Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oh, hey.

Hey y’all.

It’s unlikely that anyone has been waiting with bated breath for a new blog entry (except for maybe my mom—hi mom!), but just in case I’ll offer an excuse as to why I’ve been so delinquent. I’m in the middle of a five week stretch of life in which I travel every single weekend and work all of the days in between. Everything is really good—the travel is all for fun stuff and I love my job most days, but winding down (and sleeping enough) has felt really tough as of late. Plus, Eli’s been out and back lately and every day he’s home feels like a weekend so we’ve been going out together and seeing friends on work nights and I have the bags under my eyes and pimples to prove it.
Two weekends ago I flew to Minneapolis to spend time with my cousin Lynn and meet up with Eli who was flying there to play a show directly after tour dates in Japan/The Philippines. The bad news: WALK THE MOON escaped not one but two typhoons in SE Asia and made it to Minneapolis just in time for their show to get rained out. The good news: WALK THE MOON escaped two typhoons, AND spending time with my cousin Lynn was awesome. Lynn, whose full-time job is to bore college kids with economics lessons, has been bugging me to visit for years and I enjoyed eating my way through Minneapolis with her. I don’t get to see anyone in my extended family much because I’ve always lived a few hours away, so it was nice to connect about our parents and grandparents and just be with one another outside of the annual holiday gathering.
Here is a photo of Lynnie and I, a photo from a dope sculpture park she took me to, and a musical wall Eli and I encountered on a morning walk.

Last weekend I flew to LA for the VMAs.  That’s a whole separate entry that I hope to write in the near future. For now, I will tell you that I totally used the VMAs as an excuse to extend a freelance deadline by one day (which was a hilarious email exchange—if you’re reading, thanks again JW!). Can’t use that excuse again anytime soon. But seriously, my goal is to get it together enough to dissect my VMAs experience and let you all know if Kanye is getting my vote in 2020. Stay tuned.
Since I’ve been flying a lot, I’ve been digging into some quality media (and maybe you guys want to bond around media?). I’ve been reading When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom. It’s about a fictional relationship between Nietzsche and Josef Breuer and it's full of digestible psychotherapy and philosophical concepts (this may be of particular interest to my therapist friends). Also, I listened to a few episodes of this podcast—Call Your Girlfriend—which is basically just conversations between long distance besties Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. I found it to be funny and comforting.
So, what’s up this weekend?
Deep Creek! (Previously Deep Creep, future-ly Deep Fleek—read my entries about this annual friend trip in years 2012 and 2014). Eli is an exciting addition to this year’s boat posse.
And now, the real reason for this post—I write tons of notes to myself in my iPhone (seriously, I have a list of possible book titles for just about everyone in my life should any of them decide to write a memoir, a future baby name list, and about 454 grocery/packing lists that need deleting) AND I recently found this happy note I wrote to myself (apparently) on May 24. I’m pretty sure the last bit is a writing idea I was fleshing out and promptly forgot about, but you get the gist.

I was happy find this note. I hope it inspires you to take a minute and reflect when things are good and save those positive vibes for a rainy (or, in this case, random) day.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Our weekend with Martha

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, a veritable gaggle of us traveled to Martha’s Vineyard so WALK THE MOON could play a benefit show supporting the local YMCA. The band performed at this event two years ago (I wrote about that trip here), and we were all super excited to make our triumphant return. 

The island did not disappoint; MV continues to be magical. I never expected to make it there period, let alone twice—it’s really expensive, and getting to the island is a complicated ordeal. We flew from Cincinnati to Boston, rented a van, drove two hours, and barely caught the last ferry out of Woods Hole (everyone was stress-buying provisions in case we didn’t make it over). It’s a world removed in so many ways, and a truly beautiful corner of our country (as all of my friends on Facebook/Instagram have already seen many, many times—sorry, not sorry).

Now, you may have paused at the end of the first sentence thinking…MARTHA’S VINEYARD needs a benefit show!? (Because that was my first thought.) The answer is apparently yes. As you might imagine, the wealth gap between folks who live and work on the island and those who seasonally vacation on the island is enormous. I felt lucky to hitch a ride and tag along (again!) in support of such an important event. I’m proud of the boys for contributing their talents—you can read about Stars + Stripes Festival here.

So, the show was on Friday...what did we do the rest of the weekend?

Eli and I took a long walk down to the beach in Aquinnah and were blown away by the clay cliffs (and a bunch of butt-naked sunbathing dads).

