Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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Lou’s Other Half: Guest Blog

Hey there, Meredith Wilder here. Melinda is busy working away at the Borner Farm Project’s Pizza Night and wanted to keep this blog-a-day going. Lucky for me, today I’m flying back to ABQ from LA and have time to write. First off, I’m honored she would trust me to write something. Secondly, it’s too perfect that today’s prompt (from three years ago) is to “choose five songs that inspire you.”

———————

1) Wilderness by Middle Brother

I’m keeping Melinda’s first choice because it actually would have been on my list, too. She wrote, “I could listen to this song every single day and not tire of it.” Same goes for me. I was driving around with the guys from Wildewood the first time I heard it and ever since then, that moment jumps out at me when I think of immediate connections  with songs.

The line that means the most to me right now is:

“I’m most happy when I’m dreaming of success
And all my good friends call me wilderness”

There are so many different levels of success. To me, the success that makes me happy to dream about is the kind where I am giving back as much happiness as I am fortunate enough to experience. Not there yet… maybe I need more wilderness in my life.

2) Second Chances by Gregory Alan Isakov

Everyone I know who loves G.A.I. as much as me wonders what the hell must have happened to him. Whatever it was gave him the ability to write the most painfully beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. On the contrary, this song is slightly hopeful. The line that has been stuck in my head lately seems to be the moment he stumbles upon some kind of long-lost self-respect:

“I’m running from nothing, no thoughts in my mind
My heart was all black but I saw something shine
Thought that part was yours, but it might just be mine
I could share it with you if you gave me the time”

3) Chelsea Hotel by Leonard Cohen

As my boyfriend and I drove up to the Observatory in LA last night we listened to this song. It is brutally honest all throughout as Cohen reflects on a specific memory and man… the last line:

“I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often”

I think one of my biggest fears is only being remembered by a few people and only for a few moments but maybe that’s all that’s left once we leave this earth. (?)

4) Follow the River by Calexico

This is my song for Melinda right now. Once she decided to move to Wisconsin my whole life changed. We’re both learning more about independence than we ever could have of she stayed in Albuquerque.

“Still have the wounds that the sun won’t ever heal
Surrounded by the emptiness of everything, everyone
I’m not giving up, I’m getting there
No I can’t give up yet, I’m getting there”

We’re getting there, Melinda!

5) Peace in My Time by Simon Joyner

I recently saw Simon Joyner live. In my humble opinion it was a one of the best shows Albuquerque has ever had. Joyner is a personable artist and while he is not outwardly demanding in his performance I found myself completely pulled in and immersed in the set. This song showed up in my life when I wanted nothing more than to hold on to a love I had even though the timing was all wrong. This line was a warning for me even though I didn’t know it:

“So may broken hearts brace for that avalanche on the horizon
You and I got our scars looking for love beneath the last one”

————————-

Reading through Melinda’s choices from three years ago was tough. She was very hopeful and wide-eyed and even kind enough to put one of my songs on the list. A lot has changed since then but it all proves how even if we are sure of ourselves and what we want, life might have a different plan. And the songs we choose to listen to will remain proof of where we were.

———————

That’s all I’ve got!
Thanks for reading my guest entry. Did you miss reading Melinda’s blog as much as me today?

Saved by second chances,
Meredith

image

The LA Observatory

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Dobby and the Sock I Didn’t Have

Today has been both a joy and a real stresser. 

Here’s how I sort of worked it out in my head…

It was warm: +50 points.

I worked a half day: neutral, cause I love my job.

I tried doing this fun technologically savvy thing on my blog, and for about four hours, I thought I either had a virus on my computer or I’d lost Hey Lou forever and ever amen. – 100 points.

I got a{n extra} glug of oil in my car from Jason at the local car shop, just because I asked about it. +25 points (and very small town-feely)

I thought I lost Dobby at the library, but he had just moved. +25 points (HP fan here)

So all in all, today evened out. It was a good day! I’ll get through this retrograde if it kills me. I’m trying to keep my communication honest and open, the technological disaster was averted (how it was fixed, I don’t even know), and my day is ending well with some quiet time where I’m feeling pretty positive about my lot in life.

Oh yeah, and day 27 for this here blog says: Give links to your most viewed blogs.

So if you’re interested, here is what people were most interested in. I’m leaving out a few, but here are the ones I thought it would be nice to share again. As always, thanks so much for reading. It means the world to me and I’m glad I didn’t lose it today… blogging has been something that has helped me write more, which is a huge goal of mine. <3

BLOGS:

The Chop

The Buzz

No Longer Jaded

Nobody’s Baby: A Song

Eat Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Used to Eat)

You Don’t Have A Soul (Read On)

Memory Monsters

Little Girl, You Are On Your Own

POETRY:

I Said I’m Here

The Tap Dance

SHORT STORIES:

I Looked Over Jordan

Narrator

So there you have it. I hope your week is going well and that your communication has been top notch.

