Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I wish I knew now what I knew then.....

The common phrase is obviously reversed in my title post, most say I wish I knew then what I know now, but I challenge that today because I think just the opposite....

I kept a journal, pretty religiously from 1998 to 2005ish. Sometimes I look back on say.. high school Andi and read the thoughts and patterns of my brain and I am so in love with that girl. Fearless, lawless, winged, undefined as she was....she knew a lot. This could be a novel of a post, but I am keeping it short. Today I was cleaning a closet in my place because I am renting it out over the weekend to some people from NYC. As I cleared clutter for the incoming designer clothing sure to hang in there soon, I found my study abroad box from Spain. In the box, I found my Spain Journal, mustard yellow leather, tattered thick cream colored unlined pages and a black ribbon tying it together. As I thumbed through in a shy manner 2 pages stuck out to me, and rang so true...these words I wrote in think black ink on July 7th of 2003. I would have been 21 years old to put it in context I was homesick for Texas, and my father had just informed me he was considering a move from our home town of Panhandle where I grew up and knew nothing but... to Montana. (this move eventually came to fruition) I found out of his "better jump ship this bastard is sinking fast" plan while I was living in Spain and after a long rant about the utter disposition of my childhood...this was my finale. Today and since then after moving my belongings some 16 times, to 14 different residences over 5 states in less than 10 years for multiple reasons I love it more today than ever....

"I want to be near my family, If my dad moves, then my mom moves, then who knows where Trent will be and Luke....where will we all end up? Opposite ends of the world, just as we are now? In this moment where I have discovered this information? I mean really just as things are seeming normal, or "kind-of normal" EVERYTHING CHANGES. I guess that is the only true thing I know besides everyone dies, is that things can and will always change, so hold steadfastly onto memories & moments because they disappear into your conscience until one day your body needs to feel them."

Until one day your body needs to feel them? Who is this brilliant 21 year old?! Damn girl come over and have a glass of wine with me tonight......because it just so happens that my body needs to feel some of these very same memories today.

Life is repetition, you will learn, and re-learn the lessons over and over again.  If you are one who tends to log these trends, you will shock the shit out of yourself with your own knowledge drop from time to time. It is enough motivation for me to start a journal again...honestly. Based on the knowledge that my 20 something self is dropping on my 30 year old self, my 40 year old self supremely needs my  30 year old self to write down some of the day to day so I can look back...remember...feel. It will test your true center because you know you are an intelligent being and you continue to ask yourself...."haven't I learned this already" and they answer is YES, you have learned this already but you didn't hear the whole answer because you weren't ready for it. This fact leaves me excited about my life, my future, knowing I know so little about where it will all go, but trusting that this little 21 year old girl had this kind of wisdom, and this 30 year old girl today writing this is full of grit, stories, and open to all of her existence, the past that fumbled her way to this present and naturally will fumble her way into her future....armed with one true thing. Love. I am proud of her and I want it to stay that way.

Much Love,

Monday, April 2, 2012


I have been living in Portland Oregon for a total of 7 months now. In that time, I have only traveled away from here twice. Not really by choice, I had a couple of trips planned to Austin early on but things got in the way and couldn't go. I have only been absent from Portland once for more corporate training in Rochester in January, and again last week for a much needed spring/face-tan/sunny ski trip to Vail with the Wise's minus Mitch, and Jane and Alex Reeser. In this time I have had to fully accept the fact that I no longer live in Texas and for that matter can survive without going back to Austin for a visit every quarter like I had planned. I have adapted to so many changes. I arrived here, and everything I owned didn't....for about 3 months I thought I would never see any of my belongings again. During this perfect shitstorm of moving, my stuff missing in action, Matt starting law school, starting a new job in a new field, Hanz adjusting to a completely new environment I was able to stay focused on the adventure before me and stay pretty positive. My body, after a few stress induced random sick days begun to thrive in the dewy Pac-nor. My animal Hanz....LOVES OREGON, epically going to visit Brent and Debbie and his best friend Lucy a little jack rus in the suburbs, he takes loop after loop around their unfenced backyard. He is also as in love with forest park as I am running like a crazy all over the trails with a big smile on his face here he could run for days, instead of laying down under the town lake bridges begging me to stop. I have been lucky enough to have my Austin bestie Brittany come out and visit, and have had both my mom and dad out to visit as well! All in all it has been a focused immersion on my new life and I am ultimately very happy here. 

