Monday, December 26, 2011

In the midst of winter

I found within myself an invincible summer.

Riding back from the train station on my bike, after celebrating Christmas with my family, I passed Path Mark, the nearest grocery store to my house. I turned into the parking lot and pumped up the spiral ramp to the second level parking lot. The sun was low, making the altostratus clouds light up with color along the edges of their wispy sides. On my bike I catch glimpses of the Philly sky line, with the colors and light reflecting off the buildings.
I hadn't been up to the second level before today, I just wanted to look a little longer. And be in peace. And there was peace, there was space, and there was quiet.

No one looks up in the city, there's too much going on down by our feet. We have to keep from running into each other, or getting run over. We have to make sure we're going the right way and not looking clueless. The times I do look up, I almost always see something worth remembering, at least for the next few minutes.

All we have is the small stuff. Born alone, we'll die alone. All these things we obtain, all this form we react to, all of it is futile.
Live in the now, always perfectly entertained by the life around you. Those tiny things are rewards for achieving this. Presence gives presents. It's more generous than Santa.
I understand worshiping God, if I could thank one entity for the existence I inhabit, I would worship endlessly.
But instead of naming the nameless, I will see the nameless in the emptiness. Without space, what would be?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back when Abby died

I wondered how Dan could possibly survive it. I may have met Dan once or twice in my life, but I never knew him. Same with Abby, my half sister and brother's half sister. The distance in their relation doesn't indicated a distance in their relationship for my siblings and Abby. They grew up together... Especially my sister Leah, she was so close to Abby. Nearly as close to her as I am to Caylynn, I think. Maybe.

Abby's death was shocking but not sudden. She had stage four melanoma cancer that spread all over her body. Still she fought like a lion and fought well.
When she died, all I could do was cry for my family. I would look at pictures of Abby, and still do, and just cry. I saw how much love she had in her life, especially from her husband Dan. The way he looked at her, touched her, anything... it was so real. Their love was recognizable from a glance at a photo, from a sentence in a conversation. What I cried most about was Dan's loss.
Dan seemed wrecked after Abby was gone. While she was dying he lost weight and you could see the spark inside him was hardly flickering. It was only flickering because her heart was still beating.
I was scared and sad for Dan because I heard stories about his devistation in the fact that he has been a part of Abby's family for most of his entire life, as he was great friends with Abby's brother Adam. I wondered where or how he would find a new starting point. What moment of peace could lift him past this loss? What in this world could possibly be so light?

I believe and know that people can live after the loss of a spouse. My own grandfather lost his first wife in a car accident. Like Abby, she was pregnant with their first child. My grandfather's parents died when he was 3, his only brother when he was a teen, and then his first wife. I haven't a clue how he survived... And I can't blame Dan for not.

I cry in any setting at any time if I let my mind wonder to Dan and Abby right now. Their love was unique and it pains me that it's gone. I am trying not to be selfish in wishing them alive and well for the happiness and peace of my family, because they are in a state of eternal peace now. I can't imagine loving Abby as a sister or daughter, Dan as a brother or son, then losing them both. Plus all of the loved one's they have lost in the last few years... it has been devastating.

I can not wish Dan and Abby away from peace. I would love to truly believe that they exist in bliss with their baby in a heaven-like place, but I can't say I do... That doesn't mean I don't think it's possible.
Peace is peace and it always is and always was. Let us tune-in to the ever still presence of peace deep within us. That vibrating sense of life in us... that is where they are. That is where they'll always be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Evgeny and I

are sitting in a laundry mat right now. Not the most convenient place to snag some internet, but it works.
We're at the Colter Bay campsite tonight, and probably for the next couple nights. It's a good spot... a little far from the hiking we want to do but Jenny Lake fills up super quick. We got there at 11:30 this morning and it was full. The last two nights we stayed at Signal mountain campsite- too many bugs. Ah so many bites. Oh, this is all in the Grand Teton National Park by the way. It's gorgeous here... the tetons are the youngest peaks of the rockies, clocking in at 10 million years old. They're breathtakingly beautiful. The day before yesterday Ev and I went on a 5.5 mile hike in some meadows around a lake, then rented a small fishing boat to get on the water. It was supposed to be 36 bucks an hour but was free since our motor kicked out and they had to come tow us in. Since we were super close to the docks, it was awesome how it worked out.
Before we got to the Tetons, I drove from Glacier National Park to the Billings airport in MT to pick up Evgeny. His flight got in at 1:20 and I was 9 hours out so I had to wake up super early. I haven't seen the sun rise in a long time. I know witnessing it in all of these amazing places would be worth the loss of a few hours of sleep, but i still have yet to break through my laziness. I have to while I'm here though- the tetons glow pink in the morning :)

Glacier national park was... AMAZING! Like... I can't even describe how stunning the mountains were. Their sharp inclines, harsh edges and steep drop offs. The snow caped tips, and the fog over the turquoise, glacier fed lakes and streams. It was cold in the morning, california weather in the afternoon and chilly at night. That's how camping should be. Ah, I will be going back there often in my life. Just like Yosemite, that place touched my soul. The mature forests, soaking wet with nutrients and life. The swollen gorges. Ah!
I wish Caylynn or Evgeny had been there with me... the amazement I felt could have been matched with blissful fun. Being alone though, "fun" only happens in moments. At least for me. Enjoyment can be constant but laughter, lightheartedness and empty mindfulness is only achieved in company.

