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Pluto 2015Greetings, fellow Earthlings!🙂

You might have heard yesterday that history was made, especially for us here in the United States, as a NASA spacecraft successfully passed through Pluto’s solar system and was able to take some neat photos of the planet. The U.S. is the first nation to have reached Pluto (although no one has actually landed on it – yet), and we have now reached and photographed every planet in our system. Yay!

While we have a cool picture of Pluto to admire for now, it will take about 16 months for measurements of the dwarf planet to be transmitted back to us. A few days ago, however, it has been determined that the planet is “somewhat larger than many prior estimates,” according to a mission update that was issued earlier this week.

In the meantime, we humans are having a bit too much fun with the photo shot of Pluto. Here are a few of my favorites!

Pretty much. *_*

Pretty much. *_*

Look! It's Pluto's big ol' noggin! :D

Look! It’s Pluto’s big ol’ noggin!😀

D'awwwwwwwww! I love this one the most, I think.

D’awwwwwwwww! I love this one the most, I think.

Oh, geez. I just. I just can't even. PLUTO, C'MON! Stop making me cry! :'(

Oh, geez. I just. I just can’t even. PLUTO, C’MON! Stop making me cry!😥

I thought that, in light of this excitement, it would be fun to share a few fun facts about Pluto. Read up on this strange little rock here!

*Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto on February 18, 1930 – he was only 24 years old!

*Pluto was classified as a planet in the same year that it was discovered, but it was demoted to a dwarf planet. In order to be a planet, one must do 3 of the following: orbit the sun, be more or less rounded, and “clear the neighborhood” around the orbit. Pluto does the first two, but it crosses Neptune’s orbit and those of some other objects in the Kuiper belt, which NASA frowns upon for planet-obtaining status.:/

*Think that astronomers named the planet Pluto? Nope! Many people sent in cool suggestions for names such as Cronus, Persephone, Erebus, Atlas, and Prometheus, but 11-year-old Venetia Burney, who suggested Pluto, won out. She said that it should be named Pluto because it’s so dark and far away, much like the Roman god of the underworld. The planet was officially called Pluto on May 1, 1930, thanks to Venetia!

*Pluto has 4 known moons as of yet!
-Charon: the ferryman of Hades
-Nix: the Greek goddess of night and darkness
-Hydra: the 9-headed serpent who guards Hades
-S/2011 P1: Someone didn’t get very creative here. NASA, I am disappoint. -_-

*Speaking of moons, Charon, the largest of Pluto’s moons, appears to stand still in Pluto’s sky because they’re constantly orbiting each other. In fact, the same sides of Pluto and Charon always face each other. So you could say that they’re having an eternal dance together (or an eternal staring contest!).

*It takes about 8 minutes for sunlight to reach us here on Earth. It takes 5 HOURS for that to happen on Pluto! :O

*Pluto takes FOREVER to orbit around the sun. We’re talking 248 Earth years here! C’mon, you slowpoke, you!

*Pluto is the only known dwarf planet with an atmosphere! However, that atmosphere is very thin and would be toxic for us humans to breathe. Boo.😦

*Tired of feeling bloated all the time? Just visit Pluto! A person who weighs, say, 100 pounds on Earth would weigh the least on Pluto than any other planet at 6.7 pounds. It’s just, well, you probably won’t be able to breathe. Priorities, right?

*Pluto is a goofball. For reals. It doesn’t just spin in the opposite direction as Earth (that would be called a retrograde rotation) – it also rotates on its side. That means that it has extreme seasonal variation! At its solstices, 25% of its surface is in permanent daylight and another 25% is shrouded in permanent darkness. Let’s take a moment and be thankful that we experience so many great seasons here on earth.🙂

I know that science says that Pluto is a dwarf planet now, but Pluto will always be a planet in my heart!😉 I lurve you, Plutooooo!

Credit given to Brawl In The Family

Credit given to Brawl In The Family

For as long as I’ve known, Nintendo and its many fun games have been a huge part of my life. From receiving my very first system when I was a little kid for Christmas (the SNES – had to share it with my big brother) to the endless tournaments and Smash Brothers battles with my friends after college, Nintendo had shaped my childhood and has given me the best friends I could ever ask for.

