Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Writing Challenge...

The last time I posted here, I posted that it had been two years since my last entry. Well, it's been almost another two years. So much has happened, but I can't really get into it or look back, so here's looking forward.

My new sweetie (Todd) has inspired me to try and write something every day. He is trying to draw something every day. Creative expression is important, and we want to make more time for it.

So, here's a little something. It's a small start, but I'm OK with small starts.

I am here
in the room
across from you
at the table
speaking words and
hearing stories and
noticing the beautiful speckles
under your eyes and
I’m waxing righteous
about sadness and how
black toddlers
pick white baby dolls
because they think they are
prettier 

I know you
but I don’t know you
because
I don’t know
what it feels like
to have black skin
stretched
like a target on my back

I am not a mother or
a grandmother or
a cancer survivor or
a caregiver or
a warrior like you
and I don’t think
I could walk a mile in your shoes and
privilege
is knowing I don’t have to

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Starting again, again, again...

It's been more than two and half years since I updated this blog.  I haven't done much writing for myself in a really long time.  My friend Anne gave me a five-year memory book where you write one line a day for five years.  I'm in love with it.  If nothing else, it's encouraging me to put pen to paper for my own enjoyment at least once a day.  Heaven knows I need all the encouragement I can get. 

I've been obsessed with a song by Sia lately--Elastic Heart.  It's gorgeous.  I need my heart to stretch right now.  There is so much I want to be, if I'd only give myself the time and space to give it a go.  I often jest using the popular cliche, "There just aren't enough hours in the day."  That is such a lie.  I waste so much time.  I am making a promise to myself, right here and right now, to stop thinking so much and just start doing.  I promise to carve out time for the activities that really serve me and the people who remind me of who I really am and how I want to be. 

Someone once said that you are the average of your five closest friends.  I want to make sure that I am surrounding myself with people who inspire me, uplift me, make me think, make me smile.

Because we all know how much I love lists, here is a not-so-short list of things I would like to carve out more time for:

Writing
Reading
Meditation
Gratitude practice
Prayer
Exercise (cardio, yoga, stretching, shoulder rehab/pt)
Meal planning
Housekeeping
Dinner parties
Correspondence by mail
Phone/Skype dates with long distance friends/family
Guitar/ukelele practice
Listening to records
Travel

What do you want to carve out more time for?
Do you have any tips for me?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Avett Brothers!

Can't wait to see them on Thursday! Enjoy...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Gratitude

Rough day at work left me feeling like a whiny baby. Decided to start reading this daily meditation book that's been collecting dust for some time now. Today's entry was about gratitude and it was the answer to my bratty day. This is from The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie.

August 1

Say thank you, until you mean it.

Thank God, life, and the universe for everyone and everything sent your way.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow

Gratitude makes things right.

Gratitude turns negative energy into positive energy. There is no situation or circumstance so small or large that it is not susceptible to gratitude's power. We can start with who we are and what we have today, apply gratitude, then let it work its magic.

Say thank you, until you mean it. If you say it long enough, you will believe it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mom's Beef Stew

I made this tonight, it is super fantastic. I used sweet potatoes, though my mom usually uses regular baking potatoes (white). I had to share because it is so good. I don't even know if anyone reads this thing anymore, I never post.

OLD FASHIONED BEEF STEW

2 tbsp cooking oil
1.5 lbs of pre-packaged beef for stewing
4 cups boiling water
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp minced garlic or 1 whole clove
1 medium onion—chopped or minced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Pepper to taste, about 1 tsp
½ tsp paprika
5 large carrots peeled & cut into ¼ inch slices
2 large potatoes (I prefer sweet potatoes), peeled & diced
½ cup flour for thickening

Cut beef cubes in half if they are too big (should be bite sized).

Dry meat using paper towel for proper browning.

Heat oil in pan, brown meat on all sides, turning often.

Add water, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, bay leaves and other spices/seasonings.

Cover; simmer (don’t boil) for 2 hours.

Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.

Remove bay leaves.

Add carrots and potatoes.

Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes more or until vegetables are done and meat is tender.

Thicken stew gravy by making a rue…remove about 1.5 cups of the broth, place in a separate bowl. Add ½ cup of flour and stir to combine. Add rue back into the stew and stir. Repeat if necessary. Add water if the sauce gets too thick.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recipe Monday-Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

Roasted Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder
(From The New Vegan Cookbook, a local library find)

2 Medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
2 tablespoons corn oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 pound frozen (rinsed and defrosted) or fresh corn kernels (about 4 cups)
1 cup water
1 ½ cups finely diced celery
1 cup diced red onion
¼ cup diced shallots
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 russet (baking) potato (about 8oz)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
½ to 1 cup unflavored soymilk (optional)

Ok, here are my substitutions: I used olive oil instead of corn oil, I used a Vidalia onion instead of red, garlic instead of shallots and two small Yukon golds instead of a russet potato.

1. Set the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 425. Oil a large roasting pan.

2. Scatter the sweet potatoes in one layer in the roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing once or twice, 15 to 20 minutes. If you’d like to brown the sweet potatoes more deeply, set them about 5 inches below the broiling element for a minute or two. Set aside.

3. Reserve 1 cup of corn kernels. In a blender, puree the remaining corn with the water until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

4. In a heavy soup pot, heat the remaining oil. Cook the celery, onion, and shallots over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the onions are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook another minute, stirring frequently. Add the broth, pureed corn, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.

5. While bringing the chowder to a boil, peel the russet potato, cut it into ½ inch dices, and add it to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer until the potato is tender, about 25 to 35 minutes.

6. Remove the bay leaf. Add the reserved corn kernels, roasted sweet potatoes, and parsley. Thin with soymilk, if necessary. Adjust the seasonings. Cook (but do not boil after adding soymilk) until heated throughout.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Music, er...Tuesday?

Normally I save stuff like this for a Friday, but I just can't wait. This is spectacular. Amazing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Profoundly Moving Decay

I just discovered that the love of my life, the man I quietly pine for in my loneliest and most nostalgic moments, was married last July. I sort of feel like weeping for my own selfish loss, but more than that, I am devastated that we became estranged and I missed the opportunity to be there for him and support him on what I'm sure was a beautiful and amazing day. For that, my heart is now officially broken and I am officially weeping. Struan, should you ever read this, please know that I am so profoundly sorry that I ruined what could otherwise have been an amazing post-romance friendship. In a cruel twist of fate, there is a Cher song playing on my iPod right now--"Do You Believe in Life After Love" and I'm not sure what my answer would be to that question at this exact moment. I didn't even know I owned that song. This sucks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vegan Lent

Hello! It's been a really long time since I've updated this thing. Wanted to share my plan for a Vegan Lent. I told myself that when I got back from my birthday weekend in Florida, I would do a vegan detox (which I do every once in awhile to clear my system and hit the reset button, so to speak). Then I realized that it was Lent, so I decided to "go big or go home."