Love,

dobby

Lou (who felt kind of creeped out today. Also, thanks for bearing with me and my silly name for today’s blog. I just couldn’t come up with one. And I wasn’t wearing any socks. Not that I’d give him one anyway.)


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Sunshine and Light

Day 25 and 26, merged.

Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget.

Share a link.

(and hey, I skipped yesterday, too. This challenge hasn’t turned out like I thought it would, but while I’m not blogging, I’m actually living out a life I wasn’t sure I would have once I landed here…. sounds okay to me : )  )

PART I

probably 19 years old here...

probably 19 years old here…

I worked at a Great Harvest bakery in Albuquerque for about seven years. My manager, Ann, was and still IS one of the most inspiratinal people I’ve ever met. She handles herself so stunningly well in any situation. Angry customer? She keeps her cool. Run out of rolls in the middle of the Thanksgiving rush? No problem, what else can we do? Not doing the bake quickly enough? She encourages you to work faster and gives you a gentle push in the right direction.

I mean really, I hope to be like her when I grow up.

I worked there on and off the last few years, helping for holidays, filling in extra shifts, etc. I worked at GH during my most trying times in life. I would show up to work after having cried all night. There were days when customers would get under my skin, but I’d try to smile through it (hardly knowing if I actually was smiling at all). Somewhere along the way, Ann started calling me “sunshine and light,” even on days when I felt anything BUT.

I can still hear her voice saying, “Well, hello sunshine and light!” when I’d walk into work.

To tell you the truth, I think those words saved my life. 

I’m not exactly sure why she called me that. Going into work, especially when I was lucky enough to be there when she was, was always a joy. I liked talking to her. We even have the same favorite book, A Prayer for Owen Meany. I could tell her anything about my life. She always managed to give me the exact advice I needed. (Like talking about dating again and her asking me, “Well, is there a spark?” And sure enough… mulling her question over would lead me to my next decision.)

Like I said, there were days when no one at the bakery had a clue what my home life was turning into. I felt dark, I felt lost, I felt like a shadow. Then I’d hear her say those magic words again, and I would smile, reminding myself that there were people in my life who cared about me and remembered me for my best days, not my worst.

Me, Peggy, Jess T, ANN!, Rebecca

Me, Peggy, Jess T, ANN!, Rebecca

The words are simple enough. Sunshine and light.

Once I thought about it, I remembered a time when nothing could really get me down. (see picture above…rolls in hand!) I was pretty damn optimistic and lighthearted and outgoing. I felt secure. When that part of my identity was lost, getting such a greeting at work was what brought me back to a place where I knew… someday…. she’ll say it again and I’ll believe her. 

You never know what your words can do to people. It doesn’t have to be a silly nickname, it doesn’t have to be compliments, but remembering someone’s best moment and reminding them of it from time to time, well, that can save a life. I am a true example of it.

There are still days (like today….. ) when the sun never breaks through the clouds and I don’t feel warm. I am just like most plants, in that I do my best when it’s sunny. I often catch myself feeling the way the weather goes. I’m susceptible to sad thoughts on a windy and dark day. I practically laugh and smile all day when it’s warm and bright. So, to hear words like, “Hello there, sunshine and light,” on a day when the darkness is creeping in in more ways than one, is quite life changing.

Thanks, Ann. You’re a true friend. I hope I can do for someone what you once did for me (and continue to do!)

PART II

You should definitely, definitely listen to these songs.

Hold Me Down

Survivor Blues

Understand that Cory Branan is a sort of a strange artist. He growls and yells as he sings. He laughs sometimes. These are rough versions, but I’m currently obsessed with these two songs. I mean, I listen to them multiple times a day.

Note: Survivor Blues is a story, if you listen to it enough, you’ll catch on. Two lonely wanderers find each other in a bar, she trusts him because of his “true love” tattoo and they don’t necessarily wind up together, but they travel together for a while. They understand each other, which is what I love about the story.

“…you refuse to yield, you’re a useless sword and shield

I woke up in the garden, I woke up in the sun

I woke up like a bullet wakes up from a gun…” – Hold Me Down

Cheers,

bangs

Lou  (who’s also using this moment to bring you an important status update: my hair is officially long enough to collect in the shower.{and actually need to wash… ahem} took a while, so it’s kind of exciting)


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Habits VS Traits… and the Worst Ones at That

Day 24: Your 3 worst traits

Trait, definition: a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person

When I read today’s topic, I immediately thought of habits rather than traits. I have some bad habits.

