Wednesday, December 31, 2014

True Colors

It's funny how people (me) feel like they have to wrap up a whole year on a blog or on Facebook or Twitter in order to start one fresh, as if they have to wrap up all the lovely things from 2014 in order to present lovelier selves in 2015...as if to get closer to the perfect soul mate or perfect job or perfect happiness or more perfect version of his/her (my)self, a more perfect version of the world. Perfect, no. But colorful, hopefully.

As I was gathering the photos for this third annual Year of Light in photographs (you can read about some terrific chili metaphors from 2012's Year of Light here and the "You only live once"-themed 2013 post here), I thought about how, with each colored second of the year, we realize the vast but swift and kaleidoscopic nature of time, but we also forget to be grateful for and loving toward the chromaticity of each and every personality in the world. And, at this time of year, I also remember that one can't have colored seconds without light and you can't have light without darkness. But even in the darkness, we know the color is there. And, alas! The canvas is wiped clean each day, amIright!

Cheers to remembering, thanking God for, and sharing the not-always-perfect, technicolor moments and people in your life. Here are some colorful moments of mine from 2014. I hope you had a bright, if not more psychedelic, year!



JANUARY

Who: Handsomer Jaws
Where: Sokol Underground
Notable color: the vibrant magenta of solid, wickedly 
well-written music and friendship (The writers being that of 
Handsomer Jaws (music) and God (life), if you know what I mean)


Photo courtesy of Jessica
Who: Jessica
Where: Mavericks hockey game
Notable color(s): earthy greens and browns that define 
down-to-earth, kindred spirited, giggly friendship, where both 
parties love standing up and cheering for the most awesome of sports



FEBRUARY

Who: The love of my parents
Where: My place of work
Notable color: The black typography of happy, 
encouraging, brilliant all caps, for when one 
finally gets her Master's degree in the mail

Photo courtesy of Leah
Who: Old friends and new
Where: Winter Park, CO
Notable color: The powdery white of the masterful combination 
of the majestic mountain and purely good times



MARCH

Who: Chad, a friend from college
Where: Facebook timeline
Notable color: A deep red that can signify 
much love for a friend in need of prayers

Who: Me, hanging with myself
Where: Indigo Bridge Books
Notable color: The cream-colored graininess of homemade paper 
made to house words of wisdom and hung for all to read 
and read again



APRIL

Who: The creators and designers at ustwo, who dreamed up 
Monument Valleyone of the best-designed interactive stories with 
which I've ever interacted (It's funny that an app can be so 
relatable and educational. Who would have thought?)
Where: My iPhone 4
Notable color: The child-like purple that surrounds a 
journey to self-discovery, artful storytelling, and freedom. 
Check it out.

Who: Easter eggs of 2014
Where: At my parent's home - always my home, too
Notable color: The bright yellow that reminds me of how little 
I was when my Mom and I first started this Easter tradition. 
Also, the brightness of hope and salvation all year long



MAY, part une

Who: Jenny
Where: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Notable color(s): The classic blacks and whites momentizing 
(I made that word up just now) two classy girls, 
whose friendship has, thank the Lord, emerged in the 
last few years to reveal two minds that can so often read each 
other, it's amazeballs

Who: Stephanie, running in the Lincoln Marathon
Where: Lincoln marathon tracker, my computer
Notable color: The electric green of achievement after 
completing 26 miles! I'm still amazed by all my friends that were able to 
complete the half and full marathon. Way to go - you know who you are!



