"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Friday, June 26, 2015

celebrate



today is my half birthday. it marks the halfway point in the last year of my 20s. i thought i'd be more afraid to grow old but as i get closer and closer to the edge of the next decade i view it not as being at a peak about to be pulled inevitably downhill, but standing on the edge of a step in the side of a mountain, peering ahead at what the climb holds ahead.

one thing though, about youth coming to a supposed end, is that i'm aware my body and its capabilities might not remain the same. one way i've been made aware of this is in my yoga practice. for now i feel stronger than i've ever been, but i've accepted that might change, that my wrists might one day fail, that my knees may start to ache, that joints will harden. and with as much yoga as i've done in the last 5 years, i realized i've never ever seen myself except in pictures others take of me. this is fine, it's a spiritual and mindfulness thing for me more than anything, but in a lot of ways my practice is also a tribute to my self, my body, and coming to terms with the fact that this vessel, which i always reviled as a child, is capable of so much more than i ever realized. it is possible to transcend the physical, to be more than a body, and that comes first from accepting and loving yourself completely. yoga showed me that. so now the ultimate test: can i film/photograph myself doing my most cherished thing, and still love it, still love my body, not objectify or scrutinize my self as i see it in this mediated mirror?

so for the last 6 months of my 20s, i'm going to try a project: i'm going to document every day with a yoga self-portrait. yoga, more than anything else i've discovered for myself in my 20s, has taught me so much about who i am, the person i want to be, the strength i possess, and how to open my heart to the world around me. it seems appropriate then, to use yoga as a medium for capturing the gratitude i have for life, for my body, for my sense of self, and for the changes in store for me as time marches ever onward. in doing this, i hope to capture the strength i have now, reflect on how i've grown, and the journey i continue to take.

here's to living each day of this decade with as much beauty, grace, strength, passion, groundedness, and mindfulness as possible.

with love,
stef

Thursday, April 16, 2015

reflection

a year ago i was in a really dark place -- i'd never felt so lost, worthless, and depressed. i left my job, my relationship was falling apart, my health was deteriorating, my dad was in a bad accident. i felt alienated and alone and powerless.

happily, a lot has changed in a year! i have an amazing job that i love and allows me to make an impact on people all over the world, an amazing team that feels like a family, a wealth of amazing friends who accept me despite my faults, and my family is in good health, close enough for regular visits, and have been immensely supportive as i've worked to figure myself out. i couldn't be more grateful for the journey of the last year and everything it has taught me about love, life, and my self.

Friday, February 13, 2015

love loud and love often

it's amazing to me how frequently society overvalues romantic relationships while ignoring the power of all the other loving relationships in our lives. every day of the year, but this time of year especially, i celebrate the relationships i am so lucky and blessed to have, with my family, my friends, my colleagues. love abounds around me and i am grateful every day for all of it. #unvalentinesday #galentinesday #palentinesday

Friday, August 22, 2014

love life; live to love

sometimes we need the reminder:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

can't get enough

i finally finished grading papers for the Conflict Management course i taught earlier this month. started packing up boxes of my stuff today. AND, found the time to record some new uke songs! check them out:




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Oh Girl

i wish i didn't suck at bar chords! my piano and violin-trained fingers just don't want to get flat against the finger board like that.


bildungsroman

thoughts on Richard Linklater's Boyhood:

  1. the conspicuous role of music in creating atmosphere - like a diegetic time capsule (i'm sure i wasn't the only one in the theater last night who felt transported back to a certain time... for me it was college)
  2. the hair! Patricia Arquette's hair in particular (gorgeous!). the film was such a tremendous feat, can you imagine planning a 12-year filming project, getting all the footage you need, planning ahead enough knowing there will be no going back as time marches ever onward? obviously the actors were playing characters within a story prepared for the film, but the mind-blowing thing about it for me is that over 12 years, there must have been some blurring of those lines. for instance, with the hair, i imagine Linklater had to allow the actors to change their appearance as needed, for personal and professional purposes, so i assume all hair choices were made totally independent of the film. so, that was "Ethan Hawke"'s goatee. and can you imagine playing a "character" for 12 years? i assume, at some point, you have to become your character/ your character is you. take, for instance, Samantha's character: aspects of her personality remained constant throughout the film, to the point that you have to believe you are seeing Lorelei Linklater on screen, and not just Samantha. (interesting tidbits learned from Manlius Art Cinema's owner Nat: US contract law prevented Linklater from having the actors contractually obligated to complete the 12-year project (US law stipulates a 7 year cap on contracts), so all filming was completed on nothing more than a handshake, basically. also, yes, that was Richard Linklater's daughter we saw growing up on screen... apparently she wanted her character killed off so she could walk away from it)
  3. everyone enjoys laughing at Texas
  4. Post-Bush and pre-Obama politics -- still funny to this day. three of my favorite jokes from the film: when Sam and Mason go canvassing for their dad and walk up to a house with a confederate flag hanging on the garage ("do i look like a guy who's gonna vote for Barack HUSSEIN Obama?! i'm entitled to shoot you for trespassing!"). they then go across the street to another house where an obnoxiously perky young mom explains she made her children t-shirts that say "my mama's for Obama." finally, Ethan Hawke using the story of Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol as a teen pregnancy allegory for abstinence and contraception.
  5. life has no plot. appropriately, Boyhood was as rambling and aimless and surprisingly delightful as life
  6. biggest surprise: never expected to like Ethan Hawke so much
  7. there is something to be said about the role of video games and the constant companionship of digital entertainment, but i will leave it to others to articulate.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doctor My Eyes

