Monday, December 29, 2014

On Filling the Gaps

Life is a series of gaps.

Gaps between things, gaps in things, gaps around things. Waits from Point A to Point B. Skips and beats from wanting to having. Holes right in the middles of situations and relationships. Vacancies in knowledge and science and faith.

I thought tonight, while watching a movie that was about 5 hours too long (*cough*Into the Woods*cough*), that life really is largely composed of what we do with our gaps.

Irrelevant side note: I am constantly amazed by my unparalleled ability to make messes. My room/kitchen/bathroom/living room/hallway (OK, entire apartment) were clean like......mere hours ago. And now? Hurricane war path. I mean, I might be more amazed than I am upset about it. What HAPPENED? Is there an Olympic event for this? Ima Michael Phelps my way to the top of that podium, I tell you what....

Back to the real topic.

Lately, I'm not sure that I like what I've been doing with my gaps. Maybe I've been trying too hard to fill them, is the thing. When did I get so uncomfortable with all the little spaces? Like sitting at a red light without looking at my phone...or lying in bed in the morning without checking my email (well, work demands that one, but I check personal email as well, etc.) know. Do you ever think about what we all used to do before we had smartphones in our hands, and Netflix on demand, and constant constant constant stimulation and entertainment and input and noise?

This isn't one of those "hey moms, look up from your phones and pay attention to the kids at the park -- your lack of parenting skills is probably ruining their young lives" articles. No. This is just a post about me. Me and my gaps. I'm not about to tell you your business about you and yours. No life coach license over here.

I live with one roommate, but with conflicting schedules and holiday travel and whatnot, lately I've had a lot of alone time in my apartment (uhhh....hence the aforementioned hurricane mess. I'm so much better at cleaning up when other people are around). I think I've run out of things to watch on Netflix.

I used to read more. I used to read more in a month than a lot of people read in a year. I've had a small appetite for books this last year or feels like nothing can hold my attention very well. Did Netflix do that to me? Did the easy entertainment of the screen ruin my library-going ways for me? (No, that was the library fines. But you get my point.)

I'm not into guilt. But I am into constructive....reconstructing......of know what I'm saying. And I think I've got some things to reconstruct, over here.

I want to love my books again. I want to read them like I'm thirsty for their pages and there's never enough words to fill me up. I want to sing more. That used to be my whole life, and now I only ever do it in my car, here and there. I'm going to audition for a choir this month that I really want to be in. I know, right? Haven't done that in about a decade. Speaking of decades off from things, I brought my violin back from Arizona with me after my Christmas trip last week. I played for like 8 years, did you know that? I barely know that anymore. I was pretty damn good at it, too. But muscle memory is a magnificent beast, and I'm going to get that talent back.

And besides filling the gaps more constructively, I want to OK with the gaps. I spent years sitting at red lights or waiting for movies to start or seated in waiting rooms of appointments without having the Internets to fiddle with, and I don't remember being in agony over it. I want that back. I want to wake up in the morning, and, before work emails beckon, just look at my ceiling and the trees outside the window and simply entertain myself with my own garbled morning thoughts and post-dreamworld mental shenanigans. There's so much clarity in the morning when your head is fresh. I want to sit in waiting rooms and at bus stops and in airports and take in the people around me.....when I'm not buried in a book or my latest playlist, that is. Just me, my books, my music and whatever little delights are happening in my world around me.

Maybe this post has wandered into weird philosophical land. I don't know? But it's my blog so I do what I want. And.....thanks for filling one of YOUR gaps with my words. I hope it's felt worthwhile!

(I grew these peas. They are delicious. Pretend it's relevant to this post.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Staycation From Problems

Last weekend, I had a visitor!

Something excellent about living somewhere awesome is that people come to visit you. Who doesn't want to come to the Bay Area, you know?? Nobody visited me when I lived in Arizona. Ha. Which is too bad, because Arizona has, hands down, the best sunsets I've ever seen.

But best sunsets or not, it's hard to beat the allure of the beach, the trees, the coastline, the fog, the tech companies (if you're into that kind of thing -- let me tell you, I was blown away when I moved here by all the major companies that just happened to be around the corner from me), and the city adventures in San Francisco.

My Chantal came to visit me last weekend (you can read about her here, when I bridesmaided the crap out of her wedding) (was that an elegant way of putting that, or...?) and I looked forward to her visit for weeks and weeks! She had surgery on her thyroid this week (can we all pause to talk about how much we hate medical junk? especially when it happens to people we love? can we just cure it all right now please?), so with that impending procedure, what she really needed was a vacation from her problems.

