Tuesday, April 29, 2008

flowers in the window

It’s raining and cold, again. Yesterday, it was warm and sunny. It’s been a roller-coaster for the past month. Actually, it’s been a roller-coaster all winter and fall- those seasons tend to blur anyway. If my emotions were contingent on the weather, I would be a bona fide basket case.

I was sitting on my bed the other day, as I do often in my apartment, because it’s the warmest and coziest spot in the place. I was sitting and looking out the window at the cherry tree that has stood bare for the past four months. When I looked closer at its branches, I noticed that they each had a little bud at the end, beginning to open. New life is slowly and quietly unveiling itself. I hadn’t really noticed this tree until I saw these little flower buds. Now, I find myself checking up on them every time I pass the window. I like watching them to see how they are growing and changing. It’s a bit nerdy, but I’m excited for these buds to bloom into their beauty.

I feel as though something is growing and budding in me. Not like a baby, people, please. I haven’t been that busy in Portland. I feel as though parts of me have vanished and fallen away, parts of me that I love. The loss of those pieces has left me feeling empty and numb this past season. I haven’t felt like myself really, at all since I’ve been here. I miss the real me. I like the real me. I’ve spent close to a quarter century (oh wow, yes that quarter century birthday is on the horizion...) with me and I’m nostalgic for the real me. I feel that piece of me returning little by little each day. Appearing slowly and quietly like a budding flower. I know it will take some time, but I’m excited for the day when I can feel like me again. In the meantime, I’ll keep checking on the flowers in the window.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

rays of light

I was grocery shopping in Haggen today and when I walked outside, to my surprise the sun was bright and glowing. I had to stop for a second. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen sun shine in Portland. I found myself in a little pow wow of people on the sidewalk, all looking up at the sky and smiling. Everyone was a little bewildered and there were conversations about this arrival of sunshine after days or months of its absence; you would have thought not one of us had seen the sun before.

I kept on walking through the parking lot to my car and sat in my car for moment, relishing this reunion and greeting the sun after such a long absence. It’s been a rough winter all around, weather-wise, emotionally and spiritually. One can only take the storm for so long. That ray of warmth and light found me at just the right time.

You know how the sun can hit the trees at an angle that’s just right and it’s impossible not to see beauty? Sometimes, I think the light can shine on us at an angle that’s just right and it’s impossible not to see hope.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What a day...

What a day to visit Seattle…

Some highlights of my jaunt up to Seattle for a quick day and a half…

-It was a BEAUTIFUL drive up on Thursday afternoon. I swear, that sunshine, she gets me every time with her afternoon golden goodness. Mmm, mmm, mmm…

-My cat left a couple presents on the porch before I left for the conference. A tail and a liver or some other body part of a mouse, I think. That Jasmine, or Jazz the Spaz, as I call her. She’s an outdoor cat, a hunter. She patrols the mouse/mole population, keeping it down, doing her civic kitty duty. She wants us to know that she is doing her duty by leaving remnants or “trophies”, if you will on our front porch.

-How amazing was it to see some Malawian friends in Seattle? AMAZING. So good for my soul. However, I only want to jump on a plane back to Malawi, like yesterday.

-Bavarian Hefeweizen @ Silver City Brewery with good company.

-Watching Dr. Phil with the parents, yes, I am a little ashamed to admit that.

-How ugly/pretty was my drive back to Portland this morning? Very pretty and ugly. For one, it was sunshiny when I left the island and a half hour into my drive, it was snowing. Beautiful giant snowflakes. A bonified winter wonderland. It felt like Christmas, and how better to celebrate the moment than to bust out my “cozy Christmas” itunes playlist? After this prettiness that lasted about 15 minutes was washed away by a complete blizzard for the next hour at least. I clutched my steering wheel for dear life, trying not to crash and sweating up a storm-that was the ugly part.

But now I am home, in my wonderfully cozy bed :)

What a day, holy Toledo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Caroline by Jay Nash

I had a long day yesterday, long week actually and I decided to go see this guy play (Jay Nash) along with Joey Ryan and Garrison Starr. They played an amazing show and sounded incredible together. They played at Imbibe on Hawthorne; it was so intimate and perfect.
I'm getting goosebumps just remembering it :)
I sat in the back by myself, with my beer and a perfect view and just took it all in. To sum it up in a word, HEAVENLY!

