance Company. One day while walking to the bus from work in Pike Place, my best friend Becky called and asked if I wanted to move in with her on Capitol Hill. I jumped at the opportunity and made plans for the move. Shortly after I moved to Capitol Hill I found out about an audition for 127th St Dance Company. I wanted to go. I was terrified to go. I almost turned around three times on the walk from my apartment to PNBs studios. Going was one of the best decisions I ever made. New Vision was a dance home because it was comfortable. It was a home because I had known Melissa since high school, because I knew other company members since high school. 127th St was scary because it was the first time I auditioned for a company and I made it in. I didn’t know any of the dancers, I didn’t know the director, I didn’t know the choreographer. But they still wanted me. It was scary and amazing and the best thing I ever did for myself as a dancer.
There were a lot of ups and downs that year. I was living with Becky and it was perfect. I was homesick and I was miserable. I was dancing in two dance companies, plus teaching a ballet class. Everyone died. I was going to the gym. I was going to the gym almost obsessively. At the end of our lease, I decided I needed to leave Seattle. I love Seattle, but I was so over not being able to park my car and crack heads yelling in my alley. Daryl and I made plans to move to Montana. Change was on the horizon and I was so excited.

The three year anniversary of Ari killing herself is coming up. Every time I think about change, I think about her. My life was so different, so hopeless, so desperate seven years ago. But I stuck it through and I am so blessed and happy. How would Ari’s life be different if she were here today? What unimaginable joys would be in her life today? I know it’s not necessarily healthy for me to think about the what-ifs, especially in this situation, but I really can’t help it. I have accepted that I wouldn’t have been able to save her life if I had called. Yes, I might have brightened her day a bit – but whose to say if she would have even answered her phone (or if I even had her correct number!)? I would not have been able to save her. She had plans with friends for the next day. She had plans. She killed herself with plans for the immediate future – me calling her would not have changed that. I have accepted this. However, I will always wonder how her life would be different today.

My life today is so different and so much more wonderful than I ever thought possible. I live in a beautiful town, snuggled in a valley surrounded by wilderness and mountains. I am a double BFA in Dance and Lighting Design at the University of Montana, a school that was never on my radar 10 years ago when researching colleges. I am in love with the most wonderful man on the planet. I am loved by the most wonderful man on the planet. I am so blessed. I am so thankful.

two years

The other day I found your old livejournal account. I forgot you had one. I don’t remember if you started one for our acting class, or if you were one of most that I convinced to join prior to then. I think at one point 99% of the musical theatre majors had one. You hadn’t written in it since 2006. I started reading it.
Over and over again you mention me. I had no idea you were Amelia in Chamber Music once. You were such an amazing actress, I’m sure you were wonderful. I wish you knew how talented you were. I wish I had been a better friend to you.

This one memory keeps coming back to me. It was my senior year, your junior. I think it was around the same time we had our big Myth test in history. Mrs. Urquhart was late or sick that day. I feel like it was winter – in the very least it was a rainy day. WAPA always felt cozy to me on rainy days. You, me, and Teya laid under the table in the purple Pilates room. I feel like the overhead was on, so it must’ve been after twinkle lights were banned. You, me, and Teya laid there for what felt like hours. We talked about everything. Life. Boys. School. The scary dark places. You talked about your cousin. It was such a perfect and safe cocoon.

I think about you all the time. I’d be surprised if a week goes by where you don’t cross my mind. Is that weird? Is that normal? I hate that I think about you more now than I ever did before. I’m sorry. I hear songs and I think of you. I don’t know if you would like any of them, but they remind me of you. I wonder if you ever heard Red Molly’s arrangement of “May I Suggest”. The first time I heard it, I cried because it sounds like a song you should hear. It sounds like a song you should sing.
My life is so different from two years ago. I often wonder how yours would be different now, if you hadn’t killed yourself. Where would you be today? If you had stayed alive, would you have found the help you needed out of the scary dark places? It breaks my heart to think of how much better you life might be today, if only you were here.

I’ve been in the dark scary places. You were one of the few I talked to about it in high school. Every so briefly, but you knew. After high school it got worse. Well, it got better, but then it got worse. But then it got better. And worse and better again. It’s so hard to remember that it gets better when you’re in the middle of the worst of it.
I’m so thankful that when I was in the very darkest, very worst point in my depression, right before I left Philadelphia, that I somehow found the strength to see a lifeline and cling to it. I’m so thankful I got out of Philly when I did. I honestly don’t believe I’d’ve made it out alive had I not moved home when I did. I’m so thankful I’m here today.

