A Color Palette Like No Other

This was the first week that writing felt like a chore. I am usually very excited to write about my week and look back through all of my pictures. Not this week. It took until tonight (TUESDAY!) to feel like I was ready. So I'm ready, so here we go.

I love teaching yoga. Andrew had some achy bones so I did a quick class with him at home. I love teaching yoga.

I don't have a full length mirror in my apartment...normally I don't really care because if I smash my head against my bathroom mirror and look down, I can sort of see what my lower half looks like. When I'm desperate I stand on my bathroom sink and almost kill myself trying to get up there. I had an interview on Monday and so I thought I should make the effort to see the lower half. I had to make sure I didn't look as I felt in these high heels: like a drag queen.

The interview went well. I won't be sad if I don't get this job...that might sound stupid but it's true. Let me explain....30+ people applied to this job. 7 were interviewed. I was 1 of 7. I know and
love 4 of the others interviewed. A little handful of my friends also applied. No matter who gets this job, it will be a celebration.

I have a teaching license but I've never taught. I was offered my former job after graduating and I loved it so I only ever applied for one teaching job. That was 4 years ago. In that time my little blue piece of paper expired. This whole time I thought I had to take more classes to get it back and so it seemed really daunting. But Tuesday I found out that is not true. $35 and an application will allow me to teach again. Just have to be given that opportunity. Awesome.

Also. I made black bean patties (that word is hilarious to me for unknown reasons) from scratch and they turned out. Separately these ingredients looked awesome, together the little patties looked kind of stupid and funny but tasted good.

I painted my nails on Wednesday.

I was going to leave it at that but other awesome things happened. I also need to mention that little lead bunny that sits at the end of my nail polish. I love that little lead bunny. I also love lining colors up for display. (see week 1 post) It might be some sort of disorder in me but lining items up according to color is like the best.

Wednesday night I went to hang out with a lot of ladies. It is a once a month thing that a couple girls started so that fellow ladies-girls could get to know one another better. Normally, this is the very thing I would avoid. Honestly. So many people in one room makes me want to run. However, I went and I am happy I went. Their goal is for more of us to get to know one another better...because girls aren't really that easy on each other...especially ourselves. And so, I think it is easy to believe the lie that no one wants to know you. This wasn't the case and it was so so nice.

I spent time with two of my friends on Thursday. Katie and Katie. In high school I had two friends named Kristyn and Kristen. I couldn't help but think of that on Thursday night when I hung out with them. I think I was laughing so much I forgot to take pictures of the night. But that day I had taken a picture of the house I live in...they just so happen to live downstairs and I live upstairs...so this picture fits.

James & the Drifters played again tonight. I never tire of watching them, the music is just that good.

There was another band playing after them, so we watched from the balcony. These are my John Vanderslice shoes. One time I went to see The Tallest Man on Earth play at a local college. It was such an unbelievably small crowd...like I sat on a couch in front of him the whole time. Anyways, John Vanderslice was there watching him play too and I had just got these shoes so the yellow laces were extra bright. I swear I saw him looking at them. A couple of months later he posted a picture of himself wearing the same shoes on his blog. So what. He probably already had them, but a girl can dream.

This picture just sucks. So did my attitude that night. It happens. I let myself get to myself and I was just in a fog-ridden world. So maybe the picture doesn't suck, maybe it's perfect. Foggy just like my brain.

We went to Baan Thai with friends. I love the food and decided I will actually do something about learning to make Thai food. I've been saying that for a long time. I have the time so it is time to try.

Andrew and I came home and had tea and T.V. It was good to check out for a while.

Man, I doubt myself a lot. After writing this week , I realize this. I doubt that I'll ever get a job that is worth a damn. That I'll ever be better than now. That I'll ever feel comfortable in a crowd. That I'll ever be smart. That I'll ever be a good writer. That I'll ever be a good teacher. That I'll ever stop making lists like this. Even with my doubts, it's all still okay. I'm still really very happy. I just need to find a way to harness the doubt so that it's motivating, so that it doesn't destroy me.

"even with your doubts, it's okay." -local natives

Every Man Has His Kingdom

This week was so so busy. This isn't a complaint, just a fact. Because I was so busy, I didn't take as many pictures as normal and I had a hard time remembering what I did and when and with whom and je suis confuse.

Sunday is sort of a blur. I think that just means I didn't do anything. I did take a picture of this paper cutting I did in December. It was my dad's Christmas gift. He loves it. But that moose nearly ruined my holidays. I ripped those damn antlers at least 10 times. And the mountains turned out more like gray pyramids....despite all this, my dad loves it. So much so that he brought it to my house and left it on my desk so that I could fix the pyramid-mountains (I'm currently adding snow to those mountains, hope it helps). I love how much he loved this gift. My dad is a hunter, he always has been. And although I absolutely hate the "sport" of killing animals and everything in me is against it, I can't help but feel a little nostalgic about it because it is something he loves to do. I grew up with his kills hanging from the basketball goal for everyone on the school bus to see. And I knew better than to ever go into the shed after Thanksgiving unless I wanted to see the guts of a deer up close. I will move on to Tuesday now, I've almost got myself in tears.

