Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Southern Ground

My sister and I went to the Southern Ground Music Festival last weekend on the riverfront in Nashville. It is Zac Brown’s big food and music event that is normally in South Carolina but they added a Nashville stop this year. There was live music all day Friday and Saturday, some local food trucks, and plenty of dancing and singing!

On the Pedestrian Bridge. My first time on it. I'm from here, I promise. I just apparently never cross the river.

The artists were all incredible. It was basically like watching the best of the best having a huge jam session. The big concert both nights was obviously the Zac Brown Band featuring John Mayer (on guitar since he is on vocal rest), Sheryl Crow, Gregg Allman, Dwight Yoakam, and Alan Jackson including daytime performances by Amos Lee, Edward Sharpe, Michael Franti, The Los Lonely Boys, Holly Williams and a ton of others. They all totally rocked it. 

Night 1

 Zac Brown

Jam Session

 More ZBB

 Holly Williams

Random dude that can rock the fiddle

Day 2

Stuck Between a Rock and Mainstream Country Radio

I must admit that my taste in music is typically very mainstream.  I love Zac Brown but wasn’t incredibly familiar with groups like Edward Sharpe and Amos Lee. But my sister’s goal for the weekend was to expose me to all kinds of music. And she did. Although I still have a lot to learn. For example, one group prefaced a song with “If you don’t know this song then you have been living under a rock or something!” Which is of course a guarantee that I have, in fact, never heard the song. I sheepishly admitted to my sis that I had NO idea what they were playing. 

“Emily….. (shakes head)… come on. This is a Metallica song.” 

The rock that I live under does not involve Metallica. I can assure you of that.

Nirvana Who?

So later on Zac Brown alluded to a special surprise guest and then started to sing a song that, once again, I had never heard. Our conversation went something like this…

“What song is this???”

“Emily. Seriously. This is Nirvana.”

“Ohhh!!! Maybe Nirvana will be the special guest!”

(Shakes head again and tries not to laugh). “Seriously? Emily, Kurt Cobain is dead. Like, he died a long time ago. Early 90s.”

“Kurt Cobain? Huh? I thought we were talking about Nirvana.”

“Oh. My. Gosh. Please just be quiet and listen.”

Say Hey… Can we get a picture?

So Michael Franti (you will know him for Say Hey or The Sound of Sunshine) is one of my sister’s favorite artists ever. She has seen him like 5 times. This year. So we totally were digging his set. Then, during the stage change, they have lesser known artists perform on a smaller stage. We wandered over to the side of the small stage and I just sort of propped myself up against the fence. Next thing I know, my sis is whispering...

“Emily. Emily. Emily. That is Michael Franti. You are standing beside Michael Franti. Oh my gosh. Sneak a picture.” 

Apparently he had gone to the side stage to watch one of his buddies perform. I admittedly don’t know much about the guy so I wasn’t starstruck. Sister? She’s speechless for like the first time in her life.

“Oh, that’s Michael Franti? Haven’t you seen him like 5 times? Talk to him…. Hello… Oh my gosh, just say something… Okay, whatever. Hey Michael! Can we get our picture with you?”

“Of course.”

With Michael Franti

I say thanks and we walk away.  My speechless sister finally decides to speak. 

“Oh my goodness. Michael touched my shoulder... I had so much to say... Like that I love him... But I was too excited… This was the best moment ever! Okay, let me see the picture again.”

She might hate me for telling that story, but hey, I did much sillier things. Obviously. And my musical ignorance was just the beginning.