Monday, April 14, 2008

names, faces...people, places

I've been working at the Dragonfly Coffee House for about a month now, and I really just love it. It feels like home there. I am getting to know people's names and quirks, which is really what I crave and love about working in a coffee shop.
It's more personal. It's more relational. It's something to work for and to work on.

One of the questions from the Myers-Brigss test asks a question, "The more people with whom you speak, the better you feel" yes or no. Even though I'm an introvert, I definitely answer, 'yes' to this question. If I were to go about my day, running errands and such, all over town without talking with a single person, I wouldn't really feel as though I actually had a day. I need people and conversation in my day to make it real and worthy of counting as a day.

It's funny, too, I remember telling a co-worker at the coffee shop I worked at up in Seattle,(Richmond Beach Coffee Company) my personality type and how I was an introvert, obviously. She immediately scoffed and said, "never in a million years would I dub you as an introvert." I was shocked; of all my letters, the "I" was the letter I was most positive was spot on. However, in thinking about it, in that environment, I knew everyone; their drink, their name, their car, their family, their morning hair and tired eyes...and they knew me. They brightened my day. They brought me birthday balloons, cards, dishes, money for my Malawi trip. They knew my name. I felt alive in that place. Just as I feel alive in Alaska, at camp and in Malawi with the kids.
I think certain places and people can bring out our best, bring glory out of our depths, calling us to more, to truly live. These are the places and people with which we belong.

I've been craving that sense of community lately, that sense of being known and being alive. It's been a little lonely in this city of bridges. I went to an event for a school project the other night. There were roughly 400 people or so...I'm really bad at guestimating, but it was something like that. I went by myself and felt so anonymous and nameless and alone; it was awful. Later in the night, I ran into another Social Work student, which was a life saver and made me feel a little less stranded, but the feeling stayed with me all night.
It's so easy to feel small in this big world, and I find myself grasping for anything that will make the world feel a little smaller, even if it's just asking someone their name.

p.s. I met another "Hannon" this weekend. This was monumental seeing as how I have never met another Hannon that I wasn't related to! And he's a talented singer-songwriter and one of the nicest guys, check him out, Dave Hannon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

INFP, in a nutshell.

So I just took the Myers-Briggs test again and got a different result than when I took it a year ago. I wonder if this is because I’m in a different time in life or if my personality is gradually changing over time. In any case I used to be an ISFJ and now I am an INFP. It's so fascinating to me how insightful this test can be with only simple yes or no questions. I have to say, that this test probably knows me better than anyone else, even myself. It's just crazy. I took the test again from the facebook application, same test as before but they give a super detailed description of the personality type after you take it. It’s pretty long, so I’ll just cut and paste some general descriptions.. if you get bored about reading about me...scroll down down to the bottom, so I can read all about you!


INFPs focus deeply on their values, and they devote their lives to pursuing the ideal. They are creative, and they seek new ideas and possibilities. They quietly push for what is important to them, and they rarely give up. While they have a gentleness about them and a delightful sense of humor, they may be somewhat difficult to get to know and may be overlooked by others.

INFP children often create their own fantasy world and live very much within it. They may daydream about what is important to them, and sometimes others wonder if they are in touch with reality. They often get lost in their thoughts and books, and may develop a special ability in communicating, such as writing. They are somewhat reserved, especially in new situations.
INFPs need a purpose beyond the paycheck. They become burned out easily if their job does not fit their value system; they may not feel good enough about what they have achieved and, as a result, may undervalue themselves and their contributions.

INFPs prefer occupations in which they can be involved in making the world better. Having their heart in their work is important to them. These occupations also allow for an element of creativity and flexibility. INFPs are particularly interested to be counselor, editor, education consultant, English teacher, fine arts teacher, journalist, psychologist, religious educator, social scientist, social worker, teacher, writer, and other occupations that engage their values.

Many of the INFPs' leisure activities are done alone --- reading, listening to music, and gardening are some activities likely to appeal to them. Reflection time and the opportunity to make sure things are right are important. INFPs often enjoy leisure pursuits with loved ones as well. When they want to be sociable, they can be exceedingly charming and outgoing. Their flexibility, gentleness, and sense of humour can make them quite popular in social situations.\

The INFP leadership style is subtle, gentle, indirect, and inclusive of others. INFPs do not confront people head-on, but rather work with them and through them to get the job done. Their style is not an aggressive one but is highly persistent; only reluctantly do INFPs assume leadership roles.
INFPs seldom confront situations directly, in part because they do not like conflict. Whenever possible, they would rather wait for a situation to work itself out, since they trust that people will work things through. They do not like following all the rules and regulations, but they are not overtly rebellious. They seek to get things done in their own style.