To say that I was sad to hear that Satoru Iwata had passed away this weekend is an understatement. I’ll admit, though – I don’t know a lot about the behind-the-scenes of Nintendo; I just play the games. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not appreciative of all the hard work, creativity, and ingenuity that Nintendo and its many wonderful people possess. I learned, though, that many of the games I grew up with were thanks, in one way or another, to Iwata-san. Hearing that the person who had his hands in many different games I love had died shook me, my husband, and my many gaming friends.

Last night, I started thinking about all the games that Iwata-san touched and the memories I have because of those games. Here are some of my favorite games/memories:

Not sure who the artist is, but this is an amazing work of art. Totally teared up seeing this!

Not sure who the artist is, but this is an amazing work of art. Totally teared up seeing this!

EarthBound (SNES) – I remember seeing this nifty game in Best Buy a loooong time ago – back when it was in a huge box, came with a player’s guide, and was only $5. It looked so neat that my mom decided to buy one copy for me and one for my two cousins to play. I mean, c’mon, you could walk around all these different towns on this big quest with your friends (whom you could name!!), eat take-out pizza, and fight quirky baddies. What’s not to love? I fell hard in love with that game, even as a kid, and it’s still one of my top favorites, hands down. From Onett to Magicant and everything in between, there isn’t anything about this game that I don’t love. In fact, I wind up pulling out the ol’ SNES copy and playing it once a year or so.

Kirby (several platforms) – I know Iwata-san didn’t create Kirby, but he sure was a backer of him and helped create several games featuring the adorable pink puffball, including Kirby’s Dreamland. My personal favorite was and probably still is Kirby Super Star. I just had so much fun jumping around, flying, turning into other cute little characters after you would eat different baddies, and kicking King Dedede’s big ol’ booty! Kirby is simply adorable, and I’m so glad that these games were made!

Again, I don't know who the artist is, but I love this work of art!Pokémon (Game Boy and DS/3DS, etc.) – Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a Pokéfanatic, and I have been for many years. Heck, I used to get totally made fun of for it back in junior high when it first came out (okay, and high school, too). I will say – and this makes me kind of a pathetic Pokéfanatic – I don’t know all the “new” Pokémon, but I still know quite a few and have many favorites (Jolteon, Arcanine, Raichu, and Houndoom top the list for me!). In fact, my husband and I like Pokémon so much that we wound up buying Heart Gold and Soul Silver for each other as wedding presents (he got Heart Gold, by the way :P).

Mario Kart Double Dash (GC) – You want to hear something lame? DO YOU?! HUH!?!? Well, here it is! There was at least a summer if not an entire year that I would play through Double Dash at least once a day back when I was in college. I’d sit down on my bed, turn on my GameCube, throw on some Genesis, and race, race, race! Needless to say, I totally p’wned everyone that dared to challenge me at the game. >=) Who is my go-to duo, you ask? Baby Mario/Luigi and Paratroopa.😉

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC) – I am a HUGE Zelda fan, but I think my favorite one has to be Twilight Princess. It was an absolutely excellent game with lots of great challenges, boss fights, character development, and so much more. I mean, I loved the game so much that I named my adorable little beagle Midna, after all!🙂 Weirdly enough, back in college when I was first playing this game, I started becoming more and more curious about wolves because of Wolf Link. That was the start of my current wolf obsession (which has taken on a life of its own as I volunteer and sometimes write about the Endangered Wolf Center!).

I'm currently obsessed with this game, and this drawing makes me feel all the feels. If you know who created this, please let me know, and I'd be happy to give credit where credit is due.

I’m currently obsessed with this game, and this drawing makes me feel all the feels.

