Weekend at Bunbury

Last weekend was the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati. Nick and I were excited for a weekend away from home filled with music, friends and kittens. We got everything we hoped for and more.

FRIDAY

– We met Caroline and Dave’s four foster kittens and had a hard time leaving to go to the festival due to cuteness and tiny paws.

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– Hundred Waters was our first show. The haunting vocals made for a somber set even though it was midday and sunshiny.

Best live song: Show Me Love

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– Cage the Elephant was next. It’s Nick’s favorite band, and Matt, Brad and the gang did not disappoint. The lead singer moves across the stage like Mick Jagger at times, shaking his skinny legs, and like Eddie Vedder at others, launching himself into the crowd.

Best live song: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

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– I made a policeman friend in the misting tent.

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– Nick recognized the lead singer of another of his favorite bands sitting across the way from us.

Nick: “Hey, are you guys Schools?”


Dude: “You know Schools?”

Conversation ensues, and we learn Schools has broken up and the singer, Jeremi Simon, is starting another band. He told us to find him on Facebook and he’ll give us free tickets to the next show that’s nearby. Cool!

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– Watched Mortified Nation on Netflix with Caroline and Dave and the foster kitties after a long day. It’s a documentary where adults read their teenage diaries. I need not say more.

SATURDAY

– More kittens.

IMG_8181 IMG_8200 IMG_8235 – Nick and I had some free time before the festival Saturday, so we did some city exploring and found a fantastic used book store with a resident dog named Julia (I think).

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– Two of our favorite bands were playing at the exact same time at different stages, so we parted ways for an hour. I went to see Kishi Bashi, an insanely talented violinist, singer, beat-boxer and all-around badass while Nick went to see Fly Golden Eagle, a rock band he discovered through Cage the Elephant’s Twitter account. We both had amazing times. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face during Kish Bashi’s whole set, and I danced my butt off all by myself. Nick left Fly Golden Eagle early and caught Kishi Bashi’s best song. His was my favorite show of the weekend.

Best Live Song: It All Began With a Burst

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– We left Bunbury and got some grub at Terry’s Turf Club, where I ate the most majestic Portabella Mushroom Sandwich of my life. What a fun/delicious/neon restaurant.

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– Got my first “Lyft” ride downtown with Caroline, Dave and Nick. It was a weird experience, riding in a regular, non-taxi car with a person we didn’t know.

– Played Giant Jenga. Me and Caroline beat the architect and artist. Nice.

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– Got another Lyft home, and this time we were offered Starbursts, mini waters, gum and control of the music. Decided I would never take a taxi again.

SUNDAY

– My sister, who happened to be in Cincinnati, decided to join us for day three of Bunbury. We met up and went on an awesomely sweaty hike beforehand at Ault Park.

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– Started the Bunbury day with Red Wanting Blue, a band we had all heard about but never listened to. We really liked their 90s sound. The lead singer’s voice reminded us of Hootie and the Blowfish.

Best Live Song: Drawing Board

– Checked out the Kopecky Family Band, whose lead singer was named Kelsey, which is always cool. They rocked out.

Best Live Song: Cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk”

– ZZ Ward was next. That girl can SING. She belted out all of her hits and did a special cover for us…

Best Live Song: Cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home”

– Saintseneca, a band we were all stoked to see, jammed on strange instruments. The lead singer’s mustache was an entity unto itself. The female lead jokingly asked for two funnel cakes to be delivered to the stage, and their request was fulfilled. I became the designated funnel cake passer-outer, which got me some friends.

Best Live Song: Takmit

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– We caught the only three Young the Giant songs we knew. We stayed far from the stage so we could dance in the grass. Apparently we were putting on quite a performance, because a dreadlocked man approached us and asked where they could find drugs. Quite the compliment that we are such great dancers naturally.

Best Live Song: My Body

– Finally, it was time to see The Flaming Lips. Wayne Coyne entered the stage with two mushrooms and a rainbow. The visual effects were mesmerizing. He had a message to give us and that was to love everyone and to embrace our uniqueness. We did so by skipping around and doing cartwheels.

Best Live Song: Do You Realize?? followed directly by Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

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Hope to see you next year, Bunbury!

