Cancel you plans, turn down the lights, and make a date with yourself.

Sometimes it’s nice to clear the calendar and just sit back and have some alone time on a weekend night.  While I have been having a very EXTREMELY social few weeks and loving that, I have also promised myself I would make this a year of balance and working on being present and being my best self.  In order to find this balance and (even harder) to hold it, one must take the time to reflect and relax, to re-center, if you will.  I guess it’s sort of like keeping your body in a perfectly pH balanced state, that is uber difficult b/c everything you do and eat has a chemical effect on that very delicate balance.  Such is life and the our daily activities.

I have spent my years being very black and white about many things, and my all-or-nothing outlook with my devil-may-care attitude towards what people think about it has definitely propelled me in many ways - business, for instance, I excel in with this attribute. However, in my personal life - in regards to friends, my ability to be social or be a hermit, or in taking care of myself (in the time and rejuvenation aspect - not the more obvious), this particular attribute tends to be a bit damaging.  

Because of certain aspects of my younger years, I have this amazing ability to disappear from the world and become quite the hermit.  I will still go out, yes, but I will go alone. I will take myself to dinner, coffee, and the movies alone.  I will sit for HOURS in a coffee shop, writing as I watch the world around me buzzing by.  Depending on my particular mood or reasoning for my recession, I can play out my life this way for a few days or for months, and more recently, YEARS. The other side of this is, when I’m feeling like being social and missing my friends and the feeling of being surrounded by love and affection, I go ALL OUT.  Suddenly, friends who haven’t heard from me in months (some years) will begin to get calls, texts, emails, invitations to dinners and to go out.  I will find a way to be in 20 places in one evening, just to be sure I am supportive of all of my friends and their respective events, I will throw my life’s work into being there and doing things for all the people that I care about.  I will let people in again, and I will share what I’ve reflected on and how I’ve evolved. And while both of these sides of me are very necessary and good, I have always been a bit crappy about the balancing act of the two.

Most recently I spent 2.5 years splitting my time between being a support system for a dear person that needed a very nurturing and loving boost in life, working my ass off in a very demanding and not so rewarding investment firm, and trying to make time for a select grouping of friends, while still trying to make new ones in an effort to fulfill the need for local friends.  

As an aside, the funny thing is, all the really great new friends I made, all live out of the country or out of state - leave it to me. HA!  

Anyway, after I made a very conscious and concerted effort to change THAT particular path in my life, I then spent another very intentional 7 months, licking my wounds, evaluating my choices and my next steps.  And coming into 2014, I made some hefty promises to myself and some of my dearest friends - mainly because I can deal with letting myself down (I’ve always been my own worst critic, so nothing new there), however, I do everything in my power to never disappoint or let my friends down.  

The promises are simple: to myself -

• To practice and actually DO the things that I am passionate about (Finish writing my books and publish them, cook more and often, practice my drawing and start painting and creating art again, photography, music and singing)

• To only put my energy into things that bring me joy, instead of always pouring all my energy into things to make others happy. (**One of my greatest traits and yet my achilles heel, is that I have spent my life putting everyone before me. And if it comes to someone I love, be it a friend, family member, or otherwise, I will always put those before myself without even the first thought.)

• To be present and be One with the world and universe.  This one is probably the hardest and is one that I have worked on day in and day out for many years - call it the Tao in me

• To Forgive myself for what I deem the bad things I’ve done or choices I’ve made.  (**This one is almost as hard as the one above)  And sadly, as it has come to my attention through sharing my struggle with this one with some that are very close to me - the things I consider terrible and beat myself up about, most people would say are really not bad at all.  But then again, I hold myself to an insanely high standard and a very strong morality.

•  To take time for me, to love myself more and be a little selfish.  This one’s kinda petty - but ya know, get more manicures and pedicures, get a massage every month, take myself out for a great dinner, always buy fresh flowers to have in the house, buy a new dress.  To realize that it’s ok to cancel my plans because I want to relax alone or maybe with just one friend instead of 10.

For My Friends

• To truly evaluate the Friend list, to cut out the people who only take and never give - no matter how much I love them or how many years are between us (this one was probably the most painful).  And to truly invest and re-connect and make a concerted effort to stay in touch with the ones that I have a healthy and balanced relationship with.

• To bring back Doris Day and the Dinner Parties

• To be balanced in my social life, not to disappear.  I have a friend who actually got very upset with me several years ago and said, “Chloe, you’re like the Sun.  When you are around, you are so bright, you bring so much love and joy into everyone’s life around you.  But then you leave, you just disappear and it’s like a big dark cloud comes - and nobody like dark clouds.  You can’t do that, you have to be a better friend.”  This stuck with me and conflicted me deeply, as I always thought I put every bit of my heart into my friends, but then again, never really considered the times I would hermit myself to be something that negatively affected my friends.  Or made them to feel I was being a lousy friend.  So this is a big promise.