Super Smash Brothers franchise – Oh, my gosh. So many great memories. SO MANY. From beating everyone up with the hammer to Bowser-ciding (or Kirby-ciding) people and constantly shocking opponents with Pikachu’s electrical shocks, this game has been a source of great laughter for my friends and me. One time, my friends and I frustrated our typically jovial and benign friend Aaron so much at Smash that he took off his shoe and chucked it across the room on campus, which subsequently (and accidentally) hit the plug and shut the game off. Needless to say, he was absolutely horrified, and we were stunned (at first) and then started laughing ourselves silly. We still will never let him live it down. >=)

There are so many other games that I love – these are just the ones I could think of off the bat. I’m not too sure what’s in store for the future of Nintendo, but I’m sure things will be okay, and I’m definitely grateful to have so many fantastic games be made and released. From everything I’ve read, it sounded like Iwata-san was dedicated to making games that would bring joy to people’s lives, and I really think that he has succeeded. If you’re still stunned by the news and aren’t sure what to do, try not to be too sad. I really doubt he would want to see us gamers like that. Instead, pick up a few of your favorite games, old or new, and pop them in the system for old time’s sakes. Play a game that totally delights you and makes you happy, no matter how crappy your day might be. Heck, have a friendly little tournament and invite your closest buddies over to play! I don’t personally know, but I like to think that Iwata-san would want it this way.

This happened this morning - a rainbow over Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto. It's like Iwata-san has his very own Rainbow Road taking him up to Heaven! I bet he has plenty of red shells and bananas with him. :)

This happened this morning – a rainbow over Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto. It’s like Iwata-san has his very own Rainbow Road taking him up to Heaven! I bet he has plenty of red shells and bananas with him.🙂

So once again, thank you so much, Iwata-san, for all of your hard work and dedication. These games have given me some fantastic moments in my life – they’ve helped me escape from some of my problems, even if for a few minutes, and they’ve helped me find the most wonderful friends that any girl could ask for. I hope that your spirit is at rest and that you are enjoying Heaven.

If you know me, you know that I hate summer. It’s my least favorite season of all. I don’t like being hot, and I hate being chased by inquisitive, brave insects (especially those doggone wasps!). Don’t get me wrong, I love having longer periods of light, but I really just hate the hot, sticky days of summer and all those mosquitoes just waiting to bite my poor body.

Instead of grumping the whole time through summer, I try to see the positives. Summer is the time when I can hang out with my friends in a local park while my husband plays onstage with the town’s municipal band. It’s great dress-wearing weather, and I have more ability to walk outside, especially once the sun starts going down (and not freeze, that is).

Music is a super important facet of my life. Oftentimes, songs will evoke certain imagery in my head (and I try to draw them out) or the reverse will happen – an event that occurred while that song or band was playing will imprint itself on the song, and it will always have an association with that song. That’s happened quite a bit, even in the summer.

With that, here are the best 25 summertime songs for me (arranged alphabetically by title):

“A” – Barenaked Ladies: Simple, simplistic, witty, and fun. This song makes me think of driving on roads surrounded by cornfields with the windows down, for some reason.

Always” – The Boxer Rebellion: This band is actually a pretty new find for me, so I’m probably going to associate a lot of their stuff with late spring/early summer (that tends to happen to me, really!). “Always” is a speedy little song that is just perfect for jet-setting out on the interstate with no true destination in mind.

Behind the Lines/Duchess” – Genesis: Okay, this is actually two songs, but for me, they’re inseparable. I actually remember the date I bought Duke – July 16, 2003, just one day before my nephew’s birth. I buried my head in my headsets the night before, listening to these first 2 songs while reading my first volume of Yu-Gi-Oh! I took my portable CD player with me when my parents drove me to the hospital, waiting for my nephew to be born. I can’t NOT think of that kid without hearing these songs, especially “Duchess” – that song was playing when we were told he arrived. Aside from that, “Behind The Lines” is the perfect song for a beautiful, sunny summer day, and “Duchess” encapsulates the rainy, stormy summer days that grace us in June and July.

Dodo/Lurker” – Genesis: I was obsessed with this song for probably half a decade, so much so that I desperately tried to write out the parts of the band so my high school band could play it in concert before I graduated. I didn’t succeed – I only got to the trumpets, trombones, clarinets, and a little bit of flute, and that was it. Still, this song makes me think about driving through town with the windows down with me blaring it and singing out the lyrics as loud as possible!

