Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Moon, the Stars, and Gregory Alan Isakov...

I've been appreciating small things lately, that I used to take for granted.  When I drive to work every morning...I pay attention to the colors of nature, the cool morning air, and the charming houses I see on my journey there.   A cup of coffee, to me, is not only a delicious, comforting beverage...but paired with the right amount of sunlight, a pretty journal and a candle flickering in the background, it also becomes a beautiful piece of art when photographed.  I love how the small window above my front door seems to frame the night's stars perfectly and it ends up being an organic, mystical piece of art.  You see, these small joys have taken on another meaning to me as of late.  They have been there all along, but somehow now, have a life of their own.

Gregory Alan Isakov's songs have awakened my senses and opened me up to appreciating simple beauty.  Every time I hear his music, I'm taken somewhere else.  I'm taken away from the life I'm living right now.  I can't describe it in words, but it's something that no other music has ever done to me.

The Universe, she's wounded
She's got bruises on her feet
I sat down like I always did
and tried to calm her down
I sent her my warmth and my silence
and all she sends me back is rain...rain
{{The Universe}}

I have seen Gregory in concert four times.  Four of the greatest nights of my life.  First, in Napa Valley, California at the City Winery.  It was so incredibly mesmerizing that I don't know if that feeling will ever return to me..ever again.  I was in beautiful Napa Valley for starters....seeing Gregory Alan Isakov live!  Life couldn't get much sweeter than that.    Then, I was lucky enough to spend one magical night at the Mesa Art Center to see him live with the Symphony of the Southwest.  The orchestra arrangements of his familiar songs, paired with his deep, perfect vocals were absolutely enchanting.  The next two shows were earlier this week.  First, he played at the Orpheum Theatre in Flagstaff.  The drive there was a lovely stretch of desert landscapes and eventually faded into gorgeous cottonwood trees lining the interstate.  The weather dropped 25 degrees as we arrived in Flagstaff and an instant calm somehow came over me.  Gregory's music put a spell on me that night and I don't think I'm out of it yet.  The venue was a little different than his other shows...not quite as small and not full of the collective Gregory Alan Isakov lovers, but rather full of a bunch of 20-somethings hanging out at the bar.  If I hadn't been so entranced by the music, I might have gotten upset at the excessive need for those people attending the concert who clearly had no clue who they were listening to, to continue talking and getting up for "another beer."  And finally...Monday night in Tucson at the Rialto Theatre.  3rd row...a very intimate setting...and a night completely all about the music.  As Gregory sang each song, I could see him getting pulled into every melody and lost in every lyric.  When he's singing, it's like he removes himself from the stage, from the microphone and he's taken somewhere else.  He's gone and nothing feels more real to me and more intense than watching him perform.  Every last song he sings becomes woven into my bones.  I can't help but feel everything he sings and am instantly taken places that I don't want to return from.  The journey his music takes me on proves to me that the road I'm on in my life the wrong one.  When I sat there in the Rialto Theatre that night, I couldn't help but let him take me away.  He took me away from the life I face everyday and I felt so free.  He sang about space and the sea and dreams...and the beautiful melodies and impossible lyrics brought me to tears.

And I wish I could leave my bones and my skin
and float over the tired, tired sea
so that I could see you again
Maybe you would leave too
and we'd blindly pass each other
floating over the ocean blue
just to find the warm bed of our lover

I don't need to meditate...because with Gregory's music, I'm overcome with complete clarity.  It's all I need sometimes and there's nothing more beautiful in the Universe.

Now the moon sees everything
in this sanitarium
Can I get through, like the moon gets through
across the sea
{{San Francisco}}

That Long Last Time...

If you’ve ever wondered about the title of my blog, Long Last Time…this post will hopefully satisfy your curiosity.  I think of myself as a dreamer, not so much a realist.  So, my reasons behind the mysterious blog title might not make sense to some of you….but all you dreamers and free spirits out there, this is for you.  

Have you ever watched a movie or listened to a song and one moment, one verse, one part of the melody, one scene, or one anything in it made you feel happy, inspired, and maybe even a little hopeful?  Well, Long Last Time are all those things to me, and more.   It's like...when these two people are so incredibly and deeply in love with each other that even they are afraid to admit it to themselves, because the timing is never right.  The world gets in the way.  The journey of each of their lives don’t allow them to be together, whether it be family, location, jobs, or not wanting to hurt someone else.  It’s the universe telling them that they can’t be, or shouldn’t be, but the two of them unconsciously know that they will never love another person the same…ever.   Or…two people who just can’t make it work, because it’s just too complicated to stay together, but the love they have for each other is undeniable.  Even the love between a parent and a child.  That unconditional love that can’t be compared to any other love in the world.  And in all these love stories…there’s always goodbye.  There’s always that tragic, heart-wrenching moment when their eyes meet that Long Last Time and they know, just by looking at each other what words could never explain.  It’s that Long Last Time that is so full of unexplainable emotions that no one will ever be able to convey how it felt, as only their hearts will know the truth.  

