I was walking with a ghost

Pictures from last night’s show, via my iPhone. I try to carry as little stuff as possible to concerts, and my digital camera just didn’t make the cut. These aren’t that great, but at least we have some documentation of the evening. It was so much fun.

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Tegan & Sara show tonight

Eileen and I are going to go see Tegan & Sara at the LC tonight. One of Eileen’s many awesome qualities is that she doesn’t mind going to see bands she doesn’t know well, simply because she loves music in a way I never will. It might have something to do with being a musician. Anyway, the show’s at 7 and we’re getting dinner beforehand in the Short North at Rigsby’s Kitchen. I’ve never been there before, but it looks good from the web site.

Brandon and I saw Tegan & Sara play before Death Cab For Cutie about a year and a half ago. That night I had the wrong time for the concert in my head and we ended up late to the show. We only heard their last few songs, and to be honest, they didn’t sound great. I’m hoping that was an off night or something. Since they are headlining tonight, I’m guessing they’re better live than what I heard back then. I’ve listened to their new CD online but I haven’t gotten around to buying it. Luckily I’m number 60-something on the waiting list to get it from the library.

Hopefully I’ll get a couple decent pictures tonight to share tomorrow.

We’d like to excuse juror #8

I got called up to duty yesterday. After a week of tours, demonstrations and speakers, I finally got asked some questions in a court room. Unfortunately, one of those questions led to me being sent back downstairs later on. Now I don’t watch a lot of TV shows about courtrooms so I might get some of this terminology wrong. But here’s what happened:

They called my name for one of the cases that went to trial yesterday. Along with 23 other people, I went to a different floor and after a short waiting time in a couple small rooms, we all were seated together in a court room for what is called the voir dire process. That’s the process of selecting jurors for a case.

I was one of the first eight people questioned by the defense attorney and the prosecutor. Since ultimately I was not selected for the jury, I can tell you it was an OVI case between a young woman vs. the city of Columbus. The prosecutor asked the eight of us collectively what we considered obvious signs that someone is intoxicated; we answered with things like slurred speech, stumbling, etc. She asked what signs make it evident a person driving a car is drunk: swerving, speeding, and the like. The defense attorney then asked us if we felt it possible that an officer of the law could be mistaken about whether or not someone’s drunk if he or she did not administer the proper sobriety tests. We agreed that this could, in fact, be within the realm of possibility, although I knew in the back of my mind I thought it unlikely. But they have those tests for a reason, I suppose. Anyway, after this first round of questions, one woman was dismissed by the defense attorney. I’m not really sure why. A guy my age took her place, and he was dismissed shortly after for saying out loud what I’d been thinking earlier: he said he highly doubted an officer would be mistaken about whether or not someone’s too drunk to drive, and that it was pretty easy to tell. He was excused by the defense.

Then we were all asked if any of us had been cited for drunk driving or any other OVI offense. A couple had; they were asked by the defense if they felt this experience would lead them to be biased in the case. They said they didn’t believe so. We were asked if we ever knew anyone other than ourselves who had been cited. I said I didn’t know anyone directly, but I had known someone who had been hit by a drunk driver. He asked when that was and some details about it; I told him a friend of mine from high school had been struck by a drunk driver in 2004.

“And how is your friend doing now?” the defense attorney asked me.

“Oh, she passed away,” I said. I was not asked if I felt this experience would cause me to be biased as the others were asked, and I was excused a minute later when the judge asked for any dismissals from the defense and the prosecution.

So, that was the end of my time in a court room. I still have the chance to be called up today through Thursday, but considering I didn’t get called up at all last week, I’m not sure it’ll happen. Regardless, it’s been interesting. They sure do go out of their way to keep you happy around here while you wait. I’m starting to think working in the office around here wouldn’t be the worst gig in the world. I don’t even know what kind of background these folks have. Do you have to go to law school to randomly select jurors every two weeks? If so, I’d think they’d be feeling kind of bitter about paying off those student loans.

Trusting my instincts

This weekend I went shopping with my friend Jessi from college and met her friend, had dinner and a movie with Christine, with whom I attended Muskingum for only one semester, yet we’ve kept in touch. I had breakfast with Eileen, who afterward spontaneously decided to drive down to Cincinnati with me for a Plum St. Productions meeting. It was a great weekend filled with girl time and good conversation. It’s something I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of lately and I’m  feeling grateful for that. Really grateful, actually.