Effington” – Ben Folds: My husband and I have a fun little tradition – every time we pass Effingham, Illinois, we play this song. We don’t go by there very often, but it’s fun every time we do! Also, I don’t particularly want to live, die, or be buried in Effingham, just so you know.😛

Feeling That Way” – Journey: There are a lot of Journey songs that evoke thoughts and memories of summer, but this one does it for me every time. It’s fun, energetic, and light-hearted, and it’s also my favorite Journey song, so it takes the cake!

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” – Genesis: Peter Gabriel-era fans, rejoice! This one made the mark! There’s just something about this song that makes me think about the oppressive summer heat of July and August and doing whatever goofy thing you can to take your mind off the heat. (Also, the reason that Gabriel-era Genesis doesn’t pop up here much is because I associate a lot of those albums with winter! I love both eras of the group unconditionally. ^_^)

If You Love Me” – Steven Page: My best friend James (he’s the guy who helped me get this blog started) put Steven Page’s solo album on at work a few summers ago in June. Once I heard this song come on, I was hooked! There’s just something about this song that makes me happy. It’s energetic and fun, and it just makes me want to get up and dance whenever I hear it, no matter how crappy my day is!🙂

Keep It Dark” – Simon Collins: I discovered Simon’s music in the summer of 2007 and haven’t looked back. This song, a remake of an old Genesis song from 1982, is powerful, driving, and fierce, and I LOVE it! (By the way, he’s the son of Phil Collins, and he’s AWESOME! Check out his stuff!)

Me & Sarah Jane” – Genesis: Perfect for a drive during the summer nights or on a rainy summer day. There’s just something about it!

No Reply At All” – Genesis: There’s a reason that there’s quite a few Genesis songs on here (and from mostly 2 albums). One summer night in 2002, I was sitting in my room playing Yoshi’s Island on the SNES with the radio on. Then this song came on, and I remember thinking, “Hey, I like this! Sounds like Phil Collins…” And the announcer said it was from Genesis. I had liked Genesis as a kid but was only familiar with Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance. This was the night I started getting into the band on my own and really delving deeply into different albums!

Out On the Playa” – Simon Collins: Found this gem back in the summer of ’07! It just has a fun beachy vibe to it. Heck, even the word “beach” comes up in the title (Playa is Spanish for “beach”)!

Paradise” – Coldplay: I’m not really a fan of Coldplay, but I like this song! It takes me back to the time I visited the Upper Peninsula and drove through Paradise, MI (and saw my first peek of Lake Superior up close and personal!). It just makes me want to go north whenever I hear it.🙂

Pickerel Lake” – Sufjan Stevens: A fun, breezy-feeling tune! Okay, the lyrics might not be very fun, but the music sounds very carefree!

Portugal” – Walk The Moon: Not my favorite Walk The Moon song (I like “Work This Body” and “Tightrope” best, thank you very much), but this song definitely sounds like it was just made for a hot night on the town in the summer!🙂

The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out To Get Us!” – Sufjan Stevens: I know a lot of people rave about “Chicago,” and rightfully so. It’s a gorgeous song! But many forget about another beautiful song – this one, which was loosely based off one of Sufjan’s experiences at camp when he was a kid. It just makes me think of standing in a field of prairie grass in the late afternoon in Northern Illinois. And because I’m terrified of wasps, I try really hard not to think about it and focus on the music instead.🙂 (By the way, the live renditions of this song are out of this world and full of hilarious banter and stories. Check out my favorite here!)

Promises” – The Boxer Rebellion: From the first few measures, this song stole my heart. It has a lively, wind-swept feeling to it, and it just makes me think of running in the summertime evenings… which, I never run, but it just has a real carefree feeling to it all. Just drop your worries, make different promises, and run, run, run, run, run.🙂

Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie” – Sufjan Stevens: Okay, this might not be very fair because I visited these 2 beautiful places 3 summers ago. My husband and I totally blared both songs when we arrived at our destinations, and I will never forget the beautiful sand of Sleeping Bear and Traverse City beckoning me to come and stay a while, nor will I forget the fascinating locks of Sault Ste. Marie. I can’t wait to see those places again!

