Category: Thought

Last Leaf

The past week has been a blur…  a dear friend and colleague of mine passed away last Saturday.  The thing is, I knew it was coming.  She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I was witness to her gradual functional decline while at work over the course of a few years.  To put it bluntly, ALS sucks.

Right now, I struggle in my grief.  It’s not easy being far away from everyone else who knew her.  To everyone around me currently, she was just a co-worker with a tragic disease.  To those of us who knew her, she was a brilliant mind with a big heart for her patients.  She was the best kind of nerd and we bonded over our love for technology and other assorted nerd things (especially Harry Potter).  She had a witty and mischievous sense of humor.  She was one of those people who asked you how you were doing and took the time to actually listen – a rarity in a fast-paced work environment.  I appreciated her also for her human-ness because it was not all magic and rainbows.  The struggle with losing her independence was very real and you couldn’t help but hurt with her.

When I first heard the news, I just tried to stay as busy as I could in order to avoid the truth.  Time’s a bitch though and things start to surface.  I find that I’m rubbish at small talk lately.  When I’m still, I start to reflect a lot and then the tears come.  Most of the time, the tears end as quickly as they came.  I long to connect with those who knew her, but at the same time I avoid it because I don’t want to cry.  Messed up, right?  I’m trying to deal with things the best way I can, though.  I was talking with a couple co-workers this week and they really helped me, especially since they have either recently experienced a loss or dealt with a major loss.  I really appreciate them.

One of the things that help me cope is music.  There’a song called “Last Leaf” by OK Go that’s just beautiful, tender, and melancholy.  It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time and it felt like it was finally time to learn how to play it.  You can find it here.  I feel like this song helped me start grieving and being a little more open about what I’ve been going through.  For those of you who know me, you know how tight-lipped I can be…  that’s all starting to change since I’ve moved far away though.

I know it’s going to take me a while to process everything.  I think the memorial service will happen in May sometime.  I hope to be able to attend.  To my friend, I miss you, your generous guidance, pun-ny humor, and big heart.  You were well-loved, as evidenced by the army of people who rose up to provide daily support.  It was never out of charity, but an expression of friendship and care – that in itself was amazing to witness.  Thank you.  I hope to make you proud.


HEY!  Long time, no see.  Life’s been a whirlwind and things are finally slowing down.  I’ve been in the Bay for about a month now and getting into some sort of routine.  I feel like I can finally return to doing some blogging and videos now.  I’ve been missing it!

Today, I stayed at home from work since I have conjunctivitis, sadly known as pink-eye.  It’s not the kind that is contagious.  I think something in my contact lens was bothering my eye.  😦  Now, my eyeball is red, swollen, tearing, and sensitive to light.  I feel like a vampire because I have to hide in the dark during the day.  Sad, huh?  I can’t wear sunglasses since I have to wear my regular glasses.  8(  If there were to be a silver lining, I guess it would that I can take care of some things, like general housekeeping, actually getting some rest, and getting back on the blogging horse!

de futuro

De futuro – regarding the future…

These past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was stuck in limbo.  Well, limbo has finally ended and now I’m a jumble of emotions.  Is it possible to be relieved, excited, thankful, nervous, sad, and happy all at the same time?  For the record, it is totally possible and I’m your living proof.

I’ve been waiting to hear where my next assignment is going to be and now that I have an answer, it means things will be changing rapidly.  These next few days, I’m packing up again and heading back to California, more specifically, the Bay Area.  Today, I was finally able to book a flight and I filled a mountain of paperwork.  I’m relieved because I know where I’m going and I can actually move forward on logistics, like finding a place to live, moving, etc.

It’ll be nice to get started at a new assignment so I can use my skills and make a living.  I miss working with patients!  I am so thankful for this new assignment because it was the location I was hoping for and a setting I have a lot of experience in.  Thank God!  It was really looking bleak for a while and I was getting worried.

I am so excited to explore the Bay.  It’s a really cool place and I think I’m going to meet some amazing people there.  At the same time, I’m sad to leave Chicago because it will always be home.  I love my family.  I love being able to see my friends.  I love waking up to my dog curled up next to me.  I’m sad to leave it all behind again.  It won’t be forever, but I’m really going to miss them. I’ll miss my mom the most.  She’s always the hardest to say bye to.  My mom and I have been binge watching the last season of NCIS.  We’re hoping to finish it before I leave – I think we’re going to finish it because we’re on Disc 5 out of 6!  I’m going to miss spending time together like this.  Not just watching TV together, but all the jokes we share, no matter what we’re doing.  Over the years, we’ve become friends and when we’re apart, I miss her terribly.  I’ve learned to appreciate her so much and it took me almost a lifetime to realize how awesome she is.

Anyway, things are going to be hectic this next week.  It’s possible I’ll be disappearing for the next few days, but I’ll post when I can.  I’ve really been enjoying blogging and getting to know some of you better too!

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a good beginning to your week!

I was reading a blog post by Caro from Dear to Heart and it made me smile!  She was sharing about simple things that made her happy and it made me want to share some of those things too.  I think it never hurts to spread a little positivity, right?

