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2016

Whoa, 2015 was a doozy, wasn't it? Let's be honest, it wasn't that great. But you know what? We got through it, we learned a lot, we cried a lot, we laughed a lot, and we are all pretty awesome for it.

I have a good feeling about 2016.

I like odd age years better than even ones, and this year, I turn 37, so that is a good sign.

I am moving into the new year with a bit more peace than I usually do. When my anxiety ramps up, I've gotten better at convincing myself that I am fine instead of letting the anxiety take control of me. I've gotten better at self care and knowing the limits of what I can and can't do.

Goals for the year:
To try to get out of debt. Having a day job helps, and I would like to pay down on our credit cards as much as possible and build up a little savings. There has been talk of maybe trying to buy a place and there is always also travel. I would like to visit lots of places, if possible: New York, Kansas, Oregon, California, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and everywhere out of the country. Plus, I always am flirting with doing this half marathon in New Hampshire, but I am not sure if my knees can take it but I think about it. I didn't do a triathlon in 2015, and I missed it. I am already looking forward to the first thaw and when the weather is warm again (though I know we've really only had one week of cold.) There is going to be less dancing in 2016, but that is ok--I will love the dancing that I am able to do. I am going to try to really enjoy all the awesome things I get to do instead of being stressed out about it. Fuzzy and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this year (!!!!) and that is so super awesome amazing and I would like to celebrate in a fun way. I want to cook good food and enjoy my amazing friends and laugh and pet cats and be as happy as I can. I know that life is hard and presents all sorts of challenges, but that is also great. We got this.

Happy 2016, y'all.

Feeling Good

Here is a quick update on my summer:

I spent July very quietly--not communicating a lot, and focusing on resting and getting back into therapy. I did only what I felt like I could do, and I am happy to say that it worked. I feel a renewed sense of self these days, and a remarkable clarity on what I can and cannot do. I've realized that there is a LOT that I can't or don't want to do, so I am going to try everything I can to break the patterns that make me feel like I must do them. My focus moving forward is going to be on down time and truly listening to myself and my heart and my gut.

I also feel remarkably blessed. Just when I was feeling ready to take on a job again, one came along. It's full time, but temporary, and at a place I really want to work. I am excited, and it feels good.

I also remembered that I get to do amazing things. Working with a client this week, I felt like I truly AM talented with the gifts that I was given (in this case, choreography). I also am in awe that I get to work with She's Crafty--at MCA Day this weekend, we raised a ton of money for cancer charities and blew the roof off of Lincoln Hall with a packed audience. And I was a part of it. I am so honored. Here is a fun video that Rebecca took of me living the dream:

DJ ENRG


One of my goals for this break was to remember how to have fun. And we've certainly done that, too. Fuzzy surprised me with ziplining, we went to Windsor, ON for our 9th wedding anniversary, Rebecca and I had a blast at Phish weekend. Fuzzy and I have spent most of this summer laughing, and it's the best feeling ever.

So things are good. No, they are GREAT. I am happy. And it feels great.

Crisis in the Midlife?

So I decided to take July and shut down from the world and everyone and everything and focus on healing, rebuilding, and figuring out what's next. I have not been as successful with being unconnected as I had hoped--I am still reading emails and texts and tweeting, though I've been lax at replying to emails and texts and reading tweets, which is good. I've gotten back into therapy, I've been to church a couple of times, and I am starting to move my body again--with a fitness class and hopefully yoga to calm the mind and enhance the body (I've been once--with hope to do more.) I've had oodles of fun--Fuzzy and I have been having a ball doing all sorts of fun adventures, and that has been amazing. I've seen amazing shows and laughed a lot. The summer has finally gotten hot and I've been outside a bit more, which makes a difference. So things are good and better than they have been, but yet, I still feel lost and confused and worthless and afraid.

I feel like this is an important transition in my life. I am on the edge of doing something great, and the precipice of major change.

But what? I have no idea.