It was a Sunday two years ago too. I was in rehearsal when I found out. We were on a break and I checked Facebook while eating a snack. I saw one of the boys who lived at the end of the hall posted on your wall. Before I read what he said, I thought to myself “I didn’t know he knew Ari! I love Ari!” Then I read his words. I almost puked.
My 127th St loves noticed something was wrong immediately. I suddenly had hugs from all sides. I pushed them all away and almost ran to the bathroom. Barbara and Rochelle were outside and saw me go by. I got to the bathroom and started sobbing. I’m glad we were in the basement of the Center House instead of our normal 4th floor. We were the only people in the basement, and I’m glad because I cried louder and harder than I ever have in my entire life. I wanted to rip my heart out. I had a rock in my stomach and I felt stuck to the floor.
I pulled myself together and went back to rehearsal. The show must go on. We were a week from the show and we needed to clean. I don’t remember if I told Barbara and Rochelle or if one of the other dancers did. They both gave me a hug and asked if I was okay. I needed to not be in my head, so I said yes and we resumed rehearsal. The first piece we were working on was Rochelle’s beautiful ballet to a Phillip Glass piece. Life and death and what comes after. I didn’t even make it half way through before I dissolved into tears.
After I got home from rehearsal I went to the mini mart across the street. I bought a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream. When I got off the elevator, I met the boys at the end of the hall. I started sort of blubbering. “How did you know Ari?” None of them realized I knew her, so they were shocked. I started crying and I’m sure the people in the group I didn’t know thought I was a crazy person.

I miss you constantly, Ari. I wish you were still here. I think you might’ve liked Missoula – but then again, maybe you would’ve hated it. I wish I had been a better friend. I wish I had called you. I’m sorry I’m angry at you when you’re in my dreams. I hope you weren’t scared before you died. I hate to think of you scared before you left us.  You had one of the most beautiful souls I had ever seen.  I hope somehow you were at peace.

Rest in peace, Arwen Morgan.
April 15, 1988 – July 7, 2011

seventy – seventysix

.070
march 11, 2013

This morning’s mocha.

.071
march 12, 2013

Vegetables are so beautiful.

.072
march 13, 2013

I finally found a chiropractor here in town and she has a sweet pupper named Bella who is such a lover. She even gave me kisses during my appointment!

.073
march 14, 2013

Ozzy is so silly and LOVES when we go on car rides.

.074
march 15, 2013

Fort George! In Seattle! This made me a happy girl and I definitely came home to Missoula with two packs of Vortex and two packs of OPA.

.075
march 16, 2013

After the beautiful service for Julie, all us WAPA kids went out for lunch (at Red Robin, of course). It was so wonderful to see everyone, but we really need to stop having reunions at funerals.

.076
march 17, 2013

Seattle, you are beautiful and I love you.

Vintage Seattle

It is rare, if ever, that I’ll spend a significant amount of time going back through a website all the way to its beginnings. However, Vintage Seattle definitely had me scrolling through the archives.

I have always loved old photos of cities and towns (and old photos of Astoria? Instant love). A friend from high school shared this website on Facebook today and I was immediately taken.
I love Seattle. I’m glad I’m not living in the city any more, but I LOVE Seattle. It’s the city of my childhood, even though I didn’t live there until high school. My parents met there. My grandparents live there. I grew up looking forward to trips to Seattle. I went to high school just outside of Seattle. I became a legitimate professional dancer in Seattle. My first coffee job in Seattle was only a few blocks away from the house my Grandma grew up in.
I may have been born in Manhattan, and I may have gone to college in Philadelphia, but Seattle is my city.

I love all these old photos! Because I know my parents met and lived there when they were first married, I look for them in all the early 1980s photos (and even the late 60s/early 70s photos I hope to see photos of them as small children, even though they both grew up in eastern Wa[r]shington). I know my parents took a ferry from into Seattle for work when they lived there in the early/mid-1980s. Are they on this ferry? If I zoom in close enough, might I find them? I always have loved old photos because somebody knows somebody in the photo. There is tangible history if you look hard enough and I adore that!

Bellevue Ave E and Olive Way, Capitol Hill, Seattle, circa 1950s.
I walked past this intersection every single day on my way home from work.

This has been my favorite find so far though. The Coronado Building, 115 Bellevue Ave E. Across the street, years and years later? My apartment building. I spent countless hours, staring out our living room windows at downtown and this building.

I adore old photos and I adore Seattle, so this was one of the best finds of the year for me.

Six Perfect Music Moments

I love music. Cliche, I know, but still true. As a dancer, I’m drawn to music. I’m drawn to the rhythm and the energy and the emotion it invokes. My day is made when the kattPod v2.0 plays the perfect songs. And my heart breaks when the truth hits me in the face with a song that speaks the truth.
And so I present: My Top Six Perfect Music Moments (in chronological order).

Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”

The first time I had a “perfect music moment” (as I’ve come to call them), it was a wake up call. I was still very much in love with my high school best friend. We had both moved across the country to college, an hour and a half away from each other. I wanted desperately for us to work, for us to have a happily ever after for the story books. Best friends for four years in high school who finally had their first kiss after graduation? Sounds like the start of a Nicholas Sparks novel if you ask me!
But.
[There’s always a but.]
But he didn’t love me. And there was nothing I could do to make him love me. If he couldn’t let himself love me, even after five years of friendship, after five years of him being the person I told everything to, after five years of me loving him unconditionally. If he couldn’t let himself love me then? He wasn’t ever going to. And there was nothing I could do to make him. And I didn’t realize it until I heard this song at the most perfect time ever.
I took the train up one weekend to visit him. The whole trip was weird. Perhaps we both knew it would be the last, I don’t know. But right before he dropped me off at the train station to head back to Philly, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” played on the radio. I almost immediately cried. Inside, my heart broke into a thousand, million pieces. It was the first, and really only, time I’ve felt a song on the radio was played for me, and me alone.
I wrote in my journal on the train home. And I cried. And we proceeded to not speak for six months [or six years] [or ever again].

Miles Davis – “So What”

My college boyfriend was a music major. A drummer in the jazz department at our school. As such, he introduced me to a lot of music, my favorite of which is Miles Davis’ “Kind Of Blue” album (though his “Bitches Brew” album is definitely next on the list).
Our sophomore year he lived on the seventh floor of one of the dorms. The windows looked east, over Old City and out towards New Jersey. I spent a lot of time in his dorm and I adored his windows.
That year my roommates and I had an amazing apartment (which, to this day, is my favorite apartment I’ve ever had), but it was on the second/third floor, so our windows looked out onto two different alleys. I have always loved people watching, especially through the windows in my house, and having a view of the alley leaves a lot to be desired.
I used to love opening the living room window in the dorm and sitting on the sill. Especially when I was feeling less than stellar and exceedingly melancholy, which basically sums up my sophomore year of college. There was one night I curled up there and it was another “perfect music moment”. We were the only ones in the dorm room, the temperature was perfect, and I was curled up on that windows sill, looking out over the city and the Delaware River. We had Miles Davis playing over the sound system (which was fantastic, since there were four music majors in the apartment, one of whom was loaded) and we sat there discussing City Jazz verses Suburb Jazz.
Honestly, I don’t remember what we classified “Kind Of Blue” as, but whenever I hear it, I think of that window. It was a perfect moment, and if I could one day convince the security guards to let me into that apartment to listen to Miles Davis in the window, I will sit there for hours watching the city go by.

Etta James – “Sunday Kind of Love”

My most favoritest job ever, and my first coffee job, was at Coffee Girl. An amazing coffee shop, on a pier previously home to the oldest, continuous use, cannery on the West Coast. It was perfect.
I opened Coffee Girl on Sundays while I worked there. And in the winter, opening a coffee shop meant getting to work while it’s dark out. Which, while I’m so not a morning person, I completely adored.
At some point, Sundays became Etta and Ella Days. I had two or three Ella cds and an Etta one I’d stick in the cd player and proceed to float through the rest of my day, usually humming along without realizing it. There was a morning, my last fall at Coffee Girl, I got to work early, did all my prep work, and had time to drink a mocha on the patio. I had Etta on the stereo already, and since I was the only person on the pier, I had the music turned up enough to hear her sweet voice lilting through the open door and windows.
It was perfect and epitomized everything I love about working at a coffee shop, on the river, in the morning.

Blind Pilot – “Just One”

Blind Pilot is my favorite band. They are [mostly all] from Astoria. They are all super nice. And they make amazing music. I had heard of Blind Pilot, I had heard one of their songs (without knowing who it was), I made coffee for their drummer quite regularly, and I lived down the street from bass player for years before I fell completely in love with them. Their first album came out while I still lived in Astoria and I listened to it constantly while at Coffee Girl (thankfully never while making coffee for anyone in the band). Their second album, “We Are The Tide”, came out last fall while I was living in Seattle.
Like a good band-aid, I preordered it on iTunes and some how managed to download it a day before it was scheduled for release.
It was a perfect evening in my apartment. I was closed up in my room, overhead light turned off and twinkle lights on. My blinds were open so I could see the city and it was raining slightly. I lit some candles, put my headphones on, and proceeded to have a perfect listening experience. The only thing missing was the sea lions.
I was home. Whenever I listen to Blind Pilot, I’m home. [Though admittedly, I usually end up homesick.] Their new album is brilliant. And I had a perfect first listen.

Sara Groves – “Fireflies and Songs”

I grew up listening to a lot of Christian music. Over the years it has stopped being the only genre I listen to, however there are a few artists who have always spoken to me. Sara Groves definitely tops that list. Towards the end of my time in Philly, when I would escape to Becky’s house to clear my head, I’d spend the train ride to Harrisburg listening to nothing but her “All Right Here” album on repeat. “You Cannot Lose My Love” became a lifeline. Her music speaks to my heart.
Recently songs from her “Fireflies and Songs” album started showing up on several of my pandora channels. And I loved them all. I wanted to buy the album, but we weren’t working so I didn’t think I could justify spending $10 on music. After I got my job at the Trail Head, I decided to treat myself and bought it on iTunes.
It was a beautiful Missoula day. I was sitting on the back porch of the cabin and there was a perfect breeze. Tommy and Jamie were inside doing manly skateboard things. Debo was sitting on my foot. I put my headphones on (I think all first listens should be through headphones) and started listening. It was so beautiful. Sara is such a talented writing and artist. It made my heart sing.

