Saturday, February 4, 2012

Make a list...

When Jim and I met we simply made a list- a list of all the things we wanted to try together.  Really- we both had a mental check list including all of the things we needed to experience together. You know- all the things you wish you would have figured out about your ex- before the 3 year mark. The things you used to brush off- or call cute.  Like how he used to clip his toe nails with his teeth- yuck! While it was never really a turn on- is it a deal breaker?
In reality, it’s going to come down to a heartfelt conversation with yourself- a long hard discussion asking if you can put up with the loud screams, the slurred words after a few beers, someone who doesn’t separate the colors and white, a person who never has matching socks, who leaves the seat up, hates doing dishes, hates Celine Dion, watches too many Lifetime movies, refuses to ask for directions, or even leaves science experiments all over your house. Whatever it is- you better find it- and fast.
Well, my advice to you- make a list. Be honest with yourself- figure out your deal breakers. Plus- who doesn’t enjoy an adventure? Even couch potatoes need to get explore now and then. J Our list consisted of items like: conquer a fear together, travel, go camping, go to a musical, tailgate, try our favorite restaurants, create art work, go to the casino, dance at a club…and the list goes on and on.
So during the first year in our relationship- Jim and I: traveled to Denver Colorado, went white water rafting, hiked down a mountain, went to see ‘Wicked’, tailgated at a Husker football game, enjoyed Netties and China Inn (and tried each other’s favorite dish), spent a night camping in a tent at Pawnee Lake, painted canvas that we still have hanging on our wall, danced the night away, and lost money to the casino..and much much more.
Through this we have learned many things about each other- some annoying, but mostly mesmerizing.  Having a list gives us the opportunity to have an excuse to go on a date, laugh and forget life for awhile.

Living in San Francisco gives us the opportunity to experience additional adventures. Today- we experienced the Academy of science- we visited the planetarium, walked through the rainforest, touched a star fish, discovered a ‘living roof’, visited Clode- the Albino alligator and watched African penguins dance throughout their exhibit —all while enjoying the simple company of the one we love.
One adventure down- and many more await our arrival. Continue to let your list grow- Cheers! 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hats off to you

Hats off to you

After working 14 hours, two days a week with a few 10 hour shifts in between I always attempt to watch the news on my days off. I suppose it’s my way of reconnecting with the world.  Today is no different. I flip the switch and watch the end of some mindless soap opera only to wait and hear endless banter regarding hat selections for the upcoming royal wedding. ‘Hats bring a sense of positivity’ to people, the announcer insists while continuing to express that such hats range well beyond $100,000.00. I think to myself, a hat for $100,000.00 that may bring a little bit of positivity?
  I imagine the individuals that are able to spend such money on a little spark of positivity. I imagine the outrage of wrong colors, appearance of big foreheads, too many feathers and not enough spunk. I paint a picture in my head of royal wedding hostility including all the press and time that will be spent detailing the glories of the hats, and all the ‘positivity’ it was able to surround the newly married royal couple.  I stop myself and redirect the scene; maybe hats do bring a sense of majestic emotions and such said positivity. However, I can’t stop myself from thinking ‘really, your biggest worry is picking out that special hat; that really outside of a few comments, a shared smile and a 12 hour time spand really won’t be making a huge impact on the world.’ I imagine a world that hats are the biggest problem and positivity is picked up a-top the coat rack.
I laugh, stop  and surround myself in endless memories of Bourbon Street, jazz bands, mechanical whales, crazy out-fits, beads, laughter and hats. Picking up the album of our recent trip to the Big Easy, I flip through pictures of our decorated heads and mentally I am surrounded with every feeling I was consumed with walking through the French quarters.
A purple fedora that complimented Tina’s hair, a birthday candle cake top-hat that told every passer-by it was Jim’s birthday, a blue hat that left fuzz on my dress, an Irish inspired plaid hat that was shared by Dunker and Jarrett, and an astronaut hat that  welcomed Bohaty after the surprise of a life time.
I laugh as I remind myself of the simple joy such hats brought to our adventure. Fabric shaped for a head, inspired to create a smile, or better yet, maybe even some positivity.  I recap the moments Bohaty ‘called Houston’, Jarrett swung the hat around to dance with the ladies, Tina adjusted the purple fuzz to take the perfect picture, and the response of Jim saying ‘hell yes, it’s my birthday’; and I imagine a trip without our decorated heads. I embrace the memories of laughter and become great full for ‘Party City’.
While our hats were not broadcasted on the news at noon, nor would we imagine paying over $20.00 for them. Like the hopes for the royal wedding, our hats did bring positivity. I suppose picking out that perfect hat is worth some mentioning; the few comments, the shared smile and the 12 hour time spand that  is spent wearing them may not make a huge impact on the world, however it will make a difference in your own.  Perspective is a power tool and simplicity and smiles are often the best recipe for unforgettable memories.  Don’t let the chance of a hat bringing positivity pass you by. So here it is, from San Francisco, hats off to you. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Simple Lessons