MAY, part deux

Who: A bottle of mango and orange juice from Pret A Manger
Where: Downtown Chicago
Notable color: The fuzzy-filtered, glowy orange of 
being welcomed back to a beloved city to see my favorite band with friends,
 revisit my favorite pieces in the Art Institute, and hug dearly missed grad school friends; 
a reminder of how one can become a little more chill when 
they welcome an open mind and open heart in the big city and elsewhere

Who: The Y Guy
Where: Cooper YMCA, Lincoln, NE
Notable color: The bright red of my cheeks that match these 
shoes when I wear the accompanying mascot (sweat) suit to prance around 
and get kicked and punched by 6-year-olds 
(in a very hilarious, non-painful way)



JUNE

Who: Grandpa
Where: Perkins Pavilion, Hastings, NE
Notable color: The hopeful taupe of rehabilitation and 
a sense of humor after enduring a series of seizures and the 
coming days of transitioning into a nursing home

Who: Harry Styles figurine
Where: My freezer
Notable color: The chocolate brown of Harry's swoon-worthy, plastic locks 
of flowing hair just before he gave me the cold shoulder after this 
photo, because someone hid him in my freezer, and I didn't find him for weeks. 
I have since forgiven him for his coolness.


JULY

Who: Collin and Lisa
Where: Outside of Gothenburg, NE
Notable color: The cranberry purple-red of our fun-colored 20s, 
and the color of the porta-potties that symbolizes the laughter and shenanigans 
of this night. In other news, JASON AND ERIN ARE MARRIED!

Who: The L7 Weenies
Where: Union College 49ers Fields
Notable color: The peachy-rose hues of the sunset on a balmy summer night, 
after playing softball with friends. For more on the one game we won, read here.



AUGUST

Who: My name in a published book
Where: The University of Nebraska Press
Notable color: The orange cover of The Wheeling Year by Ted Kooser, 
one of the authors we work with and one who I greatly admire. It was a little surreal 
and very exciting to typeset one of his books full of innovative and lovely 
home-grown poetry. I have also made some wonderful friends at this place of work.

Who: Dirt track racecar drivers
Where: Junction Motor Speedway, McCool Junction, NE
Notable color: The green-brown of the flying dirt coming off the dirt track, 
a place where I got to witness the gear-head culture and jokey, 
hard-working, good-natured banter that surrounds the racetrack. 
A hobby my Dad has been in love with since I was 5



SEPTEMBER

Who: Nebraska sky
Where: Lincoln, NE
Notable color(s): tipsy pastel pinks, oranges, and blue on a cool night just as 
the summer is folding into fall; the first time I look up at the Lincoln 
skyline and realize how much the city has surprised me this year

Who: My brother's miniatures
Where: My brother's house
Notable color(s): The classic, kind primary colors of my 
brother's steady painter's hand and unfailing work ethic



OCTOBER, part une

Who: Collin, Timothy, and Ali
Where: Blue Sushi Saki Grill, Lincoln, NE
Notable color: The burnt orange-red of the net that caught all of our sushi; 
walrus friends + sushi nights = boatloads of fun

Who: My Mom
Where: Helgoth's Pumpkin Patch, St. Libori, NE
Notable color: The golden corn yellow of the warmth and fun that 
is our Mother-daughterness. This day involved sliding together 
down the giant slide, hitting our bums hard the ground below, 
and laughing just as hard like little girls who are best friends.



OCTOBER, part deux

Who: Adam
Where: The Railyard, Lincoln, NE
Notable color: Kansas City Royals blue. Even though they lost, 
sports will always be integral to the human race. Also, friendship lives on.

Who: Renni and another Adam
Where: Carol Joy Holling Camp on Halloween
Notable color: The forever purple aura that surrounds my 
friend and former co-worker, Renni. Brony is awesome, too.


NOVEMBER

Who: Sisters, sisters. Never were there such devoted sisters
Where: Weller Auditorium, Concordia University
Notable color(s): There are so many colors that define the brightness 
and beauty of these sisters. Also, my best friend is beaming there on the left, 
and she is the closest thing to a sister that I have.

 Who: My apartment
Where: Lincoln, NE
Notable color(s): The crisp reds, oranges, and yellows hugging the 
outside of the place I've lived for over a year now. I've grown quite attached 
to it and its character, while many similarly warm 
events have taken place inside.


DECEMBER, part une

Who: College galpals
Where: St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, NE
Notable color(s): The many colors of friendship (Remember that Disney Channel Original Movie?!) 
and laughter that has surrounded our times together.

