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Saturday, December 31, 2011

a year unlike any other...

Oh what a year it has been!  I'm a lucky girl, as I am constantly reminded.  In order to reflect on this wonderful year I've decided to make a top ten list.  This list compiles not only the best moments of the year, but rather the defining moments.

Playing the trombone, going to the opera for the first time, Hamlet (Jenn and I had a pet hamster), being nominated for a Grammy, a new car, and running MTSO all were important but missed the cut...sorry.

10. Going to my first NFL Game.  And in turn, winning my Fantasy League. I mean, I know these things aren't related but I had to take the opportunity to brag.  In all seriousness, the Colts losing while I was living in Indiana was awesome.  I had the chance to see two games at Lucas Oil and though I have nothing to compare it to, I think it has to be the coolest NFL stadium. Plus, it is the host of the Super Bowl this that's pretty cool.

9. Traveling.  I traveled more this year than any other (or at least it sure feels that way).  Chicago, Saratoga, West Laf, Atlanta and Indy were all a first but I had the pleasure of traveling back to New Hampshire, the shore, Ithaca, NYC, PA, and everywhere in between.  Man, flying is so cool....even if I complained about Newark Airport every time I was there.

8. Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yup, this pretty much confirmed my desire to be a rockstar. Standing next to Michael Jacksons Thriller jacket OUTSIDE of glass was just a little overwhelming and I may have had difficulty breathing.  All I know is that I'm holding tight to my first guitar before one of you suckers sells it for millions once I'm famous.

7.  Road trippin' across the country with my sister.  Anyone who has experienced us on a daily basis knows this seems dangerous, however, the magic of a road trip took over and it was AWESOME. "Buckle up, next thousand miles!"

6. Having my parents visit me at my apartment. Sure, they came to visit when I lived in Montclair but it's way different when they fly to visit you. If you ever want to feel like a grown up...get yourself a studio apartment 13 hours away and ask your parents to visit. (Mom, thanks for cooking that Buffalo Chicken Dip and Dad, for making me try that new restaurant I was too nervous to try)

5. My Senior Recital.  Hands down the best night of my year. And most likely my life. So lucky to have such wonderful friends... And so it goes....

4.  Ringing in the new year in Times Square.  This has been a dream of mine since I was....well old enough to go to the city alone.  I was so blessed to be in the greatest city in the world, at the biggest celebration with wonderful people in BEAUTIFUL Dec/Jan weather.  It was so incredible and something that everyone should do once in their isn't as crowded as you would imagine and you don't have to wear a diaper.

3. Fake Graduating/ friends actually graduating. May was definitely a great month for me. Being part of so much celebrating (cinco de mayo included...the neighborhood children are STILL scarred from our kickball game) and so much accomplishment.  Watching my best friend graduate from Lehigh in the most beautiful setting, fake dressing up for formal with my Ithaca babies, my successful last night at Alexus with my #trepz and other loves. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by so many smart, pretty people. Thanks for making me look great, guys.

2.  Movin to Indianapolis. Packing my bags and moving to a new city?  Yeah, that takes the cake as a defining moment of my year...oh and also a defining moment of my life.  What a great experience. (more on that in my last post...ya know, the one where I cried in a Walgreens).

1. Finishing my degree.  It's been a long 4 (plus 6 months) years and I'm finally done.  Sure I don't have my board certification yet, and I can't wear a cap and gown until May but I am a degree recipient and that is something I'm certainly proud of.  Take that college, I kicked your butt.

Ahhh, I am so thankful for this year and all of the NEW people in it as well as the oldies but goodies. Sure there were probably an equal amount of things I'd like to forget but hey, I'm gonna go right ahead and forget them and so should you. Let's count our blessings and get ready for a new start.

sk xx

Friday, December 9, 2011

i just cried in a walgreens. lesson number 8.

Yes, I cried in Walgreens. And no, I'm not ashamed.