Mainly, I wanted to give up meat, because as tasty as it is, eating it conflicts with my values. I wouldn't mind eating meat that locally and sustainably raised (in good conditions) and humanely slaughtered, but for this exercise, I wanted to give it up completely. Giving up meat has never been a problem for me, so that's more or less the easy part here.

Now, cheese. Cheese is amazing. I love it. But dairy is one of the hardest things for your body to digest, and it's terrible for you. The human digestive system is not designed to process the lactose of other mammals. It's as simple as that. So, I decided to give it up FOR THE MOST PART.

I will not throw away any food that's currently in my house, because being wasteful also conflicts with my values. I will not purchase any meat or dairy products, but if I'm out with friends and cannot settle on a vegan menu item, I give myself permission to eat dairy.

I haven't decided about eggs yet. And I'm not getting all picky with gelatin and honey and all the other fru-fru details. And chocolate is OK once in awhile, but I won't buy it for my house.

So that's it! I'll keep you posted. Today is day three. Going well so far :)

-Mandy

Friday, November 13, 2009

Music Friday!

This my first mobile blog! I am typing this from my iPhone, so please forgive my brevity and misspellings! Since I am unable to post a video, today's installment of MF is merely a recommendation. I recently fell in love with a song and have been listening to it on repeat. It is Star Mile by Joshua Radin. I can't tell you how beautiful the melody is, there are no words. Go find it. Buy it. Steal it. Listen to a free clip, just find it. You will not be sorry! Love and bear hugs. -Mandy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indiana or Bust!

Welp, I got news. Most of you reading this already know, but I've accepted a job as the Editorial Director of Sunrise Greetings in Bloomington, Indiana. They are a subsidiary of Hallmark (my former employer) so I think that gave me quite an edge as a candidate. I leave Branson on Monday 10/5 (my friend Royal's birthday...must send card, don't forget). I'm looking forward to the new adventure. I love starting over. It gives me an overwhelming sense of clarity and forgiveness, like the beginning of a brand new school year. That was my favorite time of year when I was school-aged. New classes, new teachers, a clean slate. Plus, all those brand new packets of crisp, loose leaf paper...I mean, c'mon. I dare anyone not to derive secret glee from such a small delight. I am not nervous about my new job or my new city. I'm not nervous about finding my way around or making friends. I'm only nervous about the physical move, finishing packing and then unpacking my stuff, all the decisions about where to put things and then getting rid of all those boxes, Christ, if I never had to pack/unpack a house again, I'd be in heaven. Also, I'm not so much nervous but sad for Lola and the loss of her doggy door and back yard. I know she will adapt, but she loves her yard so much, I hate taking it away from her. She takes all her toys outside and leaves them under her tree. She suns in the grass in the middle of the afternoon, patrols the fence line and barks at critters. AND, most helpfully, when she has to do her business at 5am or some other ungodly hour, she lets herself out and back in. I'm not looking forward to the leash, not because I'm afraid of exercise, that part I'm excited about. I think we'll both get more. I hate being responsible for another creature's bodily functions. She takes forever to pick out a spot to poop, and it's infuriating (especially if I'm late for work, or it's raining/snowing/freezing cold). All that aside, I think our new life will be wonderful. I have a roomy 2 bedroom apartment at a beautiful complex with 58 acres of trails and streams and ponds and parks. They even have a fenced dog park ON the property, so I can take Lola there to run around and play fetch without a leash. I'm hoping to update this blasted thing more often. I failed my self-imposed "write every day" assignment, but perhaps I'll pick it up again once the relocation is complete. I am terrible at goodbyes, and I can't even process the sadness I feel about leaving my family and friends in Branson. I know I need to feel it at some point, but when I do, I cry. And I don't have time to cry. Plus, I feel very uncomfortable crying in front of people. It's all I can do to choke it back and keep packing. Speaking of which...back to work.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Music Friday, Alive and Kicking!

Finally, finally, finally...back to the grind. Last night on Sycamore Church Road I had to brake hard to avoid smashing into an owl sitting in the middle of the pavement. In honor of that and in remembrance of this cool video, please enjoy MAYBE SPARROW by Neko Case!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tori Amos


Hello! Pardon my absence. When I realized that I broke my goal of posting every day, I got depressed and blew it off. But I'm back, trying. I realized last night that I'm a very different person than who I used to be. I miss my old self. I miss the me who listened to Tori Amos obsessively--I think some of her magic leaked into me and made me more creative, whimsical and intuitive. I think I convinced myself that I had outgrown the obsession, that it was weird and strange to be that passionate about a single musician. Also, I haven't really connected to her last three or four albums (I bought them the week they were released, don't get me wrong, but then I failed to listen to them enough to actually form a relationship with the music). Today, I'm giving myself the goal/challenge/task to finally get caught up, to listen to all the albums I've missed since I stopped being me. Maybe I'll find myself in there somewhere. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Numerology

Someone sent me an e-mail about numerology, so I added myself up and here are the results. I'm a 26/8 -- the 2 & 6 represent the challenges I'm here to work through and the 8 represents my life's purpose. Here are the descriptions of my numbers:

2: Cooperation and Balance
The energy of 2s makes these individuals a source of strength, support, and cooperative service. But first they have to define their limits, boundaries, and levels of responsibility or they tend to overhelp and then withdraw. They need to avoid the extreme of servitude, which turns to resentment and resistance.

6: Vision and Acceptance
The vision of beauty, purity, and high ideals of those working 6 can be tainted by judgments about self, others and the world. Their purpose lies in recognizing the higher or transcendent perfection in everyone and everything, and aiming for high ideals while accepting themselves and others in the present.

8: Abundance and Power
Most 8s either strive for or avoid money, power, control, authority, or recognition. In this arena lie their greatest challenges and greatest satisfaction. They are here to master abundance and power by using them in service of a higher purpose, not as an end in themselves.

Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery interesting. I love stuff like this :) If you want to know how to add up your own numbers and hear the descriptions for them, send me a comment or e-mail and I'll send you the info.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today is for writing.

Today, I am writing. Finishing up two new books for Hallmark and turning them in tomorrow. I feel a little distracted because for the past month, I've been promising myself that I'm going to weed my garden and detail my car. I've been putting those two chores off for four weekends in a row and now that I have a weekend full of writing obligations, all I want to do is be outside doing those chores. Life is funny.

Listening to Band of Horses, finishing up my morning coffee and thinking about taking a shower. I've been watching my parents' pup Sophie all weekend while they are visiting Nevada. She is a doll and has the best time playing with Lola. They run laps around the house, play chase, share toys and Bully Sticks (chewing treats...cured beef tendon, better for them than rawhide). It's adorable. Lola likes to nap on my bed, on her bed or on the couches and Sophie will only nap on the floor, pushed up against a wall or piece of furniture. It's cute how dogs have their own preferences and personalities, just like people. Lola snores, Sophie sighs. Lola watches you move about the house, Sophie follows you. Sophie is on alert at every noise, Lola rolls her eyes at the disturbance.

This is procrastinating. Need to get back to the books.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Foiled Again!

Yeah...totally skipped Friday. Whatevs. Intended to resurrect MUSIC FRIDAY but got sidetracked.

I started re-reading Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott this week. It's one of my favorite books, but the last time I read it was years ago. TRAVESTY. Within the first few pages I remembered why I love this book and why Anne is one of my favorite writers. Her style is so easy and effortless. It reads like a friend talking to you from across the kitchen table.

The book is a non-fiction account of her journey to faith. As someone who struggles with faith (in everything) I've decided that it's a book I should read at least once a year to remind me that I am not alone. In the first part of the book (page 9) she writes,

"None of the adults in our circle believed. Believing meant that you were stupid. Ignorant people believed, uncouth people believed, and we were heavily couth. My dad was a writer, my parents were intellectuals...we were raised to believe in books and music and nature."

This bit resounds so strongly for me because I feel like a lot of the people in my life who consider themselves to be intellecutals exude this sentiment. Like being an intellectual and being spiritual are mutually exclusive. That opening yourself up to the possibility of a higher power is for the weak and naive. And really, I think that's sad. The arrogance of athiesm is something that athiests fail to see. To be so blindly sure, to claim to KNOW that something IS or ISN'T the truth, that God DOES or DOESN'T exist seems like a detour, it bypasses faith. To believe is to FEEL that something is true without having concrete evidence that it IS true. And I'm cool with that. Life is too short to be such a hardass about everything. I strive to live my life with joy and gratitude, to seek out truth and beauty in everyday experiences and to love everyone and everything as I want to be loved. I don't always succeed, but I'm trying. I think people who get so wound up about being right are missing the point. I'd rather be happy than be right. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I'm growing. I'm learning. I'm trying to live righteously. Tomorrow is promised to no one, and if my life came crashing to an end, I'd feel fine because I know that I figured out that I'm not supposed to figure everything out. Life isn't about what you know but how you live. How you treat people. How you treat yourself. Every day has the potential to be the best day ever and it might very well be your last. How will you spend it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Technicality

Ok, so OFFICIALLY, I missed posting on Thursday. Only took me three days to break my let's-make-a-habit-out-of-writing-every-day pact with myself. Since I missed it by like, 22 minutes, I don't think it counts. I'm not counting it. Here's my post for the day, it's not really a post so much as a general request for all men with delusions that they can pull off 'skinny jeans' -- DON'T. Just...don't. I mean, seriously, nobody wants to see those chicken legs so just put them away. All it does is make me think how nice it would be to fold you up and put you in my pocket, and I can't respect someone like that. Also, I know it's super trendy and hipster to wear tight clothes paired with GIANT thick-rimmed glasses, but this is NOT 1987 and you are NOT an extra on the set of Golden Girls, so give up the dream, fellas. That's all for tonight. PEACE!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lola enjoys asparagus...


...and yellow squash. The reason I know this is because she was begging (barking and grumbling) at my feet whilst I was cookin' up some yummy veggies for dinner, so I fed her a piece of squash, which she chewed on, spit out, picked back up and devoured. Amazed by her enjoyment, I proceeded to giver her an asparagus tip, which she chewed on, spit out, picked back up and devoured. I was so tickled by her love for veggies that I just kept feeding them to her. All together, she had two pieces of squash and four pieces of asparagus. I think she deserves it...she got her rabies shot this afternoon and has been sleeping all evening. The squash was from my garden and it was deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious. I have two more little squashems growing. I check them every day and tell them to hurry up and get big. I have been very lucky (knock on wood) that Lola's curiosity for the garden did not show up this season. Last year she ate my jalapeno plant and a couple other things, but so far she's left everything alone this year. She is fierce and defiant when she wants to be. Just look at that snaggletooth!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Anti-Versary

It's officially been a year since I gave up television -- a year and eight days to be exact. I really don't miss it. The biggest physical difference I've seen is that my skin is better. I rarely breakout anymore, which I have decided is a result of getting more sleep, which is great for hormone levels. Ok, that's it. Just wanted to mention my television anti-versary. Time to weed the garden before it gets dark. That's not a euphemism, I really have to go weed the veggie garden.

Committment

It recently occurred to me that I've become so busy just getting through the day that I've stopped writing. That's a lie. It didn't recently occur to me. I've known it for a long time. My 10-year-old niece told me that it takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit. I'm going to make a habit out of writing every day. It's weird, but as much as I want to consider myself a writer, I'll do anything to procrastinate writing. Once I get going, I'm fine. When I finish, I'm proud. It's the starting that stumps me every time, and not just writing assignments with deadlines, but journal entries, blogging, e-mails...any kind of writing. I watched a Biography episode on Hulu yesterday on the life of HST. He was the same way and his editor figured it was because Hunter was so afraid of the writing not being good. I wonder if I have the same fear. I'm ready to get my GONZO sword tattoo, but I'm not sure where I want to put it. I want to put it somewhere I can see it, like the underside of my forearm, but I'm nervous to get it in a place where everyone else can see it too. I don't want to have to hide it, and I feel like if I'm passionate enough about something to get it inked into my skin, I shouldn't give a flying flip what anyone else thinks about it, even prospective employers. We'll see. I'm not committing to this today, just the writing :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deer Meets Turkey

