Thoughts on January

Each year, after the midwinter blizzards, there comes a night of thaw when the tinkle of dripping water is heard in the land. It brings strange stirrings, not only to creatures abed for the night, but to some who have been asleep for the winter. The hibernating skunk, curled up in his deep den, uncurls himself and ventures forth to prowl the wet world, dragging his belly in the snow. His track marks one of the earliest datable events in that cycle of beginnings and ceasings which we call a year.
— Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"

The first of these 12 months of 2019 has come to an end and if felt like it could have been two months instead of just one. It started out with a good deal of art, helping inspire me for things to come. I took a visit to the Walters Art Museum one lunch and unexpectedly came across an exhibit on Japanese printmaking and the restoration of a large Buddha. The first weekend of January was the last weekend of an exhibition of the work of John Waters, a Baltimore icon and filmmaker - one such as Hairspray - and it was…interesting. He’s a weird dude. His art isn’t for everyone (probably not for me) but it is still inspiring to see someone who totally did his own thing, regardless of how others undoubtably felt about it. Plus it was a chance to visit with one of my girlfriends who came with me. Later that night I went to a gallery opening of some artist friends at a bar down the street - awesomely talented people I’ve been able to meet through volunteering at the Creative Alliance. I had several volunteer shifts at the CA as well, for Mdou Moctor and Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club. EBFC is an experience, what more can I say? Take some theater, mix in WWE and a dash of burlesque and you may have a vague idea of what to expect.

I had my first mentoring session with Kimberly Wilson and my iEvolution women’s group, a date with a friend to watch Anne of Green Gables, and a ladies dinner for an expectant friend. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many inspiring women.

Halfway through the month I took a trip for “the most low key bachelorette party ever” to Nashville with my bestie Cait. Apparently Nashville is the bachelorette capitol of the US, but we opted more for music, pedicures and vegetarian food than pedal cabs and rowdiness. Cait helped me to slow down and enjoy having a relaxing vacation rather than rushing to see all the things. We made candles, went to the Ryman, discovered new music at a little venue called Analog, ate great vegan food, drank wine, got pedicures by a fellow Pittsburgh native, and meandered our way through East Nashville for tacos and coffee.

The following weekend I headed to Dallas for my winter board meeting with Alpha Rho Chi, 2 days of prepping and planning for the upcoming semester and enjoying my last meeting on the board before my term comes to an end in June. We managed some time Saturday night after finishing our business to visit downtown Dallas to see the Kennedy Memorial and the Grassy Knoll and two-stepped at a cowboy bar later on that night, probably the latest I have gone out in quite a few years, now that I’m more the “be asleep by 10” type rather than the “go out at 10” kinda woman. No regrets! I was also able to take some of Todd’s bow ties and do a quick photo shoot with my friend Hao at Pioneer Plaza.

Unfortunately I was sick for the last 2 weeks of the month (still am actually) so I tried to take it easy after Dallas, reading and watching movies and just one night out to see the Tony award winning musical Fun Home at the Baltimore Center Stage.

February is a full month so I’m reassessing some of the goals I set in early January to see what is actually doable instead of berating myself for not being as “productive” in my down time as I feel like I should be. I read an article recently that talked about millennials always feeling like we have to be doing some kind of side gig or hustling in our spare time and though I’ve never really identified with the stereotypes of the millennial generation, that article did resonate with me. The things that have been hobbies have turned into jobs or work and I don’t know how to just relax and have pure leisure time. I realize that may be a very privileged thing to say in a world where many people are scraping by, but it’s a realization that I need to consider.

Stay warm this winter and enjoy this winter season!

(Photos: Buddha at the Walters, preparing my desk for the start of the year, great sign in Nashville, Cait and I at the Ryman, at candle-making, believe in Nashville, Caitlin Canty, me in my new coat, Dallas photo shoot, Alpha Rho Chi Grand Council in Dallas, dancing in Dallas, Fun Home playbill)