I know it's been a while, a long while in fact, but the truth is I've just been learning too many lessons to keep up.  In the past four weeks I've flown to Atlanta, reunited with KATE and the rest of the MSU professors, sat behind Ben Folds at our National Conference, learned so much and was so inspired to keep doing this wonderful job from INCREDIBLE music therapists, flew back to Indy, celebrated Thanksgiving in West Laf with an Ashley Farms turkey, turned 23 in Chicago with wonderful wonderful people, saw Buddy Guy perform LIVE and so close to my face, went back to Indy, worked my butt off on a final presentation (a job proposal for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), had amazing patients to work with, celebrated the end of my internship and got to meet baby Emerson (SO SWEET), celebrated again, and again, and again....packed and packed and packed, and now here I am in the business center of my apartment because I have no more internet since I'm leaving for NJ in 12 hours.

So why did I cry in a Walgreens? 

Well you see, July 4th took a toll on my camera if you all remember.  It went in the river when we went canoeing, worked for a few days, before finally giving up. So I've been camera-less and for anyone who knows me, you know how I love my photog skills.  I've been using a lovely 35 mm camera throughout my journey and today something was not right.  The film wouldn't advance or rewind.  So I opened it up (very scared) to find that it had disconnected from the container.  I took it to Walgreens and they determined that the film had broken in half and possibly only 12 pictures could be developed.

Well, zero were.

And so I cried.

You see, I've had a lovely little life here in Indianapolis and those pictures are what I have to remember it by. Or so I thought.  I realized after I a Walgreens...that it isn't about the pictures.  Yes, there were pictures of a thanksgiving turkey, and of the beautiful Christmas decorations downtown, and of my birthday breakfast made by the lovely Nina and of beautiful baby Emerson and of me at my desk on my last day in the office (oh no, about to cry again)....but those are all things that are saved on my heart as well. They are moment in time that will be a part of me forever, even if they don't exist on a piece of paper and I can't remember the exact details like what I was wearing (although, maybe it'll be a good thing when I'm so unfashionable years from now).

The biggest things that I want to remember are things I didn't have pictures of at all.  It is moments like sitting in the office sharing cafe au lait with my supervisors and trying not to cry thinking about leaving this wonderful home.  (Yup, crying) It's moments in a session where an incredible patient of mine wouldn't let go of a hug on my last day.  It's sitting around a table on my birthday with new friends and old friends on Skype and feeling just so incredibly loved.  My heart is heavy to think about leaving it all tomorrow, but I'm SO lucky to have lived this life.

I am so honored to have been a part of the team at Riley, a staff of 25ish? incredible women with huge hearts and so much to offer. A year ago (almost exactly to the day) I had no clue what I was getting myself into when I accepted the internship, but I had a feeling it would be something great. That feeling was beyond accurate.  Not only have I grown as a music therapist but as a person, in so many ways and I'm just so thankful to have had this opportunity.

So what is the overall lesson that I learned here in Indiana?

trust yourself....
the payoff is huge.  find a supportive team, they are around you in the least expected places.  take risks.  say what you need to say when you need to say it.   give everything you can, in whatever way you can, and the return will be the best reward of all.

So here I am....1,067 hours later.  About to spend my last night in this incredible city. 

You've been a really hoot, Indiana. I'm not quite sure I'm done with the midwest yet.....I think you'll see me again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

five lumberjacks walk upto a bar....

...and after having their ID's checked by a bouncer who complains that the Banana Suit is over done, are instantly greeted by Ron Burgundy who tells them he "misses babe too".  Moments after, a scantily clad Dorothy and her creepy Flying Monkey request a picture.  By the time these lumberjacks get their first screwdriver, they've found Waldo. "Britney Spears" is also there...only looking more like a 6' 5" hairy man than the real deal.

Did I mention that it's still dark out? And oh yeah, it's 7 am?

This is breakfast club.  A long standing Purdue University tradition and something I got to experience for the first time this weekend.

After standing around, in awe of the sight around me, us lumberjacks finally found a table.  From our perch we could see a game of words with friends, a couple Cactus mugs (a Purdue bar, famous for it's piano man and neon colored mugs), and Napoleon Dynamite.  Smokey the bear, a friend to the lumberjacks, was in attendance along with Mario and Luigi, Captain and Coke, and the Mystery Machine complete with all the characters.