So, we had one! A vacation/staycation from problems!

She was only here for approximately 36 hours, so we had a lot to accomplish. Minus a little snafu with a minor migraine on her part and a small freak-out session on my part while driving stick on one of those San Francisco death hills for the very first time (June Cooper and I are doing smashingly at that whole "driving stick" thing, btdubs! six months strong!), the weekend was perfection!

We dined in downtown Palo Alto at Sprout Cafe (it's a toss-up between the blueberry pork sandwich and the autumn salad for which menu item I'm bound to get on one knee and lavishly propose to one of these days -- THEY'RE BOTH THAT GOOD), followed by delicious nutella fro yo at Fraiche and a walk around University Ave with its quaint rows of white-lit trees, then headed back to my apartment, where we watched the first 30 min of Love Actually before promptly falling asleep.

The next morning, Chantal woke up and said she wanted to go to the beach! So we headed to Half Moon Bay, a little coastal town that will always have a special place in my heart because I went there during my soul-searching visit to California in May 2013 when I was quite a bit lost in life and trying to figure out if northern California was the place for me. It had an impact on me.

In Half Moon Bay, we began our morning with, oh you know, THE BEST MASSAGES OF OUR LIVES. Hot stone massages at a Cloud9 Spa -- holy how-now-brown-cow, you guys, it was heavenly. The prices were legit, also, which is why we picked it. Can't believe the quality for the price! It's now officially on my docket of "take people here when they come visit." No selfish motive in that decision, of course :)

With all our troubles all massaged out of our bodies, we lunched on cheesesteaks and sweet potato fries, drove through a nearby parking-lot coffee stand for some warm beverages, and headed down for a walk on the beach. A walk that turned into a whole lot of shenanigans -- all pictured below. (Not pictured: when I led Chantal on a perilous riverwalk that resulted in my knee colliding with a rock while she did the splits to climb over a boulder.)

Then it was off to the city!

After that whole "driving stick on a giant hill" and "Chantal got a minor migraine" hiccup caused us both to need a power nap, we were ready to hit the town. We stayed at an incredibly adorable French boutique hotel, Cornell Hotel de France near Union Square, because Chantal happened to have some points from that made this all possible without making us both very poor. It was charming, and quaint, and a dog greeted us in the lobby. (I love you, San Francisco and your puppies around every corner!!) The hotel had this DARLING old-fashioned elevator where you had to open the outer door yourself, and then a metal grate closed and up you went, while getting to see all the floors passing slowly by. It was magical! (And also pictured below, as best as I could capture it.) Each floor had a different French artist featured (loved discovering the Chagall floor when we went exploring!), and we lucked out enough to end up on a floor filled entirely with nude portraits of French girls! ("Draw me like one of your French girls!")

ANYWAY. The rest of the night was a whirl of dressing up in our fancies, paying a visit to a very Christmasy Union Square, purchasing a picturesque box of macarons from the French patisserie hidden on the 3rd floor of Macy's (thank you, former Ralph Lauren job, for making me EXTREMELY familiar with the Macy's at Union Square!), after which Chantal talked me into buying a bold new lip color at the MAC counter before we took the train over to the War Memorial Opera House to meet up with my roommate Megan to watch The Nutcracker. Did you know The Nutcracker's U.S. premiere was at the San Francisco Ballet? We just participated in something historic! It was my first viewing of The Nutcracker (my first ballet, in fact!) and I was enchanted by the entire thing. Chantal has seen The Nutcracker like eleventy times, and she still said it was the best she'd ever seen. I have nothing to compare it to, but I was duly impressed :)

This got really long. I just didn't want to leave any delicious little piece out, because this is how you record memories, you know! We capped off the night with a late-night visit to an overpriced Italian joint, after which we hobbled (ok I hobbled -- she was smart and didn't wear heels) back to the hotel in our fancy clothes under a sudden onslaught of rain. It was all very magic and city-like. And, of course, we munched on a couple colorful macarons (get the cherry bourbon flavor. GET THE CHERRY BOURBON FLAVOR) (insert rabid eyes and an appropriate amount of drool) before crashing into deep slumber.