Mumford & Sons, featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon – “The Boxer”

Daryl and I were over at the cabin for dinner with Liz, Tommy, Jamie, and Beardy when the new Mumford & Sons album dropped. Liz immediately downloaded it and we sat down to listen as soon as we could. “The Boxer” is the second to last track on the album. It is perfect. I have always loved, loved, loved “The Boxer” – it’s probably my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song. Which is saying something, since I adore all Simon and Garfunkel songs. This version, featuring Jerry Douglas and Paul Simon, is spot on. Perfect. Obviously, the original will always win, but this is a cover that gets it right (as does Sara Bareilles’ cover of “In Your Eyes”).

2011 in review


January

  • 1/2 – Daryl and I tackle Sue Ann’s sunroof. After spending $500 of various and a sundry parts to fix her, it ended up being a $5 solution. We photo documented it and The Explorer finally posted a how-to so other people don’t have to suffer like I did.
  • 1/10 – Our two year anniversary! Time flies when you’re crazy in love!
  • 1/21-22 – New Vision Dance Company performs Cold, Cold Heart at IDT’s Winterfest show. My parents are in town for a coin show, so they come to the show and we grab dinner after.
  • I found myself becoming really homesick. I decide that after my lease is up in November I’ll move back to Oregon.
  • Daryl’s Mom had surgery to remove tumors from the pancreatic cancer.
  • I started to think about going back to school and decide I’d like to finish my degree at OU and be a Duck.
  • It snowed in Seattle!


February

  • 2/5 – Last November when I posted a sign for the New Vision show at the Perennial Tea Room, Lisa told me I should audition for her dance company. I missed the first one, but was brave and went to the second one. I almost didn’t go. I almost let my insecurity get the best of me, but I went. I am so happy I did! I was so exhilarated after and that night I found out I was the newest member of 127th St Dance Company!
  • 2/5 – B came to town again! I met her in Bellevue and had great fun drinking overpriced drinks. I love her face!
  • 2/12-14 – I made a trip home for Valentine’s Day. The Explorer and I have a delicious date at Baked Alaska.
  • 2/17-19 – I make another trip home (I said I was homesick!). Nick came out to the coast as well, so we hike, then party down with Orin, Shelley, Alex, and Riana.
  • Becky is a wine drinker and I’ve mostly been a beer drinker. She finally converts me to her delicious ways of vino and it is awesome.
  • My homesickness gets even worse. For a little while I contemplated moving home and driving up for rehearsals. Thankfully I realized that was a terrible idea.
  • It snows in Seattle again!


March

  • 3/1 – Right as I am informed that I was just hired as a season worker at the chocolate shop in Bellevue, I am called for an interview at a bakery. I interview, work a test shift, and am hired within three days!
  • 3/9 – I start working at Sugar! Man, I love making coffee!
  • 3/11-13 – Daryl comes up to Seattle for a weekend. His friend Lee had invited us to ski with her at Mt. Baker earlier in the season, so we make the trip up. So much snow! At the ski shop in Glacier we find a pair of AWESOME AT boots for me. Practically brand new boots for $150!
  • 3/18-21 – Daryl’s friend from college came out to visit for the weekend. We skied and camped at Mt. St. Helens and then spent Monday at Meadows (I of course checked in on foursquare and earned my Ski Bum Badge).
  • 3/25 – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater came to Seattle. Becky bought her ticket months ago and convinced me to buy a last minute one the day of. We dressed up and went to the show. It was awesome. Not the best Ailey show I’ve seen (the show I saw in high school was AMAZING), but it is always great to see one of the great American dance companies perform. After we head to Broadway Grille and a couple guys bought us drinks.
  • 3/26-27 – I head back down to Portland to ski!
  • I continue to be homesick. It feels like every day is worse.


April

  • 4/8-9 – I head back to Portland to ski. Daryl, Nick, and I head up the mountain on Friday night and camp in the Sno-Park parking lot. We woke up and were 5 minutes from Meadows! After arriving nice and early to the hill, we make a delicious pancake breakfast and are awarded “500 gnar points, man!” by a boarder walking past.
  • 4/14 – All semester Becky has been rehearsing Pas de Quartre for the Cornish Dance Theatre show. Her Dad, John, came to town and we watched in awe. Becky is so, so, so beautiful.
  • 4/16-18 – Daryl comes to Seattle. It doesn’t rain, so we wander Seattle and Pike Place. Even though I worked there for several months, I see the gum wall for the first time!
  • 4/20 – After tech rehearsal at Washington Hall, Dana and I had an AMAZING rehearsal with Barbara and Rochelle at Seattle Center. I can’t pin-point exactly why, but it was the best rehearsal I’ve ever had in my entire life.
  • 4/22-23 – 127th St Dance Company performs in All4One Dancpolooza. Very sadly Dana fell down a flight of stairs on her way to the first performance, so we were down a dancer. =(
  • 4/26 – Selena brought in a coupon for a free hair cut at Seven in Bellevue, so I snag a $50+ hair cut for free. Got a small trim and some layers.
  • 4/29-5/2 – Kevin called Daryl and said Barbara was back in the hospital and we needed to get down there immediately. I made arrangements with work and rehearsals and drove home as soon as I could.
  • I finally got my gym membership at 24 Hour Fitness and start going fairly regularly.
  • I was homesick most of the month and completely over being away from Daryl. The 1st marked a year of us being apart and it was no fun.


