2015 Year in Review

me-at-abiqua

Photo courtesy of Sam Matthews.

I ended it in a better state than I started it.

January: Told friends and family I was going to move to Portland, likely in the summer if not sooner. Started my intro level roller derby practices in Oak Park.

February: Started my Feminine Comique intro to stand-up comedy class. Took a sexual harasser to court. Hosted a fun Galentines Day brunch with 20+ women I like being around. Adele and I found out our apartment was being sold, so I had to find a new plan of where to live between April and July.

March: Did my stand-up class’s final show. Told my company I was moving and asked to keep my job remotely. Started the Addison Recorded podcast with Gina, a six-week project. Turned 29. Got rid of most of my belongings in preparation for the Portland move. Set a move date for July.

April: Started a video project in which I took two-second video clips of my last 100 days of living in Chicago. Visited Portland during the rainy season to make sure I wanted to live there, AND saw the Rose City Rollers play for the first time. Concluded the podcast. Started a personal email newsletter. Moved in with Christina and John, bookending my time in Chicago in the house where I began those five years.

May: Started an ASL class with Christina, who was interested in learning. Saw my first USARS bout. My brother visited Chicago for a work conference, and then came back with his whole family a couple weeks later. Did a radio interview with WGN about Shine Theory. Saw Jenny Lewis play. Went home to Ohio for Memorial Day.

June: I got to officially announce that my company was letting me keep my job, six weeks before my move date. Did two live lit shows. Threw myself literally five going away parties. Saw Best Coast play. Gave away and sold more of my stuff.

July: Spent most of 4th of July weekend with Stef, who was planning a move to Boston just weeks after my Portland move. Put most of my new remaining belongings on an Amtrak shipment with the help of the Beans. Went to a music festival with Liz. Picked my dad up from O’Hare and drove west for 2,400 miles. Bought a couch.

August: Made new friends at a coworking space. Wrote a bunch of my book. Started writing for The Billfold. Got an essay accepted for a print anthology. Hung out with Brianne in both Oregon and Washington. Saw Jenny Lewis play twice in one weekend. Went hiking a lot with Betsy, Christina, and Kiernan. Drove to Olympia to see Paul.

September: Saw Horse Feathers play with Sam. Went to Wreckers orientation so I could start skating for Portland. Wrote more of my book and had work published more frequently on HelloGiggles. Hosted the first of many girls nights with my new Portland lady friends.

October: Went to Chicago. Went to Salt Lake City. Went to Ohio. Attended three weddings in 10 days. Jeanne came up from San Francisco to stay with me for a week. On a plane between SLC and PDX, wrote an essay about the summer I worked as a hotel housekeeper. Laura came out to celebrate Halloween the Portland way.

November: Went to the Bookmark Ball with Sam. Attended a memoir writing workshop at Wordstock. Wrote a huge chunk of my book. Took a slightly-impromptu trip to Seattle to attend an investigative reporting seminar. Crashed with Evan, Blue Star donuts in hand. Got to interview the Gilmore Guys. Got walking pneumonia but didn’t figure it out for a while. Ran a Turkey Trot, kind of. Had Thanksgiving with Yeng.

December: Went to Chicago. Went to Boston. Went to Ohio. Went back to Boston. Got to interview Ann Friedman. Hung out with Eileen, Margaret, and Liz in New Bedford. Saw Death Cab for Cutie. Bought everyone on my Christmas list a book. Spent New Year’s with Stef.

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Musical Mystery Tour

I got to my aunt’s mom’s house safely earlier today. I lucked out in a big way; I have the upstairs of her home to myself, my own bathroom and cable in the room. As my aunt said, it’s probably the best living accommodations I’ve had all year. But it still means I am essentially a hobo. I am feeling pretty blessed and, for the moment, too comfortable to be scared to death by what I’ve done. I’m now at a Caribou in the neighborhood, emailing to confirm a time to see a Roscoe Village apartment tomorrow and looking at the latest job listings.

On my drive up I listened to seven of my nearly a dozen CDs, all of which were different from the next and equally amazing. Each one really took me by surprise in its own way, and I loved them all. A few people commented when they gave me their contribution that making me a mix had been harder than they thought it would be; some told me they spent a really long time on their choices and I think their efforts really showed. The mixes are thoughtful, poignant, emotional, humorous, diverse.

In the order I listened to them:

My best friend’s mother, Lorie, has known me since I was six and joked that she was just going to make me a mix of Rod Stewart songs since we used to tease her about her high school obsession with “The Bod”. While she did include some of his, she also picked a wide variety of 80s power ballads and a couple songs I could tell reminded her of me when she heard them. For example, her inclusion of “Imagine” leads me to believe she recalls MY high school obsession with John Lennon.

