I am so thankful for my home, friends and family that have made this such a wonderful Christmas! I've been so fortunate to get to spend time with some of my favorite people in the whole of life! I got to hang out a lot with Ape, who is the most fun person ever, and I got to spend some quality time with my mom and with my Daddy ad with my Olive. Having such a happy time at home makes it incredibly hard to go back to my life in Chattanooga, but I'm fortunate to have both my worlds. I wish I could take the best parts of both places and roll them together. Sadly, it doesn't work that way. I wish I could get my head straight and decide once and for all where I belong, but it's not that simple. Luckily, though, it's just a two-hour drive. :)
Well, at my house today it was more like pecans burning in the oven, but I digress.
It's the eve of the eve of Christmas and I am so thankful to have gotten to spend the last few days with a few of my best friends and my family. I have really amazing people in my life and I miss the ones who do not live in my town.
Yesterday I got to hang with my baby bro, Gabriel and went bowling with him and Pop and my uncle, DoonerHead. My uncle is approximately a dumbass. And I mean that in the most positive way. He is a hilarious dumbass! Although, I was very frustrated because typically I whoop everyone's behinds in bowling but I only beat Gabriel! Pop KILLED us! And I only bowled A 146 and a 128. Sucktacular. Pop and Bruce both beat me. Plus there were screaming children in the lane next to us and if you've ever heard me mention the "babies on spikes" bit, you know how I felt about that!
Today I got to hang out with my best girls from high school, Katie-did and ShPamela. We went to get Pamela a maid of honor dress for Katie's wedding. Katie is getting married in June in Chattanooga and I could not be more excited for her! I will say, though that I most certainly do not feel like I am old enough (read: mature enough) to have friends who are married and starting families and careers and blah blah blah blah blah. It's SO weird and I am totally not there yet. It was like listening to Crystal talk about teaching her 5th grade class. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Crystal is in charge of Children?! There is something SO crazy about that! Ahhh! AND Reigan works for American Express in NYC in charge of marketing one of their credit cards and Pamela works for Jesus in Minnesota and Katie's a sub and Allison's gonna be a Public Defender and Yan and Robyn are both going to be brain surgeons and Morgan's on Broadway and Maria's on tour and everyone's getting married and I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!!! Ahhhhhh!!!
But, I am just so proud of and happy for all of my friends, truly. It just seems like it was not so long ago that we were all actin' a fool in high school. We're still 18 right?! Gah. I'm thankful for all of them and the lives we've begun carving out for ourselves. I love y'all.
...be afraid of the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live. (Tuck Everlasting)
Tonight I am trying ever-so-fervently to be grateful for my mistakes. It's not easy, and I've made a lot. Especially recently. However, what I hope and what I know to be true is that mistakes are the catalyst for learning. Every mistake I make is a lesson for the future. My mistakes make me the person that I am. Without them, I would live in an entirely different frame of mind and be a person unrecognizable to my current self.
Every experience, for better or for worse, teaches us how to be human. We are not perfect beings. We are flawed. In the art gallery of life, we are a Pollack. It all seems like random splatters of paint, and yet, if you look closely, there is order to it. You just have to change your perception.
So, today, I am embracing the moments of stupidity, impulsivity, depression, carelessness, greed, anger, desperation, fear, and misplaced trust that have led to error and I am turning them into moments of gratitude. I am grateful that I now know how to avoid being put in those positions again; how to avoid making the same mistakes again and again. I've made them once. I am grateful to be able to move on.
Today I am thankful for things that are fun and days that are fun. Yesterday was an excellent day of fun!!
It all started when I went to lunch with Butch Ross at Blue Coast burrito and got to see my very favorite person of life, Mr. Garry "Awesome-sauce" Burke. (I am not actually sure that anyone refers to him as "awesome-sauce" but it is a delightful epithet that I recently learned and so I have decided to bestow this lovely moniker to Garry.) I have missed his face so much! Not only that, but he may offer me a job at the first of the year!
I also had a lovely lunch with Butch who is excellent company and who is very craft-y and funny. We followed our luncheon (I used "luncheon" here on account of the fancy factor. It was not a fancy lunch but I need to make sure that you all understand that this blog is classy.) with a trip to the mall to buy butch some tux things on account of his symphony debut tonight. He got everything for a zillion percent off! That was very lucky! And, also, the sales guy was extra jolly and hilarious. I may go hang out at the men's department at JC Penney more often. But, they might decide I am some sort of shoplifter or psycho-maniac and force me to leave if I just hang around there on a daily basis. Perhaps I'll give this a bit more thought...