However........the word absent keeps creeping it's way into my mind and it's hard to ignore. I have missed out on some BIG events since the move because of my new location and that has me missing home and drivability(not sure if that is a real word) more than ever. I have always been a visual creature, and a visualize my life in stages, places, moments, past and present.... and what I think it will "look" like. I have pictured moments along the way, like being at the hospital the day my best friend has her first child. We met in college, Freshman year and Kristin (Kritter) and I were an instant pair. I was her maid of honor just over a year ago when she married Steve. I missed the birth of her first child!!!!!! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???? When you live so far away, absence is a part of life. You get a text msg from her at 2am saying her water broke and there is nothing you can do to get there....nothing. It was a helpless feeling for me, she didn't "need" me at all but I wanted to be there because I needed to replace all of the made up thoughts of what that day would look like with real memories. I also wanted more than anything to hold that little piece of her on his premier into the world...on day one! Obviously I will get to hold the little guy and hug my best friend in the coming weeks as I have planned a trip to see the Bagwells but missing that day will probably stick with me forever. I have never wanted to be able to teleport more than that morning. It has had me thinking that this will certainly not be the last big event I miss in the lives of the people whom I love and who made me who I am today. I know that each one of them get's it and that is why I have them as friends, I have missed out on their big days to plant the stepping stones for my big days and I guess that is what life is all about for some. I have missed an engagement party I planned, I have missed a road trip with my brothers to see my dad for Christmas, I have missed seeing my brothers on a weekely basis, I have missed watching my friends babies turn into little kids and I have missed day to day happening in the lives of those I am closest to.  For those of us that have an inexhaustible desire for newness, who were raised with a gypsy soul, and are brave enough to take a chance on a future that is uncertain of anything but more changes we will be absent from time to time.

I am sure that someday when I am in the quiet of my little life reflecting  I will be able to see it all so clear, the actual memories in which I was physically present will be blurred with my made up visualizations of moments I missed along the way...and I won't be able to remember what was real and what wasn't. It won't matter because when you are truly there in spirit it really is as if you never left at all.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


