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Walk-The-Moon-Robert-hales

Lead singer Nicholas Petricca dances during the eclipse. Photo credits: Lark Creative

By now, you’ve probably heard Walk The Moon’s latest hit, “One Foot,” playing over the airwaves since it was released late last year. I know that it tends to play once a day in the office, and I kind of wonder how much it gets on my co-workers’ nerves as I try my darnedest not to dance in my chair or as I’m heading into the kitchen to grab more water or hot tea. But from the first moment I heard the song back in November, I was in love with the music – the earth-shaking tribal drum beats in the chorus, the invigorating chords, the inspirational words. It was perfect for me, and it still is.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you might have read that I’ve been battling some health problems. While I’m definitely on the up-swing and am much, much better than where I was, I’m still having difficulty driving and am enduring 40+ minutes of public trans for work. It’s a long story, but in a nutshell, I’m usually peachy-keen on the bus ride into work, but for whatever reason, the ride home freaks me out. It’s probably because the bus is more crowded (I almost always have to share a seat) and there’s more traffic. I know I struggle with anxiety, but unless I’m really ill (read: incredibly dizzy and nauseous from vertigo), I’m able to distract myself by writing or reading manga or fiction.

I also rely heavily on music to help me get through the day. Typically, I try listening to something motivational, something upbeat, something that will give me confidence and help me feel invincible. There’s a lot of Phil Collins, Genesis, Steve Hackett, Peter Gabriel, The Boxer Rebellion, Simon Collins, Years & Years, and, yes, Walk The Moon songs hanging around on my playlist.

The day I discovered this new song, I had been feeling very dizzy and nervous at work. But then I found “One Foot” on YouTube, along with the awesome video they created during the 2017 eclipse. As soon as I listened to these words, I was hit with positive imagery and felt a little stronger:

“Cross my heart and hope to die,
Taking this one step at a time.
Got your back if you’ve got mine,
One foot in front of the other.”

Before I left for the bus downtown, I wrote “ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER” on my right hand and ran toward the train to help me find the bus. Once the bus ambled up to the sidewalk and let us all on, I pulled up the video and played it the whole time. I had felt so much better. I hopped off 50 minutes later and jumped into my car to head home, humming the melody for the rest of the night.

Once again today, I needed to be brave. After some impromptu and much-needed love and encouragement from my little brother, I popped in my earbuds, bundled up, and strode toward the train, walking in time to “One Foot.” As I waited for the train, the street lights downtown blinked on, and I found myself gazing skyward, taking in the beautiful architecture and the cerulean sky as clouds threatened from the west. Suddenly, I felt so small. I felt my problems and anxieties become like ants, tiny and insignificant in such a huge and wonderful world. I let the imagery that the song conjured flood my mind – watching the eclipse and witnessing so much amazing beauty that August day, walking side-by-side with my husband and little brother, the fierce look in their eyes as they would encourage me, saying, “One foot in front of the other!” The unending cadence in my life. The very phrase that helps me get up and keep fighting no matter how many setbacks I have. It’s one of the things that propels me forward when all I want to do is lie down and give up.

Walk The Moon is coming into town in a few short weeks. As crazy as it sounds, I wanted to create something that would capture this feeling in my heart and somehow give it to them, or at least show it to them, but I just can’t get it right. I want to tell them how much this song and many of their other songs have helped me fight my demons and hardships. But it probably won’t happen. Instead, I’ll try to let go of my worries for the night and lose myself in their music, whether I’m swaying to the music in the balcony with my husband and friends or if I’m somehow dancing like a madwoman in the pit by the stage. Either way, I’m really looking forward to the concert and can’t wait to hear my anthem played live. I can’t wait to feel it radiate through my bones, pulsate in my ears, and permeate my entire being.

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Phil Collins and his piano

“Hey, this doesn’t look like a kit to me!”

Hiya, you lovely readers, you! Guess what today is? That’s right – it’s January 30th, Phil Collins’s birthday! The master of drums and former lead singer of Genesis is 67 today. In honor of his birthday, I’ve been listening to Collins-era Genesis all day, along with some of Phil’s solo work, shouting “Happy Phil Collins Day!” to pretty much everyone (…okay, fine, I’ve only said it to my husband and my little bro), and taking some time to sit back and really listen to his music.

To celebrate Phil’s birthday, I thought, eh, why not come up with a list of my favorite songs from his solo career? So here you go, without further ado, here are my top 15 favorite Phil songs in alphabetical order:

(Also, this list was originally around 30 songs and it was painstakingly hard to narrow it down to 15! o_O*)

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As crazy as it seems, 2017 is just about over (doesn’t it feel like it just started a few months ago?). This year has been a… well, a very interesting one for me. I won’t lie; it’s been a difficult year. Nonetheless, 2017 has also brought me so much joy in a lot of ways.

I’ve done this in years past, so I’m doing it again. Here’s a basic rundown of what happened to me in 2017:

*After being tossed around from doctor to doctor, I was finally diagnosed with vestibular neuritis and now have vestibular hypofunction, which stemmed from a nasty virus I contracted Halloween 2016. Driving has been difficult at best, impossible at worst. But my health is on the mend, and I’m hoping to return to my old self in the coming year!

*I read a ton. Like, at least 25 novels and quiiiiiiite a few volumes of manga (yep, that’s what I do on my lunch breaks, haha!). I’ve stumbled across a few favorite series (Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray and The Diviners series by Libba Bray, for instance). Looking forward to reading even more, including Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, one of my favorite authors!

*I got closer to a lot of my friends and learned to lean on them when I needed them. In turn, I have had the honor of helping them endure anything that has troubled them. I don’t know what I did to deserve such great friends, but I’m incredibly grateful!