They include but are not limited to rambling/talking way too much, still listening to Taylor Swift, letting anger get in the way, eating the exact same meal (peas and eggs) for oh, four years at a time, and being very impulsive and acting on those impulses. I also “cuss” quite a bit. (Or “swear”, as the midwesterners call it.)

I was thinking about all of these {almost} negative things and more, wondering if it counted for today.

Maybe there isn’t really a difference between a trait and a habit? I can’t decide. If you have any ideas on the matter, let me know.

Perhaps a trait is something that’s harder to change. Maybe habits are something that come and go a little easier in life.

Days keep lining up well with my blog topics, so today I had some major reflection on my traits in relation to what was talked about at church this morning. The sermon largely involved a verse from Ephesians.

Ephesians 4: 1-6

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spririt through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The words I’m going to highlight here are humble, patient and love.

Worst trait #1

I’m not always as humble as I should be. I can be either too proud or too self-effacing, and neither of those exactly fit the bill. Humble, as was pointed out today, is not saying, “I’m no good, in fact, I suck at this.” It’s one thing to have confidence and an encouraging demeanor for yourself. It’s another thing entirely to put yourself down. Finding a good medium here is the trick. I want to live a humble life, still knowing that I can in fact, do big things that can make a difference.

Worst trait #2

I tell myself I’m patient. Hell, I’ve even written down “patient” on resumes. I can act patient, and sure, things don’t annoy me all the time. When it’s working, it’s something I largely attribute to being a youngest kid, having a chance to obvserve the world around me. But when I’m truly faced with something that gets on my nerves, I fall short often. I let my patience run dry this week. It wasn’t fun for anyone involved, and I think I made a mistake. Eventually I dealt with the issue and then everyone involved felt better. But closing myself off and wearing my (angry and annoyed) heart on my sleeve wasn’t what I should have done. It’s hard to be patient. I know I’m getting better at this, but I’d say, to some degree, it’s still a worst trait of mine.

Worst trait #3

I could love a whole lot more.

I almost renounced that word altogether for a while. It’s weird to remember that time and that feeling I had. I practically convinced myself that true love didn’t exist. I just didn’t know how to accept it and I didn’t know how to give it. I’d tried reading the “love is patient, love is kind” verse out loud with someone for a year, and it didn’t solve our problems. So what did I do with that? Just thought, “good riddance.” The rest of that phrase goes, “good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Love is not rubbish.

Love is probably the biggest gift we have in this life. We can even try to love people we don’t feel we like all that much. Love can mean different things. There’s all those different types those Greeks are always talking about. Right now, I’d say my biggest challenge is to find that brotherly love type. The kind that says, “we are friends, we support one another, we accept one another.”

Eventually, I’ll work on other kinds of love when the moments arise, but they’re all there in some shape or form every day. I no longer think good riddance about love, and I do try to read about love on my own. I try to remember that love includes all the things I fall short with…. patience and kindness and not keeping a record of wrong.

I’d want the same from others!!!!!

So, there you have it. A short and sweet diddy about what I do wrong every day. I have a hunch I’m not alone, but it’s easy to think that everyone’s doing a much better job at this than we are doing ourselves.