i got to cross a big one off my bucket list last night, when i saw Jackson Browne perform an acoustic set at the historic Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse (technically, it was also an item off my Syracuse-bucket-list).
Jackson Browne's music has meant a lot to me in my early-adulthood. Late For The Sky was the soundtrack to many days and nights spent alone at a window in my apartment in Syracuse, thinking about life, listening to his words and the letting the music wash over me. trying to anchor myself in something happy while feeling lost and drifting in a sea of sorrow i didn't recognize or understand.

it occurred to me at some point that i should try to see Jackson Browne before he stopped touring and doing shows. Ben and i looked into buying tickets to shows he did all over the country, in California, in small little townships and wine country resorts across the country, but then the other day i was walking downtown after dancing in the park to the library to drop off some books and saw in big letters on the marquee: JACKSON BROWNE. i was in total shock, i couldn't believe it. years of trying to get to Jackson Browne and here he was, days before i'm set to leave Syracuse, and he shows up practically at my doorstep. it seemed too good to be true.
so last night i put on a billowy skirt, did my hair, and power walked all the way to the theatre, grinning to myself at the joy of this moment: happily single, treating myself to a date with one of my favorite musicians. and i smiled so hard and so constantly throughout the night that i think i created some new wrinkles.

to watch Jackson Browne perform acoustic renditions of some of my favorite songs from Late For The Sky will truly remain in my heart one of the most emotional moments i've ever experienced surrounded by so many strangers. (the other one: Bruce Springsteen performing "My City of Ruins," both times i saw him).

at the end of the concert, the older man sitting next to me turned to me and said, "thank you for being a fan."

so, in honor of that great experience, my own rendition of one of my favorites:

ETA: look at this cutie! i sat up in the balcony and missed seeing this gorgeous face.

another rendition (because i have been singing it all day every day):

Sunday, August 10, 2014

To Love Somebody


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I'm Not The Only One

another Sam Smith cover! he's perfectly in my vocal range, which is why i love him.

universal feelings

"breaking up with someone is literally the most common thing... but when it happens to you it feels so specific..."

i listen to podcasts every morning when i wake up. i've got a podcast app on my phone that keeps playlists, which is extremely wonderful when i'm moving about the house trying to get ready or get chores done (though sometimes it gets me in trouble because i want to keep listening rather than hustling!)

this morning as i was lazily going about my morning routine, my podcast playlist cycled through two very pertinent episodes back to back. i was kinda stunned by how much they spoke to my current situation, as if tailor made to my experience. it's been that kind of morning, where i feel the universe is looking out for me and i'm syncing up right where it wants me to be.

the first was TLDR's deeply upsetting interview with one of the execs in charge of OkCupid, following their announcement that they've essentially been secretly experimenting on users and their potential matches. definitely did not help my favorable view of OkC.


that was then immediately followed by this superbly delightful episode of This American Life. between the Phil Collins interview and the Jens Lekman outro, i'm over the moon with how perfect it is.



the best part was that i listened to them right after recording this announcement about my recent break-up, my introspective journey from the last few weeks, and my very exciting job decision.

all this to say, you are never alone. your experience is being shared by others all over the world, over and over again.

Monday, August 04, 2014

!!! !!! !!!

it's mostly a happy announcement! even though it starts out sad.

i've got some feelings to share. listen here ---> Play Recording

(ETA: i wish i were more eloquent and that i'd thought out more of what i wanted to say, but i initially recorded this as a note to myself for later, to turn into a longer piece of writing, but after listening to it, and hearing for myself the tones of voice and how they changed when talking about different things, it felt right to leave it as is, as rough as it is, because of the emotions present in my voice. i want to preserve the sound of happiness as it was captured there, in case i ever need a reminder.

also, our anniversary date would have been August 8, but i couldn't wait to get this out there!)