Is this a mid-life crisis? Perhaps, though I get into this same place every few years. I get weary of the lifestyle that I have so far lived--taking on too many projects, giving all of my time to other people and a million commitments. Getting trapped in that "busy" that I hate, and when I reach my breaking point, I stop everything and ask what's next. I heal for a bit, and then do the exact same thing again. This is the roller coaster. But I don't like it any more. I want to try to be mindful moving forward of things that I know that I need--downtime at night, time with my husband, not a crazy schedule, but I also need work and to make money and all that. I completed a major artistic acheivement with my dance show, and feel like maybe I should be writing the things I want to write and creating some sort of brilliant piece of art or something that will help other people, but I don't know what or how. I'll be the first person to tell others to take risks and get out of their comfort zones, and I used to practice what I preach, but now I just feel stuck. And I don't know how to move forward or what to do or how to function.

Lately I've seen all sorts of inspirational things--Ballet 422, Chefs Table, the Taylor Swift concert--all things featuring amazing hard working incredibly driven individuals who are creating art and beauty and empowerment and changing the world for the better. These things make me want to move, to do things, to push myself to the limit, while also making me think that I just pale in comparison to these people and what important thing do I have to say?

But what am I good at? Well, I am a good listener, and a good producer, and I know that I can deliver a wedding and deliver a show, but am I the best at what I do? No way.

I feel like I need to do something TOTALLY different to mix it up. To work on a farm. To do something away from a computer and away from customer service and away from administration. There are so many terrible things in the world--I feel obligated to help others to do something that makes a difference, but I don't have those skills or even know what to do.  I often talk of getting rid of everything, going off the grid, and living in the woods. (With Fuzzy, of course.) I like change, and I don't like feeling stuck in a cycle of accept work, get sick, have meltdown, quit all work, wash rinse repeat.

But yet, here I am. Home, on the computer. Procrastinating on the actual work that I need to do. Stuck.

But also yet, maybe being conscious of this is half the battle. I am so trying to be nice to myself this month and really allow myself to relax--something that I honestly think I have never been able to truly do in all 36 years of my life.

The sun just came out. I am going to go out there.

Fare Thee Well

I come from a music family. I went to my first concert when I was 7, and some of my happiest memories of growing up are of my mom and dad blaring music out of our giant speakers in the house with all the windows open and the screen door and the hot Southern summer breeze. In fact, playing music loudly with the windows all open is one of my favorite things to do. My parents instilled in us an appreciation of all music and drilled lyrics and songwriters and bands all the time (my dad was known to hear a song on the radio, turn it down a bit, and say "kids, who sings this?" He also loved the repeat the lyrics after they were sung, so that Christopher and I would know the message and meaning behind the song.) As a adult, I have to have music playing almost all of the time around me--when I work, when I rest, just because.

I've always liked the Grateful Dead, and always enjoyed the radio hits. My folks were not Deadheads, so I didn't know too much about them really before Jerry Garcia died in 95, but I was familiar with their song and legacy. In recent years, I have listened to them a lot more, and enjoyed almost everything of theirs. I have to give credit to the wonderful and amazing and incredible Rebecca Hanson, who shares almost the exact taste in music and pop culture and comedy as I do, for getting me more into jam bands, especially Phish, which I was already a fan of certain albums of from college and Erica Livingston and Harrison Scott Key back home. But thanks to Rebecca, I have a deeper love for the music and the concerts. A few years ago, as a tag on to a super long and elaborate birthday greeting started by Erica and I about 17 years ago, Rebecca left me a voicemail as Bob Weir on I think dad's birthday. This was the funniest thing I had ever heard, and so for years, we've traded Bob Weir voicemails and bits. Loving Bob Weir means getting more into the Grateful Dead, and running the Terrapin 5K as Bob Weir, etc etc etc.