The scene inside Jakes, a local bar, is energizing.  Every home game at Purdue, students wake up early (or just never go to bed) to get ready in their well thought out and intricate costumes, wait on line, and enter the bars at 7am. The windows of the bars are covered to block out the daylight as the sun rises....inside you have no idea what time it is or how long you have been there.  You can hear the bartender come over the loudspeaker and say "LOOK OUT FOR FREE DONUTS"  to which everyone cheers and continues on singing Piano Man or whatever hit happens to be blaring.  No one seems to notice that it's 7:30, or at least no one cares.

It's like Halloween every Saturday, mixed with a ton of school spirit and a lot more "orange juice"...

Just in case you were wondering....the lumberjacks (complete with plastic ax's) were a hit, getting our picture posted on the B1G mobile twitter and getting our picture taken for the local paper. 

Now I know what you're all thinking.  Since you are all dedicated readers of the blog, you know that the purpose is to share all of the lessons I've learned while living in the midwest.  So while my story about perpetual drunken halloween-esque escapes might be riviting, where are the lessons?  Well, good thing you asked, because here they are...

1. Suspenders should be utilized whenever possible.
      I'm tellin ya, they really work.  They held my pants up the whole day.  Not once did I have to worry about my pants movin around and my bum hanging out.  Thanks, suspenders.

2. Puns are HILARIOUS
     When dressed in a ridiculous costume, try and find as many witty puns to say as possible.  This will make you more intriguing/funny/in character.  For instance, as a lumberjack I enjoyed using "It was an ax-ident", "ax-ually", "you have a funny ax-cent" and "can i ax you something?" throughout the morning and into the afternoon hours before my nap.  People thought it was hilarious, I thought it was hilarious, we all laughed.

3. Don't encourage someone dressed as Frogger to hop across the road into oncoming traffic because it's "what frogger would do".

Since my real camera bit the bullet earlier this summer,  I will be waiting on Ms. Bunder's documentation of all things Breakfast Club, but promise to include photos in this blog.

Until next time....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

lesson 5? 6? always wear pajamas to bed.

I'm officially a sleepwalker.

This lesson was NOT learned the hard way, thank god.  But the lesson remains, wear your pajamas to bed.

I started sleepwalking a few years ago.  It's nothing consistent, in fact its very sporadic, however it does occur.  Other than walking to my kitchen or waking up washing my hands in the bathroom, there have been two incidents in which I have found myself in compromising situations.  The first was in New Orleans when I hopped out of bed and walked to the elevator in my underwear and tshirt informing Emily that we were going to miss the continental breakfast.  The second is when I was convinced the bathroom was outside of my friend Carli's studio apartment and woke up trying to unlatch the locks.

Until last night.

When I was moving into my studio apartment I halfjoked about how I would probably sleepwalk out, because I have found in my self case study that I only try and leave where I am if there isn't a door on the bedroom. If there is a door on my bedroom I'm satisfied just walking to another area of the house. Well I was right because last night I got out of my studio apartment. I woke up in the elevator, standing there, with no buttons pressed.  Thank Jesus I had put pajamas on (let's be real, I live alone and usually don't bother).  However, I was barefoot and obviously hadn't thought to grab my keys.  So there I am a with nothing but myself, barefoot.  Waking up while sleepwalking is one of the most disorienting things ever.  I actually thought that I was at work when I woke up because of the elevator.  Weird. 

Anyway, thank god my building has a 24 hour front desk.  I get there to get my keys and no one is there but they left a number.  Welp, seeing that I don't have a phone, I'm completely unable to get in touch with him.  So I use the computer and go on facebook to see if anyone is awake (it's like 5:30am).  Good thing the East Coast had a hurricane so no one has power.  After trying to message anyone online (sorry guys, desperate times) finally the guy comes back and lets me into my apartment.  Horrifying 30 minutes of my life.  But at least I wasn't naked.

The experience inspired me to do some research on sleepwalking because, well, I'm apparently a danger to myself. Here's the possible reasons I sleepwalk:
Fatigue, lack of sleep, anxiety, alcohol, sedatives, other medication, medical conditions such as partial complex seizures, mental disorders, organic brain syndrome, or REM behavior disorder.

Pretty much it just means I can't get too stressed or too tired. I can't drink, have anxiety or conflicts. Well, I guess I'll work on it.

In the meantime, I'm creating an elaborate doorblocker since I can apparently unlock my doors.  I'll also be wearing a straitjacket to bed.

