Tag Archives: STL

There be Tree Dragons in there!

He hath conquered the tree!

He hath conquered the tree!

Forest Park on the first nice day I’ve been able to enjoy.  Sometimes I love to wander and make up games and climb things that I’m able to climb.  Not pictured: a sand mound that was taller than me = lots of sand in my shoes.  This, however, is the secret lair of the Tree Dragon!!!!   Which doesn’t breathe fire = probably for the best.  Hey, I don’t make the rules, Matt does, as is obvious from his conquering nature captured in a rare moment atop the Tree Dragon Lair.  We did not spy the tree dragon, but it lurks it does . . .

This is basically my way of saying last Thursday Matt and I thoroughly enjoyed prancing through the park for a couple hours before I went to office max and bought ORANGE pens and white out and I felt it deserved a mention because hanging out with him is pretty much awesome the end.

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Filed under Fitness, happiness abounds, Personal Musings, ugh! feelings . . .

“It’s not the getting, it’s not the giving, it’s the love”*

I know many out there find the holidays to merely be a distraction from the hum-drums of everyday life.  I know that the commercialism of Christmas and the length of the season is utterly ridiculous, stretching always closer to the goal of the industry: to make it a year round shopping event.  I mean, I know many Christmas songs urge us to keep the season of giving in our hearts all year through, but I don’t know that they meant having super-early-bird-sale-extravaganza for 9 months of the year.

But, ultimately, I know that the Holidays are the best excuse for those living far from home to reconnect with the ones we love.  I am not a religious person, and I’m not sure I should even really be celebrating Christmas, but for me it is a tradition that brings joy and laughter and family and friends into my household and always yields much kindness and love.  This year is no exception as many of my family members went above and beyond to make sure I still was able to participate.  Back in August I realized I had really screwed the pooch when my boss told me I had run out of vacation time.  This is my first year in the new job and, really, my first grown up job, so I didn’t really get what a “pro-rated 2 weeks of vacation” meant.  When it came down to it, it meant no Christmas vacation.  I called my mom in tears letting her know I had screwed up so badly.  In BESTMOMEVER fashion she told me it would all be okay.

And it was.  Way to go BESTMOMEVER!!

Because she is lucky to be flanked by BESTDAD and BESTBRO.  BESTBRO really bent over backward to make sure all four of us were together as he sacrificed shifts at his delivery job to join my mom and dad in a trip down to StL.

This, however, wasn’t the end of the awesome that was my Christmas this year.  We usually spend Christmas with my mom’s family and when we asked those of them in Minnesota if they would come out to my parents house the Saturday before to celebrate they all obliged.  They had jobs and kids and other things numerous to compete with, but they changed their plans just so we could all spend the holiday together.

I left StL Friday night after work on a plane and then got to spend Saturday with my extended family in MN.  My nuclear family then drove back down to StL to make sure I was with family on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.  The Eve part of this was crucial as the four of us have always spent it together, and we have a very specific dinner which has changed in minuscule ways over the years.  My brother and I staunchly stick to this traditional dinner of steak, lobster (for Mom and Bro), french fries, peas, button mushrooms, crescent rolls, and french silk pie.  Weird? No. It’s AWESOME.  And, with it, came the tradition of much laughter and merriment as the four of us sat around the same table for the first time in probably a year to the day.  George Winston’s “December” played in the background, and candles lit the meal, and even though we were in a hotel room (a pretty swank hotel room I must say) it was home.

If you know what I mean by this, you’re a lucky person.  I know I am.  I may even say that it was a small miracle, with all the pieces falling into place just so, and just at the last minute.  Because my brother was able to take time off and get shifts covered, and I was able to come up the Friday before, and my parents both had the time, and neither my brother nor I have kids and do have understanding significant others, and all those things meant that we four could be together.  It feels like it may be the last time in awhile.

But I know it won’t be the last.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may the true spirit of the Holiday, love and family, be present in your homes.

*Bonus if you know what this is from!