We can talk about all those impulsive and repetitive and silly habits later… some other day ;)

~~~~~

On another note: last night I went to my first midwestern sporting event. Didja know, Minnesota has a (profession, I think?!) soccer team? Anyway, here I am at this game.I had fun and spent time with a dear friend and some new friends. I even bought a shirt because the logo reminded me of my favorite brewery back home. It doesn’t really look anything like it, but it’s funny what missing something can do to the memory ;)

fun!

fun!

(I even kept myself from getting annoyed at the kid throwing bottle caps at us. J/k… he was like two years old! That’s actually pretty cute if you ask me.)

the shirt that really looks nothing like marble brewery :/ womp womp

the shirt that really looks nothing like marble brewery :/ womp womp

Love,

Lou


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The Best Trick I Know

Day 23: What you’ve learned that school didn’t teach you. 

This prompt made me think of one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers.

“… I guess the best trick is to see the magic, once you’ve seen the wires.”

– cory branan, lily

This line sums up almost everything I’ve learned so far in life.

The best trick is to still believe in love,  even after you know the dark side of it. It’s to believe in a healthy world, even knowing the awful things that exist. It’s to still attend church, even when you’ve seen all that goes on behind the scenes (church politics). It’s to know that time heals most wounds, if not all.

I’ve seen some wires, but I think that makes me less naive. It doesn’t mean I no longer believe in a sort of magic.

Now, off to make magic happen… aka, remain positive and do everything I can, knowing sure, everything could go wrong. “Ahhh, but what if it doesn’t?” (- unknown)

love,  20150306_164226

lou (who also learned, from her dear nephew Landon,  that sometimes blowing on your fingers is a great stress relief ;) )


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{Serendipitous} Prescott, a {Dirty} Martini, and a {Good} Excuse

…And on the 21st Day of Blogging Every Single Day in May…

God created some giant distractions, and forced Lou to rest.

I didn’t blog yesterday. I didn’t reach my goal, but in a way, I’m glad. Because that means things are moving along here in my new hometown.

I often find things connecting in my life in mysterious ways. I work with Lavender lotion, my potential employer is gifted that same lotion (that I probably touched) the day she gets my resume. I hope to goodness that I can live in Prescott, outside of the farmhouse, so that I don’t have to have a roommate (in the actual same room!) and low and behold, the farmer’s daughter asks me, five days in, if I want to live with her. People pop up out of the woodwork; friendly faces you think you remember and hope to see again. The list goes on and on. Let me just say, that yesterday was one of those days.

The farmer’s daughter and I had the exact same idea and she beat me to the punch… to get a drink at our local bar, overlooking the river, Muddy Waters . I hadn’t even been there yet, and yesterday was the kind of manure-shoveling day that requires some deck time with a drink in hand. So that was great. The evening could not have been more perfect. My roommate, Malaby, is a true gem.

mel n mal

mel n mal

I had a some whiskey at this bar. Then I decided it was dirty martini day, because shoot, why not?

yummo

yummo… can you beat the view?

Anyway, you guys, that is my excuse. That and one more very serendipitous moment that I’ll likely share later. (I went on a walk… my first nighttime walk in Wisconsin. Let me just say, I could get used to that.)

Cheers to good friends, which I’m finding are to be found (despite saying out loud, “HOW THE HECK DOES A PERSON JUST WALTZ UP TO A NEW TOWN AND MAKE FRIENDS WITH STRANGERS?!”) everywhere here, and having the exact same idea as your roommate.

Cheers to nights that don’t wind up at all how you think they will.

“The best days were never planned.” – Meredith

I hope you find moments of surprise and chance and happenstance… all those things that make life an exciting ride. I love when every 24 hours, something new changes up my world.

And guys, don’t doubt my love for you. I sat outside a closed library to use their wifi (shh) in order to post this.

That’s true <3.

yup. sitting on the sidewalk

yup. sitting on the sidewalk

Love, Lou


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Where Are All the Young People?

I’m back on track for the blog challenge. I’ve blogged every single day of this here month of May! I can hardly believe it.

Day 20: Get real. Share something you’re struggling with right now.

I’ve been a little bit lonely without my core group of friends from back home. 

There, I said it!

I miss you guys. So much. I miss those random nights, meeting for a beer at Marble or Tractor or Bosque. I miss going to Anodyne and running into anyone and everyone, before I even step in the door. I miss going to art openings, poetry readings, random runs with girlfriends. I miss the farmer’s market downtown. UFFDA.

This is something that’s been hitting me hard lately. There just didn’t really seem to be any young people in this small town.

And it’s funny that this is today’s prompt, because low and behold… I MET SOME!!!

A church group came to the farm for a little chat, because they’ve come in past years to volunteer. I got to talking, met new friends, and was assured, that there is a great and thriving group of people in their 20’s and 30’s (hey now, doesn’t mean some of my best friends aren’t a touch older than that, though… ;) ). Oh, what a relief. I felt like I had to make it out into the cities for such a treat.

Anyway, I was late writing this blog today because of meeting these folks. Call that a blessing, without a disguise.

This is the real problem I’m dealing with, and there are glimmers of hope everywhere. <3

I will always, always, always, miss my friends back home. As long as I’m not there, I’ll wish I could see you ALL. However, I’m growing more content with that state I’m in, literally and figuratively.

Love,

mmhmmm!!!

mmhmmm!!!