May

  • 5/1 – After talking to Barbara himself, D decides Kevin was slightly exaggerating, so instead of driving down as soon as I got there, we fly down the next day. I am so, so, so thankful we went.
  • 5/7 – Last weekend of skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows. I logged 8 days on the slopes this skison.
  • 5/13 – Melissa had an extra ticket to see Guys & Dolls at 5th Avenue, so I hang with the Gould’s for the evening!
  • 5/15 – New Vision starts rehearsal for IDT’s recital.
  • 5/16-17 – I drive home to Astoria for the weekend to give Daryl some love and support.
  • 5/21 – 127th St Dance Company performs at the Maple Valley Arts Council. We are awesome, the end.
  • 5/30 – B comes to visit again!! I love when she’s here and wish she didn’t live so far away.
  • Barbara is back in the hospital and makes a bad turn for the worse.


June

  • 6/3-6 – We make an emergency trip to Eugene. I drove to Portland, we picked Mike up from the airport, and then we drove to Eugene. We spend the evening at the hospital. Barbara came to for a bit the next morning while Mike was with her, but then died later that evening while we were at her house in Oakridge. My poor sweet darling lost his Mom.
  • 6/4 – D’s birthday. We tried to make the best of it and I took him out for breakfast at our favorite Off The Waffle, but it was a hard day.
  • 6/10 – Molly moves into Becky’s room for the summer! I was bummed to lose my Becky-girl for the summer, but Molly is awesome, so it was a good summer.
  • 6/17 – New Vision Dance Company performs at IDT’s recital.
  • 6/22 – Rochelle, Barbara, and friends were getting drinks in my neck of the city, so I spend the evening with those awesome ladies.
  • 6/24-26 – Daryl came to Seattle for my birthday!
  • 6/25 – Amy was in Seattle after dropping Mikayla off at the airport, so we get breakfast at Saley’s before D and I head off for our seaplane ride! It was AMAZING. The Explorer got to fly the whole time and we landed at Bainbridge Island and over in Lake Washington before coming back to Lake Union. After, we pack up all our stuff, went to Black Raven Brewing in Redmond, got ice cream in Woodinville, and camped in Skykomish.
  • 6/27-28 – I went home for my actual birthday and had a nice and relaxing day. On Tuesday Mama and I went down to Manzinita and explored. It’s a cute little town!
  • 6/29 – 127th St Dance Company performs at Boeing Everett as part of their Diversity Event.
  • As per usual, I was homesick. I’m not sure if all my trips home were making it better or worse. My tolerance for the city was waning.


July*

  • 7/1 – A really good friend from Virginia, Matt, died at age 28 from pneumonia. It seems so crazy that someone so young can die from such a common illness.
  • 7/3 – After work Selena, Erin, Ashley, Ashley, Kim, and I go out for drinks on the Hill. It was really nice to hang out while not in the bakery.
  • 7/4 – I spend the 4th of July hanging out with Rochelle. Her friend Dana has an apartment one block down the hill from mine with a great view of the fireworks.
  • 7/7 – While checking facebook on a break during rehearsal I find out that Ari died. Later that night I found out she killed herself. I drank an entire bottle of wine and spent the evening watching videos of her singing while sobbing.
  • 7/16 – 127th St Dance Company presents: Ignite! Ari’s service was that morning, so I was basically a mess. The show went so, so, so well though! I’m so proud of all of my fellow dancers. I am so thankful for all of their strength and love, especially in the week leading up to the show. It was a really hard one and I’m sure I would’ve completely fallen apart had I not had rehearsals to look forward to and their love surrounding me 24/7.
  • 7/22 – Megan caught a ride to Seattle with Daryl the weekend of my show, so I had a passenger on my drive home. The drive is so much faster with a friend!
  • 7/24 – Daryl and I go to Indian Beach and surf! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! D said he’s never seen me smile that much for that long.
  • 7/29 – Mike flew into SeaTac and I picked him up and drove him to meet up with Saville and their kids. Mike is great and I adore those kids.
  • 7/30 – Charlotte had a Lughnasadh feast at her house, so I pulled myself out of my head and had a great time. I’m sad she and I stopped being friends in high school and I’m thankful Ari brought us back together, though obviously it was in the worst way imaginable.
  • Nine days after my Apple Care expired, my iPhone, Frank, died. Thankfully Apple is awesome and I walked away with a brand new phone, Frank The Second.
  • I caught the Super Funk. So much death. It was hard. It was the lowest and darkest I’ve felt in years. I felt so, so, so terrible.
  • Along with the Super Funk, I struggled a lot with the future. D and I were no longer thinking about Eugene as a place to live, so OU was out of the picture. I was so over living in the city but didn’t want to leave my dance companies. I wanted to be back home but knew I couldn’t stay in Astoria. Lots of tears.