I am definitely realizing this trip could have been better with company. I mean, I've always known that but I was hoping that reality would fade after a while. Yes it's been only two weeks or more that i've been on the road, so adjusting can still be done. But i think it's a never ending truth: that life is better when shared.

Back to the story:
The airport lost pogo's bag so we had to deal with that issue for a while- not the most ideal reunion. Billings is just like Fresno. If you've ever been to either you'd know what I mean when I say they just SUCK. It was nice to drive out of there.

Arriving at Yellowstone National park, we stopped in to this camping area to make sure we were close to the one we made reservations at. This one was privately owned and the owner was the one answering our questions. He tried very hard to fear monger us into renting a spot from him. He claimed that no one tent camped where we were going, that Grizzley's killed two guys there just a week ago, that "if it was my daughter, I'd handcuff her and force her not to sleep there!" He relayed a story to us about the last time he stayed nearer the park's entrance, and how as a 14 year old he watched his father beat a grizzley with a flashlight. Pogo caught his intentions once he started talking numbers and what his site had to offer: "i've got the only site with a heated pool, the only one with laundry, the only one with" blah blah blah i don't care!! I just want to camp.
We went to our site, found it was flooded and were sent to a site even further inside the park- but not by much. There we asked the host if tent camping was smart there. He very casually told us that of course it is, that we just need to use our bear box and keep food out and away from the tent- things we already knew. What a cheep skate! What a jerk man... he really wanted to make some money.

Anyway! We camped at rex hale and it was a great little spot right next to the river. We enjoyed our three night stay there, but the driving Yellowstone requires was unexpected and overwhelming. Especially due to the fact that it was fourth of july weekend. There was traffic in the park. SO many people would swerve off the road or stop right in the middle of it to view a bison- you know, one of those big cow like animals that you can see ALL throughout the park. Sheesh, it got super annoying.
The thermal features were alien to anything i've seen before. It was very cool to see boiling, crystal clear pools of turquoise water and yellow shores that fed steaming auburn orange streams. The geysers were sweet as well. I enjoyed the sticky gross mud pools that burped and belched and farted mud bubbles. ahaha. But it's funny, those awesome things weren't that impressive to me, compared to intense mountains and lakes. Something about vastly huge rocks just keeps me interested for weeks. I liked yellowstone for what it was, but as soon as Evgeny and I entered the Tetons, our moods and spirits elevated. The taller trees just make you feel at home.

It seems like it may rain and we left the tent flaps open, not to mention i'm getting hungry- and a hungry natalie is almost as bad as getting between a mama bear and her cubs! haha. not really though, because a man was just killed in yellowstone yesterday for doing that on accident. You feel safe when you're in bear country for a week without a single paw print or sighting, but after hearing that report, you're reminded that humans really don't belong here. Even visiting is risky. Be bear aware!

Love and hugs sent to you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm hanging out

at a pizza place right now, using their free wi-fi.

I'm in Medora, ND, just outside of theodore roosevelt np. I'm leaving tomorrow for Montana's Glacier np.
My arrival into the park was some what of a mess... I showed up around 7:30pm mountain time and found that the park's campground was full. As it was Saturday, that wasn't a surprise. The entrance lady told me of another camp ground near by. After that we spoke about things I could do while here. She told me of the petrified forest they have out here, the third largest reservation of them in the country. I was super interested so she handed me a map and explained to me how to get there. Cars started pulling up behind me so I just pulled out and fallowed the map. It took me thirty minutes north on a dirt road. Then to a parking lot followed by a short walk to a fence with a small hole to go through so that the cattle out there don't escape. At my car I packed up all the things I was going to use for the next three days. I then proceeded towards the fence, squeezed through and kept going. As I thought this was a short walk I decided my Birkenstock sandals would suffice. Too bad it wasn't until a rough half mile later that I realized I wasn't headed towards a campsite with showers at all. Nope, towards a trail to the Petrified Forest... and my stuff was HEAVEY. Man... my shoulders were burning bad. It was hard to keep balance as I was carrying things on my back and with both of my hands.. wearing open heal and toed sandals. I wont lie, I had socks on too but... they mostly just made my feet slip around.
I turned back and took note of the slowly setting sun. I kept telling myself, lesson learned Natalie. Lesson learned. I finally got back to my car and started laughing. How ridiculous. So I called Evgeny to tell him about it. Mistake number 3... or 4. Yeah, I missed a turn or two and yeah I got completely lost in cougar/bison/mountain lion/rattle snake/cattle country. Wooh. I ended up finding a number next to an oil rig and calling it. Some man named Randel or something talked me back into the right direction.
I got to a campsite near the entrance of the park, it was 10 pm by then and luckily they were still open. Too bad they were full though, so after some talking and whatnot they decided to let me stay at an unofficial site near the porter potties. Boo. But WOOH a place to sleep!! And sleep I did. Finally the sky was clear and I saw the stars. I missed the milky way- it has almost been a year since I saw it last.