Short post, but worth remembering...saw a small doe and a wild turkey walking side-by-side in a pasture by my house today. Very cool. Can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things Fall Apart

It's been quite some time since I posted on this blasted thing. Time is funny. So is circumstance. I know there is a laundry list of lessons I am supposed to be learning during this trying time, but things are moving too quickly for me to process or reflect. Every day I am overwhelmed by base, child-like emotions until I take time to step back and remember that none of this matters. None of this is real. Everything I'm feeling is a byproduct of conditioning and culture and a fictitious sense of righteousness. My disappointment keeps me from being free. I try to live by the Four Agreements. I tell myself that I am writing my own story. I seek a greater purpose. I want to live simply and without fear or expectations. I struggle with surrender. I have trouble letting go. Spiritual sickness breeds morbid unhappiness. I seek a way to be centered. I need to find a place to level out. It's lonely in my head with nothing but perverse ideas and twisted games of obligation to keep me company. Sometimes I feel like everything I've been coached to believe is a big, fat lie. How do you free yourself to create something new unless you cut all ties to the thinking that keeps you in bondage?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

two (crazy) bits

1. Found out that my cousin Paul is working as one of David Geffen's house assistants. How insanely cool is that? David. Freaking. Geffen. Paul was hired by an aging Portuguese woman who is in charge of the household affairs (hiring maids, cooks, butlers, doing the shopping, etc.) -- and she's training him to take her place so she can retire. Seriously awesome.

2. On the drive home from Nixa to Branson tonight, my brother decided to have some fun. He started accelerating, paused, looked and me and said, "Are you ready?" He then proceeded to kick it up to 140 MPH, smooth as freaking butter. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY, SMOOTH AS FREAKING BUTTER. Great googly moogly the Germans make sweet cars. I was so nervous I started to sweat and said, "OK. I'm done. Slow down." and started flapping my hands around as if I'd just seen something that made me feel squeamish. That's the absolute fastest I've ever gone in an automobile. Craziness.

I will post more about the Celine Dion concert and the quick trip to STL later!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Power Playlist

Ok, it's goofy but it's honest. Here are the songs I play every morning when I'm getting ready. They get me pumped up for the day and in a good mood. I've been doing it for a week now and haven't gotten sick of any of them yet. That's when you've got a good mix :) Enjoy and give it a shot.

Jump Around -- House of Pain
Walking on Sunshine -- Katrina & the Waves
Invincible -- Pat Benatar (Legend of Billy Jean, oh yeah!)
One Week -- Barenaked Ladies
We Didn't Start the Fire -- Billy Joel
What You Waiting For? -- Gwen Stefani
Everything is Everything -- Lauryn Hill
Only the Good Die Young -- Billy Joel
King Without a Crown -- Matisyahu
Let's Go Crazy -- Prince
A Change Would Do You Good -- Sheryl Crow
What I Got -- Sublime
U Can't Touch This -- MC Hammer
Good Vibrations -- The Beach Boys

:P

two things

1. I am getting fierce wrinkles around my eyes.

2. In recent years I believe I have developed a stress-related stutter. Either that or I've had it all along and not noticed and no one has said anything.

Am I going crazy?

-emjay

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

goodbye for good...


It has now been six months since I gave up watching television. DIRECTV called and told me that the six-month hold I placed on my account had come to an end. They informed me that they would be turning my service back on unless I called them and told them otherwise. For a moment, I hesitated. Luckily, the moment was brief. They are sending me large boxes so I can return my receivers and remotes. It's over. The trial separation has become a divorce, but an amiable one where neither party has to fight over whose copy of Catcher in the Rye has the dog-eared pages and smudged cover. Of course, I still watch DVDs occasionally, and I'm contractually obligated to watch The Office on Hulu.com, but whatever. I don't think TV is evil, it's just like...Valium. And I mean, sure, I like a good slanty-eyed buzz as much as the next person, but it's honestly just not worth it. Let's do some math. Yaaaaaaaaaay, math! Even though I can't imagine an accurate figure, let's say that I've watched an hour of television every day my entire life. Some days I probably watched three or four hours, but similarly I'm sure there were weeks I went without turning the blasted tube on -- so this is a total guesstimate. If you add up an hour a day for 29 years, you get 441 days. Full days. 24-hour days. That's not quite a year and a half. That's a lot of television. Frankly, it's enough television to make me ill. So yeah, I'm done. Divorced done. Whoopieeeee!

Relationshit Drama.

To use a term stolen from the wildly funny whilst irritating Dane Cook, I'm currently wrestling with various RELATIONSHITS. A relationshit is a relationship that has turned sour. In my case, I have a cluster of relationshits from which I am trying to extricate myself. I have realized that in holding onto friends from long ago who can't even be bothered to return my phone calls, I am sucking up energy that would be better spent on REAL friends, both close and distant who are worth hanging on to.

Paramount to overcoming these relatioshits is getting past my own ego, letting go of the rejection I feel because their incompetence. If they only bother with me when it's convenient for them, it doesn't mean that I'm disposable and it doesnt make them bad people, it just makes them shitty friends who don't deserve the amount of energy I'm throwing at them.

Then, it's time to grieve, as with any loss. If you don't grieve the loss, you can never let go.

At some point, I will need to set some healthy boundaries with people who drunk dial at 3am but never call sober, people who set and break phone dates repeatedly and people who only seem engaged when there is inappropriate flirting involved.

More soon!
Love,
Mandy

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prayer of St. Francis

This is my favorite prayer, just wanted to share it with everyone.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gobble, Gobble.