Terrapin 5k 2015

In January, I was at the airport to pick up Fuzzy from a work trip he had been on, and while in the parking lot, I heard a song on XRT that was unfamiliar to me, but was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I am sure that I had heard it before, but it just hit me at the right time. It was a few days after Jason's death, and everything was raw and emotional, and I played it as loud as I could. It was Box of Rain. That song, and the full American Beauty album is pretty much all that I have listened to this year. I would listen to Box of Rain every morning, and often on repeat (I am someone who can listen to the same song for hours.)  It became my happy safe place to listen to that song and album when I was stressed out. Some days, I would pick different studio albums and live concerts and have them playing in the other room. I later learned that Phil Lesh wrote Box of Rain to sing to his father who was dying of cancer. Obviously, that hit home with me, and the song became even more special. "Such a long long time to be gone and short time to be there." It came into my life at the right time.

A few days after that day at the airport, it was announced that for their 50th anniversary, the remaining Grateful Dead members would reunite after 20 years to play their last 3 shows in Chicago at Soldier Field, the location of the last show ever played by them on July 9th, 1995. This obviously was a big deal. I wasn't able to get tickets when they were on sale due to having to be somewhere or something, but they sold out in no time and started showing up places for tens of thousands of dollars. My friend Amy lucked into getting a weekend pass, and I was amazed! I had plans to go down to the campus to hang out outside the venue. Fuzzy was a fan, and had seen them before, and I was hoping to get him to shlepp down with me.

On Wednesday, June 3, I clicked over to the Dead 50 site to look at things, and I saw that that Friday, they were going to release a handful of tickets to the 3 Chicago shows. There was a 2 ticket limit per household. I had to try. I did some thinking--Everyone was going to want to be at that last Sunday show, so that was out. Saturday was a holiday so more people would be out of work and down there, so I tried for the Friday, July 3rd show. The day came, and the clock clicked over to 11am, and clicked "best available." After a short waiting period, it showed up--2 tickets, main floor general admission. I started shaking and crying and called Fuzzy to make sure it was ok to spend the money, and after an incredibly stressful time of not remembering my password and having to reset it all while the countdown clock was happening, I got this:

Fare Thee Well 2015

I feel like it was a gift from the universe for putting up with all the pains and stresses of the year.

SO.

Cut to Friday.

Fuzzy had the day off from work, so we had some fun. We went down to the stadium a bit early to take in the scene and get the lay of the land down there.

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015
Pre-show photo with our tickets, tradition started by Rebecca.

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

When we got in, they gave us all roses.

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

So surreal. One of the world's most iconic bands, and we were going to be a part of one of their historical last shows.

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well 2015

Guess what song they opened with?

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Box of Rain.

It was meant to be.

It was also the last song they played in this venue at their last show.

I bawled.

The rest of the night was so surreal. Seeing Bob Weir in the flesh was awesome! And Bruce Hornsby and Fuzzy's favorite Mickey Hart and Phish's Trey Anastasio stepping into Jerry's role. Admittedly, the audio on the main floor was not awesome--we had a hard time hearing the vocals and everything was echo-y (there was a bank of speakers that came on only a couple times in the show that made things better--we wish they had been on the whole show.) They played a ton of recognizble and awesome songs, and it was a rocking evening.

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

We had a blast!

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

Fare Thee Well 2015

Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50 July 3, 2015

For their encore, they played Ripple, and I cried again. It was perfect.
(Link to short video here.)

All in all, the experience was magical, and I really do feel we were at the right show of the 3 (though we are watching the other 2 from the telecast at home). It was so nice to have a fun night with Fuzzy and to just relax and let go. It also felt like the official start of the summer. I am so happy that we got to be a part of it.

Fare Thee Well 2015

"Let there be songs to fill the air."

I don't want to gloat, but....

...WE ARE SEEING THE GRATEFUL DEAD TOMORROW!!!

I still can't believe we got tickets. I feel so lucky. I will report in after.

ALSO

I did this to my hair:

New Hair 2015.JPG

And I looooooove it.

Now it just needs to get warm in Chicago... 

Today is a Great Day!!

Same-Sex Marriage now legal in all 50 states!!!!!!

We are celebrating and happy crying! What a perfect kickoff to Pride weekend!

LGBT Latte.JPG

Love is love is love and love for all.

Art.