Sunday morning I got up and went to the park- got myself a site and re-set up camp. The campsite for T.R.N.P. is 5 miles into the park. The drive is gorgeous of course. There's this scenic loop that circles the park, it's to die for man. I took it later that night and got to see bison, wild horses and some cool deer guys. The wildlife comes out at dusk. I'm missing it now, as I'm typing this stuff up- but that's okay because today was epic.
Last night was great too- I went to this place called "boots and bar" or something for a chicken sandwich. As it's been more than a week that I've had meat, I was craving it pretty bad. It was the first meal I've bought out here which makes me happy. I plan on buying one meal a week at the moooost.
While at the bar I saw another girl sitting by herself, somewhere around my age. After we glanced at each other about 10 times I decided to talk to her. She was traveling by herself as well, from Portland, Oregon. She is without a car though so she's been using grey hound, craigslist rides and hitch hiking. Tough cookie, she's only 19. Her name is Mecha and she's got long red hair and wears cowboy boots with real spurs. Bad A.
She is in Medora because she knows a guy who's working at Boots. She met him at Sasquatch, a music festival. Her traveling mate ditched her so her route that would have taken her up and down the east coast ends here. She went to Montana, Washington I think, and California.
She and I left tha bar together and went to the guy's place that she's staying with- Sam, who works at Boots. There were friendly people there- as it's a communal living area with a house and trailers. Everyone who works in this town is a summer employee who lives here temporarily. All the boots employees live together.
So we were hanging out with the boots crew, then went back to my camp site to burn the first fire I've made out here and eat some yummy marshmallows. I then dropped her back off. Now we're facebook friends hahaha.
She told me lots about Portland, and I've only heard good things before then, so I'm definitely making it a point to see that city for an extended period of time at some point. It sounds great.

Today was the best, for sure. I woke up and made a plan for all the hikes I wanted to go to. Before heading out I gave my itinerary to the camp host who thanked me for having common sense and using it. She later told me I was very prepared and conscious, which makes me happy since that's all I'm trying to do out here.
I went to three or four places. Jone's Creek, Wind Canyons, Biocamp Outlook... I got some great shots. Saw some more wild horses, this time suuuper up close :) Good pictures of them too.
I'm dirty and hungry though, and the temperature is dropping so I need to get going. Gunna drive to Glacier tomorrow, as I said. It's grizzly and black bear country out there. I talked to some people who literally just came from there yesterday and were there for 6 days. They told me about how active the bears are right now so I plan on buying bear mase and not hiking along. I'll go to the overlooks and touristy spots, but unless I make some friends, hiking will have to wait. Which... I better make friends b/c the hiking there is supposed to be AMAZING. Ahh can't wait.
I've enjoyed Theodore Roosevelt park but I'm ready to get going.
I'll be on the road alllll dayyy tomorrow so hit me up ad we can chat.

Peace and love.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Where to start...

Well, how about with the beginning?

Ben and Emily stopped in for a visit during their road trip up the east coast and helped Evgeny and I move everything out of my apartment- and thank god because if they hadn't, Ev and I would have been at it for hours past midnight. Saturday we all went into the city and met up with all my GREAT friends. Had a wonderful night of dancing and talking and laughing with them. I'm so glad I got to see them all, they're so wonderful- I miss them already.

On Sunday I got off to a late stop since my TomTom needed some updating- something I kept putting off until it really did inconvenience me. Oh well...

The drive to Ohio was beautiful. The winding roads through the mountains in Pennsylvania were much more gorgeous than I expected. I went through a couple of flash thunderstorms- you know, the ones you can see coming up the road as the road is dry in front of you and soaked only yards away. Those were fun. I listened to "Dirt Radio" for a while through the static- It was the only station my antenna would pick up: a talk radio channel dedicated to people talking about all things soil, top soil mud, plants, gardening and fertilizer. I actually learned a few things... and heard the best radio advertisement ever. Something about a hick voice vowging for a soil company made me want to never buy from a different company again. hahaaaa.

I arrived in Ohio right as the sun went down... A persistent raccoon kept me spooked for I hadn't head that animal noise in years. They sound like rabid dogs about to attack. That brat really wanted my soup. It was drizzling and I didn't have a mallet to get the pegs in the ground, so my first night was a little rough.
The rangers were nice though, one reminded me of my friend Sean, so I left feeling happy and ready. Stopped at a Walmart to pick up more bug candles, reusable bags and A MALLET (amongst other things).

Fully prepared I arrived at the Indiana Dunes state park around dusk. Set up camp and made my pasta dinner before sunset. It was full of RV's with children and old birds- But the next day I made friends with my elder neighbors who told me where the beach was. I biked over and hiked up a 20 foot dune- THAT was hard. Got to the top and had myself a nice moment. Went back down and enjoyed the beach- my first fresh water beach experience. There were beautiful little rocks that I took a collection of with me. I interacted with the life guards and some families, then went back for lunch. Headed out into town for internet. The elder lady, Sheila, that I made friends with had invited me to come to their camp fire later after sunset, but while I was out a biig ol storm started to brew so I didn't rush back. On my way back to camp I saw a dad and little girl walking in the park- during a severe thunderstorm. I asked them if they were okay and apparently they had gone on a cute lil hike together earlier that day but got turned around and ended up walking for miiiiles on trails they didn't understand. They came out on the opposite end of the beach and had to treck all the way back to the park. Got caught in the rain more than once and were a 15 minute walk away from their car. I cleared my front seat and gave them a lift. The little girl was such a tough cookie, I told her good job for getting through it. She was about 8.