Here are some photos from our Jordan Family Thanksgiving at the restaurant. We served just about 130 free turkey dinners, very rewarding and exhausting. I was up at 6am to make a breakfast casserole. I had procured donuts and OJ the day before. I got ready, loaded up my breakfast goodies and carted the coffeemaker to the restaurant. I arrived around 8am and spent a couple hours prepping food and hanging out with my folks and bro. Officially, we were supposed to begin serving at noon, but we wanted to be ready to plate at 11. There were enough people arriving early that we went ahead and started serving just before 11. We spent the next four hours serving and visiting with strangers. After we finished up and cleaned the kitchen, I went home to shower and nearly fell asleep. I willed myself over to CJ and Michelle's house and BOY am I glad I did. I fell in love with Wii!!! We played bowling and tennis--so much fun. I was drinking. A lot. The more I drank, the more fun I had. I was mixing Ketel One and Sunny D. A horribly tacky yet tasty concoction that my niece affectiontely named SunTinis. Too loopy to drive, I crashed at my bro's house and woke up with a wicked hangover. All-in-all, it was a successful and silly holiday.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thoughts on a Thursday

Sometimes I catch myself staring off into space--my head is not empty, it's overflowing. It's like my capacity to function is on lockdown while the spillway clears. I think too much. There's too much in my head. There are two ways of dealing with this--distract yourself with mindless things like videos of kittens on the Internet so that you don't have to deal with the chaos in your brain OR purge the chaos in some form of release. My release is writing but I don't seem to be drawn to it lately. John has given me some therapeutical assignments to vent my anger or frustration onto paper and I have been reluctant to do them. I think I'm afraid that if I really let go, if I really say everything I want to say the way I want to say it, something bad will happen. These assignments are just for me--no one else will see them. No one else will know the things I'm venting about, and yet I have procrastinated doing them for months. I have trouble letting go. I know this. I can see it. I can point it out. And the fact that I see it, know it, admit it and still cannot let go is my biggest challenge right now. I feel so stuck. I feel like I am about to burst, always about to burst and keep everything on lockdown, wandering around like a zombie because I'm afraid of being honest. I pray for balance. I pray that I can honor myself and grow and become decisive and independent while still holding onto my considerate nature. I want to find the balance between being selfish and selfless because I know that's where peace is. I want to take care of myself more and worry about others less. I want to stop being judgemental and putting labels on things and just live and be happy. I want to stop analyzing things and thinking so much. I want to start now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Quote

I love this.

"If you're really listening, if you're awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold ever-more wonders." —Andrew Harvey

Monday, October 20, 2008

Taney County for Obama

Hello friends and agents of change.

If you're like me (and I know many of you are) you have good intentions, but often get caught in neutral. The next two weeks are critical in deciding the future of our country's leadership.

If you really want change, let it begin with you. Get out of neutral and start volunteering with your local Obama headquarters. There is a lot that needs to be done, including phone banks, canvassing and putting in office hours.

Taney county has two organizers, Dante and Sherri -- write back if you would like their information. The Branson headquarters is located across from the Hollywood Wax Museum in the HCW building. Office hours are from 9am to 9pm.

If you live somewhere else but want to be involved, visit the campaign website and find a local group near you: http://www.barackobama.com/index.php

Peace,
Mandy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pumpkins and Such










Every Monday, I pick Bailey up from school and we spend the day together. Yesterday, we went out to Branson West to get pumpkins for Halloween. We went to Danna's for dinner and ate pulled-pork sandwiches before heading over to the Shepherd of the Hills Inspiration Tower. After that, we went home to paint pumpkins and eat ice cream. A lovely day, here are some photos.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bailey Devo :)




Here's a couple of pics from last Monday with Bailey -- we just hung out at the house, made Hamburger Helper (her favorite) and Rice Krispy Treats and put up some Halloween decorations. I wasn't feeling well, so we didn't have a big outdoor adventure like the week before, but she still had a blast. She quite enjoyed my Devo hat from Meghan's costume party. I don't know what we're going to do today, I'm going to leave that up to her. I need to leave in 15 minutes to go pick her up from school, but for now, here's pics from last week.

Much Belated KC Post...












Here are the pics from Meghan's Costumed Birthday Bash in KC two weekends ago. The theme was: "Come dressed in the fashion of the year YOU were born..." I was born in 1980, so I came as Devo from the Whip It video. I won third place in the costume contest--Cassie/Madonna came in first and Kendra/Farrah Fawcett came in second. My prize was a Pound Puppy. I really wanted that Monchichi, but alas, Cassie won it. At least it rests in good monkey-lovin' hands. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Honey, I Was Just a Kid...


Bubblegum on my shoe.

Up late listening to Ryan Adams, pouting because I have gorgeous VIP 7th row tickets to his show in St. Louis tomorrow and am not going. I couldn't even sell the tickets, so they are simply going to waste. Money is tight and I can't afford to drive to St. Louis and back right now, so I figure it's better to waste $70 than spend cash I don't have on gas and meals.

Damn, Sam.

It's probably all for the best because Ryan Adams makes me weepy and nostalgic for people who don't exist anymore. His music is so sad. I should probably stop listening, but I'm a glutton for punishment and harmonicas.

On his album HEARTBREAKER, there are four consecutive songs that might be my favorite four consecutive songs on any album ever.

They are:
Track7--Call Me On Your Way Back Home
Track8--Damn, Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)
Track9--Come Pick Me Up
Track10--To Be The One

Now I sort of want to drink copious amounts of wine and pass out with headphones on. This is generally not a good idea, but in the spirit of pouting, brooding and remarkably quiet tantrums, I may indulge.

I think I'm going to listen to all the albums in chronological order. Just the full-lengths. Not including the Whiskeytown stuff, EPs or B-sides. Just Heartbreaker, Gold, Demolition, Rock & Roll, Love Is Hell, Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, 29 and Easy Tiger. But that's like, nine hours of listening, so perhaps I will start tonight and continue it tomorrow during the day. I mean, it's not like I'd say up all night obsessing if I let myself. Not at all. Because that's totally crazy. Yeah. Crazy. Really crazy. Don't do that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maternal Instinct (with Cool Aunt Attitude)

I was washing dishes this afternoon, watching through the kitchen window as a gaggle of smallish boys rode their bikes up and down my driveway. I have an awesome driveway launch, it's steep but safe. Mostly. I looked down to rinse a dish, looked up and saw one of them laid out flat on his back in the middle of the street. In what seemed like a millisecond, I had dropped my dish, left the water running and was in the street assisting. I was strangely calm and knew what to check before trying to move him. Little Grant had wiped out hard, but nothing was broken. Cuts and bruises and shaky nerves. He was crying a little, but I picked him up and set him straight. I grabbed him by both shoulders, shook him a little and said, "Look at you, you're going to have the most awesome bruises tomorrow and you'll get to show all your friends at school!" He smiled, a friend brought him his bike and then they were gone.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marvelous Monday #1






I started a new tradition with my niece today. Every Monday, I plan to pick her up from school and spend the rest of the day with her. Today was our first Monday, and it was four hours of FANTASTIC!

First, we went to play Pirate Golf (putt-putt) and then had dinner at Sushi House (she had miso soup and tamago with rice, I had miso soup, tea and a California roll).