Until next time, wear your PJs.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

fried food, bad jokes and uncomparable strength

Well, here I am again.

I'm lying in my bed recovering from the vast amount of friend food I ate last night and from the 4 hours of sleep I had the night before.  The good news is it's only Saturday so the weekend is still in full swing.

I've continued my study on the people of Indiana and I've found three things I'd like to comment on.  This blog will be a little longer than in the past but I think it's all important.

Hoosiers love Fried Food
 Last night I attended the State Fair.  The Indiana State Fair is.....unlike anything I've really ever seen before.  The entire length of the fair on "main street" is filled with food vendors.  All of which provide their own unique disgustingly unhealthy but incredibly delicious food.  Emily and I started the night off with some pineapple freeze from Dole.  Figured, we'd get our serving of fruit in for the day.  As we continued to walk past the fried corn stands and chicken parfait stands (chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy) I spotted it.  There it was, in all it's glory.  Sandwhiched in between "Twisted Burger", where you could get a burger served on French Toast, and a french fry cart was Deep Fried Treats.  Deep Fried treats was promoting their newest item, fried Kool Aid.  

I was deeply saddened when we arrived at the cart only to find they were SOLD OUT of deep fried Kool Aid.  Not until later did I's utterly disgusting how much they must have sold in order to sell out.  I settled on Deep Fried Cookie Dough and Emily chowed down on her Deep Fried Snickers.  I've never eaten anything better and I never will.  I understand the obsession, Hoosiers, and I respect it.  The end.

I forgot to mention we also had a corn dog and fresh lemonade at some point.  Then we went on the "blizzard", the ride formerly known as the Himalaya, and almost died from wanting to barf/laughing so hard.  Also, I won a fish.  His name is either Tater or MacBait (in honor of Hamlet the Hamster who passed earlier this year).  He isn't responding to either yet and it also living in a wine glass.


Hoosiers have great jokes....just kidding. 
 In my hours at the fair and in discussing trends among the Hoosier race, I noticed another common thread beyond the love of fried food. There is one joke that is utilized at any moment possible. "Just kidding".  On the way to the fair, Emily shared a moment in which she was crushed when a waiter told her they were OUT of chicken fingers and french fries (she's a hoosier).  He followed her look of disappointment with a "just kidding!'.  As Emily would say "WHO DOES THAT, WHO JOKES ABOUT NOT HAVING CHICKEN FINGERS."....well Hoosiers would.

As we pulled into the fair, after waiting in traffic and pulling a highly illegal U-Turn in the middle of a 6 lane road, we were approached by the parking man.  Because of the weekends events (more on that next) the fair was free and so was parking!  Also, we had seen Maroon 5 (mmm) and Train the night before which meant free admission and parking, also.  Pretty much they should've paid me to go to the fair because it was double-free.  As the parking man approached the car he said "alright, 2?  That'll be 10 dollars each".  The Jersey in me gets instantly defensive. How dare they try and make me pay. I'm getting in for DOUBLE FREE.  Instead of yelling this I whip out my ticket stub and explain calmly that "I thought with this ticket we get in for free and get free parking."  The man just looks at me and says "uhhh I was uh just kidding. everything is free."

Not funny. 

Once that was over and my heart rate was back at baseline it was into the fair we go.  Our first stop, the pineapple freeze, was actually in a pineapple similar to spongebob's house.  A girl walks up next to me and requests the same delicious treat that I have just been served to which the woman dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt states "I'm sorry we're all out"..................."JUST KIDDING OF COURSE YOU CAN HUNNY".

Why, Hoosiers, why?  It's not funny.

Just imagine my disappointment and SHOCK when I'm told that they are out of Fried Kool Aid and it isn't followed by a "just kidding".  Torture. 

Hoosiers are absolutely incredible and inspiring
Last weekend I was at the Jersey Shore, getting in touch with my inner east coaster by swimming in an OCEAN and being able to see the shore line. I spent all day Saturday lounging on the beach, starting a 1,000 piece puzzle (that would be COMPLETED by the time I left on Tuesday) and reading my book.  Around 10 pm a wonderful Hoosier friend of mine broke the news to me about the state fair.  I was heartbroken.