Here I sit again, on my purple couch with my trusty 9 lb side kick by my side.  While I attempt to write an entry as to what my good intentions were to be to capture the essence of my move out west; I realize that I have thus far failed to do much but use this as an outlet to vent, complain and tell myself that ‘it will get better’.  I recognize that I have only shared a few stories, feelings and hopes since moving to San Francisco; so here is my attempt to regain such ‘blogger’ status.
I can honestly say, life is different. I feel compelled to share tid-bits of the ‘life lessons’ I have learned as I can now officially say I have been west-ward for 6 months.
Lesson 1: The small things in life will always be the best things. A simple folding of laundry, a good morning kiss, a bad romantic comedy and a simple ‘I love you’ are what makes the days appear to not be so long.
Lesson2: Never take living by the ocean for granted. In short, never forget the beauty of nature’s wonders. Whether it is corn fields, sandy beaches, mountain tops or a grassy field of green; all of it is worth missing, and believe me some day you will.
Lesson3: A simple drink with friends after work will always fill the void. Work by its very name is tough; it is exhausting and can be overwhelming. Sharing moments of tequila shots and long talks will always bring you into greater spirits and in turn make you a better individual.
Lesson4: Relationships are the key to my existence. Love is powerful, it is worth the fight.
Lesson5: San Francisco is not that far away and it is not this giant ogre that cannot be defeated. Hopelessness breads success and bravery turns into a new way of living.
Lesson6: Dream big; then put it on the ‘to-do’ list. Make your dreams, your reality- because if you’re not, is it really worth dreaming?
Lesson 7: There is a big ol’ world out there; figure out a way to explore it. Cultures and people are fascinating, don’t let it escape you.
Lesson8: Outside of lesson 5; nothing has significantly changed since changing my zip-code. My core is still the same, maybe a bit stronger.
I laugh at myself as I reflect on moments during the previous six months of my move. Funny how we wish to escape particular actions or moments throughout our history- when in turn without such moments we may never have moved mountains.  Don’t let fears define who you are as a person, and certainly don’t become your hardest obstacle. Breathe, let loose, make mistake, act ridiculous, try new foods, let go of your ego, laugh at yourself and let the dog track mud in. What matters are the memories, so once again- Cheers to you, San Francisco, I appreciate your hospitality.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Home sweet home