The hospitality in Menemsha was top notch yet again (I cannot recommend Beach Plum Inn enough), and we shared many beverages with our friends by the pool.

We spotted some celebrities and watched fireworks explode over the water.

Most of all, I repeatedly had these three thoughts in this order:
So much of touring isn’t as glamorous as people think.

This weekend was a beautiful exception.

I am grateful.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Settling in

After every blog post, I think: “Writing stuff down feels good. You should do this more often, champ. You should do this like three times a week….ha ha! Just kidding—maybe you could manage three times a month. Yeah, that sounds doable.” Then, satisfied with my resolution, I pick up a magazine or pet my cat or text my friends about something on Netflix and I forget. 

Days turn into weeks until something reminds me that I have a blog, and I fall into a shame spiral: “Come on, Alex! How will you ever reach your big goals if you can’t even manage this super low-pressure personal writing goal?!” Then, I write an entry that begins with some version of this: “Hey. Long time no write. I wish I was better at this thing.”

Because it’s true. Maybe I’ll set a weekly phone alarm.

But while I’m here, let me tell you about my life, okay? 

Things are going well. 

April and May were filled with grad school wrap-up, tons of traveling (including a couple weeks on tour, my Grandpa's 92nd birthday party in northwest Ohio, and a rad weekend warrior trip to Pittsburgh), and general anxiety about finding a job/THE FUTURE. Memorial Day Weekend felt like a big, deep breath. It was the first weekend I had spent at our house in over a month, and it was b-e-a-utiful. By now, I've settled back into this 9-5 thing. Days are varied enough, and my office has a window. When I worked at Children’s Hospital and Community Action Agency, I had interior offices with no windows; I’ll never again underestimate the importance of natural light. I’m still freelancing too, but I feel like my workload is pretty manageable which is an important change. I live my life in constant pursuit of balance and, at the moment, I feel pretty even.

Eli and I celebrate 6 years of hanging out together this month. Relationships of all kinds are difficult, but it’s much easier to work on one if you’ve got a solid partner. And dude makes me laugh, which is hugely important. I’m glad he’s around more this summer.

Hmm, what else?

Recent fun: Bunbury & Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Upcoming fun: 4th of July travels—expect a photo blog entry (some interested person--hi Mom!--please hold me accountable).

And…let’s hang out! New job means less travel / more time for Cincinnati adventures. 

Can’t wait to see you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Alex gets a job!

(Just like Kimmy Schmidt!)
That’s right, folks. I’ve rejoined the ranks of the employed. I was really excited to be hired at the agency I’ve been working at this past year as an intern. I started last week and so far the transition has felt really smooth and natural. I’m still doing individual therapy with adults—I just see a lot more people now that I’m full-time.
I think I was nervous about a job search because, when I graduated from B-school several years ago, it took me months and months (like, maybe 9...I'm not kidding) to find a full-time job. (#RECESSION) I went on so many shitty interviews for jobs I wasn't even remotely interested in. I was so desperate, left wondering where all the shiny opportunities I had been promised were hiding. I worked at a consignment store to bide my time and pay for food (I LOVED it but didn't work/make enough), but I didn’t feel very good about myself. I have definitely appreciated work more since then which has been valuable perspective. Anyway, the point is, this time around was much smoother—I updated my resume, had a couple of interviews, a background check, yadda yadda—and now I’m working. Easy as pie. (I don’t actually think making pie is easy but it’s something people say, okay.) I have been fortunate to work with a number of stellar folks over the years (especially my CCHMC ladies, and sometimes I forget that Eli and I were coworkers once upon a time…), but so far I have enjoyed the actual work of therapy more than any of my previous job tasks. It feels good. 
Finally, a story about a special new job omen: 
I’m no longer sharing two different offices which is awesome in and of itself. The new office I was assigned came with a few pieces of art, a desk, and a couple of chairs. One of the prints is an Eliot Porter photograph of California's coast--- almost the exact photograph I took with my dad on a pull off of CA 1 near Big Sur during our trip a couple of months ago. I thought, "how great! what are the odds?" I remembered the view and my photograph instantly and very distinctly. I told my dad and he was like (admittedly paraphrased), “Well, Alex, it is one of the most scenic and well-known stretches of coastal highway, so it’s not THAT surprising.” It’s like, thanks for thunder-storming on my parade, Dad. Just kidding. My parents are taking me, E, and E's parents out to dinner at the end of the month to celebrate all of this good change, and I’m really looking forward to it. 
I feel thankful—somewhat excited to settle into a routine and also scared to settle into a routine—but ultimately, I feel thankful.