I had a work conference all day Friday, and I ended up missing an SNP going away party that night. SNP continues to have going away parties for people I worked with there, and I never cease to be amazed that there are still people I knew leaving. I was extremely disappointed I missed the party, and went home feeling dejected and exhausted. I also had to work Saturday, but got a break early in the day, allowing me to see Jessi, who was down from Cleveland for the day, shopping at Easton. My conference was at Easton, so she and I, along with her friend Shellie, walked around together. I got to have a good heart to heart with Jessi, who can relate to my life situation these days. Breaking up is hard to do, kids. She’s a trouper, though. And I enjoyed meeting Shellie, who was very pleasant and easy to talk to.

Later Saturday evening I stayed at Easton where Christine met up with me. She and I had planned on getting dinner at Max & Erma’s but while waiting for a table, we spontaneously decided to go see “Avatar” and have AMC food for dinner instead. She’d already seen it, and was so dismayed that I hadn’t yet that she insisted we see it right then, even if it was no longer available in 3-D. I didn’t realize how long that movie was going to be, but it was pretty good. My cousin described it as “Fern Gully” meets “The Matrix” and I can totally see that. I probably would have been more engaged if we had seen it in the 3-D format for which it was intended, but alas.

She and I went back to her apartment after and began planning our October trip to NYC. She’d mentioned it earlier this month and I have been wanting to go back to the city for a while now. It’s probably not a good idea to visit the city alone, so I jumped on her suggestion when she asked if I’d be interested in the trip. There’s a concert there for one weekend only that she wants to see, and she’s never been there before.

The next morning, Eileen and I went to Spinelli’s Deli, our old breakfast stand by. She’s going to be moving to San Diego in June, and she’s been compiling an ever growing list of things she wants to do before the big move. Breakfast at Spinelli’s one more time can now be crossed off. She was telling me about her big idea for moving all of her belongings across the country. Perhaps on the high of planning the NYC trip with Christine, I asked her if she’d like company. The answer was an enthusiastic yes. So, if I can get vacation time, I’ll be going on a cross-country road trip in a van filled with Eileen’s clothes and furniture.

But that wasn’t all; in the spirit of spontaneity and road trips, Eileen asked me if I’d like some company for the trip I was about to make to Cincinnati. She went into her apartment, grabbed a book and her laptop and on to Cincy we went. She read while I sat in on a Plum St. pre-production meeting for next weekend’s commercial. Afterward, we went to be extras in a short video two Plum St. writers were filming across the river in Bellvue, Kentucky. It sounds like a fun concept; it’s intended to poke fun at Foursquare. I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t on camera at any point but there’s a good chance Eileen was. Also, while we were there, she talked to her old roommate, who I was friends with as well, and it sounds like she’ll be going on our road trip with us as well. It was pretty serendipitous.

I dropped her off and went back to my aunt and uncle’s. That morning, I’d had an odd moment with them; I told my family before going to breakfast that Brandon would be moving in with some friends this week, and so I’d be going back to my apartment soon. My aunt said it has been nice having me there for a while, and I suddenly teared up. It has been nice for me especially, and I’m going to miss living with a family. They are not exactly the same as my family was when I was in high school, of course, but it has been so wonderful having a family to be around. There’s always someone home, and they ask how my day went and what’s going on with me, what I’m doing later. I know about their lives, what’s happening with them. We eat dinner together. We help each other out. Well, they help me out. I decided to make dinner for them one night this week as a thank you gesture. When I got home last night from my trip, my aunt told me I am more than welcome to come back on Thursday nights for our tradition of watching “The Office” all together. I can’t wait.

I feel really loved right now; I can’t really explain it, but this weekend was uplifting. Last weekend was great too, of course, with all those people celebrating my birthday with me. But this weekend was full of meaningful conversation and honesty, and general goodwill. Oh, and shopping. I just feel like I’m starting to think maybe I am going to be okay after all. Things are happening in my life in 2010, and I am going to welcome change. I am not usually a friend to change, and I find myself spending far too much time reminiscing about the “old days,” when things were so much better. Until suddenly there’s different “old days” to miss and I was too busy living in the past to appreciate them. I’m not taking the time to be glad for the good times going on right now, happening this second. I am staring dead straight into the rear view mirror, and since graduating from college, I have not taken two seconds to try to look at the future. I’m just stagnant, moving slowly forward while scrambling frantically to go back.