As Jim spends the night snoring, I lay awake wondering how many times I have heard the local political ads for Meg Witman and Jerry Brown. It is amazing to me that these two do not have enough sense to stop and think ‘would I like to listen to the same individual, say the same things over and over during every commercial break?’ Then, I stop and laugh at myself.. oh, most people do not watch the mindless reruns of ‘Judge Judy’ and ‘The new adventures of old Christine’ more nights then not.
The job hunt seems endless and helpless. The entire, ‘sit around and wait’ mentality rarely sits well with me. Well, in fact, patience isn’t exactly my strong point. I suppose I get that from my mother. Although I am not sure who would be satisfied just to ‘sit around and wait’, seems to me like you may as well be incarcerated. As I see it, you’re stripping your own freedoms; freedoms to take charge, but I suppose that is the Oprah mentality in me. Maybe I just have this ‘save the day’ attitude, and believe that every one of us can make a difference. Ya know, save the world, one person at a time sort of thing.
I recently interviewed with a local agency here in San Francisco. They do things a little differently, starting with a group interview. My group interview was filled with individuals with amazing and diverse backgrounds. The room seated 10 individuals, myself include. 10 individuals that I assume have the same ‘everyday hero’ sort of attitude.  While speaking to these individuals prior to the HR representative entering, I realized ‘wow, no one in the bay area is from the bay area’. Everyone has a ‘back home’. Everyone had a different story of where they came from, how they got here and a vague idea of where they were going to go from here. This is quite different from my ‘back home’ and quite the confidence booster when you realize you may not be the only individual walking in blind.
The group interview went about as well as expected, and a few days later I received a return phone call asking to schedule me for a second and third interview within the agency. These interviews involved a normal structured interview with the program director, followed by a three hour ‘job shadow’ to ensure the candidate would still be interested in working within the facility.
Thursday I set out on the ‘BART’ in hopes of finding the youth mental health hospital, as to where I was to conduct my interview. Exiting the train at the ‘24th and Mission’ location, I took out my google map instructions and began the real adventure. While digging through my purse, a pigeon landed beside me.  I took one swift look around and realized that I was in a different world. Street vendors covered every square inch of each corner, and the amounts of people screaming at what appeared to be themselves over took any thoughts that were streaming through my mind. I took a deep breath and could not help but smile; home sweet home.
I walked two blocks up, eager to steer clear of ‘Mission Street’, I took a left turn and began walking on 22nd street. The fragrance and spectacular views over took my senses with each passing block. The men who drove around with a burrito truck reminded me of the ‘ ice cream ding ding’ man at home, the scream of people singing and dancing to music as I passed a bar reminded me of the streets of downtown Lincoln after a Husker victory, the smell of the fresh flowers reminded me of the flowers on the bush that Jim’s mom hates so much, and as I stopped to admire the incredible tight squeezed homes, the curve of the windows and the carefully planned coloring of the housing impressed me. And for a brief moment, I imagined myself coming home to one similar some day. Smiling, I continued walking.
I survived what seemed to be an endless 4 hour interview, took the ‘BART’ and once again safely arrived at our small spot in California. Once again, home sweet home.
The most recent 48 hours, I have spent questioning my move; wondering if California is the right place for me. Wondering what I would be doing ‘back home’, the shenanigans I would be getting into, or the memories I am missing out on. I suppose some would categorize me and state that I am going through a stage, something that will pass with time.
But it is funny that people mention ‘time’. Such an easy answer to such difficult questions, as it’s generally the answer that is given when an individual questions a difficult decision. After a bad break up, you are told, ‘oh hunny you just need time’. After a death, ‘only time will heal your pain’. Waiting to hear results from a doctor ‘well it is going to take some time to gather the results’. However, with all this ‘time’ being thrown around, you would think it is something that is guaranteed. Coincidentally, ‘time’ is not guaranteed. Taking time in my opinion, is just a pathetic answer when you cannot think of any other convincing bull shit, or don't have the nerve to speak up regarding what could really make a difference.
Now before you go calling me a hypocrite, I will just admit it. I too will tell people to take some ‘time’; it truly is just the easier answer. However, what I should be saying when you call me about that jerk that broke your heart is ‘well, obviously your relationship didn’t pan out. You are going to cry, you are going to be mad, and you are going to question your decision. You are going to have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, and talk to people that you don’t know. You are going to need to stop focusing on old memories and start making new ones. There are going to be days that are going to suck, there are going to be days that are great. But while going through all of these emotions, you will build a new life. How long all of that takes is up to you. ‘Time’ will never heal you, time is what you take while working through these emotions, time is what you take while you continue to live your life, or time is what you waste as you remain a sheltered hermit and play the ‘sit around and wait game’.
Now,as previously stated, ‘the sit around and wait ‘mentality is not my style. And to be really honest, if I sit around much longer I am liable to lose any sanity I have left.
So, funny enough, the same thing I would say to a broken hearted friend, is the same thing I said to myself not too many hours ago. So as I continue to explore the streets of San Francisco, I will continue to allow myself to accept that this as well, will not take time. San Francisco is my home, my new home. This transition will take perseverance, strength, the ability to break boundaries, and a strong belief in myself. Time will not give me these things.
So, once again, cheers San Francisco, thanks for welcoming me, home sweet home. :) 