August

  • 8/5 – I leave straight from work in Seattle and head down to Oakridge. That is such a long drive! 6 hours when there’s no traffic and I left during rush hour. I was very happy to see a fridge full of delicious beer and get kisses from my sweet love when I finally got there, around 1am.
  • 8/6 – Saville and the kids came out to the house and we went swimming instead of doing anything productive. I freakin’ love love LOVE those kids. I’m excited to be their Aunt one day.
  • 8/8 – After frantically organizing stuff the day before, we had the yard sale at Barbara’s house. Her neighbor’s were so wonderful and helpful. Everyone who came by had a story about her. We felt so blessed to have so much love come our way. I hope Barbara knew how loved she was.
  • 8/13 – Steph, Jana, Erin, and I went paddleboarding on Lake Union. Oh my goodness, so much fun! We paddleboarded from the south end of Lake Union all the way to the Fremont Bridge and back. After, Erin and I went out for Thai food. Yum!
  • 8/15 – Jen, the wife of one of my regular customers at Coffee Girl, died from breast cancer. I didn’t really know her, but I cried for Chris and their three kids. I knew more people who died this summer than I had my whole life previous to 2011.
  • 8/17 – Erin, Selena, and I went paddleboarding. We started in Portage Bay and paddled to Gas Works Park and back. So much fun!! This time I brought a waterproof disposable camera and decide I want to get a waterproof housing for my camera since I had already spent half the cost on two waterproof disposables and prints this summer.
  • 8/19 – Jess came back into town for a wedding, so she, Charlotte, and I got drinks. Very glad to see her in a happy setting as opposed to earlier in the summer. She just got her SAG card and I’m so proud of her!
  • 8/24 – Selena, Erin, Ashley, Alice, and I head to Lake Haller for some good ol’ fashioned floating. It was sunny and beautiful when we got there and started to rain while we were in the water, but we’re all Pacific Northwest girls and continued to swim in the rain.
  • 8/25 – 127th St Dance Company performs at Boeing Bellevue for another Diversity Event. I got a sunburn, of course.
  • 8/27 – Becky’s birthday! She was back in Seattle for the Spectrum workshop, so she, our roommate Anthony, Desiree, and I went out for dinner and drinks. Aside from an awkward run in with my high school ex on the walk back to our apartment, the night was so, so, so much fun. I spent too much money on drinks, but I was treating my Becky-girl, so it was worth it!
  • 8/28 – Becky, Anthony, and I were all slow to wake this morning after our drunken stumble home the night before. We were all in the living room and the buzzer rang. Becky answered it and buzzed someone up, but didn’t say who, so I assumed it was Desiree. She answered the door and then my honey came around the corner. Daryl came back from Montana a week early and surprised me!!! He spends the week with me before we head back to Astoria.
  • 8/31 – Charlotte invites D and I over for dinner. A delicious dinner and dessert night with Char, her adorable daughter, her Mom, and Grandma. We played with their kitten and I think I convinced him we need a cat.


September

  • 9/3-4 – Amy and Mikayla make a trip down 101 and spend a few days in Astoria. We hit Seaside, Fort George, and watched the sunset from the Column, and then went to Hug Point the next day. Such a great weekend with great friends!
  • 9/6 – Daryl, Megan, Chadler, and myself head out of town on our Redwoods Adventure. That night we camp near where D stayed on his first trip out West.
  • 9/7 – We make it into the Redwoods and camp at Albee Creek Campground.
  • 9/8 – We are awoken by a helicopter flying pot over our head. That day we see the Founders Grove and camp at Hooker Creek.
  • 9/9 – We drive and wander through the Lady Bird Johnson Grove. It’s spectacular.
  • 9/10 – We spend hours in the Stout Grove, then go swimming in an awesome river. That night we make it back to Oregon.
  • 9/11 – We drive up I-5 and spend 45 minutes waiting to drop Megan off at an event in Portland. Chadler, Daryl, and I get pizza and have terrible service at Hot Lips before I catch the train back to Seattle.
  • 9/18 – Before rehearsal on an almost rainy Saturday, Robin Purcell Photography took the New Vision Dance Company photos. We had a blast laughing and goofing around in the wet grass.
  • 9/21 – After putting it off for way, way, way too long, Selena and I finally change the Sue Ann’s oil. We braved the traffic and even did it while she was parked on the side of the road.
  • 9/23 – Selena and I stuck our coworkers with Friday closing and Saturday shift and we drove down to Astoria. She partied down with Daryl, Sasha, and I before disappearing. She got kidnapped to Corvallis and I didn’t see her again until Monday.
  • 9/24 – Daryl and I snagged opening shifts at the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup and poured beer all morning before getting our drink on that afternoon. We then went home and got dressed before heading to Fort George for Caz and Melissa’s wedding reception! So happy for those guys! And in the future, D and I need to make sure we have someone take a photo of us at events, because we were lookin’ good and I wish we had a better photo of us from that night.
  • 9/25 – To kick off their tour for the new album, Blind Pilot had a free show in Astoria. Originally it was to be at the column, which would’ve been amazing, but last minute it got moved to the high school. It was an AWESOME show. I’m so glad D was able to see them with me. He didn’t really know their music, but I adore them, and it was a really awesome show and he loves them now too.
  • 9/27 – I start packing up my room in preparation for D coming up to get some of my stuff. I can’t believe I’ve lived in my apartment for almost a year!
  • While walking home from work one day, I drop Frank The Second on the ground and crack the screen. I was up for a new phone at AT&T, but had no money for a new phone, so D bought an iPhone 4 and I got his [new] iPhone 3GS (Brian dropped his old one in water while they were caving this summer). I put a case on Frank The Third immediately and refuse to kill this one.