Dennis and I are on a pretty similar musical wave length and he always has some band I have heard a little of but not enough, and he’s willing to share. He unintentionally put a couple really sad songs back to back and told me if I wasn’t sobbing by the end of the second I had no heart, ha. He was right, they were extremely sad.

My friend Rebekah’s was a complete shock because I had no idea what kind of music she liked, which turns out to be everything; she certainly wins the prize for most eclectic, including a country song, the Indigo Girls, “Float On” by Modest Mouse, that theme song from “Dirty Dancing” and much more. Hers also had a gem I instantly fell in love with: “The Guy That Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind,” by Griffin House. Find it! Listen to it. Love it.

Christina’s was a surprise in the emotion it evoked; when I read the track list I remember thinking it would be a fun, girl-oriented mix, ranging from childhood revered Disney songs to favorite selections from Glee. However, a song from Wicked had me in tears as I thought about our friendship as if we were the ones singing “Defying Gravity”. Granted, this scenario made me the Wicked Witch of the West, but it was endearing all the same. Crying at the end, I had to laugh out loud when it was followed immediately by the Spice Girls.

My brother Owen’s was a collection of songs about travel, being on the road and on your own (“like a rolling stone”), and mostly classic rock. He mixed it up with a couple voice tracks, including his intro choice: “Some Words From the Bride,” the famous monologue from “Kill Bill”. Listening to it, I knew he wishes me the best and he hopes I find what I am looking for in Chicago. It was really nice. Owen also designed a piece of art for me, a poster for “The Royal Tenenbaums,” one of my favorite movies he introduced me to. I had to leave it in Columbus because I was afraid it would get damaged, but I can’t wait to display it.

Stacey’s mix was a collection of songs I knew, but didn’t know I knew, which is awesome. She also put a few techno songs on there that I ended up liking. She and I both like Regina Spektor a bunch so she included a couple of hers and some by similar artists.

The last one I listened to was a CD by a band called Ratatat that my friend Brad gave me while I was home in Caldwell. They are pretty awesome and I would definitely say they are a band I never would have heard of otherwise. Additionally, he gave me a CD by an artist name Jay May, who also kind of fits in the Regina Spektor type category, but stands out on her own with her lyrics and a common theme throughout the CD. I love me a good concept album now and then.

Listening to these mixes made the trip absolutely fly by and I am so happy so many people contributed to this. I made the request on a whim and the results were better than I would have ever expected. My friends have pretty awesome taste in music and I appreciate them giving me new stuff I hadn’t heard before. I’ll always think of them when I hear it again, and that’s one of the most incredible things about music: its ability to take us back, or to invoke some kind of memory, whether it’s a specific moment or a vague feeling. There’s nothing like it and I welcome it.

Thanks to everyone who gave me a CD and if you didn’t, don’t feel bad. I still have plenty to listen to that I didn’t have time to get to today.

Day 3 of filming for “The Candidate”

This means WAR

We filmed a guy willingly getting hit with a water balloon Thursday night. Steve, who is playing Matthew, was braced for it and took it like a champ. My brother got caught in the crossfire/aftermath but being the pro he is, he didn’t stop rolling despite the shock (or the droplets of water on the lens).

We had 11 people on set last night, and it was kind of crazy, including two extras, the talented Sean Eaton on Camera 2, our producer, assistant director, crew and actors. It started off on a frightening note when I realized I’d told Becca to be there at 7:45 instead of 7. Fortunately, we had a scene we could shoot while we waited for her and she got there as soon as she could. She was really nice about my mistake, too. We shot one interview scene in my office, a scene with Becca and Matt in Stacey’s office and the rest over on the other side of our building. The later scenes were the first ones actually in the campaign office. While Owen, Sean and Steve shot a quick scene outside before it got dark, everyone else teamed up and set up the office set in less than ten minutes. It was pretty impressive. The IKEA panel curtains we purchased last week seemed to suffice as a way to block off the long hallway we wanted to hide and Aryeh pointed out they could pass as window shades, merely covering a giant window in the office.

What the....?

The water balloon scene was tricky; we only had one chance to hit Steve with the balloon so it had to be good. To make things more complicated, it was dark by the time we got to that scene so we couldn’t show Steve entering the door as we’d planned. We worked around this by instead showing the office employees (Becca, Matt, extras Christine and Samantha) going nuts in all-out Nerf gun warfare before showing Steve step into the frame. So instead of him getting hit with the balloon the second he entered, he stood shocked for a few seconds watching the chaos and THEN getting pelted. I think the end result ended up being funnier than originally planned so it all worked out. Also we ended up having three cameras on Steve when the balloon hit. Action shot to the max.