Lou (who found some young folks!)


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Feeling Pretty

Today’s blog is brought to you by Meggie Exner, inspiring friend and farmer extraordinaire.

I told her what this blog challenge was all about (two days before it started…) and on April 30th, Meggie recited THIS poem to me by heart while we planted veggies in the garden.

So much magic happens in an unassuming garden, on a rather unassuming day.

meggie

Meggie and Me!

I was absolutely blown away. And I know you will be, too.

Meggie in 250 words or less:

Feeling Pretty

I often feel quite pretty

But pretty doesn’t feel quite enough

I often feel pretty good at things –

Paints and piano, recipes and  steeple and school

The jack of all the almost useful trades

I often feel pretty interesting

My travels would look good on a novel’s back cover

Though if anyone opened it up

They’d see a life

Of an ordinary number of extraordinary things

I often feel pretty okay

Though I sometimes worry that I’ll get to the end of it all

And realize that I only ever became

Pretty good

I often feel quite pretty

But pretty doesn’t feel quite enough

Love,

megs

Megs n Lou


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No Longer Jaded

Today’s another off topic day. This month is kicking me where it hurts and some days I can hardly believe I signed up (completely on my own, I remind myself) for this blogging every day deal.

I choose today, Day 18, to blog about something hitting pretty close to home: no longer feeling completely jaded about love and marriage.

Spoiler alert: This is NOT because I magically found The Man of My Dreams here in small town USA. 

It is, however, because I’ve started looking at my whole “situation” differently. I feel like every single day provides some sort of learning scenario for little old me. I’m learning how to handle myself better, how to be calm, how to maintain a somewhat positive attitude and I’m even learning to worry less about who’s going to show up at my front door.

In fact, I don’t expect anyone to show up at my front door. And that’s okay.

I also don’t expect anyone to walk into this here public library. Except for the really cute occasional old lady or the slightly too loud high school kid. 

That’s okay, too.

I was reminded lately by my friend Jess of something kind of shocking. I’ve probably mentioned it on here before, especially since I decided to make this blog largely about the grey areas in life.

She reminded me how far I’ve come. Because there was a time, not toooo long ago, when I really didn’t know how to function on my own. How is this evident? Welp, one day I called her because I felt proud. Why did I feel proud? Because I’d watched a movie alone for the first time. I was 24 and had never watched a movie completely solo. Is that weird? I didn’t think so at the time. I thought SHE was kind of weird, because she told me she savored her nights alone, drinking wine and watching a movie. She said she had nights like this on purpose, in fact. I was astounded. That seemed lonely and awful to me.

But miracle of all miracles! I get it now! I look forward to any alone time I can muster up these days. My wine is more often a glass of whiskey, but man… on a warm night, out on the porch, I like to be with no one else.

Here I am with Jess T, and I love these two pictures. The first one says to me, “These girls move through life!” And we do. When we get together we have more updates that the average cat. Just try to keep up, this photograph says. 

jess

This one says, “We brought in the new year together and it’s going to be one hell of a 2015!!!” Which it has been so far.

Jess and Mel

Jess and Mel

Up until not too long ago I had a new schpeal. It went something like this:

Well, I’ve already been down the marriage route. It didn’t work, so quite frankly, f*** marriage and anything that requires more paperwork to get out of than it takes to get yourself into. I made promises and couldn’t keep them. Someone made promises to me and surely didn’t keep them either. It broke my spirit. Don’t tell me you love me, those words mean nothing. But Hey, I’m being super positive despite all that and Hey, I’d have a kid with someone before I married them or needed them to tell me they loved me. I’d rather be shown love than to ever hear those words again. Maybe no one is really happy, but some people just don’t pay attention. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. So, anyway, yeah, I don’t really need to be a Mrs again. The ONLY thing worse in this world I can imagine than getting a divorce is getting a second divorce. End argument.

Whew! Right?! Me? I’ve spouted this out and if you know me well, you’ve probably even heard it. (Guess who wasn’t too happy with this estimation of the rest of my life? Ahem… mom and dad.)

I’ve done a lot of soul searching and a hell of a lot of praying (excuse that very ironic way of saying that) lately. I think I’ve actually come to peace with the idea of maybe marrying again. I try not to keep track of the clock in that regard. I think maybe God is making me wait a while. Just to feel out this very strong and amazing way of living… the one that Jessica T tried convincing me was actually super fun.

I’m no longer jaded…. I’m no longer so sure that I’ll never find what I’m looking for. Just because it didn’t work out once, doesn’t mean that I’m doomed. It’s just that, well, that’s how it felt.

I guess next time I’ll do it differently. I already approach all relationships differently, so I can’t say I didn’t learn something. I know who I am now, like I never did before. Also, that silver lining, or blessing in disguise as my mom would call it, about my “lot in life” is that I have a pretty good idea of what I’m looking for and what I definitely need to draw the line with. I now know how to spot a warning sign from a mile away… but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to take some chances.

All in all, it was a great thing to ponder today as I harvested spinach till my fingers threatened to freeze off.

I’m no longer jaded, and it’s a good feeling.

Love,

jaded-no

Lou (who’s still having a grand ol time taking library themed selfies)