Sheila gave me a slice of pizza in the morning before I left for Wisconsin. The drive there was pretty boring but I arrived before dark. Set up camp and while I was getting my dinner ready, I met a guy named Kyle. Probably 22. He was with a forest restoration group a few sites over. After dinner I met up with him and another member of his group, a girl I don't remember the name of. Their group asks its members to try to quit smoking so they were puffing on an electronic cigarette, looking at pebbles on the ground. They invited me to their site late for guitar and harmonica playing-maybe even some cards. I left happy and went on a trail ride, then hiked a bit to the top of a hill where I stumbled upon a huuuge awesome rock formation I'd seen on the park's pamphlet. I took a few shots and walked around it then headed back as it was getting dark.
On my way to camp I met a girl named Chrissy who was walking her mother's dogs. We were kindred spirits for sure. Talked about everything... The world, the environment, world politics and the love of nature. She lives out of her car with her doberman- grey hound mix in Arkensaw. I never head good things about that state but she swore it was her home of homes because of its beauty. She is a kayaker and told me if I'm ever in the state to shoot her an email and we'd go floating down the rivers together. I can't wait until that day. She's amazing.
I went to the Wis-Corp's camp site after making some tea and watched them play rummie, a card game I learned last summer from Becky while we were in Yosemite-but the rules I forgot. I talked to them about their goal- which was to chain saw down a bunch of the pines in the area to let the naturally growing oaks thrive again. Apparently Roosevelt, though he was an amazingggg man, created jobs during the great depression by having people grow pines in WI and other states not native to the trees, so now the naturally bussy landscapes are being taken over by fast growing and spreading pines. They were doing hard work 8 hours a day. Despite all the rain, despite all the ticks. Go them!

I left for Eggerts Landing early, finally before 11AM. It was a boring 6 hours until I got off 94 and joined up on the scenic high way of the area. OMG can I just tell you that the rolling green hills of North Dakota are GREAT!?! Ahh the livestock scattered around in groups, the rocks peaking out of the hill sides, the grass swaying in the wind- and the beautiful wind mills... I got to see so many, and up pretty close too. I am a FAN of wind energy, those mills are honestly a huge plus to the landscape. I can't wait til they are common sights to see one day. I got to the address the internet told me was Eggert's landing and found myself on the wrong side of "Baldhill Dam". I asked an epic older lady biker which direction I should head and went for it. Using a very non specific map and some SHOTTY directions given to me by a slow talking, anti social camp host, I made it to my site.
As I put changed my shoes I struck up conversation with a family sitting on the grass in front of the swimming area where their young kids were playing. One of the toddlers walked up to me as I approached the moms and handed me a Coors Light!! No kidding! I said, "this is the most welcoming child I've ever met! May I?" So I sat with them and their awwwwesome all white Great Pyrenees- a breed I haven't seen in person since I had once of my own as a kid. Oliver was my first dog... a masterful companion. Gosh, that was suuuch a blessing, just metting that dog and drinking that crappy beer.
I set up camp and enjoyed some spagettio's as the sun set on the lake right next to my site.
The next day I got allllll prepared for an epic day hike. Totally ready, I hiked out and found myself at the end of the trail in less than 30 minutes. Bummer. So I went to another, this one was slightly flooded with tall grass around... I didn't mind since my boots are water proof- wah wah!
I came back, slightly bummed to not be completely exhausted. I sat down in my tent and put my boots and socks right outside it. A few minutes later I looked at the socks and saw dozens of ticks!!! AHHHHH I panicked a little, as my brother has limes disease and I have a new found fear of retrieving it myself. After some clever thinking I irritated the ticks from my boots and socks, thinking all the while they were the only ones- that my sweat on the socks attracted the ticks. Ohhhh how I was wrong. Of course, I got the ticks on my hike, and of course they were all over me, and of course that means they were also all over my tent. Good god did I have a hard time getting myself calm after trying to get all those ticks away.
Later I went for a drive to get away from the noise of 4 pre teen boys who'd recently arrived with their mother who did not rear them at all. They had terrible language and manners and were seriously annoying me.
I'm so glad I went for that drive though because I've never been so awed by fields, birds and the sky before. I parked my car on the side of the road (not in any way of traffic), got on top of it and gazed as the sun moved down the sky. Thank you dad, for giving me your binoculars. They were wonderful and I'm so glad I have them.

I left a little late and am not about 2 hours away from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. While at this rest stop a truck driver came in, obviously frustrated and obviously needing to speak to someone. He and I talked about his marriage, which is rocky. It's sad when one person knows that being right has no purpose and the other can only focus on how right they are. I believe in marriage, and their marriage. I told him this and that the truth needs no defending. When we defend the truth, we are simply defending our ego. He gave me his number- I might text him the title of the book I believe his wife should read. "A new earth" by Eckart Tolle. Or "The power of now" by the same man.

I'm truly enjoying this trip. I am comfortable by myself. With my taser (thanks page) on my hip, hidden under my shirt, I feel safe. Being alone has never bothered me, though I worried this trip might challenge that truth. It hasn't, and I'm glad.

I can't wait for Evgeny to arrive, I just passed the exit for Billings, so I'll be coming back this way in a week or so to pick him up. He will love it. The drives, the parks, the sunsets and rises. We'll get to see Yellowstone and the Tetons together. I'm glad most Americans have cell phones these days, since I usually have some kind of signal to call him and everyone else with.

