22 December 2010

Why my bloggie is called what it's called.

Prompt: New name. Let's meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Well hello there! I'm Ledonia, short for Caledonia. Yes, Callie is my official name. It's not short for Callie, Caledonia, California, Calliope, or even Cal. Even Callie isn't just my name. It's also my grandmother's. We had a lot of similiarities besides our names. Mostly, it was our love of pickle juice, raw hot dogs, and marshmallows. My uncles have been calling me Caledonia since I was little. My uncle Bill (one of the few not named Uncle Jim) has great pet names for most family members and I love how they're accurate and portray the person in a great light. (Stink, Wink, Ang, Surbino, Mrs. Surbinowitz, etc.)

I sorta treasure my nickname, and I especially love it when he calls me up and says CalllleeeeDONia! I think I even saved some voicemails for a few years back with him saying my name all long and drawn out. Sometimes if Uncle Bill is in a hurry he'll just say LeDone'. So here's the song that I think must have started it all!

Caldonia by Louis Jordan
Walkin' with my baby she's got great big feet
She's long, lean, and lanky and ain't had nothing to eat
She's my baby and I love her just the same
Crazy 'bout that woman cause Caledonia is her name

Caledonia, Caledonia
What makes your big head so hard?

I love her. I love her just the same
Crazy 'bout that woman cause Caledonia is her name

You know what mama told me? Mama said son...
Keep away from that woman - she's gonna take all your money
Hey, hey, hey boy.... Don't laugh about my mama - you hear that?
Hey man I told you man....
You don't know what you doin' boy - don't laugh about my mama

Caledonia, Caledonia
What makes your big head so hard?

I love her. I love her just the same
Crazy 'bout that woman cause Caledonia is her name.

20 December 2010


Tonight I fell down all of my front steps in the snow. I was heading out to my car to clean the snow off and  I  took one step and WHOOOSH BUMP BUMP BUMP BUMP THUD! I think this is my first real fall in my adult life. I'm sure it was quite a sight to see this heap in an ugly green winter jacket lying on the sidewalk wondering what had just happened. So tonight I'm icing a couple bruises and bumps and plotting to burn my shitty boots when the weather thaws!

16 December 2010

Nothing for you.

There will be no blog tonight. I knocked over my gorgeous amarylis and it broke in half. I'm too sad to type anything tonight.

15 December 2010

Goodbye, Comcast!

I've officially become a minority in the US. I've cancelled cable (gasp!), more specifically COMCAST. I'm also not planning on watching it anytime soon (please don't count the times I gaze up at the 300lb one about my head at treadmill #7 in my gym). Since I've just saved myself $468 for the next twelve months, I'm pretty darn happy (please insert a mental image of me doing a lil' jig)! And yes I did have shows that I  loved to watch, but I quickly realized that once I stopped watching them, I didn't really miss the plotlines, the commercials, and the sinking suspicions that I was wasting my time night after night and weekend after weekend. What do you think? Should you turn your tv off too? What's stopping you? Would it be too quiet in your home? Would you miss out on polarizing viewpoints on cable 'news'?  Would you feel at a loss to lose the stats and storyline of your sports teams? Would sports even matter if you didn't watch them on tv?

Measuring a year in 5 minutes

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Wow. Five minutes to type and re-cap a year. Hmmm. Driving through all the ice, slush, rain and snow to and from winter orientation. Seeing cars careening into the ditch after speeding on icy bridges in Alabama (and somehow knowing that the orientation van always gets us there in one piece). Being incredibly sick at the re-entry retreat but sticking to the group and weekend because it's all good people and good stories are to be heard and re-told. Sitting in little shaded huts on the Yucutan peninsula  with 3 friends and a good book (and also a good drink from our waiter). Meeting the love of my life in my little neighborhood Thai restaurant and her not giving up on me when i casually said, "Yeah, maybe we can go out again." And then having her confront me on the meaning of those words 2 hours into a walk in the woods. Realizing that our relationship is really wholesome, positive and never typical. Seeing a bunch of aboki and hearing/understanding Hausa in the middle of nitty-gritty (but really kinda shiny and neat) Pittsburgh. Kayaking down the Shenandoah river with a rag-tag bunch of volunteers who would never be grouped together in this way, except at orientation. Camping in Wisconsin with friends who had mosquito bite welts bigger than a quarter. Swimming in a dirty brown lake to retreat from the aforementioned skeeters. Living through a sweat lodge even though I was dizzy and out of it. Being hugged by really sweaty volunteers after the sweat lodge and feeling like a part of them, not just a staff person who shouts announcements and waits patiently for them in grocery stores. Eating a fancy lunch with my mom way up in the John Hancock building and having good conversations the entire time she stayed with me. Seeing my nephews grow and change and add about 10,000 words to their vocabularies since I saw them last year.  Being in my dad's workshop and admiring all the tools, nuts & bolts, car parts, motorcycle bits, the wood-stove, the nice barstool with orange flames painted on the seat, and all the knick knacks that make his garage cocoon-like and welcoming in any season. 