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Crying Over Chipped Paint

Read the following to the tune of “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes if you’re so inclined

It was an 84-degree, sunshiny Sunday. I’d woken up early to do some early outdoor yoga with Jordan. That afternoon was European Fest at the German Club in Brimfield. All signs pointed toward a Great Day.

Nick and I danced/drove our way out to the Club. We parked in the grass, and I lightly opened the door of my silver Dodge Neon while fumbling for my purse in the backseat.

I didn’t hear the knock of my door against the silver Ford SUV parked next to us.

It was only when I got out of the car and noticed a man sitting in the SUV glaring through a 2 inch crack in the window that I realized what I’d done.

Immediately, I apologized. “Oh! I’m so sorry!” I sincerely told the glaring man through the crack. When I got no reply from him, I closed the door and walked down toward the club, embarrassed, but glad the encounter was over.

Or so I thought.

Nick missed the whole exchange, sitting in the driver’s seat and putting his shoes on. He looked at me quizzically and motioned for me to come back so he could lock the car. I made my way back, a little shaky, but sure that the man in the car next to us had gone on his way.

I was wrong.

I reached my car and saw the bulky 50-something man talking to Nick. “Is she gonna pay for that?”he asked Nick.

The first thing the man said to me when I got to the car?

“Why’d you run away?”

My heart dropped. Tears sprang to my eyes.

“I told you I was sorry. You didn’t respond. I thought it was over.”

“Stop crying, why are you crying?” he laughs in my face, having the opposite effect of his request.

The man continued on his egotistical rampage, berating me for crying and telling me I “BASHED” his car in, when in reality the scratch was the size of my pinkie toenail. “Bashed? Really?” Nick inquired, leading the man to say, “Well…” and shake his head.

I asked him repeatedly, “What do you want from me?” and each time he just stared at me, chuckled a bit, and rolled his eyes.

“Get out your checkbook,” Nick told me. “Write him a check for $50. I’ve fixed scratches before. That’s how much it costs.”

“I don’t want your money. Stop crying.” my aggressor continued.

After three repetitions of that cycle, it was clear all the man wanted from me was public humiliation. I was livid I’d given him that.

I was just so unprepared for hostility in a place that’s been home to me since I was a baby. It’s the place all my Omas and Opas came to hang out with people from their homeland when they emigrated to America. It’s the place where I danced in the Youth Group. It’s the place where I’m related to more people than I’m not.

At that moment, though still shaking in anger, I decided I would not let that man spoil this precious place. My tendency is to dwell on stressful situations so much that I can’t enjoy myself soon after they’re over. This wouldn’t happen this time. I wouldn’t let it.

Instead, I focused on the positive. I got to see Nick stand up and speak out for me when I was too angry to speak for myself.

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I got to hang out with my little cousin Claudia and get bopped in the head with a balloon by her brother.

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I got to share a drink with my cousin Alayna.

I got free sweets from my Oma (the only “bad” thing she’s done in her life, I’m sure).

I got to watch the kindegruppe kids have a blast dancing totally out of tune.

I got to eat homemade potato salad.

I got to see a family member polka dance with an estranged relative.

I got to see that I have the resilience to bounce back and have a great time, regardless of the obstacles that get in the way.

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FOMO and I

Every day, I scroll through my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. This brainless act seems harmless. But I realize it does real damage when I start comparing my day to other peoples’. 

When I wake up in the morning, I get excited to go on a hike, do yoga, play with my rabbits or take a trip to Cleveland with Nick. But after I see my followers hang gliding into the Grand Canyon, swimming with manatees and eating breakfast on the beach, I feel a whole lot less excited about whatever I’ve got going on.

Before I know it, my mind is spinning into a swirl of “what if’s” and “you’re missing out’s.”

This fear of missing out often causes me to lose sight of the awesome things around me. For all I know, people could be looking at my feed and feeling the same FOMO. 

Social media makes it hard to live in my own moment. Instead, it makes me live in other people’s moments. I’m restricting myself from my daily dose of social media until I can sustain gratitude and appreciation of my own life – whether that’s sitting at a desk or riding a giraffe.

Careful What You Hiss For

I tuned in to the Jeff Corwin Experience religiously as a child, awestruck at his bravery when handling the most venomous snakes and oblivious to his provocative jokes and short shorts.

After observing his snake-handling techniques for at least one season, I knew it was my calling to do the same.