Beef’s First Flight

This was a food festival as well, so some of Nashville’s food trucks were lined up by the gates. However, they clearly didn’t plan the food part very well because they had 6 food trucks for about 10,000 people. The lines were hours long, even on off-peak hours. But we all know that I get grumpy if I don’t eat. So we stood in line. And waited. And watched trucks run out of food. And waited. And then realized we could only pay with cash. And waited. And after a few sighs and a few dramatic claims of passing out ‘if I don’t eat this instance’, we finally got our food. I had a hamburger from Riff’s Street Food. It came in one of those cute red-checkered cardboard boxes.  The burger was seasoned perfectly and topped with some kind of specialty cheese, onions, homemade mustard, and seasoned fries. Fries ON a burger? Sure. I can dig this. We carried our food to a spot in the shade (Of course, I ate a few fries on the way over. How could I not?). We found a little patch of grass in the middle of a sea of people and sat down. Well, I tried to sit down. I was trying to take my backpack off and balance my food and pull my shirt down so that I could sit without flashing people and trying to stay out of the way of other hungry concert goers who were on the move. It was just too much. The next thing I know, my backpack slides off my shoulder, my overpriced burger goes flying through the air, the top of the bun lands in the dirt, the mustard is all down my arm, the onions are on my leg, the patty is in my hand (which is now clinched like a fist with beef and mustard oozing through), and the bottom of my bun has landed in my sister’s macaroni. And the fries? Those poor guys are all tossed in the grass and immediately smashed under a parade of cowboy boots and chacos. Again, my sister looked at me like “Who are you?” Well, I’ll tell you. I’m the girl that eats it anyways. You know, the classy kind. Okay, so I didn’t eat the bun that hit the ground or the trampled fries (thank goodness I had sampled some already), but I reassembled the rest and loved every bite of it. And those sanitizer wipes that I was made fun of for hauling around? (Port-a-potties? Ick!) They come in handy when you are covered with a sticky, mustardy substance.

Her 1st Night Food Truck Victory. Salami Calzone.

I’ve been here before…

Okay. Port a potties. Not ideal. I am the biggest germ-a-phobe ever. I use hand sanitizer so much that people tell me that the smell of rubbing alcohol reminds them of me. I would love it if I had a plastic bubble around me at all times. But seriously. So here we are at an all day event. I had to use bathroom. I contemplated holding it. I really did. But 12 hours is just too long. So there was a field full of these big blue germ incubators. There must have been a hundred of them. I picked a random one decently far away from the rest hoping that people would be lazy enough to not walk that far. Fewer people = fewer germs. Right? So I hold my breath (natural reaction), use the bathroom as quickly as possible, bust out of the port a potty, and then basically take a bath in those hand sanitizer wipes that I packed. So there you have it. I survived my first bathroom experience.

But then I started panicking.  I had gone too early! I didn’t space out my time correctly. I still had nine hours left. I just knew that I would have to go again. It bothered me for hours. I kept thinking about it. Worrying about it. Would I survive a second go-around in the death chamber? Hours later as we were watching Edward Sharpe, I noticed that the sun was starting to set.  I was caught up in the ways that the rays were bouncing off of the Batman building when it hit me.

“The sun is setting! I have to go to the bathroom NOW! I can’t go in the dark… are you kidding me? You never know what is in those things! And the ground is hilly. I might fall. Or fall in? I’m leaving my backpack and phone here. What if they fell in??? I’m freaking out. But I’m taking the sani-wipes with me.”

“Oh my goodness. You just said that you want to go hangliding with me but you are scared to go to the bathroom after dark??? You are going to miss a great show, but whatever. Go.”

I go through the same routine. Hold breath. Go quickly. Run out. Disinfect.

I find my sister in the crowd and just quietly sit down. She asks me how it was. I say “Fine.” But she knows I’m not fine. “What did you do this time?”

“Okay, so out of the hundreds of port a potties over there, is it weirder that I coincidentally went into the exact same port a potty twice… or the fact that I know that I went in the same one twice??”

“Um… huh?”

“The port a potty. I was so freaked out the first time that I noticed every little thing. The advil on the floor. The ink pen mark on the door. The gum on the wall. And then I picked a random one again. But it wasn’t so random because as soon as I got in there I recognized it.”

“You memorized the port a potty trash and recognized it five hours later?”