Then we went back to my neck of the woods, and I took her to see the Sycamore Log Church which was built in 1933. We signed our names in the guest book and she noticed that the piano wasn't dusty at all, so they must still use it during services.

Afterward, we drove further down the road and saw a snake, so we stopped to look at it (from the car, of course). About a hundred yards after that, we saw a tarantula crossing the road, so we got out to see it up close.

We ended up at the Ruth & Paul Henning Conservation area and waded in the stream. I taught her how to skip stones and now she's a pro. We collected some cool looking rocks, saw minnows, crawdads, water gliders, spiders and a sleeping bumblebee. She found a broken branch that served as an excellent walking stick, and we saved it to use during our next exploration.

We plan to hike the Homesteaders Trail (a 3 mile loop) at some point, but maybe on a Saturday when we can get going early. On the drive back to my house, we saw a herd of white-tailed deer! It was a day full of critters.

Then we took Lola for a little walk and went to the park in my neighborhood where Bailey played on the monkey-bars and successfully avoided playing with a strange little boy with a rash. All-in-all, our day was a huge success! My favorite quote of hers was, "This is the best day ever, I don't want it to end!" Score!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Desert Island Picks for Those Who Harbor Gypsy Fantasies

Every now and again, I have the 'jump in my car and escape into the great beyond and never look back' fantasy. Don't freak out, it's only a fantasy.

In reality, I am enmeshed with a wonderful family, I have a good job, a house with a fixed low mortgage, my car is paid off and I have a moderate amount of credit card debt for someone my age (somewhat comparatively).

In the fantasy, I do not think about my family, my job, my house or my debt; there is no currency in this fantasy world, either that or I am independently wealthy. In the dream, I own a camper. In the dream, Lola is a trained dog who doesn't need to walk on a leash.

We travel around North America in the camper, meeting people. I write. I sing. I busk on corners with my guitar (which, in the fantasy, I can play like a dream--pun totally intended). I document everything with a camera and a digital audio recorder. Maybe video, too.

Back in college, Taylor and I had this grand idea to fill a bus with artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and photographers, travel around the country documenting beauty and life and wild experience like the Merry Pranksters. The end result would be a multi-media compilation of awesomeness that would make us rich and famous. While that would be cool, too, my current fantasy consists of just me and Lola.

If loyalty to family, home ownership and working for a living were no longer issues I had to deal with, these are the things I would gather (quickly) in a mad dash to the car before making my escape:

Lola
Wallet
Passport & birth certificate
Address book
Cell phone
Crucifix from childhood
Three changes of clothes
Toiletry kit
Dr. Martins
Sleeping bag & pillow
Journal
No more than 5 awesome books that struck me at the moment
Cameras
Guitar
iPod & headphones
Laptop
Photo Albums
My jewelry

Looking at it, these are probably the same things I would grab in a fire, would there be enough time collect all of it. In a mad dash to a new adventure, what would you grab? Post responses in a reply!

Another New Song

Now I can play 'Midnight Radio' from Hedwig and the Angry Inch!
It's structured Am F C G7 Am, then F C over and over, then F Am Dm G F C for the chorus. There's a funny E thrown in at the end of the last chorus before a funny Fm C bit at the end which resolves like a dream. I can only get 3 strings in the Fm, but it sounds OK anyway. My fingers are sore. Here's a vid of the song (the last scene of the movie--WARNING, there's a bit of nudity at the end that only makes sense if you know the story).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall Becomes Winter, Winter Becomes Christmas!

So, I may be a little bit ahead of myself, but I think that's a good thing. Usually, Christmas rolls around and I haven't had a chance to plan or think or SAVE. This year, though, I have a little hoard of cash already tucked away, enough for all my holiday spending. I feel proud. I feel like an adult.

Yesterday, though, our family came to a decision of sorts. Given the current economic state of our country and seeing as people all over are struggling to make ends meet, we've decided to forgo the whole gift-giving part, except for the kids. Everyone will get a present for the kids, but other than that, there will be no presents. There will be family and togetherness and several potentially garish meals and of course, the Christmas Story marathon on TBS.

It has been suggested that next year we take what we would have spent on gifts for each other and give it to charity.

It simultaneously makes my heart swell and my inner-child throw a loud and elaborate tantrum. I mean, it reeks of the true spirit of Christmas, but it's also a swift kick in the teeth to a capitalistic tradition I've been mainlining for 28 years. So while intellectually, I agree with our NEW family tradition, I'm still processing it emotionally.

And what, you might ask, will I do with all my Christmas savings? An Alaskan cruise? A fancy robot vacuum? Tap-dancing lessons? Nah. I'll probably get my carpets cleaned and use the rest to pay my Home Owner's Association dues. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Muuuuuuusic!

Learned how to play a new song on the guitar tonite. It's the first track of the new Conor Oberst record. It's called Cape Canaveral, and it's super easy, G Am Em C D - THAT'S IT. I always fall in love with the simplest songs. Here's a vid of him doing it live in Vancouver. I can't do the picking, but it sounds ok anyway. Now I just need to memorize all those wacky lyrics.

Notable Quotable...

I like this, maybe you do too. Enjoy!

"Life is 10% what happens and 90% of how you react to it. You cannot change your past and you cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. The only thing you can do is play on the one string you have, and that is your attitude. Your attitude is more important than the past, more important than education, money, life circumstances, more important than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. Attitude will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is that you have the choice everyday regarding the attitude you choose to embrace.”

~ Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, August 22, 2008

Music Friday!

This edition of MF is a tribute to the lovely and talented Regina Spektor. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reading and Coincidence...

So, right now I am finishing up The Celestine Prophecy, a novel about coincidence and insight, and how people and ideas present themselves in your life for a reason and the exact right and perfect moment. I started reading this book because it had been recommended to me several times over the years, and several times recently, which I took as a sign. Now, I am obsessed with signs and how coincidence is not really coincidence at all. Here is an example:

During a party on July 4th, I had a conversation with a stranger about books, and we came to discuss Tom Robbins. I mentioned that the only book of his I own is Still Life with Woodpecker which I received at a book-swap years ago and have yet to read. She said that her favorite was Jitterbug Perfume. I made a promise to myself to find this book. I went to the library and it is not in circulation in my area, so I let it go and moved on to reading other things. In the last several weeks, I've had not two or three but FOUR dear friends mention this book in passing and I was DETERMINED to read it. I got on Amazon a couple days ago and purchased a used copy which should arrive any day now. TODAY, I opened and read my horoscope which reads:

"AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In addition to food, air, water, sleep, and
love, every human being needs stories. No one can psychically survive
without the continuous flow of narrative through his or her imagination.
And just as there is a big difference between the physical nourishment
provided by a salad or by a candy bar, so is there a wide range of quality
in the stories you expose yourself to. Soaking up the adventures of über-
playboy Hugh Hefner and his three girlfriends on the TV show "The Girls
Next Door" will probably deplete your energy and lower your intelligence,
while reading Tom Robbins' novel *Jitterbug Perfume* may enhance your
mental hygiene and sharpen your perceptions. What I'm saying here is
always true, of course, but it's especially important for you to keep in
mind right now. From what I can tell, you're ravenous for beautiful,
uncanny, uplifting stories."