One sunny afternoon on Fox Run, I was playing in the grass when I caught a sliver of movement out the corner of my eye. A skinny, long garter snake had landed in my midst!

I found a long, discarded stick and, as if I was professionally trained, slid it underneath the serpent’s head, lifted it, and then grabbed his tail and held it away from my body.

18 years later, things have not changed much. Before I go on bike rides, I send a little wish out to run into a fork-tongued creature in hopes of playing in my own version of the Kelsey Corwin Experience.

I was pedaling along on a warm, rainy April day when I pedaled past a long, fat stick on the side of the bike trail.

“Hey, that was a snake,” I said aloud before parking my bike and galloping back to the creature.

It sure was a snake. A fat, gray one with faint red diamonds on his back. Let’s call him Ian. Ian was sunning himself on the hot asphalt trail, his diamond-shaped head raised graciously in the afternoon sun.

This is the kind of snake Ian was...I think... (rat snake)

This is the kind of snake Ian was…I think… (rat snake)

A fear I did not have at six years old enveloped me immediately. But I fought the feeling and searched for the proper stick. I settled for a crappy excuse for a snake-handling tool and moved it toward Ian’s head when he snapped back and assumed striking position.

At this point, my heart started beating fast and the sweat trickled down my forehead. But six-year-old Kelsey egged me on deep inside. I tried to slide the stick under his tail end, but he slithered away quickly until he was out of sight.

Disappointment set in. I had wished to find a snake, and the universe delivered Ian to me, but I was unable to fulfill my goal of picking him up.

Then I realized I might have saved Ian’s life. He was sprawled across the bike trail, willing to risk being run over to bask in the first sun he’d seen in a week.

I decided Ian’s purpose was to help me get over my ego and do the simple job of getting him off the path. With that in mind, I jumped back on my bike and pedaled happily onward.

How Yoga Found Me

I came to yoga at a time when my self-doubt and fear had scarred me not just mentally, but also physically.

My self-initiated stress caused a sore to form in my stomach, which could lead to an ulcer. I was unable to eat anything but the blandest foods. The doctors told me to “just stop stressing,” but the hole in my stomach was only adding to my stress. I needed to do something proactive for myself. I had tried talking about my problems, but that only made me focus more on my past when what I really needed to do was find a way to be present.

I studied yoga in college and had a basic understanding of how it helped my physical body stretch out and relax. I did it at the Rec center a few times and had my first few experiences with meditation. But I never did it regularly.

On a particularly gray day for me in August, I got the urge buy a yoga pass at a studio in Kent.  My online search told me there were a few options, but only one that really called out to me: One Love Yoga in Kent. It was still under construction, and they were not sure when it would be finished.

I followed the progress on Facebook, and grew a bit restless. I didn’t know how long I could wait. But finally, they posted a status that the doors were open, and I purchased my first unlimited monthly pass a few days later.

One Love is a heated studio, and it took some time to adjust to the hot air pumping through my lungs. But the heat took my practice to another level. Along with the sweat, my worries poured right off of my shoulders. The heat brought a kind of relaxation I had never felt with non-heated yoga. The challenge of matching my breath with movement and staying balanced gave me no other choice but to keep my mind “in the moment.”

Those first few months were challenging but so exciting as I mustered up the courage and strength to move from only basics classes to slow flow, then vinyasa flow, then power vinyasa.

The teachers have helped me on my journey in many different ways, whether it’s through humor, coaching or reassurance.

I used to laugh when teachers told me to go into poses like crow and tripod headstand during those first few months. Now, after doing yoga at One Love for six months, I have the self-trust and love to try those challenging poses, even if I fail.

Capitol Handstand

 

 

 

The Impractical Joke

My parents have always hated practical jokes. That’s why I never suspected them to play one on me, and also why I thought my house was being robbed at 11 p.m. last Thursday.

I was home with Nick, listening to music in my room and watching Louis hop around. I knew my parents were at an America concert, and didn’t expect them back until midnight or later. So when I heard footsteps upstairs, I was surprised but not alarmed that they were home early.

America, the band. Nice hair.

America, the band. Nice hair.

Nick and I had just gotten out of the hot tub. He had thrown his wet clothes in the dryer and was only wearing a robe. I went upstairs to say hi to my parents and grab some of Nick’s dry clothes.