“Why yes. Yes, I did.” (insert a long, long, long pause married with an awkward stare here) “I hate germs.”

The Windmill
So the nightly concerts were decently crowded.  During the day everyone was scattered across the field on blankets, but at night everyone generally packed up and moved in closer. But not that close. 

The two of us were just standing there listening to the music when this huge group of girls got all up in our space. Not intentionally rude, just oblivious. And loud. And chatty. And tall. They didn't notice that they kept bumping into me. They didn't notice that they were talking louder than the music, if that is even possible at a concert. And they didn't notice that they were standing way too close to my comfort zone. So to encourage them to move on along to a different spot, I started singing along. Very loudly. But I got no reaction. So then I thought, "Maybe if I dance like crazy they will be annoyed and move along." I did the windmill. The washing machine. The swimmer. The gator chomp. At this point I was just making up moves to make them crazy. All while singing at the top of my lungs. I looked like a fool.

Except, of course, they didn't notice at all. 

Then I realized that I was totally being that girl in the crowd that is annoying to stand near. Backfired plan. We moved. They stayed. Epic fail. But I kept dancing anyways. Why stop when you are all loosened up?

Tattoo Typo

Okay, so maybe I act like I don’t get out much. And maybe I’m a little bit strange. But in large groups of people, I feel like the normal one. Trust me. These types of festivals draw all kinds of people. And if you like People Watching like I do, you know that this is prime time. The outfits. The hair. The old men with the young blondes. The old women with the young hipsters. It’s all interesting. In fact, my sister and I did the sunglasses test. “Can you see my eyes through my sunglasses? Like, if I’m staring at you, can you tell? Okay. Good.”

Our favorite find? I spotted a particular tattoo from a mile away. A giant quote on some dude’s forearm. We inched closer to read it, but I just couldn’t make sense of it. “I feel more like I do now then I did when I got here.” I don’t get it. And then it hit me.

“Okay. Wow. Read the tattoo over there. Shouldn’t that say THAN and not THEN???”

“Um. Yes.”

“Tattoo Typo. Major.”

“Sneak a pic. We will need to remember this one.”

"I feel more like I do now then I did when I got here."

Okay, so I have said and done some silly things. But at least none of them are permanently attached to me! I mean, the quote doesn't make sense anyways. But seriously. Google it before you ink it, dude.

So I admit, this post took forever to type because I was laughing so hard at all of the memories from this weekend. Maybe you just had to be there… We’ll see you there next year.

Music City, I do love you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Two Truths and a Tale

I recently volunteered with my church's youth group to be an 8th grade girl's covenant group co-leader. I am beyond excited to get to know all of these great girls and invest in their lives.

But as of two weeks ago, I didn't know these girls at all. And they didn't know me. So to help them get to know me, we played a game called Two Truths and A Tale. I gave them three facts about my life and they had to guess which one wasn't true. Now, I'm sure that if you have been reading my blog that you know the answer to most of these, but you just might learn something new. So here you go...

I am a graduate of Lipscomb University. My career is in marketing.  I am a childlife volunteer at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

The Tale: I am a graduate of Lipscomb University. I actually went to Oklahoma Christian University.

On the weekends you can find me hiking, sewing, and riding a motorcycle.

The Tale: You can find me hiking. I rarely hike. But I do sew and ride my dad's motorcycle.

I have recently developed a love for surfing, skydiving, and cake decorating.

The Tale: I recently developed a love for cake decorating. While my big sis can handle it like a pro, my cake decorating skills match that of a 6 year old. I do, however, enjoy surfing and skydiving.

I love to eat cheesecake, pomegranates, and salmon.

The Tale: I love to eat cheesecake. No way. I don't eat sweets.

In my home you will find a marble collection, a roomba vacuum cleaner, and a guitar signed by country music artists.

The Tale: In my home you will find a roomba. I don't have a roomba. I wish! I do have a marble collection and a guitar from a charity auction.

My favorite things to do with my friends are snow ski trips, shopping, and going to concerts.