Here’s my list of 10 simple, random things that make me smile, in no particular order:

  1. Waking up to my dog curled up next to me.
  2. Enjoying freshly brewed, strong coffee
  3. Hearing from some old patients of mine periodically and getting updates on their amazing progress (today I heard from two of them!)
  4. Sunrises
  5. Walking outside on a moonlit night when it’s cold out.  Somehow, the cold makes everything look more crisp and clear.  Does that make sense?
  6. Freshly fallen snow because everything looks clean
  7. Burning a really nice smelling candle
  8. A hot shower
  9. Breakfast food, any time of day
  10. Having a good conversation with close friends

Feel free to make a list of your own, however long you’d like it to be.  I picked 10 because it’s a nice, round number.  🙂  Let me know if you do because I’d love to read it!

To my soul mates!

Do you believe in soul mates?

If you asked me a week ago, I’d probably respond with disdain because I was in a man-hating mood (long story, not for the internet).  In short, I felt like a soul mate will forever be outside my reality.  #foreveralone Dramatic, right?  Lol.  (Don’t judge me, I think we’ve all felt it at some point in life).

Anyway, in my man-hating frame of mind, I stumbled upon an article on the Hello Giggles website about how we all need platonic soul mates.  As soon as I read the word “soul mate” in the title, I promptly rolled my eyes and then clicked on the link to read the article.  I admit…  I totally didn’t read the title.  I just saw those words and assumed it was going to be some fluffy article about the “ONE” and I was truly ready to roll my eyes at least 20 more times while reading.

You know what?

It was a great article and it was the perfect time to stumble upon it.  As I read, I realized I have been fortunate to have a LOT of soul mates.  No, not the romantic kind of soul mate.  I understand now that my close friends are soul mates.  You know who you are.  Sometimes, we drive far distances just to meet halfway and talk in a parking lot late at night.  Sometimes, it’s a chance 15 minute encounter at a Blues Festival that somehow morphed into true friendship.  It’s found in those people you haven’t seen in months or years, but as soon as you get together, it’s like no time has passed at all.  It’s found in people who really know who you are, all your flaws, but love you all the same.  Those people are soul mates.  I understand that I had a very narrow view of what it meant to be a soul mate.  I admit it: I now believe in them.

I can get hung up on being single while all the rest of my friends are married with kids, but my heart is more at ease because I see how lucky I’ve been so far.  Whoever my romantic soul mate is, the standard has been set pretty damn high.  He’s going to have lots to live up to thanks to all my platonic soul mates.  🙂  Maybe that’s why he’s such a unicorn.  😀

Anyway, you should give the article a read and come to your own conclusions.  You’ll find it here.

Do you believe in soul mates?

Blank pages

Ah, a blank “page.”  It’s so clean and full of possibilities.  You can put whatever you want on it.  Maybe it’s just me, but there’s always that pressure to make that first mark count.  Sometimes the first stroke of a pen (or paintbrush or whatever media you use) directs what the following strokes are going to be.  That first stroke could very well determine the course of what will ultimately inhabit that page.  That’s commitment!  What if you don’t like what it’s become?  What if you make a mistake that “ruins” the whole thing?  Have you ever thought that way too or am I completely alone in this?  I think I’ve stopped myself from starting projects so many times because I was hesitant to make that first mark.  I guess that’s what you call “overthinking,” eh?

I hope I can balance out my thoughts with action.  Time to get to work.

Hey, did any of you actually click the link in my YouTube description box to get here?!  If you did, let me know!  If you didn’t, welcome and please let me know what brought you here.  I’m so curious!

So, when I first started posting YouTube videos last March, it was a way to share some of the recordings I had worked on over the years.  I used to post them to MySpace back in the day, but needless to say, that became… irrelevant.  Anyway, my first two songs were more “studio” based, but when talking to some close friends, they wanted to see something a little more raw…  Back in December, I posted the first of my One Take series here.  Granted, I never intended it to be a series, but it was really fun to do.  With studio based recordings, I can record takes over again and cut/paste accordingly.  With this series, it’s like performing live and I really love live performances.

This past Monday, I got a chance to record a song (or two) with my good friend, Tricia.  We used to sing together all the time for church and special events.  She’s got a powerful set of pipes!!  Not only that, but she’s got an awesome, irreverent sense of humor that I love.  We did a LOT of laughing that day.  😀  The other thing I love is that we can talk about stupid stuff, but also stuff that matters in life.  It’s always a joy to have that kind of friendship.

Why did I pick the song, “Take Me to Church” for this recording?  From a musical standpoint, the song is beautiful and emotional, filled with all these gorgeous minor chords that I am forever drawn to.  I guess I like angst-y songs?  Lyrically, my interpretation of the song is that it’s a scathing criticism of religion and how many individuals have taken advantage of others in the name of “religion.”  It also hints at the (ir)relevancy of the church in people’s lives (e.g. – “my church offers no absolutes”).  There was a pretty good read on why people are leaving church here.  I think songs like this are great because they show us how we can all do better at actually being loving, kind, present, and relevant, not only as individuals but collectively.