"Do yourself a favor" is the slogan of the super food juice bar Kure in Portland. Dude is not joking, do yourself a favor and start eating Acai bowls.  Acai bowls have become a staple in my casa, I seriously have one a day if not for breakfast for a big afternoon snack. I get more excited about making and eating it then I do about going to get fro-yo so that is a big deal. I don't know the calorie count, probably (400 or so) because of all of the fruity nuts and good grains, but it is all power food and has forever changed my breakfast!! I stumbled upon this little discovery, the Acai bowl, when on the search for Portland's answer to Austin's daily juice. I have missed daily juice in ways I cannot express, the "cool hand cuke" was a few days a week treat for me. I would run town lake, and then go to the daily juice on lake Austin blvd, and indulge. Daily Juice always made me feel instantly more energized and happy. Putting good things in the system always does this for me.
Thinking about daily juice reminded me of leaving Austin. I remember the day I left Austin, early in the morning I had my last run around town lake it was like 4am. Running at 4am when you aren't used to early mornings is dangerous. My body wasn't really awake but I needed to say "goodbye" in my own way to Austin and what better way than watching the sun come up running over the ped bridge before sitting in the car on the first leg of my 3 day road trip right? And I knew Hanz would want to take a few finale poo poos and mark all of his favorite spots one last time so we went at it. About 15 seconds into my run, on the mopac bridge just before it turns on the path to the south side I found myself flying in mid air. I don't even remember tripping at all, all I remember is hitting the ground ribs first, almost in "superman" form. It was the most bazaar fall ever. It almost knocked the wind out of me, Hanz's leash yanked at my right hand as he was as startled as I was at the no warning fall. Anyway, I skinned up my knee bruised my ribs pretty badly and got up. I continued on with my farewell trot around town lake. It was a gorgeous morning..and a bitter sweet goodbye. I went back to my then completely packed up apartment, took a bare bones shower. Bare bones meaning usually my shower is filled to the brim with yummy bath stuff, and all I had was the last of a travel size L'OCCITANE citrus verbena shower gel to get the job done. That smell still reminds me of that morning, I started crying in the shower. Not just a little cry but a deep gut a sob, the kind of cry that feels like you just threw up, at first no sound comes out but when it does it scares you. I was worried I was going to wake up my downstairs friend Sarah from the Windsor Gardens. Thin floors made for us sharing a lot of each others day to day life. I was sad to be taking my "last shower" in my pink bathroom, after my last run around tl. I was sad that when I got out of the shower Hanz was just standing in the hallway because he had no where to go lounge. I quickly threw on my some yoga pants a tank and decided to leave before the leaving got any harder. I took a deep breath, walked from room to room, said "thank you" and walked down the back stairs locked the door and drove straight to Daily Juice. I ordered the largest cool hand cuke, and a Mr.Resistor shot. I sat there, on the church pews by the serving window and the sun hit my face as tears rolled steady down each cheek. All of these emotions mixed with the senses, my burning knee, the smells, the light, the color, the sounds of Austin were screeching in my ears. The sound of early mo-pac traffic humming, and birds. I swear the sunlight even had a sound that morning, like thousands of angles. I got my juice, and the girl asked if I was okay with a concerned look. I just smiled and said "I am literally moving away right now, I leave Austin right now and I am so sad" she said  "oh no!! Where are you moving?" I told her Portland. She had this huge grin on her face and she said calmly, "it really doesn't matter where you are, or where you go you will just have to be there instead of here and that is better than nowhere." I almost laughed but didn't even know how to compute what she said. I got in the car and made a note of the knowledge she just dropped. It was such a surreal moment in my life, leaving a place I thought I would never leave for more than a vacation, and  the whole thing reminded me of that scene in Alice in Wonderland....where she meets the Chester cat.

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where…” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

Anyway, I dropped something off at Brittany's house I don't remember but it probably wasn't important but I wanted and needed to say goodbye to her one last time. My last few months in Austin were strewn with goodbyes, saying goodbye is process. That process always has to culminate into a moment though, it is a going, leaving, pulling out.....then gone. 

I honestly thought I would be back to ATX a lot sooner to visit, I haven't been back since that hot August morning so it was time to find my daily juice replacement. After all the name isn't "yearly juice". I have searched all over Portland for a juice bar similar and, while they don't make the cool hand cuke, he didn't have lime or mint on hand the guy at Kure offered to stock the ingredients if I promised to come on any kind of a regular basis. I didn't make any promises it's a little out of the way, but what I took away from Kure juice bar on Belmont changed my life! Seriously. Matt and I rolled up the spot on a cold day after a run in forest park. The guy that owns and runs the juice stand was literally beaming with life! Tan, tall, white teeth, pony tail and super happy. He had a glow about him I don't often see here so I was intrigued. OH, well he had just come back from vacation in Cabo so that was the only answer. And also he eats Acai bowls every single day, and serves them. I now have at least one a day, and make them at home. Amazing.

What's in it:
1 Sambazon Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack-http://www.sambazon.com/product/pure-unsweetened-acai/
2oz organic apple juice
1- banana sliced
3 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup organic hemp/flax seed granola(or any granola)
sprinkle of Cinnamon
sprinkle of wide shaved coconut
sprinkle of sliced almonds
drizzle of local honey or agave nectar
How to make it:
Blend the smoothie pack and apple juice in blender until smooth, pour in bottom of bowl. Next in, granola, then sliced banana and strawberry. (sometimes I blend half of the banana with the acai if I want a creamy texture below), sprinkle fruit with Cinnamon, top with coconut and almonds! Sit and enjoy- you won't regret this super food fantastical breakfast, lunch, dinner, after workout, or instead of fro-yo!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the Texas out of the girl.