The Tale: Snow Ski trips are not my favorite. But I do love some great shopping and concerts.

My jobs in college included working as a sumer nanny in East Hampton, NY, tracking legislation at Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill, and helping my Italian Papa open a pizza joint in Chicago.

The Tale: I spent a summer helping my Italian Papa open a pizza joint. I don't have an Italian Papa, but I do like pizza. I was, however, a nanny and a political action committee intern.

I was once stung by a jellyfish three times in one day in Panama City.  I broke my arm by jumping out of bed while acting out a dream. I cut my leg open by falling off of a fake bull.

The Tale: The jellyfish thing never happened. The dream and bull accidents both did.
Speaking of dreams, I recently found out that a famous comedian, Mike Birbiglia, has the same sleeping problem as me:  non-rem parasomnia (acting out his dreams).  And it just so happens that he just made a movie called Sleepwalk With Me. And it just so happens that the movie is playing at a local theater in Nashville this weekend. The trailer is hilarious, but a little bit terrifying. Watching him act out his dream makes my arm hurt. I'll let you know how the viewing goes.

So there you have it. I am a traveling, dreaming, surfing, motor-cycle riding, sewing, sky diving, marble collecting, no-sweet eating, accident prone OC-alum marketer. And that's the truth.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Acting your Age

I always thought that I would feel older than this when I hit 25. I usually feel young. Until, of course, I do things like volunteer with my church's 8th grade girls. Then I feel ancient. Well, that and when I spend my Friday night sewing in my pajamas. Um, yes. I just admitted that on the blogosphere.

A New Hobby
Sewing. It's not just your grandma's pastime anymore. Thanks to pinterest, 20-somethings everywhere are determined to be crafty. And I have become one of them. And I now own my very own machine!

And with my very own machine comes a guest bedroom completely covered with fabrics and scissors and pins and all sorts of sewing supplies that I always played with at my Granny's house.

You have already seen my first crafts: the reversible tote bag and the lined, zippered pouch. For my third project I went with a skirt. 

This skirt started as a circle skirt. Then when I realized that my fabric was the wrong length, I switched to an exposed elastic skirt. But when my elastic looked wrinkly, I switched it to a tucked in elastic skirt. I didn't follow a tutorial for that part. I decided to just wing it. So, here you have it. Plan C. Voila.

At least my seam was perfecto!

I have more projects in the works, but of course I would hate to ruin the surprise, so you will just have to keep checking back!

Small Town Charm
In my parent's home, you can find the black and white episodes of Andy Griffith on television every night. That, combined with the fact that I am from a decently small town, means that I love any little town square. A couple of weeks ago I went with my parent's to this little town called Bell Buckle, TN.  

You probably know it as the home of the annual RC and Moon Pie Festival. :) 

I just adore meandering through antique stores looking at old quilts and furniture and glassware and asking a million "What's this?" questions to my parents. I was disappointed when mom didn't know the answer, to which mom always reminded me that she isn't that old. 

A Secret Daughter
I am at the age where mom often sends me home with boxes of childhood items when I visit. Last time I got a box full of school papers from primary and elementary school. There were lots of little gems in there, but I'll share this one. A note to mom and dad:

To: Mom and Dad
From: Your Secret Dauter
You are the best parents even though you are my only parents you are still the best. You pick me up when I fall.  You give me lots of toys for my birthday.

Ah, yes. I had such a way with words...
Apparently I really was a "Secret Dauter" though because this note was actually filed away in my sister's box. Ha. Victory!

Fulfilling a Dream
There is one item on my Christmas list every single year. Even now. A trampoline. Of course, now it is just a long running joke, but I desperately wanted a trampoline for years of my life. And every time that I would pass by a Walmart and see them propped up outside on the side walk with a giant $198 sign, I would always beg mom to let me get one. Mom always said no. Her response was that I would break an arm. Hmm. At one point I even asked if I could save up my own money to buy one on my own. To my surprise, she said "Sure, Emily." I'm guessing that she either wasn't actually listening or assumed that a six year old would surely never save up that kind of money, but she clearly didn't know my saving habits. After a birthday and a few random holidays, I counted up all of the little bills in my desk drawer (totaling just over $198) and was super delighted to tell my mom that on our next Walmart trip I would be bringing home my very own trampoline! She looked at me like I was crazy. 