CAN. YOU. F*CKING. BELIEVE. IT???

The universe wants me to read this book and wants me to read it immediately.
I am going to devour this book as soon as it arrives, this is just too spooky.

Love,
-Mandy

Tom Robbins excerpt...

Love this. Please enjoy.
-Mandy


"If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a cross between a wolf
howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as
near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It's a program, a piece of
hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery.
Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved.

"To one degree or another, everybody is connected to the Mystery, and
everybody secretly yearns to expand the connection. That requires
expanding the soul. These things can enlarge the soul: laughter, danger,
imagination, meditation, wild nature, passion, compassion, psychedelics,
beauty, iconoclasm, and driving around in the rain with the top down.
These things can diminish it: fear, bitterness, blandness, trendiness,
egotism, violence, corruption, ignorance, grasping, shining, and eating
ketchup on cottage cheese.

"Data in our psychic program is often nonlinear, nonhierarchical, archaic,
alive, and teeming with paradox. Simply booting up is a challenge, if not
for no other reason than that most of us find acknowledging the
unknowable and monitoring its intrusions upon the familiar and mundane
more than a little embarrassing. More immediately, by waxing soulful you
will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what
the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day
basis, folks, it doesn't get any better than that."

- Tom Robbins, *Esquire* magazine, October 1993

Friday, August 15, 2008

Music Friday--Choral Edition!

Ok, so the choral nerd in me is totally hot for Josh Groban. Props for his version of 'On Eagle's Wings' the most familiar and repellent Catholic Hymn of all time. It gets stuck in your head for weeks and you find yourself singing it in the shower like a total dork. I love his voice, though, so in asking forgiveness for my this befouling of churchly music, I shall forgive his cover. Below is a recording of the song Lullaby he did with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I'm not sure who put all the photos of Africa together, but I found it whilst idling on YouTube and thought I would post as a resurgent edition of Music Friday! Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Poets and Dreamers

I have a friend from high school, Bill. We shared a creative writing class together and fancied ourselves poets at 17. I always had a crush on him, and thought of him as mysterious and dark. Ten years later, he still writes poems like a fiend, and he inspires me to do the same. So here's a poem for Bill.

here we are
cursing and spitting
teetering on a tightrope
no one told us we would have to cross.

to one side we fall
sinking sad into the past
with its longing and lament
only to pull ourselves up
and over
crashing headfirst with worry
speculation and grimey, grabbing fists
to an unknown future
not yet promised to us.

when there is balance
it is not balance
but quiet anticipation
of the falling and crashing
we set ourselves up for
again and again.

this is not life,
this is a circus.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Happiness...

This is an excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Eat, Pray, Love -- which I highly recommend to everyone and anyone. I love this bit, and I think it's a good reminder for all of us.

"...People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another Spider Post


So, my parents came over today to help me clean out my messy garage. It was full of Luigi's boxes and junk on the floor. We organized my shelving units, hung up tools, swept it out and generally made it awesomely clean. In the process, we found this giant Black Widow behind my wheelbarrow. Normally, I try not to kill bugs, but I have NO soft spot in my heart for spiders, especially ones with toxic venom. I had my dad smash her with a broom, and although I felt a little bad about it, I am glad she's gone. By all means, make a nest and procreate, just not in my garage, because at that point, all bets are off.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

library quiet

somehow in the last god-knows-how-long i've become oblivious to how noisy life is. now that the tv is off, i find such solace in the silence. i went to the library in springfield today, and library quiet is a-whole-nother kind of quiet. it's so peaceful, especially surrounded by so many rad books. i brought home several, though there's no way i'll read them all by the time they're due back. i guess i was overeager. Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, Trust Me by Updike, To The Lighthouse by Woolf and The Rum Diary by HST. i love library books because the pages are crinkly and worn and dog-eared and smell like an old closet. i even like the noisy protective vinyl jackets, hinged with packing tape and littered with labels and barcodes. there's a feeling of solidarity knowing that hundreds of hands have held each page and turned them one by one. perhaps this is revealing too much, but i like to smooth each page softly with the palm of my hand before i read it. it's a creepy display of tenderness for an inanimate object, but whatever, it makes me happy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

now that i have all this time on my hands...


So, I got rid of my TV. I mean, it's still there, but when you turn it on, nothing happens. I can still watch DVDs, but I have liberated myself from reality shows, cable news nightmares and those godforsaken advertisements. It's only been a couple days, but I feel so much better already. I didn't really realize how infrequently I create a quiet space for myself. There is always some noise -- but now that the TV is off, I am enjoying much more silence than I did before. And while things are growing quieter (is that a word?) they are by no means completely silent. I am listening to a lot more music, and of course, making lists. Because the Mandy that everyone knows and loves would be up shit-creek without her lists. Also, as most of you know, my tastes change with the weather, so currently, here's the musical spectrum. I may look back on July of 2008 one day and say to myself, "What the hell was I thinking?" but for now, these are my faves (it's a long list, but my 'desert island' picks are at the top).