Who: Scooby-Doo cupcake
Where: My place
Notable color: Scooby-Doo brown, a reminder of the polite little boy who gave me a 
cupcake for helping him during his birthday party at the Y climbing wall. 
He loves Scooby, and so do I. There is hope for the future yet.



DECEMBER, part deux

Who: Friends
Where: My apartment during a Super Chill Christmas Party
Notable color(s): The funny brown tints of irony, because this party 
was extremely fun, but everyone in this photo looks extremely bored.

Who: My Goddaughter, Ashlynn
Where: My parents' house, Christmas day
Notable color(s): The complimentary reds and greens of giggles and of 
Christmastime family love and togetherness, despite a few curve balls this year.

-----

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as  snow 
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like  wool ." 
- Isaiah 1:18


HAPPY  NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pep talk: If your heart be flyin'

Our hearts do not actually hold the shape of a heart. They don't actually fly away from us. They don't actually break into a million pieces after we've been broken. Beats might flutter, but the organ certainly doesn't. Then why do we feel things from the heart? Why has the heart shape become a symbol of love? Why not a star or a spleen or a hand? Okay, definitely not a spleen. And okay, I guess the blood pumps faster from, go figure, the heart, when our body reacts to certain surprising or exciting hiccups in the universe.


But alas, since when does it have to "break?" Since some throw-up-in-your-mouth-a-little-bit poet decided it should be so? Here's my proposal: stop saying the heart is breaking. Start saying the heart is still beating. If it's still flying, it's still beating.

I know. The ambiguity of this post is killing me, too, but the beat goes on. *laughs*



Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
- Psalm 37:4

Monday, October 6, 2014

Endorphin Ditty

I'm the coach of a coed softball team, and WE WON TODAY! I also get to play on the team, which gives me all the feels, but in a very non-sappy, intensely awe-struck way -- Do you ever think about the pieces of sports? The good vibrations of the pieces, like sticks and spheres, white bags and soles; the sail and stretch of the body across the earth. The unlimited limits of our bodies' humility on a field, court, floor, track, road, alleyway, driveway, diamond, backyard.

Anyway, this little ditty was written a while back, but it applies to the shape of my mood, one that showers me with good endorphins. Fresh and clean, now. And here they are in writing.

I cannot fully describe to you the reflex mode I succumb to, the diamond-shaped, dirt zone I am in, the agility-perceptive-super power I feel when I play softball. When I meet the ball with a big stick, sending it sailing. When I see people doing the same and grinning about it. When I run in a circle touching white bags with my toes. When I stop a neon light of a ball with my whole body. When I tear up the whole of my left shin, putting it under risk of such scraping, stinging, needling pain - gravel biting under the skin - because I'm so intensely ready, even wanting, to slice into third base with my leg, to feel alive at the birth of pain, to be safe. I am so blissfully happy, scrappy, playing softball. Gazing at my friends, spitting out encouragements like it's my dream job. A part of who I am resurfaces, and who better to share it with than good friends? And we won. Thank you God for coed softball.

SPORTS!! Get out and do stuff.

Love,
Lindsey

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

flip flop, hip hop, drip drop, clip clop

I have truly failed this writing-every-Tuesday thing. I mean, it's Wednesday, and it's been weeks and weeks. But I'm still here! (existential shout out)

Speaking of shout outs, I've been thinking a lot recently, actually for quite a few years - since I began studying art and writing about art, really - about the performative nature of us humans. Stick with me here. I'll try not to go all crazy philosoraptor on you. Just a few thoughts about Shia LeBeouf, metamodernist, from Lindsey, Christian and existentialist.

I'm really into pop culture, particularly the phenomena of mainstream and celebrity and how the two relate to the world. And you probably already know about Shia LeBeouf and his seemingly bombastic plagiarism-apology stunts via paper bags and skywriting and performance art. There's also a guide to the apparent decline of Shia Labeouf if you want full Huffpost coverage of how he went from Louis to loony, so they say.