"No, you can't have a trampoline. Why would you think that I would let you buy one? And how do you have that much money?"
"But mom, you said..."
"No. You'll break your arm."
"But mom..."

(That makes her sound mean. She wasn't mean, mainly just surprised.)

So there you have it.  No trampoline. I must mention that like most of the stories that I remember from my childhood, mom says that this scenario never happened. She says that I have an unusual memory and dream things up. If I had a nickel for every time I was told that one of my memories never actually happened, I'd have enough to buy a trampoline. And pay for a broken arm

Anyways, I have known my friend Travis since he was five years old.  And tonight we celebrated his 25th birthday (which means I have known him for 20 years... ah!) in true Travis fashion. By having fun. We went to Sky High Sports which is basically a giant room with trampoline walls and floors. 

Why does everyone doubt me?!?

The trampoline room

We jumped around, played dodgeball, and jumped into a foam pit from both a trampoline and a rope swing. 


Foam Pit

It was so fun. And very, very exhausting. And made me feel a little bit better about all of those years that I never had a trampoline.

And the best part? Look, Ma. No new breaks!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Greatest of These

It isn't fair. It isn't fair for people like my favorite tv personality, Robin Roberts, to be facing the health challenges of a lifetime - on top of losing her mother. For a best friend to lose someone way too young to cancer. And for another friend to lose a grandparent. And for another friend to lose her home to a hurricane.

These storms and heartaches and trials leave us broken and lost and can make us realize two things.  It can make us see just how unfair life is.  Or it can make us see just how great our hope and our God is. The heroes, the conquerors, the victorious ones - they are the ones that you will find saying “It’s just four walls with a bunch of things”. Or “We prayed for healing and we got exactly what we prayed for. Our sweet friend is healed because now she is Perfect and in a Perfect Place.” Or, as Robin Roberts quoted at her medical leave farewell on Good Morning America, "Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us - but the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning."  

We have Faith in a God who is Good and Perfect and Able. And some day our Faith will be our sight.  We have Hope in a Life and a Beauty and a Kingdom. And our hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). And some day our hope will be fulfilled. And we have a love that is sustaining, full of Life, and purpose-giving. And the greatest of these is Love (1 Cor 13:13). Why? Because it is eternal. Some day our faith will become our sight and our hope will be fulfilled. Neither of these will exist in heaven. But our love? The reason why we were created – to be in a relationship of love with Him – it will exist forever.

And so, for now, we cling to our faith and our hope, but we live because of our love. Because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Because when you come to know the God that He truly is, you can’t help but do anything other than love.

And we question. While He listens. And we wonder. While he whispers. And we hurt. While he heals. And we keep on loving. And he keeps on loving perfectly. He heals our wounds. And by his wounds we are healed.

So we notice the man who asks for money and we return grocery carts for the woman with four children and we take time to get lost in the wonder and imagination of our kids. We call our moms and dads just to say that we love them. We cancel plans to stay home and watch Andy Griffith with our children. We drive with our radios turned off and stay up just a little bit later to talk to our spouses and go out of our way to make sure that every single person whose fingerprints are on our hearts know that they are a part of us. We love a little stronger and look a little higher and pray a little louder. Because when we are shaken, we stand on a Solid Rock. And when our lives are falling apart, we are stripped down to the heart of who we are. And because Love lives in our hearts, Love is all that we have and all that we are.

We aren’t just brave. We are faithful. We aren’t just optimistic. We are hopeful. And we don’t simply become heroes. We become more than conquerors. Through him. That loved us. (Romans 8:37)