I hope you enjoy the video.  I’m sorry the audio isn’t that great.  Most of my gear (both recording and video) is in California still, so this was a pretty barebones setup.  Please let me know if there’s a song you’d like me to consider recording or if you’d like to collaborate!  Thanks for reading!

Trying something new!

My roommate and I did Tag video!  Neither of us have ever done one of these types of videos before, but it was super fun to do.  Amber made the background nice and cozy looking.  I got to do Amber’s makeup for the video.  I actually got to use my prime lens since I had a second person around to actually focus my lens.  I think every time I get to edit a video, I learn new skills too. I’ve been loving that, especially in light of all this new found free time I have.  Let it be known, I’m not just sitting around – I’m totally learning new things and new skills!

Here’s the link:

Please like and subscribe if you enjoyed the video!

future ignotem

Future ignotem…  unknown future.

I’m stuck in limbo and it’s not a good feeling.

Remember how I packed up my car and moved to California for a travel job?  It was a great experience and I don’t regret it at all.  I am, however, dumbfounded that I have managed to finish my assignment and have nowhere new (or acceptable) to work.  I could rant on and on about that, but that’s not the point.  I am currently in limbo and it is so very unnerving.  I started asking myself questions like, “Did I make a mistake doing this travel gig?” and “Should I really stay out in California?”  Then, I start remembering how much this whole experience has helped me get a better perspective on how to be a good friend, daughter, and sister.  It showed me how cool people can be, even if they don’t really know you.  I needed the change in scenery to get out of my comfort zone and complacency in Chicago.  It’s a truly humbling experience to move somewhere where nobody knows you.  You become really thankful when someone cares and you don’t take it for granted.

So, will I give up and move back to Chicago?  Not yet.  I think I still have more to learn out in California.  I don’t know what that will entail, but then again, I don’t even know where I’m going next.  This too, is humbling.  I’ve always had a job since I’ve gotten my degree.  I work in a field that is in high demand.  I used to work at a prestigious rehab hospital.  I am a good worker and I’d like to think that I’m damn good at what I do.  At this moment, I am unemployed and in a way, I suppose it is by choice.  I could have started at a job in the middle of nowhere, but after much internal debate, I turned it down.  Should I have done that?  I think I made the right choice, but it prolongs this period of being in limbo.

People keep telling me that maybe God is trying to teach me something.  They’re probably right.  I don’t know exactly what that is, but I hope it gets through my thick skull.  All I know is, this is a time where I need to see what happens next.  Yes, I feel uncomfortable.  Yes, I’m worried.  I totally doubt myself with regularity these days.  BUT – all I can do is be diligent with what I can and trust that the right doors will open.

I don’t like feeling all this discomfort, but I think of these lyrics by Fiona Apple.  They resonate with me, especially the part that says, “I’m good at being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time.”  This unnerving, humbling time in my life will hopefully change me for the better.

Here are the rest of the lyrics for your reading pleasure…

Extraordinary Machine – Fiona Apple

I certainly haven’t been shopping for any new shoes and I certainly haven’t been spreading myself around.  I still only travel by foot and by foot it’s a slow climb, but I’m good at being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time.  I notice that my opponent is always on the go and won’t go slow so’s not to focus and I notice, he’ll hitch a ride with any guide as long as they go fast from whence he came, but he’s no good at being uncomfortable so he can’t stop staying exactly the same.  If there was a better way to go then it would find me.  I can’t help it, the road just rolls out behind me.  Be kind to me or treat me mean.  I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine.  I seem to you to seek a new disaster every day.  You deem me due to clean my view and be at peace and lay.  I mean to prove, I mean to move in my own way and say I’ve been getting along for long before you came into the play.  I am the baby of the family it happens, so, everybody cares and wears the sheeps’ clothes while they chaperone.  Curious, you looking down your nose at me while you appease, courteous to try and help, but let me set your mind at ease.  If there was a better way to go then it would find me.  I can’t help it, the road just rolls out behind me.  Be kind to me or treat me mean.  I’ll make the most of it, I’m an extraordinary machine.

time flies

I’m a little dumbfounded by how quickly time passes…  I can’t believe Christmas is next week!  I can’t believe I’ve been in Fresno for over three months!  I can’t believe my first travel assignment is almost over!  It’s all a blur.  One big, but awesome blur.

I started this whole thing off with some anxiety and crazy homesickness.  I started recording vlogs for myself so I could have a video snapshot of how I felt.  It was so much easier to say it out loud than to write it down.  I don’t think those vlogs will ever be viewed by anyone else but me, but they are a wonderful reminder of the ups and downs of this current journey.

In the past three months, I have:

* quit my job of 5+ years

* went on a cross-country road trip

* visited the Colorado National Monument, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Sequoia National Park

* went to the Life is Beautiful festival in Vegas

* visited Monterey, Carmel, L.A., San Francisco

* made some friends, especially my room mate and my co-workers

Now, it’s time to pick up and move again, just when I started to get comfortable.  I’m less apprehensive than I was last time.  If anything, this great experience in Fresno gives me the courage to do it again.  I don’t know where I’m going to be yet, but I’m at least hopeful that it will be another growing experience.