Ohhh weee. Valentine's Day. I'm sorry I took another picture of food. Andrew and I went to Taj Mahal, one of two amazing Indian restaurants in Ft. Wayne. The funny thing about Taj Mahal is that they play really terrible Christian music. It just makes the place feel really funny but I love it there; food is awesome and employees are sweet.

This was Andrew's meal. Monster Cafeteria Vegetarian Indian dinner. Still looks awesome.

I felt like I was constantly coming home and then leaving again all week. Henry quickly caught on to this schedule. Every time I went to leave, I couldn't find him. Then I noticed his little pattern...he ran and hid under this chair anytime he saw me gathering all my things to leave. It was a true effort. Good work, little Hen.

One thing I did Tuesday was really difficult. I went back to my former workplace for the first time. I pictured everyone being mean to me and not caring at all that I was there. I knew it wasn't true but what happened felt really personal so I couldn't help it. I was really really wrong. My old boss screamed my name when I walked in and gave me the biggest hug. I was there to turn in my paperwork...paperwork that officially said I can never work there again. I knew 3 weeks ago that I would make that decision but it took me every ounce of those 3 weeks to decide to walk back into that building. I took a picture of my feet as I left. It felt kind of final so I had to take a picture of something.

I went there after 3pm, meaning none of my old clients were there. I may have done that on purpose. It seemed really overwhelming to see old co-workers AND clients all at once. The secretary encouraged me to come back and come back soon...she said one of my old clients cried about me every morning. I started to cry when she told me this but it really just affirmed that I needed to come back later in the week.

On Wednesday, Andrew and I met his parents for dinner half-way between their town and ours. It was really nice. I always like being around them...I don't feel like I have to talk a lot and if I do I feel like they really want to listen. I took a picture of the sunset as we were driving to meet them. I love being able to see a sunset in winter. Wow wow.

When we got home I made cookies. I meant to make them on Monday; for Andrew for Valentines. But I ran out of time. So Happy Valentines Wednesday to Andrew and all his roommates.

Big day today. Henry and I took our first walk outside. He did really well...usually the first time we go for a walk means that he is either dragging behind or running ahead and barking just for the sake of barking. I think he was just happy to be outside.

Henry staring at the sun.

Oh and I had a job interview on Thursday. My first one. I didn't get the job but a lot of good came from the interview. It just so happened to be at the school where my oldest sister teaches. After the interview, I walked down to her classroom to see her...it is one thing to know that she is a teacher but quite another to see her teaching. It was amazing. I almost cried because I was so damn proud of her. Her path leading up to this job wasn't exactly easy. For the larger part of her college career she was a single mother. She worked a lot and struggled a lot but did it all with a smile. When I was little, she would let me hang out in her bedroom. She had a huge record player and let me pick out what I wanted to listen to...which meant I always picked Michael Jackson's Bad album and we danced, a lot. Man, she is such a great sister...lucky me.

Another important note about Thursday. I went to lunch with my friend Andy. This is great news. Mostly because we've been through some shit...for lack of better words. Honestly, nothing makes me happier than still being friends with someone even after that friendship has been put through the washing machine on double rinse and dried on high heat.

One more Thursday item. I went back to my former workplace. I saw my old clients. I cried a little but felt a lot of love. I miss them terribly. It still feels like a devastating loss...I can't see them everyday but I can visit and I'll be welcomed with open arms and lots of smiles. I can handle that even if it's with a little heartache on the side.


I was in my sweats and in my bed by 8:30 pm on Friday. Not sleeping, just reading, drinking tea and being a true meemaw. At 9pm my parents called and said to meet them at the Rusty Dog for a drink. Something is wrong here, our roles have reversed a little. I'm happy I put on real clothes and went to meet them.

So one night this week I had a little meltdown about not spending enough time with friends. Andrew heard me loud and clear. He bought me two tickets to see Steel Magnolias (the play)...one of our friends was in the play and I was really wanting to go see her...he told me I had to pick a friend to go with...I went with my friend Katie and had a really good time. When I first met Katie, she intimidated the hell out of me. I don't really remember why, I think maybe because I knew she knew a lot of people and a lot of people knew her and a lot of people liked her...this meant she was awesome and probably wouldn't like me. She isn't intimidating anymore, instead she is one of those people that is very comforting to me.

Tickets to the friend show.

Saturday night James & The Drifters had another show. It was wonderful. They sang some of my favorite songs and I sat with some of my favorite former co-workers.