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4 yrs + <3 = Regina Spektor

For our 4 year anniversary Matt surprised me with tickets to one of our favorite artists Regina Spektor.  This kid should win an academy award for “Shock and Aw-man!” face – he totally had me duped.  Let me back up: about a month ago, maybe a bit more actually, he asked if I had anything going on November 8th.  I told him no, so he said to keep it open and to please not look up “Events” for that day because he wanted to surprise me with something.  So, a couple weeks ago when I was looking at Regina Spektor’s website I was sad and excited to see that she was playing the local concert venue The Pageant on same said date. Sad because I was pretty sure I had accidentally found out what my surprise was, and excited because OMGREGINASPEKTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I ‘fessed up to Matt that I had just been looking to see when she might be in town, and his jaw dropped in what I thought to be an “aw-man, that SUCKS” face and he proceeded to dash my dreams by telling me that was NOT what we were doing.  He did guarantee, though, that what we were doing was MUCH COOLER.  What could be cooler than Regina though?  Well, I guess NOTHING because, after telling me I should wear comfy clothes and shoes because I may be “exerting” myself, we walked down Delmar to none other than The Pageant to see OMGREGINASPEKTOR.  I jumped up and down and shook him and told everyone around us that he surprised me with this, to which I was told I “got a good one.”  I whole-hearted-ly agreed by jumping up and down and shaking Matt some more.

I had never seen a concert at The Pageant up until last night.  It’s a nice venue, with a large, sunken, standing room only floor in front of the stage.  This is then surrounded in a U-shape by two or three levels of little tables and barstool-counter space to sit and have drinks, with a bar at the back directly across from the stage.  There is then an upper floor balcony that has reserved stadium seats.  We got general admission so had our choice of trying to find a little table/bar area or being on the floor.  We chose the floor and ended up being only about six “rows” of people back from the stage.  The stage is raised maybe five feet and makes for a very intimate setting for those on the floor.  I was a bit worried leading up to her performance that some tall kid was going to stand in front of me – I had this happen at a Ben Folds concert a few years ago at Gustavus in MN and it SUCKED.  These two girls at the last minute shoved in front of my friend and me and being that we are both about 5’5″ it really didn’t make any sense that these two had to be in front of us, being that they were about 5’10”.  So, I made a pact with what turned out to be a couple of high school kids to allow their friends to come back (they had left to use the bathroom) if they promised not to situate the taller amongst them in front of me.  They were very good sports about it, and overall the people around us were equally nice and I got a primo-spot windowed between two boys who were about my height DIRECTLY in front of Ms. Spektor.

Overall the concert was really great.  It is so awesome to see a performer live and realize that they are the REAL DEAL.  By that I mean she really is as talented and amazing as she sounds on her albums. Regina Spektor, for those who don’t know, is a singer-song writer who plays piano.  She’s originally from Russia but eventually moved with her family to the U.S.  Her voice is elastic and smooth like buttah’ (in my professional opinion) and to me she always sounds like she’s, the best way to put it is, tasting her words.  And she has every reason to taste them; her lyrics are decadent, made all the more scrumptious with tongue-in-cheek humor, great storytelling, and sometimes just sounds that she enjoys making.  Pair that with her vocal prowess and you have a recipe for musical soul-food.  Alright, end of foodie metaphor.

Like many concerts these days Regina was only on stage, with  3 song encore, about an hour and a half, but she made it worth the price of admission.  She hit up all of the crowd favorites, which were all pretty hard-core fans as I’m sure you’d imagine being that she’s not a giant pop star, as well as new stuff, a joint performance with her husband and front man for the band and opening act Only Son Jack Dishel, and a song by who she said was one of her favorite Russian singer-song writer’s called “The Prayer” which she sang in her native language.  Song-wise she got in about 25 of them and not on one of them did she miss a note.  I’ve been to enough live performances of amateur and even professional bands who go flat or get out of synch with each other.  This woman is a machine and truly a professional performer as each song sounded just as beautiful and heartwrenching/delightful/funny/soulful as it does on her albums, made more so, not less than, because she was RIGHT THERE singing to us.

So, favorite moments of the concert: 1) Her song “Eet” opens with the line it’s like forgetting/the words/to your favorite song and at one point she stopped singing and announced with a giant smile that she forgot the words as she kept playing the piano part.  What made it better was that Matt thought she actually did, not knowing the lyrics by heart like the rest of the audience 🙂  2) Hearing most of my favorite songs (would have loved it if she had just played down her whole “Far” album) up close and personal and wanting the concert to just keep going.  I forgot a bit what that was like as I think the more recent live bands I’ve seen haven’t been really to my liking or, I like them but I don’t KNOW their music so I get kind of bored.  It was really great to feel absorbed in what I was listening to and watch her sing her heart out.