The entirety of Smallcreep’s Day by Mike Rutherford: For those not in the know, Mike Rutherford was the guitarist/bassist (depending on songs and personnel) for Genesis. He wrote an album called Smallcreep’s Day – a friend of mine sent it my way in the summer of 2008, when I was just started living on my own and was preparing my lesson plans for my first year of teaching. I drove to Springfield, my state’s capital, a lot that summer with this album blaring out of my car window, so hearing any of the songs on this album makes me think of that time in my life. ^_^

Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel: Want to hear a funny story? NO? Well, tough! When I was about 5, I heard this song come on the car radio when my mom and I were running errands around a neighboring town, and I really liked what I heard. The rhythm was fun and different for some reason (I would learn later that it’s in 7/4), and even though I had know idea what the guy was singing, I just loved it and waited for it to come on the radio all the time, which wasn’t too often, sadly. Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year in college. I was a new Peter Gabriel fan and noticed people talking about how awesome “Solsbury Hill” is. I had never heard of it, so I was curious. I found it online (which was a miracle because this was just before the dawn of YouTube), and I was amazed to hear the song that I adored as a little kid! I immediately ordered it through Borders (*sigh* I miss you, Borders!) and played it in my car all the way back home. I also played it on repeat on my headsets throughout a good portion of the family vacation that summer, so there’s that! Cool, huh? No? Okay, I’ll be quiet.:/

Volcano” – Jupiter One: My buddy James showed me this group last summer, thinking I would like them. He was right! And really, c’mon, with a title called “Volcano,” how can you not think of summer and all things hot?

Watching the Northern Lights” – Barenaked Ladies: This is something I want to do someday. Go up to the Upper Peninsula (or Canada or Alaska), lie down on the ground at night, and watch the northern lights play across the sky. I hope I can do this for real someday!

The West Side” – Phil Collins: So once my mom and I embarked on a road trip to North Carolina to see my brother when I was around 12. When we were driving through West Virginia, Phil’s “Hello, I Must Be Going” album was on, so now I always associate the album, and this song especially, with summertime travels on the highway.🙂

Won’t Be Afraid” – The Cat Empire – I’m not really a fan of this band personally, but I do enjoy this song! It’s fun and breezy – I can kind of see myself chilling by a huge ocean with this song playing in the background.

Which songs remind you of summer?🙂

Grande Peacock Cake You might remember me talking about my friend Nathan a few years ago. He’s the insanely talented guy who whips up amazing snow creatures every time there’s a substantial snowfall in his area. In fact, since I last mentioned him, he’s made a snow griffin, a snow queen based on The Chronicles of Narnia, a howling wolf, a lion, and even the head of Queen Elizabeth II!

For the longest time, Nathan has been making cakes. He’s made them ever since I’ve known him in college. I would find him preparing plans for the next cake for a family member’s birthday or a friend’s wedding, or sometimes I would ask if he wanted to hang out, and he would say, “Sorry, IggyNapster! I’ve got to take someone’s cake to their wedding!” or “I need to make the top tier of this one cake I’m working on!” And that’s okay, especially because he wound up making my wedding cake almost five years ago (and it was beautiful AND delicious!).🙂

Peacock cake face 1I knew Nathan was talented – anyone with eyes could see that – but every time I see a work of his, his talent just keeps getting more and more honed. His recent endeavor is this magnificent peacock cake that he made for someone’s wedding. When I saw this photo, I had a really hard time believing that the bird was actually made of frosting. I mean, really, do you see how real that looks?! It really looks as if some life is reflected back in those marble-like eyes, like it’s staring at you magnanimously, imparting some long-hidden wisdom onto you, the privileged viewer, before it leaps into the air, spreads its wings, and vanishes.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it would be an easy task for me to take a knife to this cake. It’s such a beautiful work of art… but then again, I wouldn’t want it to go to waste, so I would certainly feel compelled to eat it. That and seriously, his cake is THE BEST cake I have ever eaten in my entire life. And I like me some cake.