• To truly let the people I care about in.  To allow my friends, the ones I choose to have in my life, to see the real me, the genuine me.  The thing with this one, is that I have a very good base of friends that I’ve known my entire life - so even if we go years without seeing each other, they know me. However, the friends I’ve made along the way, the ones that have been here for 4, 7, 10, even a few that are at that 13/14 years mark - sometimes only get bits and pieces - depending on how I’m feeling and the times and places we happen to spend time together.  It took a few different occasions for me to realize that I have become a ninja at keeping the softer side of myself very close to my chest.  Only dolling the true me out in very small and calculated doses, while readily giving the exuberant, silly, and overtly sarcastic side out like candy.  *This, I say to myself, “Self - you don’t have to be so protective of that sweet natured side as long as you make good and right choices in your friends.” Yes, it’s obvious - but who am I to lie, there may be a reason (a darn good one) for that, nonetheless I learn everyday and work to be better and better and better :) .

• To travel more to see all of my darlings and loves.  To travel WITH them, to finally get a few of them to synchronize schedules with me and go international for goodness sake!  I have lots of places I want to go and I want my friends with me! (This one is increasingly difficult now that we are all older and responsible - pffft)

So there ya go.  I say all ^^^^^ that to say, today is a day of balancing the scales for me.  Last night I had a very fun, however, not so planned night out on the town with some wonderful girlfriends - which threw me off a bit for today when I was supposed to have a dinner party for about 8 people.  After a few of the choice people I was looking forward to seeing cancelled, I felt it gave me a fabulous excuse to cancel the entire dinner party and enjoy a writing date with myself.  To relax, rejuvenate my body and my brain from my recent extreme social activity.  To have some hot tea and indulge in some gelato and maybe watch a movie in my pj’s. Some are disappointed, and for that I am sorry.  However, there will be more dinner parties, there will be another day and night to laugh and play together.  But tonight is all mine… Well, mine and my pen.  Today was lovely and spent having some very deep conversations with a dear, fairly new friend (1 year) - the more time I spend with this particular friend, the more I feel we are getting and will be the best of friends for many years to come.  And friends, my friends, they are the best things in life and I love them all with such passion and hold them in the highest regard, as they have all shown me such amazing love and made me better through their friendship over the years.

So cheers friends, cheers to my loves!

And as for the soundtrack… Sometimes I like to relax to electronic music, trust that this will progress into trance followed by ambient, which will put me to sleep very nicely. :)

Music, since I can remember (which is from the 3rd day of life - btw - I am an anomolly), has always been my greatest love and such an integral part of my life.  

Because I do not have very much time to write, I will say this about music.  In the worst times, through the darkest and most terrifying, vulnerable moments in my life, as well as through the most undulating joyous, and happiest, loving moments in my life - MUSIC has been my heart beat.  Music has been my keeper and the safest, most honest, and undeniably virtuous best friend I have ever known.

Therefore my most sacred of all outlets is music and the form and function of release, interpreting, and understanding through music and the lyrics, rhythm, and beats that formulate its melodies.  It gets me high, it let’s everything out and everything in. Music is my ocean, my waves, my rapture, and my sea of calm.  

So on that note…… Delicate (live version) I’m feeling a bit rock n roll lately…. Pistol (by Dustin Kensrue) is next.

If it’s a Friend you need, Let it be me… 

This one is in honor of one* of the best men I know:

my darling, my “dear”, the best friend in the entire world - my friend, the incomparable Mr. Kisgen.   I don’t know that I can sum up the past 17 years  in a song or even a single post.  However, I was reminded today just how well this particular friend knows me and how impeccable his timing is in my life.  So, my dear friend - this one is for you - thank you for keeping me grounded and always knowing exactly what to say over all these years, and exactly when to say it!  Being your friend has made me a better person :).

The past few months have been bitter-sweet, in the friend and love world.  If you know me well, you know that my friends are my heart beat, they are my family and my true love.  I’ve seen one of the last of my oldest “dude” friends get married to an amazing woman, I’ve gotten to party and dance with people and friends I haven’t seen since high school, I’ve jammed out to music on the beach with the most beautiful couple (Bri & May May) I have had the pleasure of knowing, I then toasted their goodbye (and the beginning of a new era of their lives) with one last glass of champagne on Thursday night.  My darling New York & Germany girls are both pregnant and expanding their families, while my other New York Singing Siren (Miss Natalie) has found a wonderful love and smiles more and more everyday.  I have seen the best of my loves come and go from this city and I have been one of the luckiest people on earth to have shared a life of laughter, love, and joy with (who I think) are the most amazing people on earth.  I know I generally save my uber mushy moments for my friends for occasions like May Day, however…. My dearest friend, Stephen, reminded me today with his very unexpected chat, that there is never a bad time to remind the ones you love, how much you do!