One more picture...this week was so warm I didn't wear socks all week. Hot damn. Spring is coming (sort of)!

I healed a lot this week. I felt real joy. I felt calm. I feel happy.

(note: this week's title is from a poem I wrote this week. see poem blog for details.)

Weeks, not Weak

I took nearly 90 pictures this week. Significantly more than last week but also average for most other weeks. Makes sense.

This was a busy but important week. I sit nearly three weeks out from the very sad no-job day but I couldn't be happier. I'm still sad as hell that I don't see some of my favorite people (my former clients) daily but I realize they are still there. I can still go visit them. It will be difficult but I'm going to do it soon. Like this week. These past 7 days were just a small sample of all the things I always talked about and wanted to do but used "no time" as an excuse; catching up with old friends, seeking out graduate school and writing, a lot.

(In regards to writing, I have a poetry blog if you care: http://snailcoats.blogspot.com)

Sunday was that big sports game. I don't care about sports, really. Lucky for me, Andrew and our friend Taylor don't either (unless it's soccer). So we made some guacamole and all watched The Cosby Show together. Taylor and I both love it and Andrew has definitely learned to and even laughs at some episodes. The picture below was of Andrew, Henry and I walking home after the Cosby-thon. This picture is so funny to me...please look at Henry, he looks like a little toy.

Sometimes it happens that both my parents are gone for work on the same day. So I drive out to their house and take care of their dog, cat (which is a pregnant female but they continue to deny this and say it is a fat man) and chicken. I always forget how pretty and how different the sunsets are at their house. It is literally 7 minutes from my apartment but it's different. No other houses or stores or city to block the view...just some corn fields that look like their holding up the sky. I can't believe how lucky I am that I grew up there.

I took pictures of my book shelf today because I was studying the Dewey Decimal system all morning and it seemed to fit. I was studying because I had to go take a test to be considered for a Young Adult Librarian job. I took the test and passed it...I was actually really excited about that part. I mean, 30-some other people applied but passing meant that I can still study and take tests and pass...something I've doubted about myself for awhile.

I need some more bookshelves.

After the test, I met up with a friend from high school. One of the very few people I still talk to from that time. I would say he knows me very well. Since the summer after high school he has lived everywhere but here. We have kept in touch and in 10 years have only seen each other maybe 10 times. Exactly one year ago he moved back to this area and in this past year I've only seen him 2 times. So silly and so sad. So on Tuesday, I saw him for the third time in a year and we vowed it would be more like three times in a month from now on. I forget how important these types of friendships are...we've watched each other grow up and fail and do some great things...most people don't get to see that much of another's life. He is the person in high school that we promised we'd hold each other to our dreams...he wanted to end up in New York, playing music. I wanted to end up somewhere that felt like home, writing words. We have both cycled away and down from those dreams and now we are both back at them. Both working towards what we always dreamed of when we were so damn young. This is promising and hopeful.

Andrew and I have been talking for months about making bagels from scratch. We finally did it. When we first mixed all the ingredients in a bowl, I did not think anything worth eating would be a result. I was so wrong. Check it.

Baby bagels.

Tween bagels.

Edible adult bagels.

Andrew and I went to Chicago. I bought him concert tickets for Christmas and the show was this night. I love going on car trips with him; he loves to drive and doesn't care that the car is like nyquil for me. I took this when I was still awake; dried strawberries. They look and taste awesome.

Awake long enough to see the sun set.

Justin Townes Earle. He is not real. He is like a bobble-head, stilt-legged, young Johnny Cash...except maybe even more bad-ass. This is a man that opens his mouth and beautiful folkish-country just saunters out. He is candid about his love of drugs and how horribly it has failed him...I love that he doesn't apologize for it, he just recognizes he isn't good at it. He recognizes he isn't good at women either. But he takes these things and filters it into his music and I'm thankful he does.

You should know he dresses damn good. And he is also one of the few people I care to hear sing about God. That might not hit everyone so good but I'm not going to apologize for being honest.

We stayed with my sister and her family. I only got to see them that morning for a few hours but it was enough to make me want to cry leaving. On our way back Andrew and I drove through downtown Chicago.

I love Chicago, plain and simple.

We stopped to eat some food and drink real coffee. I normally think taking pictures of food is really funny and kind of gross but I did it anyways. Thai curry soup with tofu. Can I get a witness?

Real coffee I referenced above.

The week of no-job something awesome happened. I e-mailed a lady I know that owns a local yoga studio...I told her what happened and that my schedule was completely open to teach if she should need the help. She got me one of my first yoga teaching jobs...something I will always thank her for. Anyways, minutes after I e-mailed her, she texted me and asked how I was...I figured she had read my e-mail. But no, she had just been thinking of me that morning and wanted to check up on me. Strange, huh? Here is the best of it all; she is helping me out in a lot of ways. She even asked me to fill in Saturday morning to teach her class....I was nervous as hell. This woman has been teaching yoga for a long time...she has devoted students, students that only come to her class. So nervous. I got to the studio and the sun was reflecting all over the mirrors and floors and it made me feel at ease.