I heart my actors

I love all the actors because they totally get their characters. I feel like the ones I wrote for this are more developed than ones I’ve written in the past and they seem more real. I am really happy with our casting and how everyone seems to be getting along.

Tomorrow the scariest scene of my life takes place, with every cast member on set and lots of craziness going on. It’s a good thing we now have three cameras, but we’re kind of going to need people behind them. Also, my dad will be there, yay! Hooray for the most supportive dad on the planet who randomly agreed to come to Columbus on a Monday night to be in a very silly production with me, my brother and our friends. It’s just like when we were kids, right?

Celebrating their lives

Last night I was hanging out with Joe and Jessie and she was talking about a 5K event Joe ran in remembrance of Jessie’s dad, who passed away in March. She was talking about how emotional the event was, which is understandable because the wounds of her loss are still so fresh. She’s in what she is calling a season of grief and I won’t forget how lost that can make you feel.

Something she said last night triggered a memory I’d completely buried somewhere in my mind. I have to share it, even though now, years later, I can see how sad it is. But it’s important.

I don’t know how old I was– either in junior high, or maybe a freshman in high school. My mom and I used to sing together at various events, like Marietta’s annual choir performance of “The Messiah” with the orchestra, or in this case, a choir in Caldwell that rehearsed for a few weeks in order to sing at the local Relay For Life event that spring.

I don’t know what songs we sang, but I remember thinking during our weekly rehearsals how pretty those selections were, and maybe one in particular. It was a long time ago. But the night we finally performed, I got really emotional, thinking about my mom, and how she’d had cancer herself but lived to be there to sing at an event memorializing those who hadn’t been so lucky. I remember literally crying while singing, and after we were done I went off by myself and cried so, so hard. My mom found me sitting on the ground and somehow she knew exactly what I was thinking. She assured me she was better now, and we had nothing to worry about.

Of course, years later, those comforting words are no longer true, but they were then. I am glad we had that moment together and I wish I had said more. But maybe I didn’t have to with her.

She was sick the first time, leukemia then, when I was four or five and by the time I understood what a terminal illness was she was out of the woods. I do remember a couple of occasions as a kid or teen when I really did stop and profoundly feel and think about it, and I just marveled at how lucky my family was that my mom beat such gloomy odds. I think I remember hearing a figure of something like a five-year life expectancy, and I’ll be damned if she didn’t stretch that out to 17. Thank God she didn’t go before I was ten, because I’m absolutely sure I’d be a different person.

Bulletproof

This weekend, two very awesome things are going to happen. Christina and BC will get married and I get to be up there with them on the most important day of their lives as a couple so far. Also, the following day, I get to see two amazing college friends who will be in from Colorado that weekend. Doug and Chandra, the folks who let me stay with them for a few months when I first moved to the city, will be hanging out with all our old circle of friends that Sunday.

The only un-awesome thing happening will be that I have to see someone I have not been on speaking terms with for months now, three days in a row. Oh, and I’ll have to meet Brandon’s girlfriend. So that’s two less-than-fun things. But I’m a big girl, and I can handle it. It’s Christina’s day and I am venting here and now, before the rehearsal, so I won’t be bottled up with it all weekend.

The person I haven’t spoken to is the same I referred to here at one point recently as the only other person I considered dating aside from Brandon. He and I would probably be perfectly comfortable never seeing each other ever again, and maybe after this weekend we’ll be afforded that luxury. But for now, we have to just grin and bear it.

As for Brandon, he’ll be around for Doug and Chandra’s visit Sunday. He told me last week he’d probably be bringing his girlfriend, and while I’d suspected as much, I appreciated the heads up.

“Consider me bulletproof,” I told him.

“Uhh, okay,” he laughed. “So considered.”

The line was inspired by this very catchy pop song out now called “Bulletproof” and it’s been kind of my anthem as of late. This time maybe I’ll be bulletproof.

Hopefully this weekend, anyway. Happy wedding day to my friends, B.C. and C. They are going to be an awesomely fun married couple.

First draft complete

The first draft of the (now tentatively titled) Candidate is complete. Clocking in at 27 pages, it will hopefully be broken down into six webisodes. I’m pretty excited about the script. I just sent it off to some willing readers for comments and critiques.

Tonight I got to hang out with Christina and B.C. We watched the DVD I made them, went to get some Jeni’s ice cream and then played “Scene It” at which C beat the snot out of us. Driving home I realized those two, along with Jake and Abby, have made me realize it really is possible to hang out with a couple and not feel like a third wheel. Long time readers may remember this was a theory of mine as well as a great fear after Brandon and I broke up. I think it helped that I was, at different times, individually friends with each of these four people. But really, when it comes down to it, crisis mode is when we realize which of our friendships were made to last. And the ones that didn’t, it’s not necessarily a bad thing– it’s just not the dynamic the friendship was built on. So, thanks Jake, Abby, Christina and B.C. for being there for me and making sure I knew it. I almost lost Jake and Abby in my own world of self-doubt and pity but they weren’t ready to let me go that easy, thank goodness.