Today, I am looking forward to the future. I am appreciating the present. I’ve got big plans, people. This is kind of a cheese ball entry, but it’s what’s on my mind right now, so there. I have been sitting on my butt since I moved out of my apartment, but that resting time is over. It’s time to plan for the future, and for once, that idea is exciting instead of scary, even though it felt terrifying merely weeks ago.

We’re gonna be okay, and every part of me trusts that feeling. I have to listen to it, even if doesn’t make sense. Maybe that’s what they say having faith is like.

Jury duty rocks

On Monday, we got to watch “Marley & Me”. Yesterday I opted out of seeing “Star Trek” again and watched a couple episodes of “Veronica Mars” instead, on Eileen’s high recommendation. They’ve got a couple seasons currently streaming on the WB website. It’s pretty good so far, and Eileen swears it starts out “meh” and then gets awesome.

Even with taking a couple customer service calls and answering e-mails for work, it’s been a pretty easy going couple of days. I haven’t seen the inside of a court room yet, but this morning that’s going to change. We’re permitted inside specific court rooms for one hour in the morning, from 10:40 until 11:50. I was going to go yesterday but then got a work call, but today, I’m going to check it out, even if just for a little bit. Yesterday afternoon some of us got a demonstration of the software they use to randomly select prospective jurors in Franklin County. It’s pretty awesome. We got a history lesson on how they used to do it, and it looks like it’s vastly improved. Oh, technology.

Jury duty begins

Today is my first day of jury duty. I will be here for the next two weeks, waiting to be put on a jury for municipal court. We had an orientation this morning, and it sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Yeah, you have to wait in a room for two weeks and you may never see a court room, but you can also take tours of the Statehouse and the Ohio Supreme Court, and they have speakers come in and educate you about different government offices. Okay, that last thing sounds pretty boring, but the walking tours could be nice. They also said they’ll be showing movies in the room, and I’ve got my laptop here. I am also working from here, so my boss will be sending me stuff I can do online, since this week is a pretty hectic week for me to be out. But, duty calls.

There’s two really nice people working here who make it clear that you are very much appreciated, and that they will do their best to accommodate you in any way. There’s a sweet cafeteria here, and they said the famous Katzinger’s Deli is close by. If I get on a trial, I won’t need to report until the afternoon on trial days. Everyone has to be here every day for the whole two weeks regardless if they sit on a jury or not.

In other news, Birthday Weekend was a huge success. I had dinner Saturday with a bunch of friends Saturday night, after a day of shopping and treating myself to a hair cut. I love the cut; they sort of thinned out my hair so it’s still as long as it was, but it’s curlier and the layers I have are more noticeable. Anyway. It was a really good day. A bunch of Caldwell people hung out late that night and my good high school friend Cindy took me out to breakfast Sunday morning. Later I went to see “Crazy Heart” with Owen and Eileen, and after coffee at Cup O’ Joe, I had dinner with my family at my aunt and uncle’s. My dad surprised me by coming to their house all the way from Caldwell just to see me on my birthday. It was a great surprise, and yes, I really was surprised! And “Crazy Heart” was so good. I recommend it.

And at the 11th hour, health care reform passed in the U.S. House on my birthday. Hooray! Here’s to turning 24.

More birthday, please

Birthday Weekend plans:

Waking up late tomorrow, then getting a hair cut. Using a 30 percent off coupon at Old Navy (thanks Jessi!) to get a LOT of tank tops and flip flops. Dinner with friends at Applebee’s (don’t judge; it’s Birthday Weekend). Brandon is kind enough to let a friend or two from Caldwell stay at the apartment that night while he’s out of town.

On Sunday, I’m going to a movie with a group of friends and enjoying coffee and dessert at Cup O’ Joe after. Then my aunt and uncle are having a birthday dinner for me, which is unexpected and wonderful.

To everything, there is a season

Let’s break it down by numbers, shall we?*

  • Number of miles I’ve driven in the past 36 hours: 208
  • Times I’ve unexpectedly burst into tears in that time: 27
  • Cups of coffee: 9
  • College friends I’ve seen: 8
  • Funerals I have attended: 1

*These are approximations only

It has been an emotional day, friends and readers. I drove up to Huron, Ohio after work and arrived 2 and a half hours later to see my dear college friend Jessie and her family, whom I was unfortunately only speaking to for the first time. Jessie was well composed, and yet very honest about what she was feeling and thinking. The cold, dreaded thoughts I thought about my mom, her body, where she was now — Jessie not only thought them too, she vocalized them.