INFPs present a calm, pleasant face to the world. They appear to be tranquil and peaceful to others, with simple desires. In fact, the INFP internally feels his or her life intensely. In the relationship arena, this causes them to have a very deep capacity for love and caring which is not frequently found with such intensity in the other types. The INFP does not devote their intense feelings towards just anyone, and are relatively reserved about expressing their inner-most feelings. They reserve their deepest love and caring for a select few who are closest to them. With their high ideals, they are likely to be drawn to other iNtuitive Feelers for their closer friendships.
INFPs are generally laid-back, supportive and nurturing in their close relationships. With Introverted Feeling dominating their personality, they're very sensitive and in-tune with people's feelings, and feel genuine concern and caring for others. Slow to trust others and cautious in the beginning of a relationship, an INFP will be fiercely loyal once they are committed. With their strong inner core of values, they are intense individuals who value depth and authenticity in their relationships
INFPs will be valued by their confidantes as genuine, altruistic, deep, caring, original individuals.

Enough about me, how about you??

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Here's to Jack Kerouac

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
-Jack Kerouac

Monday, April 7, 2008

Into the Wild

I watched Into the Wild last night, can I just say my soul was just flying while watching the beautiful cinematography. I’m definitely one of those people that will see something beautiful and feel the need to tell someone about it, like the sun reflecting off of Mount Hood in a special way or the moon shadows over the Puget Sound. Take for instance driving through the mountains at sunset, which sunsets always get better and better…I’ll probably comment at least twenty times out loud how beautiful it is and twenty more times to myself. So you can only imagine how many times I had to comment on how beautiful the shots were throughout the movie. I did try to keep them to a minimum to keep from being that girl who interrupts the movie every few minutes. But really, the cinematography had me giddy. AND the soundtrack, too! Eddie Vedder is incredible in this soundtrack. I had to comment on the beauty of the music throughout the movie, too. Yes, I did turn out to be that girl during this movie, shoot…

Anyhoo, after watching the movie, I am SO ready for adventure. I want to go “into the wild”, maybe not to the extent as the guy from the movie so as to be shooting and butchering a moose to live on and living by myself in an abandoned bus in rural Alaska in the dead of winter, but a milder version of this would be incredible, to get out of myself and experience the world and everything in it.

I think I’ll be marinating on that entire movie for a while, but the feelings it left me with have been nipping at my heels all day. The song society, by Eddie Vedder is so telling of the world we live in. Society. I feel so boxed in by society, boxed in and cattle-herded toward the American Dream. My life can’t be fulfilling unless I have a six-figure income, a fancy car and vacation homes. I can’t be happy unless I have a model’s body, a designer wardrobe and a great tan. I need to make more money to buy a bigger house and more things to fill my bigger house. I need to work more so I can take luxury vacations but with all the hours I put in to earn my six-figure paycheck, I have no time to take luxury vacations or see my family. How can this be the American dream? (I've written a little about this in my old blog, too)

I really identify with his character. He wants to live without society’s constraints and expectations. There is a scene in the movie after his college graduation when his parents announce their graduation gift to him, a new car. He quickly tells them he doesn’t need a new car. He has one that works just fine. He doesn’t want any more things, any more stuff; his life is so countercultural in that way. I constantly struggle with that. I don’t want any more stuff either. Well, let me rephrase that, I don’t need anymore stuff, yet I find myself throwing it in the shopping cart or ravaging through the new anthropologie catalogue like it had the cure for cancer in its pages. It’s no easy task to ditch the American dream.

I find so much joy from being out in the world and experiencing new things. Part of me is so inspired by his story, almost enough so to pick up and go, but the other part of me takes so much joy in a small town life, comfortable and familiar. What does one do with that? How do you satisfy the desire for adventure and experience and the desire for comfort and safety?

I apologize for the random collage of thoughts; I’m too lazy to string them all together at the moment.