Peacock Cake Face 2Anyway, as far as I know from Nathan, his cake-making days are nearing their end. While he enjoys making these gorgeous creations that bring smiles to everyone’s faces and awaken a sense of awe in ourselves, he laments that it is a very stressful endeavor. Knowing how Nathan operates, I could see how it would take a toll on him. He cares that deeply for not only his art but also for the person he has intended it for. It’s nothing but the absolute best for the ones he cares for, and I truly admire him for that.

Whatever Nathan goes on to do, I know it’s going to turn some heads. You just can’t ignore talent like that. If you want to see more about Nathan and his cakes, check out this awesome news clip! And to my “little brother” Nathan, thank you for sharing your talent with the world, and never ever stop!

Photo credit goes to the Washington Post.

Photo credit goes to the Washington Post.

If you asked me 7 years ago who Sufjan Stevens is, I would’ve probably given you a weird look and said, “Uhh… I dunno? Is this a trick question?” I was still firmly rooted in the world of Genesis and music done by the many members of Genesis. Not to diss on Genesis at all – their work is amazing! But my world was also very small.

It wasn’t until November 2008 that my friend (who wound up becoming my husband) told me about this amazing musician named Sufjan. He played a few songs from the Illinois(e) album in his car, most specifically “Chicago” and “The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders.” He showed me “Chicago” because he figured I’d dig the groove, and he gleefully showed me “The Tallest Man” specifically because of the time signature. I had admitted it was cool, but I wasn’t ready to open up my little world yet.

“Here. I’m giving this to you. Give it a chance, okay?” he said.

A few weeks later, I drove myself to school (I was a teacher then) with that CD in my car. Slowly crunching through the snow, I wondered which track that one song I liked was. I searched and searched, forgetting what the intro sounded like, and found it just as I pulled into the parking lot (it was a very short drive – less than a mile). There was something about that song that wouldn’t leave me alone. I had to keep listening to it and had to dissect the layers of vocals and instrumentation. Even when I visited Chicago with a few friends that December, I couldn’t help thinking about that song and humming the chorus as we trudged in snow toward the Field Museum. To this day, that song conjures up images of the beautiful Windy City blanketed in snow.

I wouldn’t realize the profound effect that Sufjan and his music would have on my life, but he slowly crept more and more into my life. After Illinois(e), I was exposed to Seven Swans, specifically “Seven Swans” and “The Transfiguration.” Then in the summer, I was given a burned copy of Michigan. I would find myself saying, “I’m gonna put that one Suf-jam guy on, I think,” and would start listening to his music. “Dear Mr. Supercomputer” would play when I raced to the gym in wintertime. “Decatur” came on when I drove to visit my best friend when he lived in Champaign (I actually wound up blaring that song with the windows down when I went through Decatur, which was a huge mistake because that city was… well, stinky.). “The Mistress Witch of McClure” would play in between class times as I waited for my next class to come in and take their seats. Slowly, this wonderfully talented musician began to permeate my life, and I wasn’t even entirely aware of it.

Since then, my love for Sufjan and his music has only grown deeper. I’ve found solace and energy (depending on my day) in “Too Much.” I wouldn’t stop replaying “All The Trees In the Field Will Clap Their Hands” when I drove 2 hours to my student’s funeral. “Djohariah” became a song to cocoon myself in to help me be creative or contemplative. I learned more about Sufjan and dug more deeply into the lyrics. I felt a connection to the spirit he projects in his music. He’s actually the reason I’ve become so interested in the state of Michigan and the Great Lakes. His words and music have made me challenge myself to become a better writer and artist. Being opened to his material because of my husband has opened my world in such a profound way.