Not so favorite thing (single, itsy-bitsy wish it could have been just a little more awesome thing): She really didn’t engage the audience.  She seems like such a cool lady, clever and interesting, but we didn’t really get much out of her as far as her personal musings on her music.  She was very gracious, thanking us after the applause ended on each song, waving a bit, looking out into the audience (she plays piano so she sings to it most of the time) but no stories, no “hey, St. Louis is cool” no “I wrote this because I really thought it would be interesting to write a song about Art wanting to escape the museum or this boyfriend let me steal his hair power or because I like to think of myself as stuck in the 80’s”  I guess I was just hoping to get to know her a bit more, you know, as much as a giant group of people can get to know a girl standing on stage performing for them.  But you know what I mean: I love hearing the stories behind the music, even if it’s not that big a deal, as often it’s not.  Writing music is such a strange and wonderful gift, it’s like a super power.  I would totally choose that over most other super powers, possibly over flying: writing and performing awesome songs that touch people’s souls.

Oh, Regina, you’ve stolen my heart, and I know so little of yours 🙂  Thanks for being such a perfect surprise!

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30 Day Challenge: Day 1 August 15th, 2012

So, I have decided on what things I would like to try to do every day for 30 days. I realized that some of the things I would like to do such as playing my trombone everyday I might not have the resources for – basically, I can’t practice in my apartment without at least a practice mute in, which I don’t own, and I can get into the practice rooms at WashU but only by sneaking in with my boyfriends ID. This doesn’t mean that I won’t necessarily try next month when I’m more prepared and that I won’t try to practice more often than I do now, which is never . . .

So, the final choices for the 30 day challenge are:

1. Crochet Each Day – try for 1 row per day on my blanket I’m working on since 1 row takes about 40 minutes

2. Exercise Each Day – this will be lumped together with “take a 30 minute walk each day”,  I want to walk on my lunch break but only if the weather isn’t awful or SUPA hot (under 85 degrees is preferable) but I also like exercising in the mornings before work or go to the gym to take a class or get on an elliptical etc.

3. Drink 64 oz of water each day.  I’m TERRIBLE about drinking water and if you’re exercising you kinda need it.

4. Read a Chapter Each Day

5. “What I like About You” notes

Again, this needed to get narrowed down and I do hope to still pursue my musical adventures at my own pace or try them more next month.  These are just things that I really want to start getting better at right now because I’ve been working on them but not 100% committed to them.  I’ve also chosen my boring work things but again, those are boring work things 🙂
So far today, I haven’t accomplished ANY of them, but I have a book, I have a 32 oz water sitting next to me, and MC & I will probably go for our 2nd run of the week tonight after BAND!!!!!!!!  So excited for Band!!  Also, work stuff is going pretty well and I’m feeling great about this “go get’em” attitude I adopted this morning.

I feel like this challenge, along with the beginning of band and MC working orientation for new grad students tomorrow, marks the wind down/end of my 2012 summer.  And just so you know, it was a GREAT summer.  One of the best.  And I wasn’t expecting much because my friends in Minneapolis know how to do summer right: alcohol, food, cigars, late nights, loud music, card games, impromptu adventures – just to name a few.  But I was working on a post in June of all the things I had already participated in this summer and I would like to post the list here along with all of the things after June that I got to do as well:

Six Flags/Floating/Car Camping/Kickball/Band/Shakespeare/Mucca Pazza/Twilight Tuesdays/Impromptu Barbeques/KJ Snacks/Monday Night Dinners/Thursday Night Hangouts/Cinco De Mayo/Parties/Sunday Night Movies/Blues Festival/Board Games/Drinking BEER/Hiking/City Museum/Crown Candy/Ice Cream Cake Apologies/Mi Ranchitos/Dressing Up at Gay Bars/Fire Pits/Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of Our Lungs/Going up in the arch with my parents/HEART/Fireworks at the Arch/Wonderful Weddings/Pride Parade/throwing up rainbows/jello shots at 2nd base/Beer-lympics/Brass Manor Olympics/Sassy Brassy Chef/Bacon/Water balloons/road trips/Grandmas/Bottoms Up Blues Gang/Funky Butt Brass Band/BEER SCHOOL/Original 6 Baby Bumps/Chicago (the musical)/Dream Girls/Aladdin/Pappy’s/Time with Family/TIME WITH MATT!!

