Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adiós, Noviembre

I'm going to try - really, legitimately try - to make this short & sweet.
My new home is so incredibly beautiful. (Above, tattered prayer flags in some bushes up the road from my apartment; below, the Aspen Chapel, a 30-second walk from my front door.)
Getting here yesterday was an adventure. A pissy one, actually. The drive that usually takes around four hours instead lasted a whopping 9 hours & 30 minutes. Needless to say, I was ultra-sick of the radio, all 6 CDs in my car and my entire iPod by the time I arrived. The whole trip was an inverse moment, or a moment's total antithesis - I would have given anything to be anywhere else doing anything else with anyone, period. I was lonely in the car. Mercifully a lot of my people were available to talk; I got all caught up with KK, left a voicemail for KH, talked to Mom for a bit and whined at CC for a loooong while. (He was very sweetly worried about me driving in the snow - he kept saying things like "Drive safe hunny, please?" Aww.)
I went for the most spectacular run tonight. (Shh, don't tell Mom - she worries when I run in the dark.) I left the house around 5 expecting to drag myself down the road for 10 minutes before turning around, but I ran all the way to the edge of town before heading back - I think I turned around after about 30 minutes. It was probably 30* outside and there wasn't a ton of traffic; in fact, unlike Fort Collins, Aspen has a pretty bomber sidewalk system. The sole obstacle I hadn't planned on was how slippery the roads were. It became kind of a game: if I step on that black patch, is it going to be a) dry pavement, b) a puddle or c) black ice? I may stick metal spikes in my running shoes à la snow tires. We'll see.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The "Recent Great Quotes" Edition

"I listen to so much Big Country that I'm going to win every damn contest on that station." - CC, after winning ComedyWorks tickets at 5am one morning

"Wow. That's getting close to Ring Pop territory." - BW, commenting on Courtney's gigantic plastic gemstone ring from Target

"It would have been fine if it had stayed totally dark out until 9am and I had gone home, gone to bed and just felt like I had a weird adventure in the middle of the night." - ER, after opening at Starbucks with me, going home at 10 and not knowing how to spend the rest of the awkward morning

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving.

I have much to be thankful for.
*First and foremost, I'm thankful for my family. Every day I'm more amazed that God put the six of us together, especially when we're such different people. We complement and challenge and inspire the best in each other, though, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
This year I've grown incredibly close with all of my cousins, too, and I'm grateful that we live in a day and age when our relationships are able to grow stronger even though so much distance separates us. (It helps to have good texting rates.) I don't know what I would do without Katie or Amy; most people aren't as close with their sisters as I am with these girls. I'm ecstatic that Katie's almost home.
I'm so thankful for the relationships I have with my friends. As I get older I have more people in my life whom I genuinely love, the kinds of inner-circle friends I can count on for anything. I don't remember having those relationships when I was younger (or not as many of them). When AJS & I broke up in May, BB came to my house when I wouldn't get out of bed, crawled in next to me, held my head in his hands and promised me I'd be okay...with his and KH's help. He was right, and I know that any of my best friends would have done and said the same thing. People tease me when I say that I have so many "best" friends - I've even made a joke of it myself - but it's true. I mean it. And I'm lucky.
I'm thankful that my parents support my decisions. I'm taking a year-long break from real life and moving to Aspen, and my parents couldn't be more excited for me. They should be upset with me for squandering time/money/my education on self-indulgent living, but they're not. I'm lucky.
I'm thankful for all of my "littles":
the 3 S family girls I babysit, the oldest of whom refers to me as her "other sister";
AB, the original little brother;
CF (second from left), my little sister through and through.
I'm so grateful for their presence in my life - their energy, their perspective, their personalities. Their problems. Their hope.
I'm thankful for weathering the storm that was my breakup with AJS. We both are. Parts of this year were total shit, but we've come to a place where we can look back on what was and be both grateful for it and at peace with it. We have gone our separate ways; we recognize that separating was the right decision, and we remain committed friends. I couldn't ask for anything more.
I'm thankful for the many, many opportunities that lie before me.
I'm thankful for my health - the fact that I can get up and run 4 miles with my parents, the fact that I can ski my butt off for a whole season without much preparation - and that my family remains healthy.
I'm so thankful for CC. I would be in awe of him even if I wasn't dating him. He's incredibly caring and funny and wicked smart and sweet and patient and loyal and articulate and genuine. He knows what's important and acts with integrity, and by some happy little miracle he seems to find me tolerable, even worthwhile. He has terrible taste in music but a huge heart, and I'm truly blessed to have him in my life.
I'm thankful for a spirit of adventure. And for my church. They're kind of related.
I'm so excited for the future. I feel like God has blessed me especially richly this year, so it's my responsibility to go forth and do good things in the world. I'm nervous, but I'm ready.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Improvise, Adapt & Overcome

