A journey unlike any other.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Well, friends... I made it.

just a small town girl is now living, and loving, in Las Vegas.

Things have been pretty hectic since I arrived last Wednesday and I've been hankering to get online and visit your blogs, not to mention work on my own, but haven't really found my footing just yet... It's hard to find the right words to wrap around this new and exciting, and scary, experience... The trip here was lovely and my best friend and I had a great time making it together. There were only a couple of moments where I was driving, looking out at the great vastness of the desert and thinking maybe I should just turn this trailer around. (Of course, some of these emotions can probably be blamed on the Tori Amos CDs I hadn't listened to since college.) I am also happy to report there has been only one sobbing phone call to my mother. So, all in all, I would say that I've done pretty well.

So, instead of writing about the trip here, and about what my friend Todd calls the biggest gamble I've ever made in Vegas, I would love to tell the story of my crazy journey in pictures.

*A special thank you to Carina for a) loving me enough to take this crazy trip with me and b) taking many of these beautiful photographs. **A special thank you to all of you for your lovely and supportive comments. It means so much more to me than you know.

"... you can dance right through your life."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It is now day two out of three in my road trip to my new home, Las Vegas. The last several days have been crazy, happy, emotional and very, very busy. Leaving Seattle was both harder and a little easier than I had been anticipating, but where I'm going... feels unknown. Maybe it's just that I haven't quite processed what a big change is taking place in my life, but when my best friend and I crossed into the state of Nevada, I felt what can only be described as stunned.

{Please don't get me wrong, I am really excited for this next chapter and can't wait to see my feller tomorrow, but am going through the emotions of grieving all that I'm leaving behind.)

I guess, more than anything, I'm experiencing some growing pains. You think these pains are limited to your youth, but I've realized recently that we feel these pains throughout our lives... as we say goodbye to what has been, to make room for what will be.

I'm scared, I really am, but I also feel really brave. You know what? I like feeling this way.

The title to this post comes from a line in the Flashdance theme. If you saw the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, you heard the amazing and touching cover of it by my newest obsession: Hollywood Mon Amour. I've been listening to this song over and over... What a feeling, indeed...

Here's to the fear and the excitement of the unknown... To the things you have to do, the choices you have to make, no matter how hard they are, to discover where your life will take you.

"All my bags are packed..."

Friday, May 22, 2009

"... I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye"

Hello, hello! Whew... the last few days have been busy, busy, busy. I am in the middle of (well, hopefully closer to the end) packing for my big move. My mom has been here the past few days and she's been helping me get organized. It's been more help than I can even say. As a little thank you, although it's certainly not nearly enough, I surprised her tonight with a trip to get pedicures and she followed that by taking me out to a delicious crepe dinner. It's really been a great night. I'm so lucky to have a mother I can talk to and laugh with. I am really, really going to miss living close to her.

As my move gets closer and closer, I find myself going through a multitude of emotions. I know it will be hard to say goodbye to my friends and family (even though I'll be back all the time) and I have had some really sad and emotional moments. Tuesday night, for example, was tough. However, as more boxes get filled and taped up, I find myself getting more and more excited. Tomorrow my best friend, Carina, takes the train here from Portland and on Monday we're off on our road trip to Vegas. It should be great bff bonding time (hopefully it won't too closely resemble Oprah and Gayle's road trip, however, where Oprah was incredibly grumpy throughout the trip and had to wear ear plugs to block out her best friend's terrible singing).

So, unfortunately, for the next couple of days I won't have as much time to visit all your lovely blogs, but I can't wait to very, very soon. What are you doing on this lovely, long weekend?

{image via Elle Moss - I found her art here and here today and am completely obsessed.}

5 o'clock dance hour
{Everybody Dance Now}

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

As a nanny, the 5 o'clock dance hour is something I strongly enforce. People with little children, or those who care for them, know this is a tough hour. They call it the witching hour because children tend to be a little stir-crazy at this time and can drive you, well, straight up b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

So, I came up with the dance hour. (Typically the children have no pants on at this time. Is that weird? Re-reading it, yes, I think maybe it is weird. Let me explain. We're typically just post-nap and the jeans haven't been put back on quite yet, but yes - there are diapers and/or undies on, thank you very much.) Tonight, I was watching all three of my nephews and I decided to put on a little dance for them. (Hmmm... this post just gets weirder and weirder.)