*I saw my favorite college professor retire and went to his retirement party with one of my best friends, who was also an English major like me at our college!

*I saw the Mississippi flood and envelop the roads for a decent part of the month of May. It was cool, buuuuuut my reading spot at work is on the steps by the river (at least when the weather is nice), so I had to stay indoors a lot at work.

*I slowly but surely became more physically active in dealing with my weird vestibular condition. This time last year, I could barely tolerate walking through a store. Now I can dance and exercise almost all the time (at least to some degree)! Just need to work on my driving skills.

*I got to kitty-sit for the first time for my friends, and I LOVED IT. If I could, I would totally adopt a black cat. But half of my family is deathly allergic to cats, so I’ll just be satisfied with kitty visits at my friends’ place and hanging out with my beagle. ^_^

*I celebrated 7 wonderful years of marriage with my fantastic husband. 🙂

*I gained a little brother! He’s not a blood-brother, but he pretty much feels like one. Along with my husband, he has helped me endure rough spots and has given me plenty of things to smile about and laugh at. He’s given me courage when I needed it, has protected me when I found myself in dangerous situations, and has encouraged me to continue being creative. I am grateful and proud to call him my brother and add him to my “family” of treasured friends.

*I’ve gotten into a few new things: outer space (thanks, Sufjan) and some new music like Walk The Moon and Brave Saint Saturn, among other things.

*I witnessed an amazing eclipse in August. You can check out my story here!

*I enjoyed a local balloon festival with my husband and close friends.

*I went on a fantastic mini-vacay with my husband to Dubuque, Iowa and Galena, Illinois!

*My husband and I went on a weekend trip to Indiana to scope out the Covered Bridge Festival with our family of friends.

*I hand-painted the planets in our solar system (yes, including Pluto) and was a NASA nerd for Halloween.

*I visited the Endangered Wolf Center and saw a fennec fox up close and personal and howled to my wolves afterward. They were quiet, but an African painted dog gave us a disgruntled “WOOF!” Because of this experience, my love for wolves has been reawakened!

*I learned to enjoy the little things and live a little more in the present instead of worrying so much about the future or dwelling so much in the past.

 

So in a nutshell, that’s my 2017. I’ve learned a lot this year, and now I have some more goals in mind for 2018. Yeah, forget calling them resolutions. I’m not gonna drop them like a bag of bricks come February. These 8 goals are fo’ life:

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Phil-Collins

No one can kick it quite like Collins can! 🙂

Phil Collins’ Face Value brings me back to the days when my mom took me along with her to complete some chores and such in our old electric blue Chevrolet Corsica LT, the car that I loved as a kid (for whatever reason – probably because it was blue) and wanted to drive when I was older. But my brother wrecked it, so there went that plan. ANYWAY, the car had a cassette player, as many a car had in the olden days of yore, and my mom kept quite a few cassettes in the car. One that never really went away was Face Value.

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Walk the Moon band members

Walk the Moon! Photo credit: Brian Ziff and Billboard

I woke up today reluctantly, shaking the latest crazy dream from my head and snuggling deeper within my warm blankets. I had thought today would be another ordinary Tuesday. Oh, how wrong I would be!

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Unnamed

This is Currently Unnamed Kitty. Don’t let that innocent look fool you – she’s a beguiling little feline!

So my writing buddy at work, a.k.a. my little brother, has been lost in the Great White North since last Friday, and one of the last things he did before he left work was put me in charge of his desk pal, Currently Unnamed Kitty, or Unnamed for short. He picked her up, casually walked over to my desk, and placed her atop my two thinking pals, Ryuji the Ninja and Persephone the Kitty. It was clear that I was to “cat-sit” for my little bro while he was gone for the week. And cat-sit I would (and did!).

Even though I was busy writing web copy, blogs, and press releases galore, Unnamed Kitty would occasionally get into a spot of mischief. Typically, she sat atop my inanimate pals, staring blankly yet happily in my general direction. Today, however, was a different day. Unnamed was becoming restless, and she was going to have some adventures, darn it, whether I liked it or not!

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sunshine

The sun before it got all eclipsed and stuff. 🙂

Unless you live under a rock, you probably have heard that today was the fabled, long-awaited total solar eclipse, which cut southwest from Oregon all the way to South Carolina. As luck would have it, I was very, very near the path of totality. And as luck would have it once more, I was able to go out and enjoy it on a little field trip with my coworkers.

After getting my happy butt to St. Louis via bus and MetroLink, I met up with my “little brother” (and practically glomping him to death, poor kid), said a quick hello to his two sweet cats (I really wanted to take one home with me!), and ventured off to our destination – New Melle, Missouri.

The trip over was really fun. I learned a lot about my little bro and his experiences growing up, where all he went to school, the place where he had his nasty bike accident when he was a little kid, all sorts of neat things, really. I could easily picture him growing up in the calm country surroundings away from the bustle of the city.

surroundings on eclipse day

Our surroundings on the day of the eclipse.

We finally arrived at our destination where our other coworkers were waiting, and we set up camp, as it were. That is, we sat on the south side of a building in the grass, hiding from the sunshine. If you weren’t outside near St. Louis today, let me tell you, it was HUMID. And hot. And I wore jeans like a doofus. So we were all sort of chatting around each other as we waited for the moon to begin its descent on the sun. I got kissed to death and sort of mauled by my coworker’s little Shiba Inu puppy (he’s going through that teething stage). I didn’t care. I was just sort of like, “PUPPYYYYYY!!!!!!!” We joked with a lot of other coworkers, made “Total Eclipse of the Heart” jokes and references, and my brother and I laughed at stupid videos he pulled up on his phone as we waited.

Then one of the girls yelled, “IT’S STARTING!”

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