I welcome ANY reader to give me a call and chat me up. I am meeting new people and talking to them- but the value of conversation is greater when both people know each other. So hit me up. We can talk about anything.

With love and affection.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Okay world,

I am leaving in t-minus 6 days.

Yep, Sunday morning, June 19th, I will be driving to Cuyahoga Valley National park in Cleveland, Ohio.
It's a 7-hour drive, which I know won’t bother me a bit. I plan on staying just one night and moving on to the next place-Chain O'Lakes State Park in Spring Grove, Illinois.
I have more steps than two planned out, but I'll keep it simple now and update as I go since the destinations may change
(depending on recommendations I hear, hours I feel like driving the next day, or some other factor).

It's been a long time coming... and I know that it could have been a shorter amount of time, had I simply set the date for myself and made sure to have had everything ready to go in time for it. That's life though; we disappoint ourselves at times. But when we surprise ourselves, we are able to somehow forget all the times we failed in our minds before. I know that once my car is packed with all of the essentials, I wont feel a bit of self-frustration or regret. The path in front of me will be clear; I'll just need to walk on it.

My path is clear now too, though, which comforts and surprises me. Last summer, I felt compelled to separate myself from the world I've known and go to one that was simple and without obligation, ties or responsibility. Meeting people in the Valley who had been living like that for years was a completely new experience that enchanted my mind. I still believe what I was convinced of then- that nothing is stopping you from doing anything. Nothing. No circumstance, law, rule, or responsibility can hold you back, because those things are only thoughts. Thoughts we believe in and live by. That doesn't make them wrong, but not being wrong doesn't make something a truth. Truth is that you create your own existence. You can chose to love or loath whatever comes at you... You can chose to react- or not, and how to react to anything.

I also learned that I, like all people, are capable of almost anything. If you can do it, so can I. What makes one person more special or talented or fortunate than another? Effort. Continuous, conscious, and active effort towards goals that are geared towards those things. If you try hard enough for long enough, you will, no, you HAVE to succeed (unless one has a physical limitation- but a lot of those can be overcome as well)!

So I wanted to go for it. I lied there in the Valley after a few days of quiet, calm contemplation over the thoughts that had been flying into my mind; I decided I'd go on a trip. I’d go for a while, who knows how long it would take! It could be years, months or just weeks long. I wouldn't care if I had enough money, I wasn't sure when I'd leave or how I would go where. I’d just make it happen. I just knew I'd go, and go mostly alone. Maybe have people meet me out, or meet up with people I knew living near where I was staying. And not just staying, camping- I'd camp, and I'd feel the earth beneath me each night for as long as I could. I'd live outside, like I always wanted to do as a child.

This last year has been such a gift. When I was in Yosemite, dreaming dreams I'd turn into reality, I felt that my life's direction was too vague to follow, and that my options had no influence. I hoped I would find a pull in a park, a city or state. I needed to believe that where I would live, go to school at, and what degree I'd work towards was true for me. Was right and true.

I came home, ready to leave it without more than a couple of glances. Finally, I lived in Philadelphia without trying to live in Philadelphia. Because I knew I was leaving and that my future in the city was uncertain, I lived without seeking. Before, coming to live in Pennsylvania was attached to very defined goals in my mind. I wanted a fresh start with friends, experiences, and fun that was like A, B, and C. I constantly looked for clues in life and read into and reexamined them so that I may have had better luck at living the life they were alluding to. But after coming home, I didn't care how which people were perceiving, or what I should be doing with myself when. I just was. I was being.

And guess what? Life came at me in the most natural way... Influence materialized and my goals focalized. My fresh start was not just in social life, but in all walks and levels of my life. The friends I've made, the experiences I've had, and the fun I've enjoyed has been unmatched in self-fulfillment than any other time in my life. I don't know who to thank or what, but I am thankful. I couldn't have seen my life playing out how it has this past year, because if I had, it probably wouldn't have happened. Thank you life, for surprising me.

I can't wait to drive and drive and drive. I can't wait to camp, sweat, freeze, be dirty, feel the burn, and breathe. The rocks, dirt, plants, animals, trees, mountains, canyons, and skies will be like nothing I've seen before... and I simply can't wait. Gladly too, I can't wait to come home. I have a studio apartment lined up to stay in this fall. I'll be renting it alone in Philly, only a few blocks away from Temple, where I'll attend their art school, Tyler. I'm transferring there and am so proud of myself for finally making it. Temple is the only college I've ever actually wanted to go to. For how many I've looked into, that means it really stands out as right for me, for whatever reason.

Having family here was reason number one for moving up in the first place, so of course, coming home to them will be wonderful. My big sister/best friend ever will have moved to South Carolina by then, so I'll be missing her as I do now- since she's away in Oklahoma for work this summer. Our bond is hardly even bent when it's stretched over states, though. So I know that will be okay.

The man I am so glad and fortunate to call my boyfriend will luckily still be living in Philadelphia come this fall. Though he graduated from Drexel with his master's degree just this weekend, he wont be moving away for a job, since he's creating one from where he is. I never saw myself with an entrepreneur, but now that I'm with one, I don't know how I could have pictured myself without a man of creative, growing ambition and self-reliance. I'm thrilled to see how our relationship will grow and change in the future.

Some of the friends I've made in my life stick with me for a long, long time. And some for forever... And I'm so lucky to have more than one or two people who I know are my life long friends... in fact I have many, and that's incredible. The men and women I am friends with here, and in a few other states, are hands down the best people ever. Living in Philadelphia has been full of truly kindred fun that I'm super excited to come back to.