Obviously, the interweb has been TOW UP about all of this, with reactions from the idiotic-at-best Perez Hilton website - Shia LaBeouf's #IAMSORRY Performance Art Was Infiltrated By Some Dude With A Camera & The Result Is As Awkward As A Penis Cam!! - to Fox News declaring him "super strange" to Buzzfeed stating the obvious: how awkward this all has gotten. And us, deciding if it (and his performance art, or whatever) is meaningless, just plain silly or the topic of mind-shaping, regular conversation.

First, let's explore this metamodernist business. Some of my favorites in cinema and television are dubbed metamodernist. Wes Anderson; Dan Harmon (writer/creator of Community, you may have heard of it); and Comedy Bang! Bang! So keep those in mind as we move into what the heck metamodernism means. According to Metamodernist Manifesto by Shia Labeouf, we move forward to knowledge and understanding of, well, life through the oscillation between wanting universal truths and knowing there is subjectivity that sways between hope and doubt, building and deconstruction, and, in my opinion, a person and their actions and a person and their intentions. As Shia supposedly puts it, the movement between the two positions propels the world into action. What this action is I don't know, and it's probably subjective, ha. So many people think his recent behavior is just weird. I think it's brilliant because of the educational stir it's created.

Here's one question: why is weird so weird, and is it weirder when an actor or artist does it so visibly? Weird is relatively "different" than the norm, but this depends on what your normal reality is. I mean, Miley's reality is totally different than yours, I'm hoping. I find it weirder when what's weird is instantaneously decided by bias (*cough* the media) or ignorance and/or lack of knowledge. I'm guilty of submitting to all three.

A few days ago, James Franco stepped in with an op-ed in the New York Times about Shia's recent performance art exhibit. He made a few interesting points.

Though Mr. LaBeouf apologized on Twitter, conceding that he had "neglected to follow proper accreditation," it turned out that the apology itself appropriated someone else's writing. Was that clever or pathological?
[...]
Any artist, regardless of his field, can experience distance between his true self and his public persona. But because film actors typically experience fame in greater measure, our personas can feel at the mercy of forces far beyond our control.

It might sound a little like a whine or a plea for empathy, but who would we be if we didn't try to understand? I suppose you wouldn't be metamodernist, but I guess you might not be empathetic, which is so often a prominent characteristic of idiocy. And here's where peeps are like, "WTF Lindsey. These people are ACTORS. They make MILLIONS of dollars. They CHOOSE to be in the public eye. Why should we care about their woes or apologies or performance art when they have MILLIONS and go to A-list parties and get a front row seat at the best shows and GET ARRESTED OR PLAGIARIZE WITHOUT LOSING THEIR CAREER and drink booze and party with Meryl Streep?

All valid points. But I can't help thinking, each night before I fall asleep, that every human being also has to fall asleep and feel the weight of their day, flicker open their eyes and get ready for work the next day - put on a face and hunker down to make a living. Not to say that there isn't a divide in how easy it might be to fall asleep in the comfort of one's own cash, but there's always a price. You've heard this, but you know it's true! My dad always says, "everybody sleeps."

Existentialism rears it's little head and tells us about the philosophy that begins with not just the thinking subject but the HUMAN subject, an acting, feeling, living human that needs sleep. Maybe Shia needs some sleep.

No, I don't know Shia LaBeouf the human, but I might know a little about Shia the thinking subject (in public sight), if only for his comic genius on Even Stevens and his transition to adult(film)hood in Nymphomaniac.

Maybe all this existential questioning and metamodernism pressure is really starting to visibly (it's always been there, just a little less visible) cave in on our culture via the dastardly interweb, where the young and lime lit have one or more of many things befall them. A few being:

1. The opportunity to write a New York frickin' Times article of concern about a fellow actors performance art and/or Hollywood mental breakdown.
2. A need for sexual/drug-related/other-things-related rebellion to make their public images completely bonkers so everyone knows they are living outside the box (literally and figuratively).
3. A loss of all mental capacity due to stalkers that take lots of pictures.
4. Punching people that stalk you everyday so people can continue to criticize your every move at the supermarket.
5. Performance art.

Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d'etre. Believe me, this game of peek-a-boo can be very addictive.

Mr. LaBeouf has been acting since he was a child, and often an actor's need to tear down the public creation that constrains him occurs during the transition from young man to adult. I think Mr. LaBeouf's project, if it is a project, is a worthy one. I just hope that he is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist.

Not to lift up Shia or James or the New York Times, for that matter, but it really gets me to thinking about how I relate this back to that thing I mentioned earlier, my experience of the world and how I interact with it. I critique things everyday by way of acting. Not in the same way. I use multiple devices to cover up the touchy-feelies or my reactions to criticism. I'm probably using some of them right now as I type this. You've felt like a performer, right? Like at prom when you were forced to wear a dress and cakey makeup or wear a suit that made you sweat bullets on the dance floor, making the gym smell like...gym. No? Well, consider what equates to the media in your life. What gets you all filtered up?

And now you're like, Lindsey, just let it go. I'm just writing, boo. We'll never know it all, what with the wish-wash of this metamodernism. And we want to know and be known, an existentialist, an individual. We want to be heard and loved while our minds are twisted to and fro. And I'm saying now, if Shia the plagiarist or you, neither greater or less than anyone else, walked into this room, I wouldn't discount the person if s/he needed love. Call me crazy, but you and I know that humanity is what's really tow up. That doesn't mean that philosoraptor here can't say all the haters need a chill pill. And some universal truth:

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32

LOVE.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Teaser: Potatoes (it's weirder than last week)


There are some things I wish it was okay to say to the person you want to date but can't because it's just, you can't. Like talk some sort of gibberish about potatoes but still be on the same page and not appear weird and not appear obsessed with something like potatoes. Here's a monologue I've had with myself and my ideal potato-lover.

Do you like potatoes? I think potatoes are sexy and yum. Let's eat potatoes. I was driving, flying home from work today, thinking about buying grape tomatoes. Do you ever dream that you're on a boat, flying through cornfields? I really want to kiss you in a cornfield, but nothing rhymes with cornfield. So, sorry, we can't do that, because I can't write a poem about it. I should stop writing poetry then. Just kidding, I made you laugh. We can just settle for my back porch, because I have a hobbit door back there. We can laugh about it and pretend to be hobbits and miss those days when it was okay to pretend to be hobbits. Do you ever feel so small that you could slip right through the crack of my window where the cold air comes in? It freezes you before you make it here. Maybe that's not going to work. I don't want you to feel small. You're the biggest thing in the world to me right now, and I don't care that you can't fit through by back door. No, you're not fat. You're heart is SO FAT. Does my dirty cornflower blond hair bother you? Do you want it to be brighter, cleaner, softer, leaner? I can make that happen. Remember when you called that one time you didn't know how to write something important down? I was twirling my hair the whole time. I hope you wrote something down. Don't feel down. Get you a pick-me-up. Pick me up with your biceps, that'd be magical, don't you think? Your smarty girl, artsy, trying-to-be-hipster. What if I were to ever call you mister? Would that bother you, because people have these weird complexes where they don't want to be treated proper but instead in a more creative but sometimes toxic way. Kind of how the notion of the original hipster has been so tainted. I don't want that. And here you're letting me talk to myself without listening. As if you were listening to music you only think and say you listen to. Let's listen to Drake. He sings about good girls. Do you think he means it? I fancy myself one of them, in the world, doing good, being a girl. But only fancy. Don't be fancy. Let's go home and grow in the dirt.

Somehow, today's bit was inspired by Ted Kooser's "New Potato" as well as Drake. Ask me how and why they relate sometime, and I'll make something up, because I have no idea. But there's nobody here to tell me it's ridiculous or this is ridiculous. But if you're answering, I'm listening, you sexy potato, you.