"I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage.  When they are real, they are not glass threads of frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.  For now, after so many ages of experience, what do we know of nature, of ourselves?  Not one step has man taken toward the solution of the problem of his destiny.  In one condemnation of folly stand the whole universe of men.  But the sweet sincerity of joy and peace, which I draw from this alliance with my brother’s soul, is the nut itself whereof all nature and all thought is but the husk and shell."

There is no way I could possibly name all of the amazing people I have been and am so lucky to call my friends - - so I’ll just say this…

Thank you for all the smiles, for the years of laughter and joy, and for those of you who have taken me at my worst and pushed me toward my best.  And Thank God for all the amazing friends I still have in the A - - and for the ones who are spread all over the world, well… That just means I need to travel more! 

Thanks for making me feel all mushy, warm, and fuzzy. 

Thank you for today, yesterday, and every day. I sure am a lucky gal!

Seriously some of my favorite lyrics ever…. I don’t know why, but some of these lyrics remind me of one of my favorite poems by Lord Byron.

"She got jumper cable lips

She got sunset on her breath”

Seriously LOVE that… And it reminds me of, well, me.  Okay, there’s me NOT being humble for a moment. There’s definitely a story that goes along with that reminding me of me statement… Well, two stories, but I’m not telling right now.  

Just press play and enjoy!

Sultry, dark, with that tinge of love torn grit.  I love that a male vocal brings a sense of raw mettle to that feeling we’ve all had (on one side of this scenario or the other).  We are so used to hearing a female vocalist lament about love lost, or waiting on love, or whatever love lost/love sick story is being spun at the time.  You cannot lie, female or male - you have totally turned up and tuned into the tunes I’m referring to - “Nothing Compares to You”, “Every Rose has its thorn”, and whatever Fiona Apple song you can name.

But this Arctic Monkeys clangy, bang the drum, and stomp your foot on the floor sound with that ‘come hither’ vocal from Alex Turner, almost makes you completely forget how slightly depressing and desperate the lyrics are. 

This one’s just because, damn I like the grittiness and tenacity of all the pieces and parts put together.  And I mean, sure - who doesn’t relate. Pressing repeat.

Been flowing pretty consistently between Indie Rock, Classic Rock, and EDM lately…. I blame Tony & Lucas for it.  My two Musical loves. Tony is really the Master mind and the beat/rhythm creator, while Lucas is the instigator and additional noise maker (I mean this in a good way).  I have to thank them having been friends of mine for a very long time, recognizing that I needed to be reminded of my greatest love in life - music.  Tony reminded me how I could stay up all night long, playing records from the classics to now and have loving and long conversations on all of them.  Lucas reminded me that I could still perform, gave me the room and the stage, and lied to me until I actually believed in myself enough to stand behind a microphone again and let others hear how excited and happy all the music makes me.  I spent pretty much all of March, April and May diving back into music and immersing myself in lyrics again - and now… well now my throat is still sore and voice still raspy - I may have overdone it - oops.  But it sure has been fun and darn it… I promise, I promise to never turn my back on music or the dance floor again.  I have always said “Never stop dancing, Never stop smiling, Never stop singing”, not sure why I spent the past few years forgetting how to have my fun.  Life shouldn’t be serious all the time. Just because you grow up and have a big girl job, doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun… Balance.  

I’m rambling again. Which must mean it’s bed time.

So yeah… Arctic Monkeys - Awesome!  

Tony & Lucas - Thank you for reminding me and loving me for just silly me

Music of ALL Kinds - THANK YOU FOR BEING, You make my day, everyday!

ANR - It’s All Around You - Listen Up.

Ok… been a hot minute, my apologies.  But this, THIS ^^^ song… Yes!  I’ve been struggling with where this post belongs - here or on my Clamor & Clang page, but maybe I’ll post to both. 

First, this song, by Awesome New Republic (ANR), is amazing!  I don’t even know where to begin; at the perfection of the acapella introduction, followed by the ingeniously placed bass beat, or the use of what seems to be a didgeridoo in this fantastic anthem.  And to top all that off, the song actually says something!

Funny that most write ups I’ve found on this particular piece of their’s (Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson of ANR ) do not even speak to the warning or message in the song, they mainly just state that the song was written during hurricane Irene, that ripped from the Caribbean up the east coast of the U.S. in late summer of 2011.  However, I think this song says much more than simply talking about the hurricane at the time - maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m reading too much into it, nonetheless., maybe if more people listened and heard what I hear and made a little noise - maybe it would have a bigger impact.