Following the great tux shopping excursion of '09 with Butch "Fast walking" Ross, I went out and had some holiday cheer (read: tequila) and made about a squillion Christmas cards for people I know and like in Chattanooga. I managed to hand a grand total of not that many of them out, but the ones I did hand out made me feel very happy and Christmas joy-y.
THEN, I had dinner with Brother Ron and his friend (Oh, shoot. I forgot his name. Gah, I suck.) at Champy's on MLK and we had such a lovely time eating tamales and fried chicken and key lime pie and talking about theatre and life. He is by far one of the most special people in the world to me. I am so happy I got to spend that time with him. Also, there was a guy playing guitar there named Lefty Williams. I thought aloud "Hey, this guy is really good!" and Ron replied "Did you notice he only has one arm?" He was strumming with the end of his missing arm! He was INCREDIBLE! I can't even play guitar with two good hands and this guy is just wailin' on it with one! It was such a powerful reminder that we are all capable of overcoming adversity in our lives if we put our minds to it.
I went from there to Cancun's to visit my J.Ring and Nick and, what do you know, they were having karaoke night! Now, I have only done karaoke once before (a rousing rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You" with Jewelie D. Ridiculous.) so I wasn't really anticipating getting up there but Jenn convinced me and I ended up having a blast singing Allison Krauss, Aretha Franklin and, oh, you now, the Spice Girls. Oh and Freid and I did the running man for Nick and Jeremy's rendition of "Ice, Ice, Baby." Excellent.
I then stopped into Tremont Tavern to see Christian and Butch and watch Tim Cofield do some very interesting renditions of Christmas tunes. I love the Tavern! After that I went back downtown (where I had stopped in earlier to see Butch at Chili's and ran into Mike and Gail and chatted for, oh, 45 minutes. I also ran into Jordan outside Raw. More on that after the parentheses -->) and went to Raw to see how much drunker Jordan had gotten for his birthday. It was pretty awesome. Inebriated white boys dancing (Jordan, Dig, J.R., Gabe) is approximately hilarious almost all of the time. We had so much fun dancing around and being totally silly. Although, I will say, I have never had so many people put their hands on my ass in one night in my life. Some dude even stopped me in the street walking TO Raw to twirl me and then grab my ass. I mean, seriously?! But, you know, whatever.
Anyway, it was an awesomely fun day. And NOW I am home and heading to Allison's graduation party. This is going to be such a happy week! I love being at home and I LOVE Christmas!!!
Does that sound conceited? Maybe so, but in the spirit of svadyaya (self-study) I have been doing a lot of looking inward in the last several months and although I see a lot of room for improvement, I am very happy with who I am.
Lately I've sort of allowed myself to be bogged down by the silliness of "Why doesn't he like me?" "Why doesn't she want to be my friend?" "What does she have that I don't." It's all useless questioning. It doesn't change anything. I don't benefit from the answers in any way. Because, logically, if I got the answers and tried to change to be the person that "he" wants or "she" likes or whatever, I wouldn't be me anymore and I'd just be biding my time until they figured out who I really was and still didn't like me or want me. And the truth is, the person I am is perfectly fine and more than happy. And I'll tell you why:
I have some of the best friends in the entire world. I would walk through fire for any one of them and I am fortunate to know that the reverse is true as well.
I have an incredible family that truly puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. I'd almost rather hang out with them than anyone. (Also, my mother and I should seriously be on a reality show. We are that ridiculous. It'd be a hit!)
I have a job at a time when jobs are hard to find and I am fortunate to work for one of my best friends.
I live in a city that loves art and music and artists and musicians.
I get to sing with a group of people who have become my family and whom I love with all my heart.
I get to act in plays at a beautiful theatre with some of the funniest, most incredibly talented people ever.
I get to laugh every day.
I almost never go a day without getting a hug from someone I love.
I have gotten to know and love people from all walks of life and I have the awesome fortune to know at least one person almost everywhere I go in town, so I rarely feel totally alone.
Most of all, I have love to share and plenty of fabulous people to share it with. But, I'm always up for taking on new people to love. Feel free to apply at any time. :)
Today I am thankful for... the end of it, really. It's not that it was a bad day by any means; just that it was a Monday. Mondays generally include a lot of nothing. I couldn't even become enthused about Trivia night at Tremont Tavern. But, aside from a lot of nothing, I am particularly grateful that tomorrow is Tuesday, which means I get to work and then take a yoga class and then go sing at Open Mic and I am extremely grateful for Open Mic night at Tremont Tavern. It is stupid fun.