Fast forward to April 2015 – Sufjan was in St. Louis, and I was lucky enough to get to go this time around. I was so excited and nervous – I had waited 6 years to see him play live, and I wasn’t sure what to expect (aside from awesomeness). The tickets I wound up scoring back in January put us up on the left mezzanine, which wouldn’t bother most people; however, I’m terrified of heights, and the seating was… well, high and steep.

But once Sufjan walked on stage, sat down at his piano, and began playing “Redford” and then “Death With Dignity,” the world stopped spinning. I promised I wouldn’t cry, but I couldn’t help it. The music was so beautiful, and it was so surreal to be listening to my favorite musician sing and perform in front of me. I was just overwhelmed with beauty and a spirit of gratitude.

I originally had wanted to write out my whole experience about the concert, but I honestly never got around to it. I did, however, write one thing about the concert the day after. It was oddly enough about one of my least favorite songs, but the effect was so powerful that I had to write it down. Here’s what I had written:

“Then came “Blue Bucket of Gold,” which, before the concert, was probably my least favorite track on the new album. Ethereal chords echoed all around us as cerulean lights lit up the venue, focusing on the large dome in the ceiling and creating a calming, rippling effect. Immediately, my mind was transported to Lake Superior with its dazzling diamond-like sparkles and clean, clear blue waters. Then the opening chords came in, and Sufjan began to sing as the background lit up of a happy young boy playing and running at the beach and in the ocean. This naturally subdued song came to life each time after Sufjan sang, “Or raise your red flag, just when I want you in my life” with thundering percussion that commands your attention like a springtime thunderstorm.

“I wondered how long the haunting ending section would build as we neared the end of the lyrical portion, and to be honest, it went a different way than I thought it would. In the album, it’s quiet repetition, like a prayer. That night, though, my mind was blown. The lights vanished only to be replaced by large, rotating, blinking disco-like lights, making it look like the sun dancing on deep dark waters. The ending chords played on beautifully as the lights rotated in different directions. Soon, more sounds and instruments slowly worked their ways in until the percussion began to pitter-patter in the background, as if testing its welcome. It began to crescendo, and the lights came on, shining and blinking in radiant colors in every which way until the entire stage and even the background were flashing neurotically with color and light. I squinted toward the stage as the melody carried on and the cymbals crashed, thinking, “Surely, this is what it must feel like to die.” Maybe a dying person sees flashes of light and color, noises and voices of their loved ones, the last chords of a peaceful song playing in their mind as the percussion of light bounces about and begins to take them away slowly.

“Just when I thought my brain couldn’t take in anymore, the song pulled back and drifted slowly away until there was only Sufjan playing subdued chords on his keyboard. All of Peabody Opera House erupted in cheers and applause as the lights went down and we hoped for an encore (which, thankfully, we got!).”

Anyway, this post was way longer than I intended it to be. Sufjan, I don’t know if you’re ever going to read this, and it’s okay if you don’t, but I hope you have an amazing day, and thank you from the deepest regions of my heart for sharing your talent with the world. You have changed my world, given me new experiences, and given me so much courage to face my fears. For that, I am eternally grateful.

And with that, IggyNapster is back.🙂

Hello there, fellow readers! I just wanted to take a quick minute to announce that I’m back after a short hiatus. I had taken a much-needed vacation and have just returned. I promise I will be updating you with lots of juicy stories including my journey in and around Kansas City, the joys of authentic barbecue, and, of course, fulfilling yet ANOTHER dream by going to a Tigers game!😀

See you all soon! There will be pictures and all sorts of debauchery awaiting you soon!

Bowser turtle petSome days I wish I had a pet turtle. I have never had one, but I imagine they’d be fun. They’re really cute, they’re relatively easy to care for, and they’re fun to watch. You also more than likely won’t lose them (though weirdly enough, my husband said that his pet box turtle did actually run away from him when he was a kid – go figure!).

Whenever I saw this photo, it just made me want a turtle again! I doubt we’ll ever get one, or at least now, but if we ever do, I want to dress him up as Bowser.🙂 I mean, c’mon… how cute IS this?! The only acceptable answer is “INSANELY CUTE!”

See how to make the costume yourself here!🙂

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