These boots, both constructed for entirely different purposes in life side by side tell a lot about how I feel lately. Portland and Austin. I never needed my cowboy boots in Austin the way I need my Hunter boots in Portland though and I am loving this city and the new utility it has brought to my life. More urban, more nature without a doubt, and to be honest I even feel more connected to my intellect here than I have in a while. I have to say though, I miss Texas. I really miss Austin Texas. People are happier there, generally it seems that the streets of Austin are filled with people stoked on life...except in July when the heat causes insane road rage. Other than that people have this general glow of happiness, and it is contagious and I am use to that energy. I am less use to having to muster up the luster on my own! I had not really been able to quantify this exact emotion until recently when a bunch of Austin Texas boys rolled into Portland on the last leg of their first tour. The Wheeler Brothers, if you don't know their music check them out....they have really come a long way in the last year and have a sound all their own, and very cool guys worth supporting! http://wheelerbrothersmusic.com/ Anyway they were in Portland playing a show at a local place on our East side... somewhat comparable to Austin's gentrifying east side in that it is still affordable and where all the rad people live and before I go over there for brunch I have to make sure I have enough of a mis-matched outfit and my nails are funkster enough to not feel self conscious while I am sipping a Sunday morning hair of the dog. Groups of people that walk by look like they are a in a band, together. Each group cooler than the next, slightly coordinated in the colors (various shades of black/brown/grey) but different enough from each other that they clearly bring their own jam to the jam. And the shoes people, the shoes are not the shoes of happy feet! What they are missing most for my taste is sincerity because they appear to be competing for which one has the more miserable look on their face. When the wheeler brothers played at The White Eagle Saloon on a Tuesday night, small crowd they were smiling the whole time, generally happy guys and it translated into the energy of their music, and eventually like pulling teeth into the crowd.

I'm not asking for Portland to start shitting rainbows and burping cotton candy, but pursed lips and and a strong desire not to make friends has got to go. It made me miss home in a way that I hadn't missed it since I moved here! I miss my friends and their friends and the ability to walk onto any patio bar in Austin any day of the week and it was like a group party for everyone! It hit me especially when they wrapped up their show and the band that they opened for came on. WOW stab my eyeballs out and seriously I love birds, and graphics but the dude had a silhouette of a crow on a white T-Shirt and again a miserable look on his face. Don't they know this attitude didn't exactly "work out" for Cobain?

Come to think of it the whole city seems to be in a competition for this prize....."who can I not smile at, give the death stare to for not stopping at the pace I'd perfer a stop to take place, and let me walk across the middle of a street, disregarding the thought of "jaywalking" being illegal... with the Heisman hand out and walking as slowww as possible..." I get this all the time here, the Heisman, boom...STOP....YOUR CAR .....I AM WALKING NOW. And I want to say, "are you serious buddy?" I also want to scream "do you think this will hurt me or you more when my gigantic black SUV with Texas plates hits you for being dum. Yes I am from Texas, no George Bush is not from Texas he is from Connecticut and this isn't Europe!!!! "  To add to that if you are even at a small roll, keeping their safety in mind but barely rolling you get an entire new look. I call it the "cockface" but it could also be described as the "look up down"...where a middle age man, decently dressed or whatever decides it's his turn to cross so- hand goes up and he proceeds never making eye contact with you but nose slightly in the air, but eyes right on the hood of my car so he thinks I don't think he is looking and worried. Also to fully pull off cockface he must have a closed mouth a gaggly frown with a double chin that ordinarily wouldn't be there but he is straining so hard to produce eyes on the sides and back of his head that it causes his center of gravity from the neck up to shift about 3 to 4 inches back. Take the worse iPhone face you have ever seen and multiply it times whatever number makes you feel powerless and angry all at once, and this is the face. What women do in these same instances is an entire blog on it's own so I can't even go there. In these moments I find it hard not to just give them a little nudge with my car. Not to hurt them but just to cause a reaction and see if they have teeth! Because of the insane amount of peds in Portland, and the bad looks I was getting for the size of my car with just myself and Hanz in it I actually traded in my gigantic black SUV for a more fuel efficient car. And while I love the new whip I am silently angry this attitude and city already has me conforming. Truthfully, I didn't need the big damn thing and the gas mileage was eating my lunch so I guess they are right, but it doesn't always sit well  with me, you know "being wrong".
And so it is Austin is cool, cool places to go the coolest nicest people ever, but it's not REALLY that pretty of a place. I mean Texas people let's be real for a second yellow is the new green, and the only reason you don't always notice the fact that the ground is the color of poo poo and pee pee is because you are probably always looking up at the bight blue sky to avoid noticing. That is what I did.
This post will come together soon I promise... interlude........
The place where I do see people smiling and full of life is in Forest Park, surround by so much O2 you feel high and could run for a year it's so much fun and the beauty of nature here is so distracting. Portland gets an A+ for positive vibes of that place. On the day to day, at work or out and about I have decided to combat this NW attitude, to do this I will just ham up my Texas. This may require drinking wine for breakfast, or something more extreme like renting out some billboard space for portraits of the highway men, or maybe one of those little stickers for my car that is a Texas flag and says HOME...I need one of those.  Whatever it takes I will get back to my roots and take it to Panhandle from time to time. Matt called me out on it this weekend, we were giving directions to a guy, and as we departed I yelled "beautiful day to walk"....but it sounded more like "buuuuuyyuuutaaafuull dAAyy to waak".  I am determined to keep my Texas energy and friendliness a part of my day to day, even if I have replaced my cowboy boots for rain boots, they won't get me down!!!! Maybe next time I get a "cockface Heisman" combo, they will just get a "Beautiful day to walk, sir" and a big Texas smile.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am cheating on Austin. A love affair with two cities.