So much for sweet and simple; but hey, there was some clearing up and explaining I thought my readers deserved to hear.
To all of those who love me, I love you too. SO, SO much.

Will be updating again soon!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Aladdin is

one of the best movies of our time. I mean.. the animation alone is so completely amazing. But the lessons it teaches are so great.
1) A lot of things and people may seem bad, crappy, cheep or nothing special- but when taking a deeper second look, you can find "diamonds in the rough"- which is what Aladdin is referred to as. He's considered a street rat, but he only steals to eat. One bad thing a person does doesn't make them a bad person.
2) Freedom is the only way to be completely happy. Aladdin, Jasmine and the Jeanie all crave to be the leader of their lives and all three suffer terribly when they are controlled.
3) Be yourself!! Jeanie begs Aladdin to just be himself when he becomes a prince and is about to meet the Princess for the second time. Aladdin ignores his advice and pays for it at least twice. Jasmine rips him a new one after their carpet ride... then if he hadn't been so focused on keeping up his story, he would have freed Jeanie, making Jafar's take over impossible.
4) Marry for love. Uh duh.
5) It doesn't matter what god you pray to. Cultures are all different but not many religions are. They say Allah at least three times in the movie. I bet sooo much money that Disney wont be taking Aladdin out of the vault ANY time soon. American mommies don't want anything but Jesus' name uttered in praise to be heard by their fat little dumplings' ears.

That's my ¢2.

So Osama

is dead. What does that mean to me, you ask? Well… Not too much.
Just about the only way this news affects me personally is a newly evoked curiosity.
Now that he’s gone, I’m not too sure if he ever wasn't.
Was he ever the leader of al-Qaeda?
Was he behind the 911 “attacks” (no, that was just Bush).
Was he ever hiding in caves, sending out evil video messages to the world?
I kind of doubt it.

He might have been a tool that the government used to keep us afraid and in support of the wars. Did Obama decide to pull the trigger on this “terrorist” so that he may start to end the war? Probably. Because if Obama is not in the process of ending this war come the 2012 election, his chances of being reelected are SLIM TO NONE. He has to have a legend other than “obama-care”.

I've given up on politics and voting. I still listen to the news everyday because for some reason or anther I feel the need to be informed, even if it's misinformation. No matter who we elect, no matter how hard I campaign for a person, idea or cause, ultimately it's out of my hands. If I had billions of dollars or was the leader of an oil-rich country, sure I'd have some say so. But that's not me. I'm just another one of the citizens in this country lead by the man we like to call, "The leader of the free world".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can you come

and see my shiny new teeth?
I'll hang them up high on the shelves and keep them from the dark.
You'll feel my shoulders in the folds of your fingers.
Just sit tight and we'll listen through the windows for my friends, and their friends.
Come on over, we'll have some tea.
You and me.
Lie on the floor and hold your hands behind your back;
I'd tie them but there's no rope.
The ceiling is moving and there's patterns in the shadows,
So close your eyes if you have to.
I'll show you my shiny new teeth.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Someone in my family

believes in zombies.
No, he doesn't think they are currently in existence but he, a full grown man with 1 and 1/2 children, thinks zombies will one day come to earth and cause human destruction.. or something.
He quotes the part of the Bible that says the dead will rise again. Something about fire is in there too, so he has been collecting coin currency so that he may still have money when the cash is all burnt up. NO joke.
He also has weapons purposefully placed around his house to defend his family against said zombies. Goodness.
It's so ridiculous because this person has a verrryyy dear place in my heart. I've known him since I was in elementary school, he married into the family. I respect and love this man, so it's hard to wrap my mind around his beliefs.
I just found this out about him this week, even though this is a long-standing belief of his.

I bring this up today because today is Zombie Jesus day.

I have a "Jewish" boyfriend and nanny for a Jewish family. This week, both parties asked me what Easter actually celebrates. I had to explain that Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, put in a cave with a boulder to close his tomb, then three days later, was discovered to have disappeared. And that somehow, this means he came to life again and went back to heaven until one day, when he will come back and the world will end.
I feel VERY silly telling both of these stories because neither make any sense whatsoever. If Jesus was a real person who had disiples, then hmmmmm, don't you think THEY were the ones who broke into the tomb of their savior to take his body to a more holy place... or some shit? Anyone could have moved his cadaver.
How is it that Jesus came back to life if the only evidence is the movement of a heavy rock (that was moved two other times according to the Easter Christian story)?
These things don't add up. These stories were told A LONG time ago. Why can't millions of Christians on this earth see the idiocracy of it??

I have many Christian friends and family, so I am sorry if what I say is offensive to you. It's how I feel though, and believe me, I've been offended by your religion more times than I can count and no one has apologized for that.