Over the next 24 hours video, photos, and stories from the scene were pouring out into the media.  Twitter was covered in #prayersforindy that was trending worldwide after a few hours.  It was devestating.  But out of all the terror and heartbreak there was an overwhelming theme.  The moment after the stage hit the ground, everyone who had been running from the scene turned around and ran towards it to help.

Groups of people were trying to lift the metal structures, emergency first aid departments were set up almost immediately, and lives were saved.  One of the greatest articles I've read was published by the Indianapolis Star and follows a 3 year old from when the stage collapsed to her time at Riley.  The RN, Natalie, in the story works on the Peds Rehab unit where I'm currently interning.  I had seen her earlier in the morning on Thursday at staff rounds, not knowing what she had done to save this little girl. Her shift was over by the time I read the article but you better believe I'm buying her something to recognize her strength in a time of crisis.  The video attached to the article is nothing short of bone chilling but to see and hear the strength of the Hoosiers is absolutely inspiring.

Train and Maroon 5 were set to perform at the grandstands the following Thursday.  Having bought tickets, the last thing on my mind was if that concert would go on at all.  But, it did.  On Thursday night, Conseco fieldhouse donated their space, everyone working from the janitors to the stagehands donated their time, and Train and Maroon 5 donated 100% of the money they make to the Memorial Fund for those lost in this tragic accident.  To be at that concert was a beautiful opportunity and far different from what I had imagined when we bought the tickets over a month ago.

As the lead singer of Train said "the fact that you are all here really shows that Indianapolis is the greatest city on the planet....people could learn a lot from coming here for just one day."

So bad jokes and obsession with fried food aside, the Hoosiers are a beautiful people and I'm happy to identify myself as one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A lesson in investments

I know.  It's been a month.  I apologize.  Work has been incredible and in the month of July I have only been in Indiana for 1 weekend (most of which I spent napping).  I promise I've continued to learn lessons and I will blog about them all.  The most recent lesson I've learned is about investing.

One week a year I escape to Sandy Island in New Hampshire.  Every year has been "our last year at camp" and somehow I find myself back on the porch of my cabin every third week of July.  This year was no different.  I had said my goodbyes last summer knowing that I'd be interning this summer and accepted that I wouldn't be in attendance.  Until about May.  Then I decided I just had to go back.  So I made the arrangements with work and was able to make it to the island on Thursday of the week.  It hit me the first night that there were reasons I was drawn to Sandy Island that stem beyond the beautiful lake and the bugs that share the shower.  It is part of who I am.

Sure, it isn't tough to love a camp that has 3 meals a day prepared for you and signaled by a bell.  It isn't hard to love a place with so much to offer from kayaking to bocce to an absurd water carnival.  It isn't a challenge to want to be a part of seriously hokey traditions that were started when the camp opened in 1898 in a lodge that was built in 1938.  But it's something else that brings me, and many others, back year after year.

It's the emotional investment, not only that I've put into the island but also that the people have put into me.  When I was six that investment was nothing more than having thirty surrogate parents making sure I was okay.  But now that I'm 22, it's the investment each of them have made year after year.  It's the reason that without second thought someone volunteers a boat to come pick me up.  It's the reason I heard more than five times "If there is anything I can do to help in the job search, please call".  It's the reason that people I see once a year read my blog to see what I'm up to.  And it's the reason that, though I no longer need parenting in the disciplining sense, I could ask anyone on the island for advice and receive more than I bargained for.

The best part is that it has essentially come for free.  Sure at age 5 I had cute looks on my side, but we all saw me between the ages of 11-14 and know that looks were not included as a redeeming quality.  But it is without hesitation that the people at camp want to be involved in my life.  And I'm so grateful.

It isn't just the adults, it's also the kids I've grown up with.  Sure, now we aren't kids, in fact we are far from it drinking our cocktails at dinner, but our friendship comes as easily as it did on the 4-square court 15 years ago.  It's easy.  It's fun.  It's real friendship.  It's why I received text messages and phone calls and pictures and facebook posts for the 4 days I wasn't at camp.  And it's why I was up until 3 am my first night on the beach, solving the problems of the world and hearing about what has happened in the year past.