Dreamers,…see I told you.  In reality, I don’t think many of us lead such a romantic life.  Haha.  That’s what our guilty escapes are for, right?  Movies, books, and music.  If I find a movie that has that “Long Last Time” moment…it quickly becomes a favorite, because I will probably only seen it a few of times in my lifetime.  Well, the last movie I watched, LaLa Land, was completely spectacular!   I will let you watch it to see for yourself…but the very definition (in my eyes) of “Long Last Time” was so present in that movie that it made me want to burst into tears first…then it had a surge of hope and inspiration in my soul!  It captured me so much, that I could have quit my job, flown to Europe, written a novel, sang to strangers, camped out under the stars….Yes, all the things I’m afraid to do…because for a split second…it made me fearless.

My main influence for my “Long Last Time” blog title came from this song by my beloved Patty Griffin…which, to me, comes as close to interpreting the feeling as anything possibly can.
Here are some of the lovely, enchanting lyrics…

Well, he jumps in the taxi… for the sky
He's off to slay some demon dragonfly
And he looked at me…that long last time
Turned away again and I waved goodbye
In an envelope, inside his coat, is a chain I wore, around my throat
Along with, a note I wrote
It said "I love you but, I don't………even know why"
But darling, I wish you well
On your way to the wishing well
Swinging off of those gates of hell
But I can tell, how hard you're trying
I just have this  secret hope
Sometimes all we do is cope
Somewhere on the steepest slope, there'll be an endless rope
And nobody crying.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Happy New Year.  For 2017, I have chosen balance as my One Little Word.  Instead of making a resolution, the One Little Word tradition has captivated my "always a dreamer" soul and I am determined to find my balance this year.

I used to think that I needed to change parts of my life to be happy.  And, some parts, I do...but I think that the key to change, is balance.  Balance with my diet and exercise, balance with my budget and spending, balance with my hobbies, balance with my career, balance with my family...and balance with myself.  If I can implement balance into my life, I can finally find the clarity that has rarely shown up in the years past.

Balance With Diet and Exercise:
Eating celery sticks and drinking water for a week straight before all doctor's appointments and blood work is not a healthy way to live.  Binge eating everything in sight for the 2 weeks after a weigh-in with the doctor is only asking for horrible consequences.  I'm at a point in my life where diet and exercise are going to navigate the rest of my existence.  I am SO passionate about food and when I'm not eating it, I'm talking about it.  Passion is always a good thing in my opinion, so I want to try and channel my passion for food into cooking more and creating healthy recipes.  I spent a lot of 2016 researching healthy foods, reading up about illness and diet, and learning a tremendous amount about healthy eating.  It's time to implement all that I've learned into my own life.  That includes exercise.  I used to be so active...and now it's just so hard!  That's where the balance comes in.  I work a normal 8-5, M-F job.  It's completely physically possible for me to fit a workout in before I leave for work in the morning, or after I get home....or both.  It's the mental ability that I'm struggling with.  The path of least resistance always wins.  I know that exercise is the number one natural stress reliever, so if I'm too stressed, depressed, upset, angry, or overwhelmed to get outside and take a 30 minute walk....then isn't just doing it the answer?  Balance!  Maybe actually doing it everyday will eventually start to help my emotional obstacles.  There needs to be minimal exceptions to this!  We can aways find excuses (which I am very good at) not to do something....but this is something that has to be done.  Like getting up for work every single morning, paying's just something that needs to find it's way into my life's pie chart.  Without it...I will eventually lose my balance will be off, and I will crumble.

Balance With My Budget and Spending:
Finances are overwhelming.  I have never been very good with money.  In 2016, I made significantly more money than I ever have before and I need to start being more responsible with it.  Saving.  Saving is the key.  I make more than enough money to put some away every paycheck.  I have a lot of bills...probably more than the average woman my age, because of my husband's health issues, but I can still do better than saving $0 per paycheck, right?  I have this's a list of "big items" that need to be replaced in my home.  It's time my savings account started growing. Nobody is getting any younger and saving is going to pave the road to my future.

Balance With My Hobbies:
I have dreams and they have not moved beyond just dreams.  I want to make my hobby my career.  I never quite knew what I wanted to be and now all of a sudden I'm 36 years old and my procrastination has chosen for me.  I work in an office.  I manage a department.  I work in business.  I give 100% at my job everyday...but it's not me.  It's not who I am or who I want to be.  I finally know what I want to be and who I am...and I feel it's too late.  The flip side of that harsh reality though, are hobbies.  I can always have hobbies and I think it's important to have passions and not make your whole life be about your job.  What kind of balance is that?  It's not balance at all and it's why I have always stumbled through life.  That pie chart I mentioned above has always been made up of mostly my job.   I want to change that.  Balance makes for a happier, more peaceful life.  It's time that I start to make more room for my passions.  I have 3 main hobbies...