This is just one of the leathery eggs
the scuffed-up, dirty turtle of the moon
buried early in spring, her eyes like stars
fixed on the future, and, inside its red skin,
whiteness, like all of the moons to come,
and marvelous, buttered with light.
- from Ted Kooser's Valentines

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pterodactyl Tuesday

I've decided that I'm going to start writing on Tuesdays, unleash my creative juices into this blog. That sounds weird doesn't it? I won't release juices. How about we say, rather, that I'm opening my palms, letting the creative meat flow from my fingers, onto the keyboard, and into this space. Okay, I'll work on metaphors...see why I need to start writing regularly again? Juice and meat metaphors.

What do I call this special, weird Tuesday? Tantalizing, twisted, tactual, telling, teeming...tilapia? I can't think of anything not stupid.

Tentative Tuesday.

Terminal Tuesday. No.

Textual Tuesday? That's dumb.

It could be Tipsy Tuesday.

Tolerable Tuesday.

What would happen if we named it Pterodactyl Tuesday...because, did you know? That word is derived from the Greek word "teron," which means "wing" and "daktylos" which refers to the way the wing is supported by a large finger. Yeah that's awkward, maybe, but it makes me think of how my fingers have wings when I'm writing all this junk. And, since I rarely make complete sense of these definition-blogs, it's okay that the P conflicts with the T in the alliteration. If you have other suggestions, I'm open to them.


This comic is from Drew over at Left-Handed Toons


Here's a first writing installment for this Tuesday series.

Blink 182

You blinked at me 182 times
I counted, because that's what
I learned to do at some point
count actions, count joints

You looked at my lips 17 times
when we were at the dive bar
and you ordered only whiskey
then you just melted into me

You said sorry for doing that
But you probably weren't
I said it was fine, it's okay
since that's just what I say

Then came the 182nd blink
and the room ripped open
me one way, you the other
your drink-mix, your lover

Though I like your beard
your hard liquor knowledge
I can't stand those eye cows,
your Travis Barker eyebrows.


(Sorry, Travis). I guess we'll see if this Tuesday routine will actually work, but you can hold me to it. It's always nice to write with you. Happy Tuesday, goofs.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

We can laugh about YOLO

It's the new year! That means it's also time for the 3rd Annual Year of Light photo collection. You can check out 2011's Year of Light, about friends and new beginnings in Chicago, and 2012's Beans, where I make terrible chili metaphors. If you're new to this annual event, it's essentially a photo essay about the previous year, through my eyes, should you care to see the world that way for a few minutes.

Some months from this past year have two photos and some have one, which is mostly because I didn't take many photos in 2013. I did, however, write about these moments almost every day. So, this year, I'm accompanying each photograph with a never-before-seen !! selection from my journal. Whoa, yeah, I have one, and you're probably in it. I hope 2013 brought you something as cool as, if not cooler than, what it brought me.


   J A N U A R Y   


This is my little cousin and Goddaughter, Ashlynn, who brings a fresh, adorable joy to the extended Auten family. She is the first girl, on the Auten side, to come into this world since me. Obviously, she's bringing back the awesome, too. This moment was captured by my mom, while Ashlynn was showing us some fresh and clean dance moves. She was also baptized last January.

Monday, January 7
"The peace of home and holding baby Ashlynn and laughing."


   F E B R U A R Y   


This snapshot is from "Don't Fret: Love in the Time of Online Dating," an art exhibition by a street artist named Don't Fret. It was one of my favorites in Chicago. The Pepsi piece is brilliant and did a great job of satirizing our "first world problems" while opening our mind to why we're all so ridiculously in need of love and discovery and humor. Around this time, I also realized how blessed I was to have my artsy, smartsy, creative and funny friends around me. Later in the spring, these Chicago friends even threw me a surprise going away party - I was very moved and very grateful. Also, that mustache. Chicago is full of miraculous mustaches.