In the same line of thought, I've learned that your investment in relationships is the best investment you can make.  And that doesn't stop with strangers or friends.  I had the chance to spend a lot of time with family while I was home, though they "love you unconditionally", it doesn't hurt even a little bit to invest in your family relationships.  Whether it was my parents, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my cousins kids, I realized that I could be better at thanking them for their investment in me.  So pick up a pen and paper, the phone, or your email and send your family a letter.  Whether it's a postcard to say hello, or a long detailed description of your day to your great-aunt, it will be appreciated and you'll feel better about doing it.

I forget which lesson number I'm on, but this is it: make one investment that doesn't cost you anything. it'll pay you back more than you realize.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lesson Number 4

So here I am! Have you missed me?

Once you read today's blog entry you'll realize why last weekend was just way too taxing for me to put together my thoughts for you to read. However, this weekend has been full of ... a lot of nothing, leaving me plenty of time to share yet another lesson I've learned, landlocked in Indiana.

I know I've been talking about my lesson in obesity, but the fact is everyday I find something else about the fat people here that is shocking. So I'm giving it another week to keep track of all of the factors that go into being a fat person in the mid-west. I kid you not, I heard a 2 year old say McDonalds at Target the other day. She said it 5 times, I was NOT hearing things.

So instead of my lesson in how to avoid entering the 30% of people in Indiana that are overweight (stats as of 2009, congrats NJ...only 22% of us are tipping the scales) I will share with you a lesson I learned last weekend.

After another exhausting week of interning (it's kick ass by the way...I am LOVING every bit of it!) I was feeling a little down. I was missing friends, pouting over the fact that 2 of my best friends are backpacking through Europe and 1 is on the sunny beaches in Jamaica offering Music therapy services to small villages, and overall just being a Debbie Downer.

I read through a great book, called "Walking Backwards in High Heels", which I highly recommend to any ladies out there looking for a new perspective on things, and then got the urge. About a 5 minute walk from my house is a place called yogulatte. It is incredible. The frozen yogurt is the best I've ever tasted and they make the most delicious oatmeal and shakes with fresh fruits! (They also sell gift cards, if anyone wants to send them my way!) So, yes around 10:00pm, the urge hits and I try and stop it. But while I've moped around all day, I tell myself that if I eat the frozen yogurt I need to perk up. I then convinced myself that I had to make sure everything was clean before I left. Well, that lasted all of five minutes but I had at least compromised and tied up the garbage to take out.

This is where the trouble starts.

I live in a 15 or so story building, which is actually one of the tallest buildings in Indianapolis and I can spot it from work!! On each floor, by the elevator, is a "rubbish room". I am quite fond of the name. There is a "rubbish shoot" in which you can place tied up garbage bags that "shoots" somewhere or another into the depths of the building or leave boxes and such in the closet.

Lesson Number 4, don't hold your keys in the same hand as your garbage.

Yup. There went the keys right down the "rubbish shoot". I stopped for a moment in disbelief. Could this have REALLY happened? No. It couldn't have. There must have been something in my trash that just sounded like keys...right? Wrong. I checked my purse and lo and behold no keys.

So now what. Thoroughly embarrassed, I arrived at the front desk knowing full well they would give me a spare set of keys to my apartment. But I could feel my face heating up as I started to say the next question "So, uh, do you know where the rubbish shoot leads to?" Only a blank stare met me in return. Then after what felt like an eternity "Um, no, I just started here last week."


Let me also share another background only spare car key is in Succasunna, NJ. And for the record, that trick where you can unlock a car door through a cell phone, does NOT work halfway across the country.

The way the story ends is that I actually follow my nose into a creepy stairway in the basement of my building with a friend of mine and convince the doorman to give us a key to let us in to said unmarked smelly door. Then my friend proceeded to search all of the garbage from my building until...yes...we found the keys. Dirty, next to a chicken bone, and greasy as all get out. However, if you ever need to wash your keys, know that the clicker will still work even after you wash them, clorox wipe them down, wash them again and anti bacterial them.

Remember this friends. Put your keys somewhere else before you throw away the garbage.

P.S. I never got the frozen yogurt. So I treated myself on Friday after another successful week of interning and a 10 hour shift :)