I don't hate religion... I think it helps a lot of people on this earth and I'm thankful that people have something positive to follow. I just wish people could cut through the obvious crap and see the true teachings of the bible which all of us should learn: acceptance, forgiveness, oneness with your being, accountability for your actions, kindness to your neighbors, among other things like not killing other people and not judging each other.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm making a decision

to make more posts. More posts, more often.
I need to get into a habit with this because come a few weeks, I will be needing to update this blog often. Going on a massive road trip to many amazingly gorgeous places calls for a blog. I plan on updating it instead of updating friends and family individually.
This is me telling you that I wont be texting you all the time. I wont be calling you all the time either. Well... I'm sure a few of you will receive phone calls from me as I drive across the country, but that's a select few for sure.
I want to stay away from facebook while on my trip. If I get caught up in other people's lives and what they are up to, I may lose focus on my goals. It could waste my time, or worse, make me terribly homesick. Maybe looking at facebook will make me feel closer to home? That could be a good thing, or a bad. I don't think I'll know these things for sure until I'm out there.
But I do know this: No awesome adventurer was documented with wall posts. Fuck that. Facebook is evil, guys. Let's just admit it. I mean, have you seen how much history of chat facebook has been saving now that they have that new feature? It goes FAR back. Too far.
They own all the photos you upload, I hope you realize. On my trip I plan on taking film photos mostly. I don't want to get too distracted with photography while out there. Sometimes when I'm in a beautiful place with a camera, I lose the organic reaction I could achieve if my mind wasn't in "creation" mode. I don't want to think only about composition while staring at the grand canyon.
But... I will be alone out there often. Maybe having photography to do will keep me more occupied.
On that note though, keeping a sketch book in my pack may prove to be more rewarding. I would be able to sit and study my subject for hours on end. Those drawings would lock the images of the parks in my mind forever. Film and sketch book. That's what I'll do.

Like most other things in life, I can't focus on the outcome of this blog, more so, I should focus on saying what I want. Not focusing on if it's funny enough or informative enough. Long enough or short enough. Readable or boring. It is what it is. You'll read it or you wont.

One thing I can't decide on is how much I should filter myself on here. I'm aware that my father reads this blog at times, and I know he'll read it readily once I'm on my trip. So hey, let's be honest, there are some things I may do and some things I may think that aren't really for my father to know about. But... I'm an adult now. I feel like an adult and I treat myself as one. I expect others to treat me that way. I believe that honesty is a corner stone to being an adult. If you can't hold yourself accountable for your actions, then you're doing something wrong.
In life, I am extremely honest with people. I am honest when no one is asking me to be. I tell my co workers and bosses, friends, and family almost anything that crosses my mind. I'll skillfully explain my weekend's events to people who probably don't need to know I even have weekend events. I just feel obligated to be open about the person I am. I feel most comfortable with myself if I'm aware that the people in my life are aware of who I truly am.

I guess I'll filter as I must... But dad, if you read some things you wish you didn't read, I'm sorry. That's life. I'll make mistakes and do dumb things. I'll make decisions you don't think are wise and I'll say things you don't agree with. But that's me and that's that, I guess.

There's less than two months before I plan on leaving for this trip so I'm making some other decisions.
1) I'm not smoking weed anymore. Not unless it's a large group at the end of a night. That's the only time that it doesn't negatively effect your day and life. Being high during the day makes you laaazy and makes you crave food until you fall asleep. It lowers your blood sugar, making it a bad idea to try to be active. It slows down your thoughts, which in turn turns off your creativity and problem solving. It makes writing, singing, dancing, painting, playing, hiking, running, ect seem too challenging. I believe weed is a great medicine for anxiety, loss of appetite, and nausea. It only fuels depression for it increases your lack of motivation. It fuels negative thinking for you can't get up and do something rewarding and refreshing. I keep smoking with friends when I go to hang out, even though I've decided I don't like smoking very much... but no more. It's not that bad being the only sober one among high friends. Its a little boring and quiet b/c people get quiet for weed turns everyone into an introvert. But hey, I can use those quiet times to ponder what else I can fit into my day, what I should be getting done tomorrow, and what my goals are for the week.

2) Very soon I need to start exorcising daily. I need to be in very good shape for this trip. Hiking, driving and riding my bike everyday will be extremely difficult if I'm not already constantly active.

3) No more TV, man. Only when I eat meals alone. I've been keeping to that pretty well lately. TV is a waste of the mind. It makes you lazy and tired and boring. Boo.

4) I'm selling my art! I need more money for my trip and I need it to come out of no where. By Sunday I will have a website up with a gallery of my art for sale. People can email me about which they'd like to purchase. Prices will be listed but they will be slightly flexible. Donations are welcome as well. lol

Okay, there's more to be said, but I'm tired. It's time for bed.

Thanks for reading, if you did. Here's an amazing picture I'll share in the spirit of being really open! And in the spirit of showing off how hot my boyfriend is.

Friday, March 25, 2011


not going to say the dates of this trip. nor will i dive into much of anymore details of it. Can't trust NOBODY these days, mayyyne


exactly half way! From Yosemite I'll head back home... but where to stop along the way has yet to be decided :) crossing my fingers for some rockey mountain actionnn

here's my map.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


My planning has commenced! With the wonderfully useful and definitely nessisary help from my supergreat bf, this is my trip's path as of now:

The rest of the trip's destinations will be planned this evening. Wooooooohhhhhh so stoked!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Map of Pennsylvania from 1930, you are somthin cool.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I always

battle between wanting to live a normal life of work, friends, family and rest against one of solitude, quiet, and the woods. I know which is probably more rewarding and which I'll likely lead. But the other still pulls at me.
Some nights my bed feels like a prison. The walls feel like monsters holding me hostage. All I can think about those night is how amazingly I'd feel if I were sleeping on the ground outside.