Friday, February 8
"'Don't Fret: Love in the Time of Online Dating' was wonderful. And funny. Hanging out with Ziyuan, John and Nicole was also wonderful."


While in Chicago, I received some of these delicious cookies for Valentine's Day. That little heart marks the approximate location of Sullivan Hills, near Lodgepole, Nebraska, where a large chunk of my real heart will always be. The people that sent this cookie are the some of the hardest working, most loving, funniest and most hospitable I've ever met.

Thursday, February 14
"And maybe the accumulation of love (as if it can be accumulated) for my friends and family and innumerable blessings have something to do with joy. I want to shout, dance or paint it to the world..."


   M A R C H   


During a memorable girls' day out in Chicago this past year, my friend Leah snapped this photo of Tazer and me celebrating (and foreshadowing) the Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup victory. Yes, my predictions were correct.


This is another moment from that same day. It's one of my favorites, because it foreshadows something even better - a new, close friendship that would expand into this new year, thank the Lord. 

Sunday, March 17
"...when you lose track of time and it doesn't matter where you are as long as you're laughing with great friends ... we shut down Navy Pier, then Dark Horse, then Trace, then the pizza place of which I was too drunk to catch the name."


   A P R I L   


In Chicago, I took some very long walks. On one of them, I came to this series of paintings on the underside of a highway. On one huge concrete slab, it read, "THE CHICAGO GALLERY 1973." They're called the Hubbard Street Murals and they exist in a place northwest of downtown where people hardly see them. They're weathered, though many have been repaired and others have been added. The original murals were the project of Ricardo Alonzo, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. Over an eight year period, they painted along the mile-long stretch until they ran out of funding in 1979. I miss seeing the evidence of such driven art in Chicago, seeking out the unseen. 

Sunday, April 21
"And the city really is beautiful. Partly home now, which I hadn't anticipated. But here we are, friendship, art, music, culture, new things to do, good people to meet, food to try, community to build and appreciate."


In March, I attended a staff meeting at Time Out Chicago, where I was doing my spring internship. In a quiet, crowded room that overlooks the downtown skyline, the editor in chief announced that Time Out Chicago would cease as a print magazine and would be letting go of most of the staff. It was like the room caved in from the initial heartbreak. The people I met there are some of the coolest, most passionate writers, designers, photographers and advocates of print journalism, and I learned a great deal from them. In this crappy mobile phone photo are some of the front cover thumbnails of each Time Out Chicago issue since its birth in 2005. It certainly doesn't do the magazine justice. I took this photo post-layoffs in late April, as a lot of the print and layout schedules and plans were still hanging in the cubicles.

Monday, March 18
"... we had a few birthday cake vodka shots in the office ... one thing that has come of this is seeing the really inspirational passion and care these people have for Time Out Chicago and one another."

Tuesday, April 23
"Yesterday, I went back to Time Out. It was so quiet, so sparse, but so good to be back. The spirit of the place is still intact."


   M A Y   


I graduated from the School of the Art Institute in 2013, with a Masters in New Arts Journalism. I still don't quite know exactly what that means. But I do know the place made me a better writer and person. The rest of that day was complete chaos because I was leaving Chicago, not knowing if I would ever be back. I am so blessed to have attended such a raucous, vibrant, innovative, weird art school with equally brilliant people. Thanks to Simone for capturing this precious moment.

Saturday, May 18
"It's mayhem in a few sentences. Graduation. Goodbyes. Moving procrastination, moving mayhem: apartment ripped asunder, car towed ... Some tears ... worrying about the future, having to say big goodbyes to big, familiar things. Gone away from Chicago tomorrow already. Keep moving, moving."


   J U N E   

video

This isn't a photo, and it isn't mine (cred goes to Braeden and the self-timer on his camera), but it was one of the best moments of the year, after we'd seen a double rainbow on our way back from Denver. I could watch this all day and still be laughing.

Saturday June 15
"... the Sully family...I think we're family now."