I took this picture while the students were in final relaxation. Proof that I made it through the class. My yoga mat on the gorgeous wooden studio floor.

As a bonus, the students were really sweet. I talked with them after and they were all really encouraging.

That afternoon I spent some time with two of my nephews; August and Kilian. They live blocks from me but I still don't see them often...one of those "no time" excuses. I'm remedying that. August and I juiced oranges and carrots...he loved it. He could have done a commercial for the orange juice, it blew his mind.

This was Kilian playing in the snow. Wearing a helmut and carrying a walking stick, of course. This little guy is a born mountain man...not afraid of anything and being outdoors is always best.

Before I left their house, Kilian gave me his favorite stuffed animal. A little bull he named "Bully." He told me I could borrow Bully for the night to sleep with him but that he needed him back soon because he loves him. I took some pictures of Bully doing various things around my house and e-mailed them to my sister-in-law so that she could show Kilian I was properly caring for him.

Bully sleeping.

Hope abounds, creativity rules.

Seek and Search

I started out this week with a trip to Chicago. This picture was taken as my mom and I drove Sunday afternoon. Honestly, I didn't want to leave home. I cried leaving and I don't really know why....I think it was like one last "cry and be sad" time about the terrible no-job week. I needed to leave though. Even if it was only for a day.

Highway 30 is a boring bitch but also really pretty when you are driving towards the sunset.

I stayed with my sister, her husband and my nephew Samuel Young....raddest first name/middle name combination ever. We stayed up late playing with Sam and just doing a lot of hanging out.

The next morning I got to spend a lot of time with Sam. We put together more puzzles than either of us can count and read some books. After I read the last book to him he didn't move. He just stayed on my lap...not normal for a 1.5 year old. He was sleepy so I started singing ABCs to him and anytime I stopped he would look at me until I started the singing again. I must have sang it 30 times and every once in a while he laughed. I have no idea why but I think because after saying letters like that so many times it all starts to sound hilarious.

I love this picture of little Sam.

Meet Bradley. He is so sweet and so funny. He is the 10-month-old son of my sister's friend and he happens to have Down Syndrome. I do not think it was a coincidence I met him on this day. I have been really struggling with whether or not to stay in the developmental disabilities field. I believe it is time to move on but it is hard to leave a world in which you feel comfortable and confident. I will always have a heart for this world and find a way to be a part of it...but my livelihood is not going to be that part any longer. It is time to move on.

I left Chicago feeling at ease. Funny that it only took one day of stepping outside of it all to meet a new perspective.

I am continuing to job seek and search. So far nothing but I am okay with that. Henry is benefiting from my current situation...little guy sleeps on my lap while I seek.

Tuesday night into Wednesday morning brought oceans full of snow. I woke up to this in my kitchen window:

When a little or lot of snow falls, Henry loses his mind. He no longer knows how to go on a walk like a proper dog...he runs as fast as possible until we get where we are going.

I realize there are a lot of Henry pictures this week. That is what happens when I am with him for 20 of 24 hours per day. Anyhow. I really love this picture I took of him. He was perched in the living room windows watching Andrew shovel the sidewalks while I cooked dinner for us and our friends Matt and Beth.

Dinner with Matt and Beth. We sat and talked for a couple of hours...it was really nice.

Another day, another picture of Henry. Regal Beagle.

This past fall I fell in love with mini cactus'. I can't find them anywhere right now but I am excited for Spring...that is when I found this one. It is sort of amazing the little thing is still alive. It is sitting next to a window with about 3 inches of snow in it and I accidentally tore the top off of it once when I was re-potting it. On this day I noticed it was growing a little baby flower on top! I got really excited and hopeful all at once.

I was painting a new chalkboard for the coffee shop and without thinking I stirred the can of paint with a spoon. The paint dried and the hoarder in me wanted to keep it in hopes of doing something awesome with it. It was so so pretty like this.

I have yet to feel the discourage of winter. Typically January and February are a rough season for a lot of people...this year just doesn't feel that way to me. I have noticed the sun is out so much and the birds have stuck around...those two things make the cold feel healthy.

More snow views.

Henry and I sitting in the sun of the living room.

More shots of sun.

It has been really hard to reconcile the desire to read stacks of books and watch movies. I have been given the gift of some extra time but I don't feel like I deserve to do these things because that equals lazy. Like every waking hour should be devoted to the job of job-search. It can be maddening. I finally chilled a little this weekend and started reading a book I've been wanting to read since last spring.

What a strange and hopeful winter this has been. I'm so thankful for it.