JULY 2008
Emjay’s Musical State of the Union

TOP FIVE ARTISTS (desert island):
Ryan Adams
Van Morrison
Stevie Wonder
The Beatles
Tori Amos

TOP FIVE ALBUMS (desert island):
Heartbreaker (2000) Ryan Adams
Astral Weeks (1968) Van Morrison
Stevie Wonder (1976) Songs in the Key of Life
The Beatles (1968) White Album
Tori Amos (1996) Boys for Pele

OTHER FAVORITE ARTISTS/GROUPS INCLUDE (in alphabetical order):
Aimee Mann
Ani DiFranco
Aqualung
Arcade Fire
Band of Horses
The Beach Boys
Beck
Ben Folds
Billy Joel
Bjork
BRMC
Bob Dylan
Bright Eyes
Bruce Springsteen
Calexico
Cat Power
The Clash
Coldplay
Colin Hay
Cursive
Damien Rice
DMB
David Bowie
David Gray
Death Cab for Cutie
Elliott Smith
Elvis Costello
Emmylou Harris
The Faint
Feist
Gorillaz
Guster
Howie Day
Imogen Heap
Indigo Girls
Iron & Wine
It’s Over!
James Taylor
Jane’s Addiction
Jay Clifford
Jeff Buckley
Jump, Little Children
Jeremy Enigk
Jimmy Eat World
Joanna Newsome
Joe Cocker
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
John Denver
John Mayer
John Vanderslice
Joni Mitchell
Jurassic 5
The Killers
Lauryn Hill
Le Tigre
Liam Finn
Live
The Long Winters
Manic Street Preachers
Marvelous 3
MC5
MGMT
M.I.A.
Modest Mouse
The Mooney Suzuki
Mountain Goats
Nat King Cole
Neko Case
New Pornographers
Nick Drake
Nikka Costa
Nina Nastasia
Nine Inch Nails
Nirvana
Oasis
Pavement
Pearl Jam
People in Planes
Pete Yorn
Pink Floyd
Pixies
PJ Harvey
The Police
Portishead
Radiohead
Rage Against the Machine
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Regina Spektor
REM
Rod Stewart
The Rolling Stones
The Roots
Rufus Wainwright
The Shins
Simon & Garfunkel
Sleater-Kinney
Sondre Lerche
Spoon
Sting
The Strokes
Sublime
Sufjan Stevens
Sunny Day Real Estate
Tom Petty
Tom Waits
Tracy Bonham
Travis
U2
Velvet Underground
Weezer
The White Stripes
Wilco
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yo La Tengo

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sophie the Panda...



So, I think my parents' new puppy, Sophie, looks like a panda. To illustrate this point, here's a comparison. Please feel free to talk to your computer screen using ridiculous baby-voices.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Save me, Jeff Daniels!


Let me set the scene. It's morning. I'm standing at my kitchen counter, lucid but groggy holding a box of Post Raisin Bran. I set down the bowl, flip open the box and start pouring my cereal. Then, like a scene from ARACHNOPHOBIA, a live spider jumps out of the bowl, onto the counter and starts darting around. I scream, immediately, like someone has severed one of my limbs, and toss the box, cereal flying EVERYWHERE. My reaction was knee-jerk and irrational. I don't stay up at night terrified of spiders, but when I encounter one, I am paralyzed by irrational fear and start screeching. Why? I'm a million times bigger than this little thing. I think it's because they move so quickly. Is that technically arachnophobia or is it just natural? My nerves are shot for the day.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

PUPPY!



So, my parents are getting a puppy! Cross your fingers that everything goes well and that they can pick her up next weekend. Here's little Sophie Marie!

Nashville

So, I haven't taken so much as a weekend getaway since my birthday trip to LA, and boy do I need one. Yesterday, my friend Nate told me he had tickets to go see Eddie Izzard play at the Ryman in Nashville on June 20th. Good for him. But wait! One of the tickets is for ME...so yay for me, too! It will be good to visit with Nate, who's been a constant confidante (sp?) since high school. If you want to be real about it, though--we've known each other since middle school chorus. It's weird, because I'm at the age where I've known my closest friends for more than half my life. I've known Nate since I was 11. That's like, 17 years. Holy hell. I'm getting old. But weekend roadtrips to Nashville make me feel young, so at least there's that. Here's a clip of Eddie Izzard...I can't freakin' wait. He's one of my favorite comics.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer, Wellness, Life!

SOOOOOOOOO...

I'm going through my annual get-my-shit-together period -- only this time, lots of things have fallen into place in a way that makes me feel motivated in a way i've never felt before. I'm back in therapy again, and John is a really great counselor, better than all the others, or maybe i'm just finally ready to listen and accept help to correct my disfunctions. here are some things that have changed or are changing for me:

1. I have realized that taking responsibility for my own happiness is the key to everything. it's time to grow up, stop the pity party, stop thinking of myself as a spectator and victim and hold myself accountable for my own actions and inactions. it's time to own the things in my life that I have control over.

2. I have a much clearer spiritual center and I'm learning to let go of the things I have no control over. I am learning how to forgive myself and others.

3. I have decided to educate myself every day. At some point, I stopped seeing myself as a student of life and started making wild assumptions and well, guessing, about what course I should take in chaotic or foreign situations. That's dumb. I'm trying to stop making assumptions, and instead, I'm trying to quiet myself, search for wisdom and if there is none to be found, go out and find some.

4. Similarly, when I don't know how to do something well, I am going to learn how. For work, this means reading lots of books on self-leadership and marketing -- two things that are REALLY FREAKING IMPORTANT to the success of my career, and two things that I have never studied before. I realized that I'm trying to do a job that I have no background in -- I never studied marketing or management or business, so I've spent the last two years flailing around in the dark pretending like I know what I'm doing and trying to keep my head above water. That's over.

5. I am realistic about my fitness goals. The only time I enjoy exercise is when it doesn't feel like exercise. This means that from now on, instead of getting burned out at the gym because I hate it there, I'm going to do things that bring me joy and are good for me, like: yoga, hiking with my dog, swimming and dancing. I am trying to love my body exactly as it is, and realize that if I want to be healthy, than I need to embrace fitness for the sake of my health and no other reason. My goal can't be to look like women in magazines, because I will end up living a life of perpetual disappointment. If I am healthy, and my body and weight stay exactly the same for the rest of my life, I need to love myself anyway.

6. I've been toying with the idea of returning to a vegan lifestyle, but I'm not ready for it yet. In the meantime, I've cut out most meats and will move forward from there. I'm not going to be a Nazi about it, because that's no way to live.

7. I'm spending a lot more time in Springfield and am going to take classes at the Skinny Improv to develop my comedy skills and see if I enjoy it.

There's more, but I am bored with writing this so I will stop.
LOVE LOVE LOVE!

-Mandy

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!


To all the moms out there--

Crack open a box of wine and enjoy your day! Here's a photo for everyone to enjoy...my gorgeous goddess mother, Virginia Lee. I love you, momma! You're just as beautiful today.