  • Paper Crafting/Planning/Journaling:  There's so much more to paper crafting than people think.  I have never created a traditional scrapbook, and I probably never will.  I have found my favorite thing about paper crafting to be creating kits, swapping goodies with friends,  creating planner spreads and themes, creative journaling, cardmaking and creating craft videos on my YouTube channel.  Planning and journaling is such a huge trend right now and the community of planners and paper crafters are all the women who are my soul sisters.  They are all the women who love pretty paper, stationery and journals just as much as I do.  It's a community of people who enjoy the simple pleasures in life.  It's pure joy. 
  • Blogging:  Blogging is one of my most favorite things to do.  I find so much peace and calm in writing.  It's soothing and therapeutic to me.  It's something I wish I would have studied in college, instead of business.  I completely neglected my blog last year, but as I strive to achieve balance this year, this blog will be coming back to life! 
  • Music:  There's so much about music that is embedded in me.  I won't even begin to get into the importance of music...because if I could, I would let music consume my entire life.  Leave everything behind (except my family of course) and just live a life of music.  Follow my favorite musicians on tour, practice my guitar until I'm great, then just play and play and play...and live harmoniously.  
To achieve balance with my hobbies is to spend more time with them.  Not so much time worrying about the things I SHOULD be doing...but learning that these ARE the things I should be doing. 

Balance with My Career:  Stop bringing it home with me.  Stop letting it take over my mind and body.  Leave it all at the office.  Continue to give 100%.  Always stand up for myself.  Have little to do with toxic people.  Never let my job define who I am.  

Balance With My Family:  My family is the most important thing in the world to me.  I am lucky to know unconditional love.  By finding balance in all other parts of my life will be the greatest thing for me, but my family isn't on that pie chart.  My family is the pie chart.  They are the reason I survive the bad, and enjoy the good.   They give my life meaning. 

Balance Within Myself:  I have been struggling with the feeling of whether or not I am worth anything.  Not everyday, but if I let myself think about it, it drives my mind to places I never want to return to.  I don't feel like I am contributing anything to the world.  Most days, I arrive home from work exhausted, angry and stressed out.  If I am going to put my mind and body through such a beating...then shouldn't I be doing something life-changing?  It's something I struggle with most days and something I need to learn to turn off.  While I am someone who loves the simple life....I also have this deep urge to accomplish something great.  Something that will make me feel alive and worthy.  This will be my most challenging area to find balance in.  But, somehow I hope that by finding my balance, I will also find my place in this world. 

Have a Happy 2017!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Oh Beautiful For Spacious Skies

Sweet summertime.  Of all the seasons, for me, summer offers the most memories.  For some reason the 4th of July in particular makes me feel nostalgic for the simpler days of running around barefoot in the backyard, going swimming, watching fireworks and being a kid.  As an adult on 4th of July, I get a warm fuzzy feeling of home.  I’m just taken back to those days that I had not a worry in the world, other than being frightened of the fireworks…eek!  (Yes, I was a wimp back then, too).  We always rolled around in the grass at the city park, snacked on slushies and hot dogs, wore cheesy red, white and blue matching outfits, and had a fun, family time.  As a teenager, my family and I were always at the softball field for a tournament on the 4th of July.  Whether it was Tucson, Phoenix or Albuquerque, my sister Ginger and I would be playing, my dad was coaching and my mom and little sister Bri were in the bleachers cheering with coolers full of Capri Suns and sliced watermelon.  We always ended up with hilarious, dark tan lines, except of course for our strawberry blonde mother and freckle-faced little sister who always ended up with bright red cheeks and sun streaks in their hair.  Between our softball games and my brother’s baseball games every summer, I don’t think you will meet another family more in love with the sport.  We were all passionate about our softball/baseball summers in a different way….but we all enjoyed every second!  I can’t think of anything I’ve ever been so determined and passionate about than fastpitch softball.  I counted the seconds to when I got to step out onto a field to play and I NEVER dreaded practice.  I felt confident, excited, competitive, and completely in my element out on the softball field.  Holding a bat and wearing a glove felt so natural, like it was part me....My knowledge of the game was embedded in my mind and my love for the game….woven into my soul.   I can’t remember a time I felt that motivated and alive.

As decades have passed since those days, now 4th of July makes me feel like planting flowers, collecting mason jars, visiting South Carolina or Georgia, drinking lemonade on the front porch, reading historic books, going to the parade in Bisbee…and as always, spending time with my family.   This year, we had a fantastic, all-American cookout at Ginger’s and Kevin’s house.  Their backyard looked like it belonged in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  The luscious green grass that Kevin has maintained back there is absolutely gorgeous!  Brady and Brysen were running around barefoot and loving it!  They even have a really nice above ground pool with cool, clean water and a huge swing set and tree-house overlooking the backyard.  We had a BBQ on their back porch with a view of their beautiful backyard and charming vegetable garden.  They went all out with BBQ ribs and yummy side dishes.  Ginger even made her famous red, white and blue punch!  It was delicious!! 
We also enjoyed our famous “Patriotic White-Elephant” gift exchange!  Of course, it was a blast.  When it got dark, we all moved to the front yard and sat in lawn chairs and tail gaits to watch the local fireworks and light fun sparklers.  Another memorable 4th of July with my family.

Here's a fun FLASHBACK to 4th of July from last year!!
The boys seemed so much smaller!  
Another fun day!