I've come to the realization that I'm never going to get caught up (per se) in this sucker, and the more time that passes between entries the more anxious I get trying to remember everything I need to write about. BAH. Obviously stress over the blog is the antithesis, the literal counterpoint, of its existence, so I'm just going to write as much as I can, stream of consciousness-style, before I fall dead asleep at the keyboard.
I'm going to have nightmares about corrugated cardboard tonight, I just know it.
At work this evening, I was scheduled to help with the Christmas promo set-up - from 5pm-1:30pm, JM, my boss HB, the district manager JF and I were assigned to take down all of the Thanksgiving stuff and put up new holiday merchandise. Sounds simple enough, right? Bloody wrong. Of course. I mean, Starbucks does nothing in a small way. Suffice it to say that I tore down cardboard boxes until my fingers were bleeding (we're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 coffee cup-sized boxes) and I'm a little bitter about it.
Courtney cracks me up. It thrills me when she gets indignant, especially because most of the time it's over really really stupid stuff - and it doesn't happen very often - but it's incredibly comical.
I came to a Ralph Lauren-induced realization of myself last week: I LOVE ruffles. Sweaters, tank tops, skirts, boots, whatever - hell, I'd probably buy a pair of sweatpants if they had ruffles on the butt. I swear to the Lord on high (AJS: that was for you), the Ralph Lauren outlet in Silverthorne is the closest thing to purgatory I've ever found. (Admittedly because I'm Lutheran I don't really get the whole purgatory thing, but from what I've heard, I think it's an accurate description.)
Enough said, right?
I am woefully unprepared for Aspen right now, and it's going to be a long 48 hours because of it. Packing needs to become my bitch, and that's just not feasible given tomorrow's holiday. Oy.
I'm PUMPED for the Turkey Trot tomorrow. Good grief, it's going to hurt since I'm so out of shape and it's already so late (therefore very little sleep tonight), but it's an annual high school reunion. Who knows who I'm going to see - especially after a fall like I've had?! Speaking of which, part of the fun of being with CC is running into people I haven't talked to since junior high - ST, KW and the like. And I love people, so this is good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Investigating a Call That Has Given me Pause