I got to the top of the basement stairs and peered around the corner into the kitchen. No lights were on and every drawer and cabinet door was open. I heard people running upstairs and my mind rewound to 2nd grade when my house was robbed by teenagers.

I screamed at the top of my lungs, “NICK! NICK! WE’RE BEING BROKEN INTO!” while simultaneously falling all the way down the stairs. I ran over to him as he stormed out of the bathroom, robe flying on either side of him, screaming, “YOU BETTER GET OUT OF HERE.”

It was then we heard my dad’s voice: “WHAT? IT’S US!!”

I collapsed onto the ground and could not stop sobbing for about 30 minutes. It was the most frightened I have ever been. My poor parents had not seen this coming. They stood at the top of the steps saying, “We thought it was a funny joke.”

Then I felt the aftermath of falling down about eight steps on the side of my left ankle. The pulsing pain began as the shock wore off. By the end of the night, I could hardly walk. The next day, I went to urgent care to get x-rayed and see if anything was broken, and share the absurd story was the amused nurse practitioner. I was lucky, it was just a sprain.

Perhaps the most ironic part of this hilarious and scary story was that I was leaving for a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. the next day. I had managed to get over a cold earlier in the week that threatened to soil my trip, and was so excited to have a phlegm-free head by Thursday. And then I sprained my ankle.

I spent Friday icing and elevating, and tried to push the “It will be like this forever” thought out of my head. We left for D.C. that night, and by morning, my ankle felt much better.

I walked from monument to monument and museum to museum with only a slight pimp walk to first day, and almost no limp the next two days. I was even able to do a handstand at the Capitol Building.

Capitol Handstand

We met some very interesting people on the trip:

  • The hotel shuttle driver who has loved driving since he was small and still does, except when he finishes a 9-hour shift driving the Holiday Inn bus and then his 19-year-old daughter asks him to take her somewhere. He acknowledged the weirdness of him having a 19-year-old daughter when he looks about 25 himself. He forgot to go to the liquor store Saturday night so he was preparing to search far and wide for somewhere that sold booze on a Sunday
  • The subway rider with the pierced chin who stopped to make sure we had enough money for the exit fare
  • The Georgetown Bro who assessed our outfits and told us to go to The Big Hunt, then got in trouble with his girlfriend for talking to us
  • The homeless man who peed himself on the ground in front of the ATM and was too drunk to get up
  • The 50 blonde D.C. 20-somethings drinking bottomless mimosas at Urbana, whose combined cacophony of alcohol-amplified voices made our ears ring even after we left the restaurant
  • The Saturday cabbie who told us to pay anything we wanted because his credit card machine was broken, and whose favorite presidents are Clinton and Obama. He came to D.C. from Ethiopa for opportunity, but is going back because after 13 years, he is tired

The Fizzling Friendship Flame

Some friendships are so effortless and deep-rooted in commonalities that you can go months without seeing or talking to the person, then start right where you left off when you see them again.

Others are a constant – you talk almost every day and know almost everything about the person.

But what happens when the distance does take a toll? When you lose those things you once had in common, whether it was a lust for club-hopping or a passion for Wes Anderson movies? 

These differences can cause the slow fade of a friendship that once was strong as steel. Or a major discrepancy like boyfriend-stealing or drug-using can extinguish that flame of friendship in one spray. 

The heartache of losing friendships can be just as painful as losing lovers. Sometimes, the slow loss – the widening gap between text messages, the waning desire to hang out – is a more drawn-out, difficult death of friendship than a sudden irreconcilable difference. 

Sometimes it’s really hard to accept that you two just aren’t helping each other grow any more. You’ve taken different paths in life that won’t intercept again. You can try and try to get back to the place you used to be, that time of jokes and mayhem and constant good times, but you might never be able to find it.

Though the loss takes a toll, these people we encounter and form friendships with will always have a piece of us, and us a piece of them. The lessons learned – how to be loyal, how to listen, how to let go when it’s time – those lessons will always stick with us. 

And the nostalgia for the old friendships will always remain, too. I still feel a twinge of sadness when I see an old photo of a friend I no longer talk to, or hear that song we used to sing at the top of our lungs to.

It’s not easy, but it’s best to remember the relationship for the greatness it once had, rather than the distant melancholy now. Those lessons learned and great times spent should be the parts we remember. 

 

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