Well, she’s foaming up at the lip, you see

Gettin’ warmer in the middle
She’s carrying all the trash away
Warm it up for just a little
We’re one
We got to move away from this shore…”

In my opinion, it seems they are referring to the affects of pollution in our oceans, our largest life-force and livelihood.  The lyrics “We’re One” may refer to the Oneness of us as a people and our intrinsic responsibility to the other living things all around us - the ocean, the plants, the dirt, the moon, the sun - we ARE all ONE. We should all practice our Oneness more everyday (which is a whole ‘nother post), we should understand the connection of our personal energy and actions and how the energy within us affects and is part of the greater One.  

"We should move away from this shore…"  Could be referencing, simply, the immediate need to move away, b/c a "Wave is coming" (hurricane Irene) or could also be a warning that something more destructive is nearing.  But the best meaning someone could glean from this is, ‘hey, assholes, back up off! Leave your trash where it belongs, move it away from the ocean, move away from this shore.’

"Well I’ve heard
Concerns are often answered by none
And those words
Believe in them and you will be done
Well don’t worry about the crypt they say
People never meet disaster
We’re 581 miles away
I think it might happen faster
We won
A flood will hit the city, I’m sure.”

And if the first stanza didn’t say it loud enough, I think the 2nd stanza definitely does.  Basically, if we all just sit around believing that anything we may say will fall on deaf ears, then we will surely be done. If we as a species continue to tell ourselves, ‘Oh, it will never happen to US; not in my lifetime; that’s so far away from happening…’ Then we are all surely doomed/ “done”.  "We Won, a flood will hit the city, I’m sure."  And when the tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, and climate erosion and changes all begin to happen at a terrifyingly increasing rate - then what? Then will we stand up and scream?  Then will we be ONE?  Will we pack together and cling tight to our humanity, only as it’s being wiped out by a force much stronger, but far more patient and calculating than we? (I’ll let you marinate on that for a moment)

"So, keep your toenails on the ground
Put your fingers in the air
Let your voice just sing it loud
It’s around you”

So what do you think they are saying?  Could it be, we should keep our feet on the ground, but get our heads out of the clouds and raise our hands, raise our voices, let them sing out loud, let us all be loud and aware.  Energy, Nature, The Warning Signs, They are All Around Us, We Are One.

I like how short the song is, it goes to show, you don’t have to clamor on too long to be prophetic and say something loud. 

Aside from all of the above meaning I believe this song holds for not just me, but for all of us - it’s just a pretty great fuckin’ song, damn it, so listen to it, buy it, support music, and stand the fuck up and DO something about what’s going on!

Finally Begin!

Artist: Cold War Kids

Album: Mine is Yours

Song: Finally Begin

There are so many meanings that this particular song has for me.  At this particular moment, it lifts me up and makes me smile from ear to ear, knowing that I have made my way very quickly, yet very thoughtfully, down a most difficult road that presented itself very unexpectedly.  

Weigh the pros but the cons come first
I’ve got a black belt in doubt
I get claustrophobic
All these open doors around

Still the pros are the hardest to ignore
I’ve never felt this light before
I took off my sunglasses
And waited for the words

^^^ I am a my own oxymoron. I am probably the most positive jaded person you’ll ever come in contact with.  Also the most trustworthy doubtful person.  I LOVE and give my compassion with ALL MY HEART, sometimes to a fault - but I can amazingly love someone beyond their wildest dreams and yet, constantly be in doubt.  However, in the end, I generally stick to seeing the good and best in people in order to make my decisions - - that’s where the “to a fault” sometimes* gets me in a little hot water.

The bass line and drums are a bit harrowing and melancholy, while the guitar brings zings in with a smooth sense of uplifting confidence.  The lyrics seem to come through the speakers smiling a very fun-loving and witty smile that further drives the sound and melody up into my soul and then out comes my grin from one ear to the other.

"Finally Open My Arms Wide

Finally Let You Inside

Finally Made It Past The End

To Finally Begin”

^^^  This is a resounding chorus in my heart and head.  As I’ve said, life is not about the falling down, it’s about the getting up and the fight to keep on getting’ on, never give up.  So this is more of a great anthem reminding me to always be open to the Universe, what she has to offer, to open my ears and my eyes to all that is possible.  These lyrics remind me to push through the mud, to get past the end, so that I can finally begin (whatever the next chapter holds).  To take my time, weigh the pros and cons, but never to let doubt win over insight and the positive.

So PRESS PLAY, hope you enjoy my Indie Rock that’s been playing in my head recently. :)