My trip to Wartburg was awesome in every possible way. Friday night I talked to CC the entire way to the airport and then for about an hour while I sat in the New Belgium bar waiting for my flight. This fact is notable because it set the stage for the rest of the weekend - when I wasn't flying, sleeping or in a session at the conference (and sometimes even when I was), I talked to or texted CC. He helped me process the whole thing real-time. It was like hand-holding in spirit. ANYWAY, my flight was a breeze (I journaled for its duration) and I slept like a baby once I finally got to my hotel at 2am.
The next three days were full of conference sessions - large and small group stuff, campus tours, cafeteria meals and epic amounts of REALLY REALLY BAD coffee. As I said, the weekend was phenomenal, and there are three points I'd like to make about it:
1. Reverend Doctor Winston Persaud: He gave the keynote speech and it really struck me. He opened by opining about God's sense of humor, which is something I've thought a lot about lately. I took notes during his short time in front of us. He used cricket as an analogy for our faith - "You need a partner to score runs! You see how theologically sound the game is?!" - and gave thanks that God had brought us all together that weekend because we were each "investigating a call that had given us pause." (I love that line.) He also said that "Systematic Theology is a very easy subject, but the thing is this: it has some very tantalizing challenges." The man is a genius, and if I were afforded the opportunity to follow him around and soak up his little thoughts on faith I would be forever grateful.
2. The people at Wartburg: no one will be surprised when I say I'm not wild about the idea of attending a school in Dubuque. Growing up in Fort Collins has spoiled me, and spending a year in Aspen is only going to make things worse. That said, I would enroll there solely for the people I met on my trip. I seriously bonded with the 20-some-odd other conference attendees, and that's nothing compared to the friends I made who are current students. I came home with, like, 30 new Facebook friends, which is a petty but simple way of depicting how closely I want to keep in touch with these people. At one point before I headed home, three students - JR, JB & EK - "kidnapped" me and took me to Starbucks before one of their classes. I was pumped; I felt like, "Wait, you mean these people want to hang out with me even though they're not forced to do so as part of the conference?"3. The call: the conference exponentially aided my discernment process in a million ways, but one particular breakout session kick-started my thinking about both my external and internal calls. I made lists of both. Perhaps later I'll go into more detail about why each bullet is important.
-the job offer at El Camino Pines
-Pastor JG on the hike at Sky Ranch (in maybe 2003) telling me that if I ever decided that medicine wasn't for me, I should seriously consider ministry
-the girls in my small group at church telling me (over and over and over) that I should go to seminary instead of medical school
-MU saying (back when we were dating during sophomore year of high school) that "WOW, heaven must really be incredible" given my thoughts on it
-AJS telling me that he always "just knew" I was supposed to go to seminary
-talking with RC late into the night in the staff lounge this summer
-all of my "little siblings": CF, AB, KH, CU, EZ, SM, SB, etc
-feeling like I could be a better teacher than most of my college profs (my exact thoughts being, "I can do better.")
-being miserable both at CU and living in the Cairns House
During worship on Sunday morning, we sang a song called "Canticle of the Turning," and the words of the second verse are still in my head -
Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me/And your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be...for the world is about to turn.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm conflicted.
I'm packing for Iowa and I'm psyched for this trip. I'm excited to see Wartburg, to be around other people discerning their call, to RUN (I've been working too much to run here). I'm anxious for some serious thinking and writing time, because I haven't allotted myself much of that at ALL in the last few weeks. I love traveling and it's about time I got outta dodge for a bit.
And yet, I was hoping to mentally prepare for this - to think and run and pray and write and read enough beforehand to identify a) the things I'm looking for in a seminary and b) where I am in my own discernment process. I haven't given myself that opportunity, though, and I'm disappointed about it. I hope I can gain as much from this visit without the prior preparation as I could have with it.
I've had a great few days.
Obviously Obama's win was (quizas) one of the best nights of my life. I'll write more about that later.
I've spent a few evenings with CC - ! - whom I had totally forgotten about after high school (and I'm sure he, me as well). I really like hanging out with him, and this newfound friendship is further evidence of life's myriad unexpected sparks.
Work is wiping me out (I haven't had a day off in over two weeks) but I love my coworkers. I've really bonded with 2 of them in particular, AC and ER. AC is the only one I've told about Aspen (because I HAD TO TELL SOMEONE, I CAN'T KEEP A SECRET FROM THE ENTIRE STORE - IT WAS EXPLODING INSIDE OF ME!!!) and we're already planning ski dates. We've commenced the texting part of our friendship - I feel like that's notable. ER I actually knew from junior high, and the more I work with her the more I wish we'd stayed friends all these years. We laugh a LOT and we're perpetually in the same mood. I'm grateful that I've been so warmly enveloped in the store already.
I talked to AJS for a looooong time last night. I miss him.
My facebook status (told you I was obsessed) is an acurate summation of my thoughts lately:
"Kelsey is far too excited and relieved and happy and grateful and exhausted to think clearly."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's not just the caffeine, it's also the adrenaline.

I sent this text message to 61 of my closest Democratic friends at 6:03am today:

"Good morning my fellow bleeding-heart liberals! You better be effing PUMPED because this is history in the making! Cheers to a better USA. Happy election day!!"

Words cannot accurately nor succinctly convey how excited and thankful I am to be alive today. I have never been more happy to be 23, female or American - three of the four factors that dictate my politics.

Today's numbers:
-3 hours of sleep
-14 shots of espresso at work
-6 hours canvassing to get out the vote
-1 victory for a president I helped to elect


Monday, November 3, 2008

Penguins are not just for boys.

The Flobots' new song "Rise" has become the unofficial anthem of the Democratic party and the Obama campaign. It's appropriate and well-deserved - even Biden said he liked it. Have a listen:

So my former camp director - a good family friend - moved to Minnesota with his wife and daughter last year. He called a couple of days ago to tell us his daughter's new trick: she'll point to a picture of Obama and proudly call him "President Barack Obama," and then point to his opponent and call him "JUST John McCain." And she's two. Talk about a girl after my own heart.*
And speaking of politics, something happened yesterday that both infuriated and thrilled me. I attend Spirit of Joy, perhaps the most liberal Lutheran church in greater Northern Colorado. Yesterday as I was leaving church with CF, we walked into the parking lot and saw fliers on the windshield of every car - weird, right? Upon closer inspection we found the fliers to be some outrageous "Obama is a baby killer" literature promoting McCain, Schaffer & Musgrave. I was PISSED. How dare someone come into our church during the middle of the service and spread that shit on all of our vehicles?! The inspiring part came a half-second later when I saw my pastor and two other men from church running around the parking lot taking the fliers off of all the cars. I was so, so pleased. Of course, CF and I helped destroy the "junk mail" (as Pastor J called it), and all the while we debated whether they were distributed because a) they figured since we were a church, we agreed or b) because they figured we were so liberal that we may not vote that way. I hope it's the latter.
I found this new Ryan Adams song. I love it. I can't find the video online, so I'll post the lyrics instead:

"My love for you is real
It moves like the summer breeze
My love for you is strong
Lord it brings me to my knees

It was born in the wild
It's river long
Rock strong
True and wild as hell
Honey now, my love for you is real

My love for you is calm
Candy sweet and thunder strength
My love for you is wide
It breaks a lock it's never tame

My love for you is long
It crossed the oceans on a sail
My love for you is true
Meanings change but not the tale

It was born in the wild
It's river long
Rock strong
True and never stale
Honey now, my love for you is real"
I babysat ALL day yesterday. It ended up being a great day, but initially I was really anxious about it. First of all, I've never sat for the family before - strike 1. They have two kids, a 12-year old girl (strike 2 - preteen girls never like me) and a 4-year old boy (strike 3 - young boys are notoriously tough to babysit). Strike 4 is the 8-year age difference - how in the world do you keep both a 12-year-old and a 4-year old happy at the same time?! Add to that a) the seven hours I was scheduled to babysit and b) how exhausted I was from working 14 hours the day before, and the end result of the equation was the "why the crap did I say yes to this?!" that I was asking myself on the drive over. Like I said, though, we had a BLAST. Their kids were fantastic; the daughter was the best big sister I have ever seen, and their son was totally hilarious and wicked smart. He said the funniest thing over lunch: "I'm a little Spiderman guy, a little Batman guy, a little Superman guy. I'm into all the boy stuff, like Hot Wheels. And penguins."
Anyway, we spent the entire day in the sun, which I was (naturally) super happy about. We took a couple of 3-mile walks, played volleyball and hide & seek in the backyard, and wandered over to the new house they're building in the same cul de sac where the S family lives. Of course we knocked on the door to see if the girls wanted to play, and of course they did. Before I knew it we had a single swingset occupied by 7 children under 7 years old, and I LOVED it. I got to hang out with AS, too, and that always makes me happy. :)
Saturday night I covered a shift at the SBUX on Harmony & Timberline. There was something strange and uncomfortable about being behind the counter there again - after all, I worked there four years ago - but I met the coolest girl, LJ. I knew I liked her when she said she named her bunny Ella Fitzgerald (especially when she described the rabbit as "sassy"), and I liked her even more when she told me about her brother's girlfriend. You see, her last name is Jolly, and the girlfriend's name is Holly - so if the brother and the girlfriend get married, this poor woman's name will be Holly Jolly. LJ was like, "Imagine being around her at Christmas!"
I rented "Once" last night, in large part because of the BR withdrawl symptoms from which I'm suffering. (He recommended the movie and sang "Falling Slowly" at camp.)

The movie was fantastic. You really, really ought to watch it. Anyhow, it inspired me to do two things: a) pick up my guitar again and b) call BR. I found the guitar tabs for "My Love For You is Real" and have practiced it a couple of times; I'm still pretty rusty with the F chord, so it's a work in progress. And talking to BR was, of course, totally delightful. I might get to see him this weekend!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm so excited - that statement more than warrants the 11 exclamation points I gave it.) I'm going to be in Dubuque for the conference at Wartburg, and Madison is only a couple of hours away, so he's going to try and come down for a cup of coffee at least. Oh my goodness, I'm so excited. So excited.
I don't have much to say about Halloween, other than that it was fun and I'm disappointed that I didn't see more people I knew. Courto and I ran around Old Town for a bit, played with LT and his kitten, then hit up a house party with EG. The whole thing was fun, but it went by too quickly. And I put way more work into my costume (I was a German beer maid) than I should have given how little I got to wear it.
My costume (I sewed it myself!)
Two girls at work - ER was an 80's girl; BC was a geologistHappy Courtney with LT's kitten, whom we call "Mini-cat"
Courto and I at the SteakoutSadly I didn't get any pictures of EG (he was a tourist) or LY, the most convincing - and HYSTERICAL - Jesus I've ever seen. I hope I never forget the image of him dancing to techno with a red plastic cup in his hand.