I woke

to a dry erase board note telling me to please clean up my dishes before I leave for the morning.
Last night I had a friend over so we left some bowls and plates in the sink, nothing nuts.
The note leaver is making a crock pot dinner today... so I suppose she'd like to have space to... cook? no... um... oh! serve a couple plates of food. woow, I guess there just isn't enough room on ANY of the counters for that job to be accomplished. So little room that waiting for me to get the dishes later in the day might ruin the whole dinner and therefor a notice of task doing requests must be left!
Or... this person could just give me the BENIFIT OF THE DOUBT that I understand very well how and when I should clean up after myself. NO, I am not an extremely tidy person. Yes my shit would be everywhere if someone weren't around for it to get it their way... but that's the point. I'm considerate.
Petty, micromanagement of my behavior is not a way to treat a 20 year old... Maybe if I were living at home and this person were my mother or father. HUH. But that's not the case now, is it?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cutting down

trees in the snow leaves
the blood of their trunks
across the forest floor
like a murder on a bathroom door...
The evidence blunt and vulgar.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I don't

really know how to contain myself sometimes....
When I hear parents scold children for simple, understandable mistakes, I almost burst with frustration. I can't imagine making children feel deeply guilty for anything.. the whole point of being a child is to learn, which requires making mistakes. Yes, reprehend and correct. Punish if necessary, but for god's sakes, don't kill their spirit. I want to diiiiiie hearing mean ass parents. Thank god, they just left. Poor kid.
At least his mom lets him grow out his hair. Little boy had hair past his shoulders.
Sure, have long as crap hair, but NO you can't get out of this toy store without being yelled at at least three times.

I need

to be trained more completely before I am left in this store alone.
Moms on a rush to pick up their children, I think, will be my worst nightmare in this store. A cluster fuck of a transaction was just made a moment ago, right after I had to literally run and speed like crazy person to get my Wawa sandwich as my only co worker on staff was waiting for me to get back so that SHE could go to pick up her child from day care.
Those ten minutes of stress is the first time I've been stressed since starting here, though. So while it may seem like this is a complaint or me venting my woes, it's actually a HALLELUJAH! that I don't work anywhere else. Toy stores rock.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I leave your side and keep on going.
Other times I can't get you out of my head.
You infect me with thoughts of you.
Your music seeps into my skin like warm water.
I want to you.
Bring me back to you, don't let me wonder away.
Grab my hand and don't let me go.
Use your strong arms and hold me tight, even if I yell at you to stop.
You know where I am, you know how to reach me.
Don't forget, please don't forget... because I just might. I don't want to but I my feet take me places I don't understand.
They carry my heart away and stomp out my memories. I'll tell them not to. Everyday.
But I can't control them.
Don't let me get lost.


Fight fight fight fight fight fight fight for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'll let

my hair grow wild
and stop painting my nails
I'll get rough fingers and toes
I'll be tough like nails
I'll be real like dirt and mud
I'll mix them up and jump right in
I'll let your hair grow grey
and let you eat your cake
I'll let you wear my big sweater and wull hat
I'll cover for you
I'll take the blame for you
Cuz I'll be old and wild and dirty
and you'll be warm

I've known

for plenty of time that, eventually, I am going to get another tattoo. A smaller one this time, and of a name. "Conchett." Conchett, a boy, was my imaginary friend when I was a young kid.
I have sort of kind of memories of Conchett, and the things we used to do.
Actually, they're probably just those memories you materialize in your mind after hearing stories from family members for years and years. Kyle and Caylynn laugh sometimes at the memory of me, a very small twig of a kid, rambling on in my car seat about the maps Conchett and I made, how we followed the maps all day, and how I'd once seen Conchett save Caylynn from a bear in the woods!
Yes, Conchett was a hero, smart, and quick on his feet. No one told me those last things exactly, but I somehow remember them to be true. I also have a mental image of him in my mind's eye. It's incomplete and vague... but oddly real.

Hearing about Conchett again a few months ago, I felt really inspired. The idea that I've always been exploring and imagining made me happy to think about. And the fact that my imagination as a child had a face, a name, a personality.. how great!
All the sudden it occurred to me that having Conchett's name as a tattoo would be a great reminder to me to keep imagining and and exploring. I feel really solid about it.
I'd have gotten this token already but I've had a hard time deciding HOW I'd like it done. Even with a single name, there are limitless options.. Simplicity or intricacy? Classic or creative? In sight or hidden?

We'll see. But I'm getting impatient so you know, I'll probably rush into a decision and learn to love whatever comes of it, no matter what. As long as it's his name, the rest doesn't matter too much. Tattoos make things you believe to be bigger and better than yourself somehow a part of you. The images outlast your life.

jk I wont rush-
but I'll focus and get a dang decision made, that's for sure.

Monday, January 10, 2011

After all the time

After you
Had you seen me with someone new
Hanging so high for your return
But the stillness is a burn

Had I seen it in your eyes
There'd have been no try after try
Your leaving had no goodbye
Had I just seen one in your eyes

I can't give it up
To someone elses touch
Because I care too much

Could you tell
I was left lost and lonely
Could you tell
Things ain't worked out my way

Wish the best for you
Wish the best for me
Wished for infinity
If that ain't me

Give it up
I can't give it up

I can't give it up
To someone elses touch
Because I care too much

Give it up
I can't give it up

-The XX