13 December 2010


Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?
My next step. Hmmm. Next step. Literally, the copier, the filing cabinet, the office supply closet for a new black pen.
Uggggh, I'm not at all excited about this day's prompt. This is getting redundant! 

Ditto 12/4/2010

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
Please see the bloggy from December 4, 2010. I literally felt like my pulse was resonating within my entire body. Thanks for an easy one, Reverb!

11 December 2010

A huge list of me giving up!

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

11.  No one really needs the Comic Sans font. Seriously. Read this, and yes it's a bit spicy with the f-bombs, so careful with that.

10. TV. Yup I said it. Turn it off. You use more brainwaves in your sleep than trolling through Bravo, Food Network, A&E, ESPN, and E! It's been hard on some of these winter nights to not just veg on the couch with mindless reality shows playing for my entertainment.

9. Coffeemaker. My lil' pretentious French press does the job quite well.

Meh...this prompt for the day sucks as usual. I'm quitting after 3 because I can. It's also naptime.

10 December 2010

Have you tried the panang curry?

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Eating dinner at 6:30pm at Happy Elephant on April 9, 2010. Best decision of 2010 by a long shot.

09 December 2010

The scene of the party: Written as if I was a character in an Encyclopedia Brown novella.

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Hmmmm. Not much of a partier these days. Let's see....

Time: Some Friday in May. 
Place: Walnut Street Speakeasy
Volume: So loud I shoved little bits of napkin in my ears, it really does help filter out the noise.
Drinks: Blue Moons, plural
Event: Blackhawks playoff game
Attendees: Mexigals and a few meximouses
2nd location: The casino. Yes, that's right
Attendees: Me + 1
Pay off: $50!
Purchased with $50: 2 bottles of wine
3rd location: A friend's deck
Drinks: Newly purchased wine!

08 December 2010

No clever title in mind.

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

Hmmmm. Cheesy, yet bland (and really, cheese is never bland in my world) prompt for the day. It seems as though the narcissistic prompt reflects a lot of generational thoughts on being unique, different, exotic, etc at the moment. 

Why I am me:
My name is Callie, your's probably isn't.
I have a 70 lb pitbull who looks ferocious, but is really quite the consistent snorer, couch potato type. 
I'm left-handed but have adapted to do a lot of right-handed things: basketball, playing the guitar, using scissors, shifting a car into gear.
I like to tuck my pant legs into my socks before i get into bed.

I hope that these simple ideas have wasted enough of your time today. Reverb10, you can do better!

07 December 2010

Community is easy, y'all.

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Interesting prompt for the day! Most of my day job pertains to building some form of community for 2-3 week stretches a few times a year. When I'm not working, my lil' community is quite blobby. I have work friends, friends from my apt. complex, church friends, pflag friends, mexigal friends, volunteers living in strange places who chat with me on skype, g-chat, and facebook....the list goes on.
So here's a recap!

06 December 2010

Hipster food and contemplation!

Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
The last thing I made: Quinoa salad/dip/stuffing. 
2 c dried, rinsed quinoa
1 c water
2 cans of rinsed black beans
1 jar of hipster-type salsa with peaches and tomatoes, bought from a trendy store such as Whole Foods
a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper.
Cook the quinoa (please pronounce the word as keen-wah, so that your trendy, health-minded-foodie friends know you're to be trusted) add everything else, refrigerate. Eat with some tortilla chips or by itself. Mmmmmhmmmm. Stand in the kitchen with bowl in one hand and chip in  the other. Stare out the window(while leaning on the counter, preferably standing like a flamingo) and imagine that there wasn't 6 inches of snow covering the balcony. Imagine lighting the grill on the balcony while big steaks were marinating in the fridge, instead of eating some bland ancient grain that looks like a thousand in-grown hairs!


Outta sight, outta mind.

 Dec 5, 2010: Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I definitely let go of Facebook this year. During Lent, I gave up Facebook. Yes, I peeked a couple of times because there were work-related messages. It was pretty nice to delete the little icon from my ipod touch. It was also quite nice to delete the icon from the toolbar of my browser. I learned that if you delete those pesky icons, it's the online version of something being out of sight, out of mind. 

04 December 2010


Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Hmmmmm. Wonder. This could be a toughy. I've thought about this prompt for most of the day and it's been a bit difficult to conjure up places in 2010 that have caused me to wonder. Sitting through a sweat lodge for 2 very intense hours definitely had me wondering about life, the ability of adaptation my body experienced, and the amount of heat my little heart and lungs could deal with. I've thought a lot about that sweat lodge and the amount of perserverance I never knew I had stored inside myself. I wish I could feel that fierce every time I go through something stressful. Hopefully, I'll experience more sweat lodges in my life. The feeling of crawling out of the little structure on my hands and knees into that cool mountain air will never be repeated as it felt like in October.

03 December 2010

Dr. Jekyll & Ms. Hyde

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
My job definitely keeps me on my toes. There's definitely a Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde quality to my job. Part of the year, I'm an office person. Cubicle, window, standard plant on the window sill, coffee mug(s), inspirational office flair, name on the window, stapler, headset, map on the door, sorta girl.
The other part of the year I'm leading people of all ages through a few weeks of sessions, trips and experiences. In the past year, I've done these orientations in Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and Oregon. I really must admit that I do feel most alive when I'm pulling up to the airport to pick up a whole new batch of people. So cap a great year of travels, tears, stories and sessions, let's take a look back!
             Ahh yes, the lovely beach in Florida. Part of orientation, is relaxation (it's a very tiny part).
                 Listening to a seasoned, organic farmer share her knowledge of edible weeds!

 Our classic session of storytelling to help the people get to know one another. Share a story about a scar you have. Describe your mother. What's your ideal project?
And finally, all four of us staff/drivers/cooks/listeners/calling-out writers staying in the basement of a church, beyond delirium telling stories and barely surviving another orientation!

02 December 2010

This is SOOOOOOOOO boring.

Prompt: Writing. What do you do each day that doesn't contribute to your writing -- and can you eliminate it?

Well, this prompt for today isn't so thrilling. Somehow, committing to a daily blog prompt for a month isn't always exciting when it gets boiled down to writing about writing. I'm not sure I do a certain something everyday that takes away from writing. If anything, I don't feel guilty about not writing enough. I'm much more of an avid reader than a writer. Living abroad for 3 years, with only listening to BBC World, Deutsche Welle, and the always pathetic/propagandic Voice of America, made me hunger to know what was going on outside of my village. Since then I've always read more than I've written. Nowadays I read a lot of news from NY Times, The Trib, and other small newsy places online. Magazines have always been one of my staples as well. I had a Sports Illustrated for Kids subscription for most of my kid life! 

Might I suggest a lovely subscription for these great under-the-radar magazines?

01 December 2010

One word

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Congrats! You'll get to read little wingdings from me all month! Consider it a Catch-Up with Callie month.

One words that encapsulates 2010: LOVE
Yes, it sounds so boring. As I was cleaning out my ears in the bathroom this morning, I was thinking of what the word would be. And the word LOVE just floated to the top of all my thoughts. I experience a lot of lovin' in my daily life and most days I rarely acknowledge it in public! Love from my volunteers who send me little messages, love from my dog when he races up the stairs ahead of me so he can sit and get his ears scratched, and even love from the people I go to church with.

And even as I go on and on about love and love and love, the real big love of 2010 has been Crystal.

The word for 2011 will hopefully be: Gentleness. I just like the way it sounds.