Let me inform you of something while I've got you: caring for children is much less fun than one might think. Especially when you cannot entertain them with any sort of multimedia, rather, with books and puzzles and blocks. And especially when a number of them are 1-3 years old. They do not care about puzzles and stories. They care about crying and being picked up. The picking up is especially difficult when there are three of them that want to be picked up and held at all times. I had five children today. I mean, I love kids, but I am just one 23-year old woman with approximately zero experience actually caring for children. I don't know why I keep agreeing to fill in for childcare. Like I said, children are scary.
I'm hoping that tomorrow turns out to be a good day. I am anticipating a good day, because I figure that if you plan for it, it's more likely to happen. :)
I leave you with my quote for the day, by Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson: Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Tonight I am thankful for Give 5, Butch Ross, Christian Collier and Shawnessey Cargile. Just basically because I am. Today was seriously awesome and lovely and I got to see a whole slew of really wonderful musicians and artists and I even ended up getting to do a set! Butch played for me (which is why he makes the thankful list) and it felt so good to be up there just loving being me and singing songs that make me smile. Plus I ran into all manner of awesome friends in town and remembered that maybe I love Chattanooga more than I let myself believe sometimes. It was just really a super fun day! That's all the energy I have right now though.
Ok, I suck at being a blogger, clearly, but I am trying to change. In the spirit of the upcoming new year, I feel as though keeping a blog would be a good way to remind myself of all the fun things in life. So, I am going to make this blog about gratitude and fun. A grati-blog, if you will. Of course, that is often easier said than done but I fully believe that by looking for something to be grateful for every day, you find things to be grateful for every day. It's a way to give your life joy without even trying.
So, today I am so grateful for music and the wonderfully talented musicians I have gotten to know here in Chattanooga. Last night I sang a couple of songs in Butch Ross's Xmas Xtravaganza at Market St. Tavern and had a total blast. There were so many awesome, kind, wonderful, talented people there I can't even explain it. I am so lucky to know them and to get to sing with them and meet new ones all the time. It's awesome and it's a really cool community to be a part of. Just to highlight a few that you should try to see sometime because they're awesome and I love them:
Butch Ross is a rockstar. He plays the mountain dulcimer and in case you're thinking "Rockstar? Mountain Dulcimer? Doesn't compute," let me fill you in on a little something. Butch Ross does something that no one else can touch. What he does is amazing and I'm not just saying that because he's a close friend of mine. His genius is in the fact that he found something unique to him and he just worked it to a point where no one can come close to matching it. He's seriously brilliant.
Dan Landrum. Same deal. The man blew my mind last night. He actually plays a hammered dulcimer and I had never heard anyone play one before (that I can recall) but I am sold after last night. Not only can the man rock that crazy-looking instrument, but he puts on a show. Seriously, incredible.
I met Stephen Brehm, Casey Phillips and Noah Collins for the first (ish, in Stephen's case) time last night and let me just say that these three are stellar. I will definitely be looking for opportunities to see them and hopefully sing with them in the future.
Jordan Hallquist. Don't really even know what to say about him. I know him pretty well now, but I actually have not seen him play a whole lot, and he really blew me away last night. The man can blow. He's got a really hard rockin' voice but it's not grating. He's really cool and also just generally a sweet, decent person. I'm a fan.
Amber Fults. She only sang a little snippet last night but I just feel like I have to mention her. If you have not heard this girl sing, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. I mean, she can seriously belt the hell out of just about anything plus she is quite possibly the sweetest person you will ever meet in your life. I could go on and on, but I won't. There really aren't enough good things I could say about her.
Gabriel Newell is my Chattanooga Jonny Lang with a twist. Like Amber, he only did a snippet last night but I really can't talk about my favorite Chattanooga musicians without mentioning him. The man has soul. I just got a copy of his ep, and I literally have listened to it a thousand times. He just sort of makes me shiver. It's good y'all. Also, if you like baby-making music (I picked up that charming term from Amber. I love it!), you'll love this man.
I could really go on for days because there are so many more I could mention but it's really cold in my apartment and my fingers are going numb so I'm going to stop for now. I'll probably add on to this list in future posts but for now get a head start and come see all of these (minus Dan) folks play Sunday at Give 5. You'll be glad you did.
I love you all and I am so grateful to know you. xoxo Haylezzzzzz