Norah Jones

I don’t know that it’s all that well documented here, but I love the music of Norah Jones. How do you dissect something you cannot explain? How do you prove a feeling that originates from a place you can’t quite put your finger on? It is quite difficult to go on and on and on about something you truly love, because how can you elaborate on something that doesn’t become, but just…is?

From the very first time I heard her sing on Come Away With Me, I’ve been a fan. It is a sort of enjoyment that causes me to languish lazily on the bed, my toes curling into the fluffy down of the duvet, simply loving to feel. I find it the most hypnotic, sensual, spiritual, and soulful sound I’ve yet to experience, and I know that until the day I die, I will never forget the rush of the first time I heard Norah Jones sing live.

Last Saturday, the darkened hall gave the eerie chill of a moonless midnight, the crickets quieted and the grasses still. Then, a lavender mist rose from nothingness and the sweetest voice chased the chill away, yet leaving still the hair of my arms on end and my heart trembling. Met with a deluge of emotion, I felt the scorching tears streak my face and reveal my passion for all to see.

Crazylegs 2007

I tried to get out of the 8K last year, and Nick would have none of it. I stressed over it in all the days leading up to that last Saturday in April because, well, I don’t really know why to be honest with you. I just didn’t much care to see how poorly I ran five miles, I guess. But, last year, with less than a month of outdoor running on my experience belt, I didn’t do half bad. I was exhilarated after the run and felt great.

This year, I begged again that Nick let me do the walk portion of the event, and again he would have none of it. He knew I was feeling rotten about my physical fitness after what accumulated to be about eight months of down time with last year’s surgeries, recoveries, and pain. I gave him a lot of whining, a lot of dragging feet, and, again, a lot of anxiety.

And the race started. It was much hotter this year than last, and the thermal underthings were a very bad idea. (I beelined it to the bathroom to strip them off moments after completing the course.) The four of us lined up—Jeff, Tom, Nick, and myself—and we fist pumped each other with a motivational speech not to beat last year’s time, not to beat each other, but just to finish the darn thing. It’s been a slow physical year for all of us, apparently, as we all crossed the finish line about six minutes slower than last year—except Nick who beat his last year’s time by six. (GO NICK!) I should have felt really lousy, but oddly enough, I was just as exhilarated after the run and felt just as great.

So, I pledged to a very grateful Nick, that I won’t get all pouty and anxious next year. I had a year that wasn’t too shabby, and one that wasn’t too great, and I enjoyed both. Give it another month, and I’m confident that Nick will quit saying, “I told you so.”

Joyful

I haven’t mentioned anything…but, well…

Nick and I have been approved to adopt a kitten—by this time next week, our family will have grown to three, and I’m misty. I’ve wanted this for a very long time.

Nick called about a Maine Coon kitten at a shelter in Iowa just this past Saturday. I shied away from the task. My inquiries have all ended the same way: the kitten is no longer available. Imagine my surprise when Nick’s luck went a much reversed direction. We completed an application and have been waiting to see if we would be approved.

Yesterday, we hit a pet store to purchase the odds and ends every home needs for a kitten…the bare essentials and “daycare toys” until you learn the personality of your pet and can really put yourself in debt. We discussed names last night until at one point reality hit, and I swallowed hard before reminding that we weren’t approved yet and that we’re assuming too much…and that my hopes are impossibly high.

I won’t do our new addition the injustice of posting a grainy foster home picture, but I will tell you that she is beautiful and that we will love her very, very much. (And you know that, given a visually appealing subject, I’m not at all opposed to letting the inner shutterbug take hold.)

Meanwhile, I will entertain you with an old picture, circa January 2005, of my childhood pet, Friskey. Friskey came into my life as baby, a gift for my 9th birthday, and still lives with my father. A month shy of 17, I haven’t had the heart to disturb the security of the only home she’s ever known (though I’d steal her in a heartbeat if I thought this would not be so). Friskey has been adorning my desktop for the last week, and I’ve no doubt that her lovely pettability (which comes through so plainly in photograph) is to blame for our renewed efforts toward adoption. Thanks, puss…you were the first, and you’ll always be the best:

Wisconsin vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi

I’m sitting in a private suite, courtesy of a contact of Nick’s, and I suppose by now, one of mine. Steve told me last weekend when we were down for the Big Ten Tournament that he was attracted to me, except my hair was too cropped, the color too light, and my nails too short. I was deeply flattered. Steve had brats catered in earlier, during the first game of our session (Georgia Tech vs. UNLV), as well as wings and a veggie platter. The refrigerator had been stocked prior to our arrival with soda, beer, and water. Thirty minutes ago, I was sprawled out on the swanky couch watching the hi-def television hanging against the opposite wall.

Along with Steve, Nick and I were with one of his coworkers who had proclaimed excitedly that this was definitely the way to watch basketball. Many of these sentiments are gone at the moment, though. My stomach is twisted and nerves are making my ankles believe they are equipped with the pelvis of Elvis as my feet seize erratically. We are nearing the end of the first half of play, and our beloved Badgers have not once had control of this game. They are the number two seed, playing the fifteen…we were hoping for a blowout. Blowouts are no fun to watch until it’s your team that’s blowing the other one out of the water. Our foursome cheered sarcastically when our boys got their tenth point.

A dunk from Tuck as the buzzer rang for the end of the half, and we had a whopping nineteen points to show for our twenty minutes of play. I began to dread our long ride home from Chicago, IL…The car would be completely silent and oh so tense, you know it would. We watched another game from the TV on the wall and silently wondered if maybe we should just leave for home now, beat the traffic.

The next half began much the same as the last ended, and I sat there and wished that that last slam dunk in the first half had come instead in the beginning of this one, keeping both the team and the crowd pumped…eager for more. But then, something started to happen, something unexpected after 30 minutes of game time (and lord only knows how long it was in real time). Kam Taylor started hitting his marks. 10:42 in the second half, he makes a bucket. at 10:15, we, for the first time all game, tie the fifteenth seeded TAMUCC, and also for the first time all game, we’re not being completely dominated…and with Kam’s three pointer, tying the game up at 47, and his next shot, giving us the lead at 49, the Islanders stopped hitting their marks. Shortly thereafter, we watched the Texas team miss the first two free throws of theirs all game. They looked tired all of the sudden, and I got my first inkling that we might win this one after all. We were on our feet, afraid to hope those last ten minutes, but time and time again, Kam Taylor came through, even scoring 14 straight points at one stretch. He got a total of 24 points that game—more points than we had total at the half—all in the 2nd half of the 2nd half of the game.

We battled back from an eighteen point deficit at one point to win it by 13. The game qualified for an Academy Award for best drama, and it was some of the ugliest basketball I’ve ever seen…but at the end, when we had it clinched—which wasn’t until the VERY end—I was light-headed with the sudden surge of relief, and so glad that Nick had us pose for the below picture before play was underway, when the Badgers first came out to warm up—lord knows we weren’t in a chronicling mood once the affair began:

Now, to the next game…but, to be honest with you, after the last two weekends, I’m a little Chicagoed out…but I’ve loved getting to experience all of this. I’ve been so fortunate in my first real year of sports-watching to get two of the winningest teams ever in both Badger Football and Basketball. That can seal fanaticism rather nicely.