I do recommend to you all…
-watch Into the Wild if you haven’t seen it yet
-go ahead and buy the soundtrack, it’s amazing


Eddie Vedder
Hmmm ooh hooo hooo
It's a mystery to me
we have a greed
with which we have agreed
You think you have to want
more than you need
until you have it all you won't be free
society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
When you want more than you have
you think you need
and when you think more than you want
your thoughts begin to bleed
I think I need to find a bigger place
'cos when you have more than you think
you need more space
Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me
There's those thinking more or less less is more
but if less is more how you're keeping score?
Means for every point you makeyour level drops
kinda like its starting from the top
you can't do that...
Society, you're a crazy breed
I hope you're not lonely without me
society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me
Society, have mercy on me
I hope you're not angry if I disagree
society, crazy and deep
I hope you're not lonely without me

Friday, April 4, 2008

Joe Purdy - The City

I am LOVING Joe Purdy lately...
That voice, that guitar, and that HARMONICA! Mmm...I love it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Feast of Love

"There is a story about the Greek Gods; they were bored so they invented human beings, but they were still bored so they invented love, then they weren't bored any longer. So they decided to try love for themselves. And finally, they invented laughter, so they could stand it."

This is how the movie, Feast of Love begins. I ordered it from Netflix and when it came I couldn't even remember what the movie was about or why I ordered it. As I read through the description, I remembered why it appealed to me.

-set in a "small idyllic Oregon community"- ding!

-"features different lives intersecting at a coffee shop" -ding!

-"explore the depths of love and loss, joy and pain, and everything in between"- ding, ding, ding!!

These are all things I love.

I liked the movie overall. They showed all different kinds of love, from young love to old love, falling in love, falling out of love, adultery, heartbreak, loss of love, birth, death and how they all play out in the lives of the characters. It's pretty well done. Also, pretty depressing. I prefer movies that make my heart flutter and feel all warm and fuzzy, but this has more of a taste of reality. I will warn you though, there are excessive sex scenes and nudity throughout the movie. It makes you think that people meet-have sex and get married within a week of meeting each other because there isn't a real concept of time in the movie... Also, Morgan Freeman is in it and well he's pretty close to God.

I was thrilled when I recognized the coffee house where a lot of the movie takes place, this cute little place on Mississippi Ave in North Portland. I've been there! That was really exciting for me.

Anyhoo, back to the quote. I like it. There is so much depth and joy and pain involved in loving someone that it just makes sense that love requires laughter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Under my umbrella...(ella ella eh eh)

I have recently become a fan of umbrellas. I don’t have one but I will always stop to look at them in store front windows or in the hands of people walking by. I could count the number of times I’ve used an umbrella on one hand actually. It always seemed easier to use a hood or rain jacket, why bring in reinforcements when I can shield myself from the rain? And why take the chance of becoming a poor unfortunate soul whose umbrella has been blown inside out from the wind? They have always seemed rather unnecessary. They were for those girls who feared a drop of rain touching their perfectly coifed hair. That was not me at all. Nope, no umbrella for me.

Since I moved to Portland, I am seeing umbrellas everywhere. I’m fascinated by pictures with umbrellas in them. I’m hearing songs about umbrellas. The song I want played at my wedding someday is called “umbrellas” even though it never even mentions umbrellas. What once seemed like a silly accessory has now become fascinating and comforting.

As overplayed as Rhianna’s song “umbrella” is, I still like it. I’m a little behind the times as well. I only heard it for the first time about a month ago. When I came back from Malawi, it seemed everyone was busting out with, “you can stand under my umbr-ella, ella ell-eh eh…ella ella…aye aye”. I had no idea what had gotten into everyone, was this some inside joke? Everyone was saying it, so it was just as strange that I didn’t actually hear the song until months later, and then I was struck with a big, OH…..I get it now, “ella ella eh eh..” I was all over it and jumped on that bandwagon.

In my ponderings lately, I’ve come to appreciate the symbolism of an umbrella. An umbrella protects and covers. Isn’t that we all want, someone or something to protect and cover us from the storms of life? I have this print I got from Ikea, it’s so sweet and I just love it. It’s a couple walking through the storm together and another of a man holding an umbrella for his dog. It’s just precious.

Storms are inevitable and it’s okay to bring in reinforcements. We’re not meant to be able to make it on our own. Sometimes we invite others to stand under our umbrella, and sometimes we are called under another’s umbrella. And no matter how bad it gets, it’s not so bad as long as you have someone right there with you under an “umbr-ella ella eh eh…”

“When the sun shines, we’ll shine together

Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out till the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other

You can stand under my umbrella.”