Friday, February 25, 2011

On a Vacation - Mexico!

As mentioned, probably too many times, we're headed to Mexico! Leaving for a week, so no bloggage during that time. No nothing, really. We're ditching cell phones and computers and embracing the simple life by the ocean... with lots of eating and drinking. My camera will be in tow, so documentation will be posted upon my return! Have a great week. I know I will.

On "The Gentleman" Laptop Sleeve by Debbie Carlos

My friend Debbie Carlos, has a really good thing going. Not only is she a stellar photog, but she makes some pretty things that she sells on her successful Etsy shop. She's made a bunch of sweet posters that seem to be selling like hot cakes, but while perusing her site the other day I noticed this sweet little laptop sleeve called "The Gentleman." I have an Incase laptop case, but it makes my laptop bulky and doesn't fit into one of my most used bags... but I still want to protect it. So, I asked Debbie if she would make me 15" version and she happily obliged. Here is what I got in the mail.

How charming, right? I'm so pleased to support my friend's work and to have this sweet little sleeve.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On Remember When / Take me There

I told you I was feeling nostalgic.

I just came across these old pics Jen and I took back in 2007. I'm struck at how my trips to Michigan used to always include some sort of outdoor adventure, usually involving some field and often involving my dearest Jennifer. This particular afternoon we decided to go for a rainy day walk in the Nature Center of Kalamazoo, MI. Who knew we would happen upon such a stunning field. This was such an incredible afternoon. I love my friend was there to share it with me and that I can remember it in this way.

On What's Been Goin' On

I don't often write in straight format about my life, but today I feel compelled... so here goes.

The truth of the matter is, the last week or so I've been attempting to journal in a hand written way. I realize that it is important to reflect upon things and I am excited to force myself to do this. It's different than blogging or tweeting or talking for that matter. It is for me and it is a reflection or documentation of how I've been feeling or anything I want to write about. It feels really good to do and I hope to maintain it for a while. My father is a faithful journal-er and I must say I look forward to looking back upon those notebooks some day.

I've been in a bit of bad shape for the last few days due to both a nasty cold and some dental issues. The cold came in strong and left quite quickly, so I can't complain too much, but I was down for the count this weekend. On Sunday evening when I thought things were clearing up I fell back into some pretty deep tooth pain. It is a terribly long story that I won't bore you with, but damn! Tooth pain is simply the worst and I've had my fair share of it in my life. I would say this is the fourth tooth I've had a terrible series of painful events happen to and this latest was right up there with the worst. Sleepless nights and tons of pain medication, but after 5 dentist visits I think it is nearly under control. I see full and pain free living in my future, and after this weekend, I need that hope.

The other reason I can have a positive outlook on an otherwise gloomy Wednesday is that I am only 4 days away from a sweet return to Tulum. A winter Mexican getaway with El Scotto. We will be off the radar for nearly a week and to say I can't wait would be all sorts of an understatement. The sun, the ocean and eating till our little hearts are content. A much needed vacation.

Finally, last week I managed to have my data recovered from a recently crashed external harddrive. Friends, let me be an example to you. BACK UP YOUR STUFF. Don't just put it on one harddrive, make sure you put it on two! This is my second harddrive to crash and although I managed to recover the data this time ($200 later) the data is all sorts of jumbled. In fact, the software that recovers it also duplicates some of it so it is nearly impossibly to sort through. I spent much of yesterday trying to just get some sort of grasp about what was where, but I don't believe I made much headway. That being said, going through all of this old data... music, movies, documents and photos makes a fella nostalgic. Some of my upcoming posts may reflect that.

Have a lovely Wednesday my friends.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On Plants

I recently came across this picture from 2006 of my plants. I had set them out on the back porch to water and decided to take a picture. The crazy part to me is that I still have almost every single plant in this picture. 5 years later!

On Inspiration Friday

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Valentines Day

When thinking about love, we often have our eyes to the sky, but might I suggest that Love can bring your feet to the ground?

Happy to you and yours!

On Michigan City, IN

Periodically, I take the south shore train line and meet my parents for the afternoon in Michigan City, IN. This is for no other reason than it's locale. It sits near the end of the train line and about half way between their home and mine. It is a simple trip and the result can be some extra time with one another. Additionally, I'm just a fan of some train time. Mary and I, oddly enough, were both on trains (in different states) at the same time this weekend and both seemed to exit with poetic ideas about what it means to spend time on rail. It is so different for me than say, public transportation or even flying. For some reason, I almost always find clarity on certain issues while chugging along and it makes me wonder why is that time different than others?

The thing about Michigan city is that it is not charming. There is a huge nuclear power plant that shows one of the largest smoke stacks you've ever seen, sitting directly behind prime retail outlets. I'm not going to lie, the outlets are appealing in a certain sense, but they are also pretty gross. Downtown Michigan City just seems like a carcass of an era past... similar to Gary, IN and other cities along Lake Michigan that used to house Industry and now just house old buildings.

It was a bit warmer on Saturday when we met and just for kicks we drove over to the lake to see the lighthouse. The lake looked like another planet, with piles of dirt and ice that were actually sitting atop the lake itself. I took a walk out, thinking I could climb on them, but quickly realized I was actually past shore and decided not to risk it. My mother sat in the car while my father stood by the edge.

The sun set during my ride home and I did some more thinking.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Kaitlin Kostus and Alternative Apparel

Hey All,
I have a new blog post over at Alternative Apparel about the time I spent last weekend with artist, Kaitlin Kostus. Check it out if you like!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

On a Break

Last Sunday concluded a five week break I took from my weekly gig of singing at a church here in Chicago. I've been singing there for six years and due to life just feeling like a lot, I decided there was need in the new year to take a break from the obligation. A solid time away of doing whatever I wanted to do, whether that meant not getting up or traveling across the country, I did it. I was so fortunate to be granted the opportunity and for that I am extremely grateful.

It has been a really good five weeks. I was able to go to Arizona, and Indiana. I was able to not do anything and also check out another church. I was also able to go to brunch... something I do love to do, but hadn't done much of in the last years. There is something about a good Sunday brunch where you sit for longer than you should and eat more than you should. Talking about the weekend at hand and the week to come. Assessing successes and lamenting failures. For some reason, that meal is different from the rest and I'm thankful for having the opportunity to enjoy it, particular this last Sunday in the midst of the snow.

My take away from this break is more than an appreciation for brunch (thank God!) but, I think these reflections about brunch are a little part of a bigger feeling about my time off. I know, that it is important to remove ourselves from certain obligations periodically to understand where they sit in our lives. But, saying it and doing it are two very different things. It actually caused me a bit of turmoil to consider removing myself from something I always do and something I like to do! But, I felt overwhelmed. The last year was very difficult in a lot of ways and sometimes when things get hard I'm not the type of person who can just throw themselves into work. It's more the opposite, in that I just shut down. I felt myself shutting down. I needed a break.

So, I took one. I'm so glad I did!

In fact, I feel excited to return!

There are certain things we can't take breaks from and certain things we shouldn't, but in this instance I know I did the right thing and as predicted, it has flown by.

I keep thinking about how there are certain ways in which we find validation throughout the week. Whether through loved ones, work, creating art or working out (I don't relate to the last...) we seek to feel affirmed as a person who has or is or does this. I've missed that in being absent from my Sunday gig. I miss the affirmation as a singer. As one who leads people in song. As one who has something to share and offer and give musically. As much as I love brunch, I'm not doing a lot of leading in song at brunch!

All this to say, if you can, give yourself a break. Step away. I bet that after, you'll know more clearly whether you want to go back or not.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On a Print Studio

Last Sunday I had the privilege of spending the afternoon in the Print Studio of Columbia College, while my new friend Kaitlin Kostus did some printing. Truth be told, I'm going to actually blog about the afternoon for Alternative Apparel, but I wanted to share some snaps with you from the studio. It was great to spend time in such an inspired space, with unlimited supplies! This is reason enough to go to grad school. I wouldn't know how to use most of them, but I sure would enjoy looking at them and thinking about the ways in which I'd like to be creative.

Monday, February 7, 2011

On Drive

On my recent trip to Arizona and in preparation for Mexico I picked up a couple of books for travel and leisure reading. I'm excited to read Listen to This by Alex Ross while at the beach, but for some reason on the plane to and from AZ, I found myself drawn to the Shibumi Strategy by Matthew May and Drive by Daniel Pink. Now, I've blogged about May and Pink before. I like them both very much as authors and I have to say I'm a bit obsessed with whatever genre of writing they fall under. Mary called it "contemporary nonfiction and social commentary," which I'll buy. You know, the Malcolm Gladwell type with a bit of self-help mixed in. For me, they are extended articles and for some reason that keeps my attention.

Drive is a book about what motivates us and as someone who is interested in pursuing that which motivates me, I'm loving this book. Of course much of it is common sense, but when you really think about it plain terms and consider how you can motivate others as well as yourself, finding that which is intrinsic is key. Pink talks about that and gives some simple ideas on considering practical implications for your own life. I think if you're on a plane i the new future, I recommend giving this one a try.

On Timex Army Watch

Not one to buck a trend, and being kinda cheap... AND given the death of my beloved gaudy gold watch, I recently picked up this Timex Army Watch. I've been looking for something that would get me through the spring/summer. Something light weight and not too obnoxious because, obnoxious watches are getting a tad tired and I'm kind of tired, so I thought I should spice things up. Understated. Classic. J. Crew of course sells a much more expensive version, but thanks the beauty of the Internet, I was able to pick up one at a reduced price.

I also believe firmly that army green goes with everything. It's a safe bet with bags and watches.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On Rejection, Again

Friday, February 04, 2011

Dear Davin:

Thank you very much for your recent audition for the XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXX. We know a great deal of preparation went into your audition, and it was a pleasure to hear you sing and know of your interest in our ensemble.

Unfortunately, we are not able to advance you to the final round this year. We heard many good things in your audition and we encourage you to come back and audition again next year. We will keep your information on file and notify you of next season’s audition dates once they are announced.

Our best to you in your endeavors and we hope to hear you again next year.




Friday, February 4, 2011

On Inspiration Friday - King of Cool Edition

The blizzard is over and we've dug ourselves out... for the most part. It's Friday but we're all trying to get everything done that we didn't do on Tuesday, Wednesday... or Thursday. Personally, I spent yesterday on the sofa with some sort of stomach virus, but I'm back atem today.

I came across this post from a Continuous Lean about Steve McQueen and some previously unpublished LIFE Magazine photos and I thought we could use them as our inspiration for this Friday. Mr. McQueen is indeed a style inspiration and these shots of him getting fitted for suits are pretty sweet.

Thank God for LIFE, eh?

If you'd like, head on over the original post for the whole lot. Have a great Friday!