And I still have the MN State Fair and another wedding with the UofM Friends!!  Great 1st StL summer: Mission Accomplished 🙂

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30 Day Challenge

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1GDCAp/:sAeLELXq:9a3nDh6!/www.highexistence.com/30-challenges-for-30-days/

Starting tomorrow, August 15th, 2012, I would like to attempt this 30 day challenge as found on HighExistence.  My friend Emily posted this on her facebook wall and I think it would be amazing to try.  They have some great ideas which I would like to attempt and document it here, which means part of my 30 day challenge would be posting on this blog again, yay!  I will officially post what I’m going to try and accomplish tomorrow since right now I have about 10 things I REALLY want to do but should (possibly) try to narrow down.  I’d also like to do one just for work, but that one will probably be SUUPAH-BORING (“suupah” being how you would say it if you’re Nicki Minaj) for you, as well as for myself, but it’s something I’d like to accomplish anyway.  The things I’m thinking about right now are:
Crocheting each day: at least 1 row of the blanket I’ve been working on for about a year now

Practice trombone: really want to get back on the horse, just gotta find the time/space/guts

Take a 30 minute walk each day (from the website)

Exercise each day: which if I do the walk, two birds!

Write a “What I like about you” note to someone who is important to me each day (from the website): this will give me the opportunity to do what I’ve wanted to for a VERY LONG TIME because sometimes I’m terrible at telling people how much I love/appreciate them and why

-Read a chapter each day (from the website): I’ve fallen off my book wagon and have to get back on!!

-“Love Thyself” (from the website): I’m a hater who be hatin’ on myself sometimes and it’s got to stop – whoah, s— got real 🙂

-Study a topic to master (from the website): I’d like to get back to studying music and bone up on ear training/theory because I know I’ve lost what little knowledge I had . . .

-Listen to a new/different album each day: man, I totally didn’t accomplish my goals with my ipod challenge, this could help though!

-Write a Novel (from the website): This is something I might wait until November to do, I found a nifty website, not even sure what I’d write about but is on my bucket list to be a published author.  Once upon a time this girl had dreams of being a writer for a living.

As for Work: I don’t really post about work here so I’ll probably just make a list for my desk, again, just boring stuff like voice mail follow ups and trying to take on extra projects.

Another project I would like to work on as well is one for the State Fair:

http://www.mnstatefair.org/art/

It’s a contest for making the next “The Great MN Get Together” ad campaign/poster.  I’m not a professional artist but I do love the MN State Fair: so much so that I’m making a special trip to MN to go hang out with my mom and my brother’s girlfriend on the opening weekend of the fair.  The deadline for submission is October 24th and you have to send in a resume and stuff with examples of your other work, so I’m sure I won’t even be considered, but how will I know if I don’t even try?

Finally, regarding new challenges: I’ve volunteered to do PR stuff for the community band I joined here in StL, Band Together.  The group is getting a new website through Word Press which I might be helping out with here and there, possibly more content stuff than anything, but more importantly getting in contact with local newspapers/radio stations/tv(?) to promote this great group!  I love to do this kind of stuff and why not for a group that I’ve definitely fallen in love with since moving to StL.  I would not have met Kelsey if not for this group and through her many, many, MANY people.  AND it keeps me playing, AND I got to be in the Pride Parade which is the most fun I’ve had at a parade since U of M Marching Band.

I know that I had a “goals” post before but I’ve been making some changes in my life over the past couple months and have done a decent job of keeping up with them.  Either way, just trying is half the battle, wish me luck! 

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Home

Like any good indie music follower, I have adopted “Home” as my love song anthem.  And, oddly enough, I happened to stumble upon some lovely people here in STL that share my sentiments, playing it quite loudly at least five times on Thanksgiving.

I would like to take this opportunity to write a little about St. Louis, my new “home away from home.” My dad, when I was going to school and living on campus at the University of Minnesota, used to differentiate between where I lived and my family’s house in Centerville as “home” and “home-home” respectively. I feel that now, more than ever, I keep these separations as I think about the apartment I share with my bf MC and that pretty little white and red home with the perfect living room that I find myself day-dreaming about.  I’m hoping that my definitions will change in the next coming months.  Already a few things have fallen into place that do make me feel more solidified:

4) I got a job

I work for a bank in the home mortgage department.  I would rather not name this bank because if I do, all I can say is “I LOVE THIS BANK!” or “THIS BANK IS THE BEST!!!” or “MAN, DO I LOVE WORKING FOR THIS BANK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” yeah, I seriously am not going to ride the caps lock for this company (caps lock not required, but it would be for me to portray the ridiculousness of even making these statements.) ANYWAY: Now I have something structured to do with my days and again am contributing to society, yay.