A  question I have been asked over the years from many people when in the depths of a relationship talk is "can you love more than one person at one time" like love..love. I have always believed in the enormous capacity of love, I have been known to say that I fall in love with everything around me. EveryTHING that is not everyone. I finally figured out...that I am telling myself I have that capacity to be positive about unfavorable places I have ended up or circumstances of my decisions in the past that landed me in an uncomfortable life position. It is possible to love many people, to be IN LOVE with a person is much more limited once you really give your entire focus to that person. To clarify I don't believe that someone can truly be in love with more than one person at a time. I have known this for a while now but so much of a relationship can be the place where that relationship exists, if both people in the relationship are driven by the environment in which they live. For me, making the decision to leave a place I loved and vowed to never leave, for a person I love even more was easy. The process of saying farewell to Ausitn was gut wrenching. But I have arrived, and my heart is in Portland physically, but now here is the issue. EVERYWHERE I GO people draw comparisons to Austin, so it is kind of like running into an ex over and over. So, I have embraced the concept that I CAN LOVE MORE THAN ONE CITY!!! Thus the birth of my blog Texlandia.

I will have to start with some "back file conversion" on my last 6 months in Portland and the next several posts will consist of August through now. I've been meaning to get this thing started as I find myself in a hilarious social experiment with starting over socially and professionally in possibly the quirkiest place I could have ended up.

Shortly after making the decision to move out here someone wrote on my fb wall, "wait, people leave Austin?" and here I often get that starry eyed look from local Portlanders "ohhh you're from Austin?! I've been trying to get a job so I can save money to move there", or "Why would you come here from there", or "Oh I hear Austin and Portland are a lot alike". Because of my obsession with Austin Texas, seriously I was obsessed with my life there I agreed with these statements and sometimes felt sorry for myself. Like this article for example, http://austin.culturemap.com/newsdetail/07-01-11-00-20-austins-best-of-best-of-list/. Then I would look around at this beautiful place or right behind me at the gorgeous view from my living room and and wonder, "do they not see what I see?"  To me, right now the only true commonality I have found between the two cities is that they are both amazing places to live and to have the love of my life Matt and my rad dog Hanz to share my days with. Oh, and they both have awesome food carts. For now I am two timing like a seventh grader, and I have chosen to be in love with both of them at the same time.

Maybe through this adventure of starting over in a new place from scratch at 30 years old, I will get to the bottom of all of the comparisons to find out which city will reign superior in my heart. Maybe I won't and It will just be babble from a room with a view..eitherway I hope you enjoy.

Much Love