You see, I told my boyfriend, Jenner, a few months ago that my dance class performed a dance to C+C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" in the 8th grade and I was, ahem, placed front and center. It's one of my little claims to fame, especially considering my wobbly ankles and all around lack of balance. (I also do a mean number to Prince's "Batdance.") Anyway, my boyfriend has asked me to show him this dance on multiple occasions and I keep stalling. "I need to practice a little more first, mister." Well, over the weekend, my lovely friend Tesia reminded me of the night in Namibia that I very drunkenly performed this for everyone. In her words, "You owned it that night." (Thank you, Tesia. I love you.) You know what? She's right. Take a look for yourself...

Here is a little picture of me performing that night - almost 10 years ago.

I should add that we had just finished two weeks
of a rural African homestay. It was amazing and life changing...
and, it would seem, called for C+C Music Factory. Odd, but true.

The memory made me realize this dance needs to be resurrected. So, I downloaded the song from iTunes and have been practicing. Well, I practiced twice... in front of my nephews. (I should add that I can only remember about 20 seconds of the dance. So, combined, I've practiced for 40 seconds now.) Tonight, during our evening dance hour, I said, "Everyone who wants to see Auntie dance, sit down." The two older boys sat in excited anticipation and the toddler stared at me blankly. Let me tell you, and let me tell Tesia, I owned it. I think the boys are still giggling. They then went through the house screaming different variations of "Everybody Dance Now." (Flynn, who is going through a booty phase, decided to scream, "Everybody Bum Bum.")

Then we changed the music to a household favorite, Madonna, and just got down. Here are a few pics. I hope they inspire you to start your own nightly dance hour. (Oh, and Jenner, I'll be there in 8 days and I'll have my dancing shoes on. Get ready.)

Max showing off his moves and Flynn shaking his booty.

Warning: Dance Hour can be exhausting.

PS) Tomorrow is my last day as the nanny to my nephews. I have mixed emotions about this and, I'm sure, will be holding back the tears. Not every aunt has the opportunity to have such a hand in raising their nieces and nephews. It has been a great ride and an amazing privilege.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's true. I had the best weekend ever.

On Friday night, I suggested that my roomie and I go kayaking. I used to live in the most lovely little apartment on the lake and I would sit on the deck over the water and daydream about kayaking, but I never got around to it. (Yes, I've kayaked in Mexico, but I've usually just gotten off of some kind of booze cruise. Just a little different... just a little.) It was a gorgeous Seattle night and the experience was everything I hoped it would be... and more.

My roomie snuck beer on the kayak.

(I clearly hated the idea.)

On Saturday, I woke up and went to see a friend I haven't, unfortunately, spent enough time with in the last few years, Philemon. He works at Nordstrom and gave me a facial and did my makeup. It was such a treat, but the best part was being with him. He is, quite possibly, the funniest and most unique person on the planet. I had forgotten how much he makes me laugh. He told all the people standing around that I'm moving to Vegas to become a showgirl. Um, thanks. When I tried to protest, he said very seriously and quietly, "She's shy... so sweet though. You'd never think she'd be a showgirl." Oh, Philemon. You're so much fun.

Then I headed over to one of my favorite places in the world, the Seatac Marriott. Anyone who lives in Seattle thinks this is very, very weird. Seatac isn't even Seattle. It's the suburbs and basically the airport. Enough said, right? Wrong. I used to go to this hotel when I was a little girl with my parents. It has an amazing lagoon-style pool in an atrium decked out with white lights. As soon as you enter the pool area, you have no idea where you are anymore. Are we in Hawaii? Bora Bora? Thailand? (Nope, we're practically at the airport, but I won't tell if you won't.) Several years ago, I went for the first time as an adult and the moment I stepped inside, I was transported to my childhood. So, I have little parties here every once in a while and everyone balks at the idea... until they come for the first time. Then I can't keep them away. Needless to say, I've converted many people to become believers in, and patrons of, the Seatac Marriott. I've even taken myself there alone for a night. I can't afford to fly to Hawaii right now, but maybe I could go to the Marriott and just pretend. What can I say? It's my happy place.

(This picture really doesn't do it justice. You have to see it at night.)

I may have gotten a bit off topic... On Saturday night, I had a little going away party at my happy place. I had family there staying in nearby hotel rooms and friends trickled in and out. There were drinks and snacks, music and hours of swimming. It was perfect.

I swear, the children in my family are getting cuter
and cuter by the day. See for yourself:

Inside the atrium, and right outside the rooms, it looks like
somewhere the Brady Bunch would have vacationed.

I'm really going to miss that Todd:

(I actually didn't do as much drinking as these
pictures would imply, but I like to ham it up for the photos...!)

Time to hop in the pool:

The whole time I felt what I hope everyone felt over the weekend: happy and loved.