Blue Green Latte.jpeg

Thoughts and Things

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First of all, the dance show was a huge success and a total emotional purge session. We sold out all 3 nights, and presented ART. It is the most important show I have ever done, and I could not be more proud of it.

More to come on that soon.

But right now, I want to just write some things. This year has been HARD. And I have been having a really hard time. I've been dealing with some pretty scary depression of late, and for months I have been telling everyone that they are never going to hear from me again after July. This is mostly true--I really want to disappear and not be responsible for anything (shows, anyone's health, the fact that everyone in my home state is constantly questioning all of my actions and how I choose to care for my mother).  I don't know how to talk to anyone, I have pulled away from almost all of my friends, and I am fighting with everybody. I just had the show that I am most proud of in my life, and I instantly the next day, felt like a failure and embarrassed to exist. My thoughts are scary and although I know they are false, I can't stop them. Also, I only want to have fun. I have forgotten how to have it. So it is time for me to disappear for a while and work on rebuilding.

Today was a tragic day in America. A white supremacist took the lives of 9 humans who were praying in church--the place where my whole life I have believed to be the safest place you could go. And it made me again want to hide from life. Everything is hard, and everything is sad. And here I am, trying to promote my dumb drinking show that is going to be a part of a festival tomorrow. I was ashamed.

Tonight, Fuzzy and I decided that we wanted Chinese food for dinner. On the way to pick up the order, I was thinking about how my life was unimportant and how I will be doing everyone a favor when I disappear. I'm always dragged down by how I am letting people down always and how I am unable to benefit anyone anymore. I thought about how nothing I do is worth anything. 

I saw all these people on the street, living their own little lives, loving the people they love and going the places they are going.

And then, I got to the restaurant. And I was the only one there. And I thought about how I bet they were really happy that I ordered from there tonight, and that I helped keep their business going. And then I thought about the show I am planning to see later tonight, that I was thinking about not going to see cause who cares if I am there or not, and I remembered how much it meant to me that the friends who came to see my show last weekend came to see it. It meant the world to me. So I thought, yes, I will go see that show tonight, because even one person at a show can make a difference.

And it all became almost a little bit too much for me.

That is where I am right now. Overwhelmed, and everything is a little too much. But I feel a little less worthless. We can't do it all, which I feel like I have to do all the time, but I don't have to. I can just show up and be.

We are all just doing the best we can.

And dinner was delicious.

Where've I Been?

Good question.

EVERYWHERE.

Lots going on.

1) Modet and Shmib reached our Kickstarter Goal!! We even exceeded our amount!! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO DONATED! This show is going to be epic.

2) Modet performed at Links Hall's annual "Hot Night of Ballyhoo" THAW on Thursday. It was an honor to be counted among the performers--the whole evening was incredible. There were performance artists, scream coaches, giant mop people, and dance dance dance. We had a blast. It made me remember why Chicago is so great. Afterwards, I said that I wanted to live in that world all the time--a world where you can just be who you are and create the weirdest art you can dream of, wear whatever you want and be accepted for who you are. But the truth is, I DO live in that world, and I am very blessed to be able to do so. I just need to remember that more instead of stressing out all the time.

3) Starting next month, Steve Gadlin's Star Makers is going to be broadcast in 20 cities! It's been a lot of hard work, but it is paying off. See the map of cities (including in Biloxi) here: http://sgstarmakers.com/tune-in/

4) In February I went on tour with She's Crafty and ho-ly crap it was the most fun ever. Living that rockstar life, yo.

Lots of pics and things to come.

(I just have to get over this stomach flu first...)

Today's Daydream

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It's sunny out. I open the windows and the warm breeze blows the window drapes. We sip coffee and play music and bake bread. I'm wearing a breezy blousy top and cut off shorts. The cats wander around the bottle tree artsy veranda outside.

Ok, so in this daydream, apparently we are rich. And we live in New Orleans and it is warmer than 10 degrees outside. And we don't really have jobs, but we create art and enjoy color. But hey, it's my day dream, right?

(I need to get out of Chicago more.)