3) I joined a community band

The band I joined I WILL name, which is Band Together.  This group is where I met aforementioned STL-ers that share my love of indie music.  I’ve been looking for a musical group to join starting back in September. I found my first old person band the second week I was in town and hit up the rehearsal that Tuesday.  The key word about this band was OLD.  The members were super friendly, and it was like a small family reunion as I played sitting between Mary-Jo and Larry, which happen to be the names of my aunt and uncle. I also met Tom, Jim, Daniel, and Bob: those of you who know me will understand this best, but those are all names of people in my family, what!?  Crazy.  But they played a lot of Sousa marches and like I said, I don’t think I would be getting a beer with them anytime soon since rehearsal ended at 9pm and it was way past most of their bedtimes 🙂  Honestly, I love all people and some of the craziest, most fun people I know are older/old/ancient 🙂 but it was far away and more than anything the music was not very challenging.

Then!! I got an email back in October from a group that I had contacted in September, Band Together. They were having their Halloween concert on Saturday and if I would like to come see them and then show up to a rehearsal a couple weeks after that, great!  My friend PMc (P-Mac) and I went to see the concert and what did they pull out of nowhere?! The CARMINA BURANA. For you non music nerds, this piece includes “O Fortuna”:I knew then that this was the band for me.  I spoke with the director during the intermission and waved at the trombone section leader at the end of the night. She will be known as KJst(K-Jist), whereas I’m Kj. KJst is by far the coolest person I’ve met in STL and it is because of her and PMc that I have any friends at all in this city.

**ASIDE ON PMc** PMc has been an amazing friend since I’ve gotten here, he’s become my fellow adventurer as I try to explore this town, we walk around Forest Park on “Sunday Strolls” and if I ever need someone to tag along with me to an event or something he’s pretty much always game.  I basically wouldn’t have left my apartment if it hadn’t been for PMc because I hate doing things by myself.  So, thanks PMc, ya shot-calla 🙂

KJst has introduced me to so many people in her crowd and her roommates are great.  The first band rehearsal I attended for Band Together was right before Halloween weekend and she right away invited me to the party her house was hosting, which was a blast.  I believe that we’re very much alike in a lot of ways and I’m glad to have another bonebabe/she-bone my own age to hang out with.  She is part of a short list of amazing females that I have sat next to in band including CY & “Dixie.”  Through KJst I’ve attended a few parties, beer school,Tuba Christmas, and a Foreign Film Festival held by her roommate.  I may even join the kickball team come spring.  The best event, however, was Thanksgiving.  There had to have been over 20 people who attended Thanksgiving at KJst’s place, including some parents. The food was amazing (it was mine and MC’s second Thanksgiving, the other being held by his Arch friends who were still in town) and the company even better. We even went around the table and said what we were thankful for.  Being that it was my first Holiday away from home(home) I thought I would be too homesick to enjoy myself, but as we all chatted and played ultimate charades I realized that in a way we all became family, even if just for one evening.

Who knew Band could do so much? Who has two thumbs and is named Kj? I’M Kj!!

2) I left my heart (appendix, actually) in San Francisco (okay, STL)

So, I know that getting your appendix taken out isn’t the scariest surgery, but it’s the first surgery I’ve ever had (and last I hope!)  I got really sick in October and couldn’t figure out what was wrong, since the Flu shouldn’t hurt and usually doesn’t last a week.  So MC took me to urgent care and I had emergency surgery at 2am. I had appendicitis so bad my appendix, which should be about as big as a large pinky finger, had swollen to the size of a small banana and was PURPLE.  I know this because I asked the surgeon if I could keep it (which was the first question my dad asked me after he knew I was alright) the doctor shook his head, but he would take a picture of it were it turned out to be abnormal. He had just done two appendectomies earlier that week, so he doubted it would warrant photography.  Turned out it did, and I was pretty excited 🙂  I wish I could post it but I wasn’t allowed to keep the picture either.  So, STL became a place of a pretty big “FIRST” in my life, which included smaller firsts, like first time eating hospital food, first really big scar, and first time I went into the doctor without my mom there to hold my hand.  I did get beautiful flowers from my parents and from MC’s parents, and a week later from my UofM friends which was super cool.  But the best part of the surgery was realizing that I could do the big stuff, I could be okay, and that MC is the shiny-knight kind of guy I always knew he was.  And, he can handle the gross stuff, which is important in a relationship (with me.)

