Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cecilia and the Satellite

It's been a long time since I've done any real writing on my blog.  It's sort of evolved into a place where I post pretty pictures I've taken and pretend that the hard things in my life don't exist.  But I guess today I'll break tradition a little.

For those who know me well, they know that I have often considered the music of Jack's Mannequin the soundtrack of my life.  I first discovered the band when there was only one album out, and my life was relatively carefree, typical of any girl in her early 20's, and quite enjoyed a few of the tracks on the album.  I discovered the second album at a time when my life was looking a lot less like normal.  My dad had started attempting suicide, my parents got divorced, and I was in a car accident that left me with a traumatic brain injury that unable to continue the degree I was studying for at university.  Needless to say "Swim" became a song that got me through the times when I didn't believe I could go on anymore.  And the last album came out at a time when I was coming to peace with with the hard things of my life and feeling ready to live life again.  The music of Jack's Mannequin has always seemed to go perfectly with my circumstances in life, and has always been exactly what I needed at the time.

I recently saw that Andrew McMahon was coming out with a new album soon, moving on from his Jack's Mannequin days and coming out with music under his own name.  I heard the track that had been released, "Cecilia and the Satellite", and it completely blew my mind.  So fantastic, a lovely tribute to life and Andrew's new baby daughter.  And made me think:  If Andrew hadn't fought through his "Swim" days, his "Cecilia" days would never have come.  That thought gave me a lot of strength, as I've recently discovered to be swimming through some significantly harder moments in my life right now, with my dad actually having committed suicide, being over $100,000 in debt with loans for a graduate school program that I've finally managed to make progress on despite the brain damage, and being half a world away from all my family, to list off just a few issues. I'm by no means anywhere near any sort of "Cecilia" stage in my life right now (not that there aren't good things that happen in my life too, but the storm always seems to be present there in the background), but it's nice to know that even after one suffers all that they do during their "Swim" days, they are still capable in the future of having "Cecilia" days.  It's difficult to remember sometimes that hard days don't last forever, that something else awaits for you in the future.  But this new song is a good reminder for me.  This haze is only temporary, the horizon is not as far as I think, this is a storm I'm meant to ride, and hopefully soon the needle will move to a more forgiving song.  Someday I'll be surprised at all that I've learned from a broken mirror and a heart that knows fear, and how the best things are yet to come.  So I'm just going to swim.  Swim for the music that saves me when I'm not so sure I'll survive.

Music Video for Swim

Video for Cecilia and the Satellite

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Picnic at Blenheim Palace

This weekend I had the chance to escape the dreary mundane working life and go on a picnic to one of my favorite places here in England with two of my favorite people, Aya and Anne-Marie!  The morning was full of good omens as Aya and I were walking to the bus stop and we found a secret path in the city! It was one of those secret paths that are full of mystery and intrigue, was oh so pretty, and seemed to be heading in the direction we needed to go, so we decided to be adventurous and give it a go.  I didn't take pictures of it, even though it was so adorable looking, so I'll have to go back and get some photos at some point.  Aya and I also had the chance to get in a couple board games at the board game cafe before meeting up with Anne-Marie, which is always uber amounts of fun!  It was raining in the morning, but by the time we arrived in Woodstock the weather was looking up for us.  We meandered a bit around the quaint little village right next to the Palace before heading in.  After walking a bit on the grounds of the Palace, we stopped for a delightful picnic with the most delightful foods!  It was a mixture of delightful Japanese, German and American foods, and what better sort of picnic could there even possibly be? (I suppose you could argue some of the German and American contributions looked suspiciously like British food, but I'd rather stick to our roots and claim it wasn't British in the slightest!  Well, except for the clotted cream....but who's going to say no to that sort of British influence?  Certainly not me!!)  After our extremely yummy picnic, we walked around the gardens some more and enjoyed English nature at it's finest.  We even got caught in a couple massive downpours of rain, interspersed with enough blazing hot sun to give me quite a sunburn, despite wearing SPF 50 sunscreen!  Oh the British weather...   We didn't get a chance to visit inside the Palace this time, but I guess that just means we'll have to plan another picnic!

Aya trying to sneak up close to some bunnies in the field!

Sheep, just for Camilla! ;)

Our beautiful picnic spot!

Best. Picnic Food. Ever.

Aya stopping to smell the roses!

There was some sort of "outdoor sports" fair or something going on as well.  You can't tell very well, but this is a man on a hunting horse parading around with hunting dogs.

This flower was called "Fire and Ice", which I thought was a lovely name