Friday, October 15, 2010


I sit with a blinking cursor and the divine melodies of Zac Brown Band; simply wondering if I have the structure or dedication to complete what may seem like a simple blog message. Laughing at myself, I am curious as to see where this, like San Francisco may take me. If anything else it fills up empty time and may in the future be something to look back on and reflect.
So, with inspiration from Ms. Mackenzie Berg; here it goes. A week ago I boarded a plane, headed to Boston nonetheless and began this whir wind of a journey. I sat at the Lincoln airport, having just said a ‘see you later’ to two of the most recent important people in my life. That sentence in and of its self makes me laugh, but also always seems to put a tear in my eye.
Good-bye-  appears to be such a simple word. However the greater context of its message is much more complicated. The days leading up to my departure were what seemed like endless minutes of agony, confusion, anger and yet, somehow, happiness.
I ran out of my parents house, giving my brother a simple ‘I’m leaving Sean’ not giving him enough time to come out of his bedroom to give me a ‘proper goodbye’. The simple thought of ‘walking out’ on this man, who I have watched grow, was simply, too much. So, I ran out of the door, got in the car and drove away from the house, leaving 52nd street as nothing but a memory.
I attempted to picture my last week in Nebraska. I imagined the places I would go; and all of the people I needed to see. However, like life; nothing seemed to go ‘as planned’.  Errands ran long, good-byes ran short, and of course, the unexpected occurred. Emotions that I simply did not anticipate came rushing through me and for that, I was not prepared for. So, I bottle what is necessary, boarded the plane and officially began my journey.
I landed in Boston, after two layovers, one change in airlines, two hours of sleep with my trusty bottle of water. I sat and waited for Jim to pick me up from the airport. Finally, I hear this ‘heeey’, followed by a heart wrenching hug. Jim and I were back together at last. Attempting to put my emotions aside, I welcomed his kiss and picked up my luggage.
The next 72 hours were indescribable. Exploring Boston I simply put aside my emotions; I stopped processing that I was moving to San Francisco. Monday came and I once again found myself boarding a plane. Destination: San Francisco, California.
Many laugh when I tell them I was tempted to buy a parachute and jump out once we were flying over ‘the good life’. However, it is amazing what your mind will propose when your whole life is about to change and you can hardly control your emotions.
All resistance aside, I boarded that plane. The second I snapped that seat belt, it was official. I was moving to California. Moving to do what? I suppose an outsider may say ‘the possibilities are endless’, ‘you’ll love it’, ‘there is so much to do there’; outside of those being popular with Hallmark, I was hardly impressed.
As harsh as it may seem, I was moving to fulfill Jim’s dreams. I was moving to keep my relationship with Jim; a relationship that is significant and has sincerely changed my life. With all that said, it did not make moving to California without my own purpose any easier.
I was physically removed from the streets I have watched being built, the people I have watched grow, the life that I have made and the place I was proud to call home. I was thrown on Alemany Blvd, San Francisco; an address that means nothing, to a city that has absolutely no significance to me. Nothing except for this relationship that I have deemed ‘worthy’ of such sacrifice.
So, now what? Well, here begins the journey. I have wondered onto the ‘BART’ station, walked the hills of the neighborhood, landed in what my mother would call ‘the hood’, unpacked boxes, experienced organic flaxseed chips and spent a lot of time thinking; a lot of collecting and gathering within myself, which was not originally anticipated.
I have streamed the internet for potential employment opportunities, interest groups, photography, classes, unpacked boxes, listened to endless amounts of ZBB, cried on the couch with Putzi, all while trying to be the ‘supportive girlfriend’.
Now, while all of the above paragraphs may seems as though it is all ‘poor Renee’ or ‘you stupid broad, you didn’t have to leave Nebraska, why don’t you stop complaining’. I think it is important for you to realize that I, myself have also thought all of these things. I suppose, if nothing else it is important for me to reflect on such feelings. Corny right? However, Oprah is on to something- feel your emotions, and express yourself in ways that are comfortable.
I miss ‘home’, I miss the smell of Nebraska air, I miss the quite of 59th street, I miss the crisis of my clients phone calls, I miss the comfort of ‘cube 82’, I miss the petty arguments with my brother, I miss the atmosphere of Husker Saturday’s, I miss the neon, and I miss the smile of my close friends and family.
However, I am here. 3981 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco California; welcome home Renee. Of course not each moment has been difficult, I am optimistic that this journey will in fact bring Hallmark’s ‘new adventures’ to my life. I can honestly say that I am excited. And of course, I am thankful. Thankful for the support I have received and for the wonderful individual that I get to experience San Francisco with.
So, here’s to you San Francisco, ‘Cheers’.