Maybe I grieved wrong? Maybe you’re supposed to be able to say those almost unspeakable thoughts out loud and that’s how you get the demons out and free yourself from them?

Jessie’s dad’s funeral today was a lot different from the few others I have attended. People actually got up and spoke and shared memories about her dad, and they… they laughed. There were amusing anecdotes, loving stories and regaling jokes that you could tell were particular favorites of the teller shared at this service. Every one of them made me wish I had known Jessie’s father. He sounds like an amazing person.

What surprised me most is that Jessie herself spoke first, sharing a funny story about her dad making her change clothes before going to the mall with some friends when she was in school. She told it in a way that showed a lot about his character and his beliefs as a father. She admitted she and her dad butted heads, and Lord knows the same could be said for me and my dad, because I believe still that I take more of my personality from him than my mom.

And here I am doing something I’ve been trying all day not to — bringing this story back to myself, to my experience, to my loss. I don’t want to do that to Jessie. Her loss is not equal to my loss, nor is it unequal; they are incomparable. I cannot pretend to know exactly how she feels this week. All I can do is remember how I DID feel and try to remember what small things brought me comfort at that time. I was comforted by hand-written letters from the sincerest of well-wishers. I was comforted by kind words from those I rarely spoke to, the ones that came out of the blue and yet were completely on point. I was comforted by hugs, honest looks of consolation. I was comforted by spending time with the members of my family I had left.

I wish all these things onto Jessie and her family. I found that, even though I have kind of been in a similar boat, I still didn’t know what to say to her mom or her brothers. I can’t imagine how those who have not felt the loss of a loved one feel when they walk up to someone who has. The truth is, there are no words. There aren’t any words that will miraculously bring that special person back, you can’t say anything to change what happened or how they feel. I guess all you can do is let them talk. If they don’t want to talk, and I know all about not wanting to talk, or rather being unable to, check back later. Don’t give up on them, I suppose.

Jessie and her youngest brother recorded a song together a couple nights before the funeral. Her brother played guitar, and she sang “Hallelujah,” that Leonard Cohen song, better known for the Jeff Buckley version popularized by the movie “Shrek.” When I preface it like that, it sounds silly to admit this, but I completely lost it when I heard it today at the service. It was so beautiful. I heard Jessie sing for the first time last year and was floored. This was no different. I seriously want a CD of her singing.

She took the time to make that recording and write something to say about her father at his funeral. All I did for my mom was sit there in front of a casket while a preacher spoke. And I barely recall it. Was I so motionless, so numb, that I could do nothing to honor my mom that day? On that note, it helps if you know Jessie; she won’t sit down for two seconds if there is something constructive to be done. And I’m pretty sure she ate nothing but a granola bar yesterday, and that was while getting her hair done.

I came to see her last night, and stayed with a family friend of hers. This morning, with a couple girls we both knew from college, we went to the service together. I just wanted to sit with her and hug her the whole time. She was so strong.

But it’s in the weeks to come that she might need a hug, a hand-written note, some kind words and some honest looks. I am still in shock that this has even happened. Who knows what that means she’s feeling. No one knows but her.

I drove home alone today, driving down a two-lane highway listening to oldies music. It was a beautiful day for a drive, and a great opportunity to spend some time with my thoughts. My thoughts are of Jessie and her family today. My thoughts are of what she and her friendship mean to me. It was a wonderful drive and I know it’s hard for Jessie to find anything enjoyable right now. I am hoping that time comes, and when it does, she feels the full magnitude of it all, and feels her dad’s presence.

“The Wind,” Cat Stevens

I listen to the wind,
To the wind of my soul
Where I’ll end up,
Well, I think really God only knows
I sat upon the setting sun,
But never, never, never, never
I never wanted water once
No, never, never, never

I listen to my words,
But they fall far below
I let my music take me
Where my heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil’s lake
But never, never, never
I’ll never make the same mistake
No, never, never, never

New Plum St. Commercial

Remember how after seeing the movie “Whip It!” I became momentarily obsessed with roller derby? With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Plum St. had been commissioned to make promos for the Cincinnati Rollergirls. Here is their first commercial of the season. I think it’s extremely well done, possibly my favorite piece of theirs. And I didn’t even work on this one, so I’m not (that) biased.

I’ll be teaming up again with Plum St. next month as assistant director on a commercial. Pretty exciting stuff.

Also, what do you think of the new layout? It’s now been a year since I moved this blog over to WordPress so I thought I’d give it a new look.