October

  • 10/1 – The Explorer and I treat ourselves to an amazing and delicious brunch at Broadway Grille and start planning our Year Of Awesome.
  • 10/4 – Char and I went in on two cases of apples and a case of peaches from an orchard in Yakima and today we started to can them. I’m so happy to start canning!
  • 10/8 – The Russian Orthodox church on Capitol Hill had a Taste Of Russia event this weekend, so Becky and I wandered over there. Delicious food, awesome crafts, and a great tradition singing group.
  • 10/13 – Living within sight of the flagship REI is great because they bring different athletes in for talks all the time. This month they brought Ingrid Backstrom, an amazing skier who grew up in Seattle, and The Explorer insisted on me going. I’m so glad I did! It got me even more excited for our Year of Awesome!
  • 10/18 – After parking my car on Capitol Hill for nearly a year with absolutely no problems, I discovered someone tried to steal Sue Ann. Thankfully they failed and the cops were awesome and I was able to drive away an hour and a half later like nothing happened.
  • 10/21 – I worked my last day at Sugar. I loved that job! I wish I had found it sooner. My favorite morning customer gave me a card and my favorite afternoon customer brought me flowers!
  • 10/26 – Lynne’s birthday! She, Jc, and I started at Tavern Law and then wandered our way down the Hill. I love those girls.
  • 10/29 – Daryl drove up the night before, then we woke up and got a UHaul. We managed to pack up my entire apartment in about an hour! After we were done, we drove out to Woodinville to meet up with Amy and friends for a winetasting. They invite us to a Halloween party they’re going to and party the night away in Bellevue. I drank an entire bottle of wine (apropos since I was a Wino) and we danced in the street. [My 10 hour rehearsal the next day was awesome.]
  • 10/31 – I spent my entire Halloween cleaning the apartment. I can’t believe we moved in a year ago!


November**

  • 11/1 – After moving out of the iLiad, I temporarily move in to Becky’s new apartment. It’s so cute!
  • 11/4-5 – New Vision Dance Company presents: Harvest! The show was AWESOME. My parents came with my Grandma. Karyn, one of my favorite teachers in high school, came. Annie and Barbara came. Gabi and Sven came. Char came. Daryl, Nick, Alex, and Riana came. It was so great. After the last show D and I partied with company members before heading back to the hotel to watch ski porn with Nick.
  • 11/6 – I move home!!!!!!! So, so, so, so, so happy to be back with my sweet love!!
  • 11/13 – The Devil Makes Three concert at The Roseland with Daryl and Nick. We are NEVER seeing a show there again. It’s a fire disaster waiting to happen, plus we had to wait in line for an HOUR to get in the door, an HOUR to get from the door to theatre only to discover there was an HOUR wait to get to the bar in the theatre. We head to the downstairs bar (where you can only barely hear the music) and grab a couple drinks. We head back upstairs and manage to get into the upstairs bar, to catch only three songs.
  • 11/14 – I start my job as Girl Friday at my Dad’s coin shop.
  • 11/18-20 – Daryl and I head into Portland for the weekend. On Saturday we head to Ape Cave for my first caving experience. It was so much fun! There was so much snow on the ground, we had such hope for the skison.
  • 11/20 – Ari’s Mom killed herself.
  • 11/24 – Daryl and I spend Thanksgiving with my parents. I love my family.


December

  • 12/3 – Daryl, Nick, Ozzy and I head up to Mt. St. Helens for our first turns of the year! The snow was terrible, but at least we were skiing.
  • 12/4 – Jc is joining the Navy, so I drove up to Seattle for her going away party. After delicious drinks with Becky we wandered over to the bowling alley and had an absolute blast!
  • 12/17 – 127th St Christmas party at Barbara’s house! It was so good see Annie, Rochelle, Barbara, and Dana again! Since Becky was already home for Christmas, I crashed at Selena’s house.
  • 12/18-20 – I spent a few days at Selena’s house and then had rehearsal with Melissa. I miss working with Selena every day, so it was so much fun to see her again!
  • 12/23 – My Grandpa died. He’s been sick for a long time and we knew it would happen at some point. I was so looking forward to spending Christmas with my Grandma, but she had to go back up to Seattle.
  • 12/24 – This year we had a “traditional” (for me) Christmas Eve. Baking, then Christmas Eve service, Chinese food, and Christmas Eve gifts. I got an awesome pair of slippers this year and D scored some new pjs. The only thing missing was The Nutcracker!
  • 12/25 – Christmas was long and wonderful this year! We woke up early and I put the cinnamon rolls in the oven while Daryl finished packing up the car. 45 minutes later, we were on the road to the mountain! We had a free pass to Timberline with no blackout dates, so we skied for Christmas! It was awesome. Amazing. Perfect. We needed a Christmas miracle because it hadn’t snowed since November, and we got it! After we were done we drove home and had Christmas dinner with my parents while we watched the original Miracle on 34th St. I am so happy my parents love The Explorer and I’m so happy he loves them too.
  • 12/30-1/2 – For New Years Eve Daryl, Nick, Ozzy, and I went up to Mt. St. Helens for a weekend skiscursion. D and I drove to Portland Friday afternoon, then the four of us ran some errands (including finding the elusive Pliny The Elder at the awesome beer store near Nick’s house) before heading to the mountain. We skinned into camp the next morning then got deeeeee-runk in the woods while ringing in the New Year. [A full trip report will be coming soon!]

I’ve written year-in-review posts in the past as well, so check out 2010 in review and 2009 in review. While you’re at it, check out The Explorer’s blog, where I’m sure he’ll post a year in a review soon too!

*Photo by Emilie Trammel Photography
**Photo by John Cornicello

Love and Thanks Thursday

Thankful Thursdays.
An idea I’m stealing from the lovely Miss Gina. Her goal is to post seven to eight things she’s thankful for every Thursday in November. It’s such a great way to sit and reflect on the good things in life, especially if you’re going through a hard or tough spot.

Things I Love Thursdays.
My friend Lauren often makes Things I Love Thursday posts various things she loves from the week, whether that be new music she’s found, new things she’s purchased, new victories in running, or hanging out with old friends.

I’d like to take a note from both of their books and start making Things I Love And Am Thankful For Thursday posts. I don’t quite know how these posts will look. It’s an idea I’ve been ruminating over for a while now, but between shows and moving and craziness, I haven’t made the time to sit down and just do it.
And so today I present my first Love and Thanks Thursday.


“First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes
This music video is perfect. So adorable. I love this song. It of course makes me think about my sweet love, as nearly every single sweet, sappy love song does. The video just sends me over the top.


I’m thankful I got to spend the last year living with my Becky-girl. We’ve known each other for ten years and I’ve always considered her a sister more than a friend. She and her Mom are the very first people my parents and I met at my high school when we moved to Redmond. We were practically inseparable when I was in 10th grade/she was in 8th grade. That summer her Dad was transferred to Harrisburg, PA and we were sad. My Mom and I visited the following winter and the four of us (Becky, Sue, my Mama, and I) took an amazing trip to New York. We saw the sights, went shopping, had to purchase a bigger suitcase to fit all our new things, met Neil Patrick Harris and Bernadette Peters, tried on $7000 Alexander McQueen dresses at Bergdorf’s, and took some crazy taxi rides. When I was in school in Philadelphia, Becky and her family truly became my second family. Having them so close was such a blessing.
I’m so thankful after so many years we’re still such great friends. Closer than we’ve ever been. I love her to pieces and, even though it hasn’t even been a week, I miss her so much. I can’t wait to tell my kids about the year I lived with Auntie Becky.


I love this view. I love this town. Astoria is my Cardiff. (For those of you non-Whovians, in Doctor Who, there is a giant time rift below Cardiff and occasionally the TARDIS must return there to recharge using the energy from the rift. I’m a nerd.) I’m so thankful we moved here when I was little and I’m so thankful my parents bought our house. I’m so thankful they live here so D and I can always come back “home”. I’m very happy I get to spend a couple months being an Astoria Girl again.


This guy. I love him so very much. I’m so very thankful for him. I can’t believe we’re finally together again. That the year and a half of being apart is finally over and I can finally wake up next to him for the rest of my life. I can’t believe we live together. It doesn’t seem real yet. I’m so happy.


Frodo’s Cup! My favorite coffee from my favorite roasters! It’s that time of year again. I always buy an extra bag and freeze it and pull it out half way through the year so I can drink this perfect coffee out of season. Oh gosh. So happy I can buy this again!