I still don’t know if STL will ever really feel like home: I mention that I’m from Minnesota wherever I can and I refuse to call fizzy non-alcoholic drinks anything but POP, but I want it to feel like home, that I belong, and maybe not be so clingy about my “home state” because if there is anything less cool than the winters in MN it’s a sappy lame-o who doesn’t know how to let go.  MN: GIRL PLEASE! Me: Whatevs, I love you . . . (*run away*)

Mom, Dad, Danyo, UofM Friends, Original Six, Snow on Christmas, Minneapolis, Brass Manor(ers), and of course my perfect little living room in my perfect little house in my perfect little town, I dedicate this line to you:

“Oh Home, Let me come home! Home is wherever I’m with you”

Bty:

1) I’ll be the Jane to your Alexander

I referred last post to going through more crap in 3 months with MC than we have in 3 years, and that part of my world view involves retroactive destiny.  If MC had never chosen to go to WashU, where would we be now? If he had been further away, or he had stayed in MN and we moved in too soon together.  This, us being together right here, right now, I know will yield great things, and that being in a new place, separate but together, will help us grow together in a way we may not have in either of our home states.

“Home is when I’m alone with you.”

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Where do I begin?

Being that this is my first blog post in a few years (ah, xanga, those were the days) I guess I will begin with a brief introduction. I am Kj, and I recently moved to St. Louis (STL) to live with my boyfriend MC who is an architecture grad student at WashU. I wanted to make sure I documented my time here, being that I’ve never lived outside the state of MN, or really more than a half hour from my family, with like, the apartment and the job and such. I miss MN terribly, but probably because my whole life was there, and it’s been a tough transition leaving it behind and starting at square one.

Some things I want to touch on with this blog is this relationship that I moved ten hours away for.  MC supports this, especially since he gets to be referred to as “MC” – he’s pretty into hip-hop and club music, buying himself 2 turntables in high school in hopes of learning to scratch 🙂 I feel like he and I have gone through more in the past 3 and a half months than in our whole 3 years together and I’m still trying to figure out what it truly means to be in this journey together. Who knows, if he ever has time he may guest star on the blog 🙂

BUT: I also have some other ambitions. I have a music degree and hope to put it to some good use, even if it is just for hobby purposes. Also, this way I get to combine writing and music, both of which I have always loved. I may even throw in some stuff about books, cooking, and living in my new city. So, bear with me, folks, it’s going to be scattered for awhile.

So, with this adventure, I do wonder where to begin.  I’d like to title my posts with the music going on in my brain, whether it just be my song of the day or connecting to the actual post topic. “Where Do I Begin” is also the title of a song done for the movie “Love Story.”  I found a really great version that was done by Shirley Bassey and remixed by A-Team. If I’ve done this correctly I will have a link to this version on youtube.

Better than the words to this song is the fact that it is a fully orchestrated traditional version remixed that makes me feel like both MC and I are represented. I just hope my appendix being taken out will suffice as a big medical ordeal.  I also ask this question because, unknowingly, MC and I started this journey awhile ago, with a beautiful day in October, a 40 minute conversation, and a date that our friends never thought would happen in a million years. I took a chance, asked him out in the most awkward way imaginable, figured nothing would really come of it, and now I’m in STL. In a way this fits my idea of “retroactive destiny” where you add up the events in your life and see where the decisions you made, or didn’t make, led you to where you are now. This allows for no regrets as I see the things I thought I was missing out on brought me experiences with friends and family I would have never thought possible.

But more importantly, on this adventure, or as I like to say “Ad-ven-CHAR!!” I look to two lines in this song. For now, they ring more true to me than anything. I also hope that it is a comfort to my mom and dad, my brother, and all my friends:

“I reach for his hand, it’s always there . . . and he’ll be there.”

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