Now then, who wants to make a web series? Eh? Eh?

Brief update on life

I have been back from the trip I’ve yet to write about for almost a week and a half. I have a saved draft detailing it all, but I can’t finish it yet. So instead I’ll write a little about everything else.

I live with my brother and sister-in-law now outside the city. Owen and I plan to start carpooling to work soon and I’ve been trying to help out around the house. I’ve been able to entertain my niece a lot which is pretty much the best thing ever.

I have been out of the apartment for a week now. It’s odd not living there anymore but I am also glad to see my family so much. I have been getting up earlier around here too, and actually getting some things done in the morning. I even did my Jillian Michaels DVD for the first time since my trip. The time lapse was evident; that workout was brutal.

I did the 30 Day Shred for three weeks in June. I can’t brag about losing a whole lot of weight with it, but I did notice some nice toning with my arms. That is a big deal to me, believe me.

I went to my home town for the Fourth of July and it looks like I’ll be going home this weekend, too. My friend in Alaska is visiting.

The streak has been broken

So I totally forgot to blog last night which meant I broke my streak of blogging every weeknight for like two months. Whoops.

I am about to begin a crazy weekend, and yes, I realize it’s only Wednesday. Tomorrow I have to get ready for it all. I’ve been busting my butt at work getting stuff out the door by Friday since I leave for vacation after that. I have to pack boxes tomorrow and make some food for our final Classic Cinema Society gathering Friday night, or at least final one with all three founding members. While we watch our last movie together in Rachel’s living room I’ll be sprawled on the floor surrounded by wrapping paper and gift receipts because this weekend I have the following:

  • Christina’s bridal shower
  • Hannah’s first birthday party
  • Fathers’ Day

And I’ll be wrapping away. I made some cards last night so I’ve been making preparations in pieces, anyway.

I had a pretty good day today. I was productive all day and then tonight I got to see Jessie, who I hadn’t seen in like a month or something crazy like that, and we had a great conversation outside in the nice weather. She offered to help me move when I get back from California and I just wanted to hug her because I had no idea how the heck I was going to get my bed to my new room.

I haven’t seen Eileen in almost two weeks. I miss her already and she hasn’t even moved yet. But we’re going to have an awesome road trip, Eileen, Liz and I.

You guys are awesome

I thought I might regret that last post, but my friends’ comments totally took me out of that crappy mood. Also, my dad made me feel a lot better after he read it Saturday morning and talked to me when I got to his house. And here I thought no one read blogs on the weekend!

I had a great time in Caldwell and despite getting a LATE start back to Columbus, I managed to clean my entire apartment in time for a showing by my landlord tomorrow morning. AND I still did my Jillian Michaels DVD on top of that all-day work out.

More on the weekend’s events and conversations soon. I gotta get to bed before I pass out on my laptop.

Michael Tolcher, “Sooner or Later”

My friend Christine (who lent me that first Jillian Michaels DVD) came over to visit for a while Saturday and we had one of those really great conversations where you’re a little more honest and open than a normal day usually dictates. Those are the conversations I live for, which is weird because I am too guarded for my own liking. Part of our conversation included her telling me about this song. We pulled it up on YouTube and I fell absolutely in love with it. I just bought it on iTunes.

“Sooner or Later”

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
Try not to say anything weird

Save your questions without answers
‘Til your old enough to know that things ain’t as they appeared

Before you go out in the sun
Cover your skin and don’t get burned
Beware the cancer, it might kill you when you’re old

Be first in line, raise your hand
Remember everything you hear
And playing in the rain is worth catching cold

Sooner or later
We’ll be lookin’ back on everything
And we’ll laugh about it like we knew what all was happening
And someday you might listen to what people have to say
Now you learn the hard way

We only want what’s best for you
That’s why we tell you what to do
And never mind if nothing makes sense

‘Cause it all works out in the end
You’re just like us without a friend
But you can build a privacy fence

[Repeat Chorus]

Some things you have to learn them all on your own
You can’t rely on anybody else
Or the point of view of a source unknown
If it feels good and sounds nice
Then it’s your choice don’t doubt yourself
Don’t even think twice

Pull the hair back from your eyes
Let the people see your pretty face
You know they like it when you smile (Find a reason to smile)

Try not to focus on yourself
Share that love with someone else
Don’t let the bitters bring you down
Don’t let anything bring you down