Just after the Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in the final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I listened to the final online, catching bits and pieces because of the patchy Internet connection at camp, but I sure did hear the end when Andrew Shaw swore on national radio/television. Celebrating by yourself in a small office is a special kind of joy.

Monday, June 24
"And the Blackhawks win the CUUUUUUUP!!!"

And like I said, my predictions were correct.



   J U L Y   


This is my favorite candid of the summer, when some friends drove all the way from Carol Joy Holling Camp to Sullivan Hills. I love these people, and I love this photo because I captured them mid-laugh, each in their own genuine, hilarious splendor.

Friday, July 12
"Week 6 done, and the more resounding thing to write is that I'm so thankful ... Cami, Erin and Alyssa are coming to visit! ... up on Shepherd's Lookout for hours together."


   A U G U S T   


This impromptu photo took place outside of a church in Omaha, where a lovely couple - Josh in the red and Erin in the green - was throwing a fundraiser for their year-long adventure in Argentina. See all the wonderful things they're doing in love and for the Grand Bourg community here. Do it!

Sunday, August 4
"I wish them the best and I pray they spread the love of Christ in Argentina ... We took an excessive amount of photos in the parking lot."


Me and my cousin Annalise, as we shopped in downtown Breckenridge, Colorado, during a family galpal trip. "Look, I'm 2 Chainz!" said Annalise. You guys, I have some really cool cousins.

Friday, August 9
"I have also loved laughing and making jokes with Annalise, us two peas in a pod, a weird pod. We laugh at our moms a lot, because they're goofy."


   S E P T E M B E R   


This is my Dad and my parents' new puppy, Boaz, who's a bit older now, and tearing everything apart. A rare moment of some sort of bonding. Nice stink face, Dad.

Wednesday, September 25
"PUPPY!"


   O C T O B E R   


Our friend Lisa moved waaaaaaay up north to Marquette, Michigan to start a new job. Here is a visual of how fun her going away party was. Lisa, we love and miss you very much.

Saturday, October 12
"Lisa deserves so much love."


This photo documents the first time I had visitors in my new apartment here in Lincoln! We ate spaghetti, giggled and took this all-too-functional photo. Someone said the other day that "this photo makes us look way more functional than we actually are." But, no matter, I love these ladies and fellow, even when they're dysfunctional. Because I am, too. Ain't that the truth.

Monday, October 21
"Then there I was, alone for the first time in a very, very long time. But something wonderful and comforting happened last night when Jason, Alyssa and Lisa came over for spaghetti. I remembered that they're my good friends, who pray at the dinner table and make jokes and love to eat ice cream."


   N O V E M B E R   


My Mom came to visit, and we had coffee. Isn't she radiant? I'm grateful for my parents and their generosity, love and examples of integrity. This coffee shop is also a new favorite of mine, as it's right across the street from the University of Nebraska Press, where I am proud to say I work now...at a big girl job...with really neat people.

Saturday, November 9
"but God is so good."


   D E C E M B E R   


The night I took this photo, I had been out stargazing for over 2 hours. I decided, "Hey, ain't nobody taking away my photography inspiration mojo" (which is lacking in this post). So I did some light painting. This "word" fit really well in the frame,  even though I really loathe acronyms. But in some moments they make sense, when you're willing to be present where you are, a sense of humor in tow. 

If you're not in any of these photos or words, I still love you. And as per new year cliches...if there's any advice I can give you in the new year, it's this, and it's simple: don't settle, don't wait, write, take photos and be yourself. Thank you for reading!

Sunday, January 5
"It's the new year. Time to fill it up with words and wonder. I hope 2014 will be chock full of lovely, meaningful, weird, crazy moments, too."
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Oh, stop it. I know you've been waiting for this. 
And of this, I will defend myself no more. 
Cheers to more laughing at/with boy bands and each other in 

   2 0 1 4   


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But really, we don't have to live once. 

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now, Lord, what do I look for? 
My hope is in you." - Psalm 39: 4-7

   HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR!