Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Amazing Backpack

If my backpack had hands, it would sign autographs.  It's not just a backpack anymore; it's an attachment to Melissa's shoulder, much like a child is an attachment to a hip.  It came into my possession when I was still in high school.  Looking at it, you would never guess that it's been to Alaska and back a few times, on float planes, on ferries, on jet boats, busses, hikes, and carried over 170 credits worth of college books.  

The zipper isn't quite reliable anymore, but I've figured out the trick to it.  The day I was walking down the hallway and I heard the unzipping before feeling the load on my back lighten up and heard all of my books crash to the floor was the day I thought I'd have to buy a new one.  That was three years ago.  The day this backpack dies is going to be like euthanizing my best friend.  Well, maybe not that extreme, but pretty damn close.  

This backpack has been my pillow on a few occasions.  Christmas break 2004, I curled up with it on the floor of the SEATAC airport during a layover in the middle of the night.  When I moved to Alaska, it rode shotgun.  When I moved back from Alaska, it rode shotgun.  All the rest of my belongings had to sit in the back, or worse yet, in the truck bed, but not the backpack.  Next to my camera and guitar, the backpack would be one of the first things I would grab in a fire.  

It's gone into the washing machine for a few emergency cleanings.  Once after an explosion of conditioner on a flight.  After returning from Belize it was caked in dirt, mud, and probably microscopic critters that fled the country on my back.  

The backpack came with me to Italy.  It came with me to Hayward and has been on countless pontoon rides holding my SPF 70 sunscreen and beach towel.  It was with me in 2006 in Sayner when I smashed my finger in the car door.  It carried my camera to the hospital when I went to meet my nephew Nolan for the first time.  It has come to gigs with me and carried cords, mics, my song binder, and set list.  

I think my backpack needs its own Facebook page and Twitter account.  It's THAT amazing!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Look Back at My Twenties

It's my last night of being a twenty-something.  Call me crazy, but I find this incredibly exciting.  Tomorrow will my mark my 30th year in this world.  How cool is that?  I've been watching friends and former classmates turn 30 for the last few months and completely understand why entering this next decade of our lives is somewhat terrifying.  Growing older is a scary thing.  So is the idea of Ben & Jerry's discontinuing Chunky Monkey or Half Baked, so it's important to keep things in perspective: Aging Is Not That Bad.

I've been reflecting on my twenties lately and was thinking about all the things I didn't do that I wanted to.  Well, I'm going to take this time to look back on all that I did accomplish in my twenties.

  • I earned two college degrees
  • I've had ten different addresses
  • Lived in 2 states / 4 different cities
  • Got a cellphone
  • Overcame a major issue with stage fright
  • Overcame an even more major issue with a 14-year eating disorder
  • Drove to Alaska (and back) twice
  • Learned to LOVE running!
  • Hitchhiked during a marathon
  • Learned sign language well enough to become an interpreter
  • Was maid of honor in my sister's wedding
  • Welcomed an awesome brother-in-law into the family
  • Welcomed three nephews and a niece into this world
  • Met up with some wonderful ladies in Las Vegas 
  • Saw Celine Dion at Caesar's Palace (a m a z i n g)
  • Was the designated driver for my 21st birthday
  • Wrote between 80-100 songs
  • Performed LOTS of gigs throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa 
  • Was introduced to Lori McKenna's music on my birthday -- 10 years ago tomorrow!
  • Saw Lori McKenna in concert in Chicago 
  • Had dinner on top of the Space Needle -- Twice
  • Auditioned for American Idol -- Twice
  • Drove to Kanas City for one of the Idol auditions with two lesbians I found on Craigslist (saved a lot on gas... but... it was kind of awkward walking around with a girl with a mullet and a coonskin hat with antlers tattooed on her chest)  
  • Auditioned for America's Got Talent
  • Converted to Mac/Apple
  • Produced two CDs that are available on iTunes
  • Made $15.00 off of digital sales!  (See Above)
  • Started doing photography -- something I had no interest in until Age 26 
  • Traveled to Belize, Italy, Mexico, and Canada
  • Climbed Mount Etna 
  • Performed in a songwriting showcase in Nashville
  • Rode The Raging Bull a few times at Six Flags
  • Slammed into a parked car and totaled a Chevy Cavalier I had only had a few months
  • Became a Packer Backer
  • Began the "Craft Weekend" tradition
  • Added a few new scars to my collection
  • Still have the same guitar I've been playing since I bought it when I was 18 (hopefully that will stick with me through the next 30 years, too!)
  • Fell head over heels for sushi
  • Went on way too many blind dates
  • Chaperoned 2 youth mission trips -- St. Louis, MO and Grand Rapids, MI. 
  • Went to the top of The Gateway Arch 
  • Flew on float planes
  • Stood on the Mendenhall Glacier
  • Stayed at the creepiest motel in Spences Bridge, BC 
  • Have had 7 roommates
  • Have had 7 vehicles
  • Have had 1 speeding ticket -- also 10 years ago!
  • Got sucked into The Harry Potter series
  • Was introduced to Blogging
  • Was introduced to Facebook
  • Still have no clue #whatthisisallabout and don't care, either
  • Drove with my two little sisters back from Alaska when I moved home
  • Have one remaining grandparent - Grandpa Larry 
This is where I'm going to cut it off for the night.  I might have to add to it, though . . . 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fortune to Add to the Collection

"On the right track, means need to run even faster, or got run over."

There really is no explanation needed.  This was in the fortune cookie I had in my lunch today and thought it was blog-worthy.  This shall be one of my "Journey to 30" inspirational quotes, or ...whatever.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The 7th Year Senior Turns 30

So, a funny thing happened on the way to grad school.  I have spent the last ten months living across the street from a middle school.  Everyday, I see the kids at recess and miss working in schools.  To make a long and not-so-amusing story short, I've come to the realization that I belong in education.  SO, back to La Crosse I go to continue on with this education process.  The 7th Year Senior returns.  

With that, I'm turning 30 next week!  That's a big milestone, so I'm making it a month-long celebration.  A month of reflecting on how far I've come, a month of enjoying where I am at, and a month of looking forward to hopefully another 30 years.  Another 30 years of college... ?  Maybe.

Today was day 1 on my journey to 30.  Of course, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather go everyday of my life than Barnes and Noble.  I was pretty excited when I saw this sketchbook, so I bought it, along with a set of pencils.  I'm not an artist by any means, but try to stop me.   

In high school, I took a few art classes and loved drawing.  I need to journal more, too.  Journaling is fun.  And, I do journal in sketchbooks.  It has been a little over two years now since I ditched lined pages when it comes to writing.  It's freedom at its finest.  

Speaking of high school, I have a list of goals I had for myself from my senior year.  There are quite a few things I didn't quite accomplish yet.  Published Author is one of them.  I will carry that one over into my thirties.  

AND. . . I am $15.37 richer today thanks to all the people that have digitally downloaded my music over these last two years.  Happy Birthday to ME!  I think I'll put it toward my next CD. With only about $1,984.63 more to go, I should be able to put something special together by the time I'm 102.