Early the next morning, we rolled out of bed and I took Chantal to the airport so Arizona and her husband and three adorable stepsons could have her back. I can share, I guess. (Also, happy to report that she is alive and well after her thyroid surgery! Gosh so grateful.)

It was the perfect escape, and I'm pretty sure I'd like to repeat the whole escapade monthly. Except, I won't wear heels to walk a few city blocks in next time. I'm such a newb.


Monday, December 15, 2014

So turns out I've never cooked bacon before...

....except that one time in junior high when my friend Mindi and I *tried* to cook bacon and mostly just set off the smoke detector.

Maybe it was residual trauma from that experience, but I realized tonight: I don't know how to cook bacon. I mean, I do EAT bacon....but always at the hands of someone else's labor, turns out. I think I've even been assigned to bring bacon to breakfast gatherings, but someone else always ends up cooking it. Shrug?

Fact: I actually BAKE bacon all the time.....wrapped around lil' smokies and covered in brown sugar.

Other fact: Bacon-wrapped lil' smokies are the primary reason people keep inviting me to potlucks.

My friend Chantal came to visit this weekend (pictures/stories to come), and being all hostessy, I was like, "I'll make bacon!"

But then we didn't end up eating bacon, so I still had it in my fridge as of today. I was feeling ambitious about dinner I guess, because I pulled that package o' bacon out of my fridge and set to work. I grabbed a frying pan, I opened the package of bacon, and then.........well, what then? Oil, right? So I grabbed my trusty jar of coconut oil and put a spoonful in the pan. Immediately thereafter, I fretted to my sister via Voxer (more on that below) about whether or not coconut bacon was a) glorious or b) the nastiest idea in the world. I couldn't decide, and the coconut oil was already in the pan, so, westward ho!

I then decided to send my sister a picture of the bacon all laid out in the pan....

....which resulted in the unhinged state of THIS RECORDING. (Have you ever used Voxer? Pretty sure it was originally cool like.....erm, half score and 7 years ago, but I've only recently gotten into it. The point is, it's like texting with little voicemails.......and if you do one thing today, maybe listen to me hysterically losing it about the bacon picture via that link above. Oh, here it is again.)


The raw bacon did ultimately turn into normal-looking cooked bacon....but only after much shrinkage and questionable behavior, including spatting hot oil onto my arm. Bacon, you little jerk.

So, I ate it. And it was delicious and didn't taste a thing like coconut......but man alive it was REALLY salty. Wha? I didn't even add any salt. You'd think you'd get better quality when you buy the cheapest non-turkey bacon available. What does a girl have to do??

Lesson: Bacon is not the time nor place to shop by price. Follow your heart, not your wallet. Teach all the children. Teach 'em good.

I accompanied my salty bacon with two avocado-and-honey sandwiches (Don't even question it, just eat one. Half an avocado all smashed up, and a generous drizzle of honey. It just took me 3 tries to spell generous.) (This sandwich is actually best as an open-faced sammitch with the bread toasted, but the handle may or may not have broken off of my brave little toaster (no seriously, it's a brave little toaster) this weekend, so plain ol' non-toasty bread it was.)

This is my story. Let it be an inspiration to you all. 

Now please excuse me while I drink like a gallon of water to combat that pile of salty bacon I consumed a few minutes ago. I don't want to shrivel up -- I know how dehydration and osmosis works. I'm no fool. (Actually I only have vague memories of learning about salt and water and their relationship with osmosis in 9th-grade biology.....I just know I'm really thirsty. SCIENCE!)

(see how artistically I arranged that??? #pinterest)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Moment of Silence, Please

I don't spend much time with silence.

The main reason being that I love music. In fact, Spotify told me that in 2014 I listened to 42,658 minutes of music.....the equivalent of 29.6 solid days of music listening. Haha! Not surprised. And when I'm not listening to music, I'm usually talking to a friend or listening to a podcast or watching a TV show. I listen to music when I'm running, when I'm driving, when I'm working, when I'm showering (yep), when I'm cooking (hhahahah JOKE -- I never do that),  when I'm.....just always. I'm always filling my silences in one way or another, I guess.

Today I went running after work, out in the Baylands. The Baylands are basically a giant marsh full of....swampiness and....random birds and.....water and.....bay............haha. Well, it's nice and scenic once you get past any of the stagnant puddles and the industrial equipment at the head of the trails.

I'm a staunch believer in listening to music while I run, because it pumps me up and distracts me and......OK real reason, I like that it drowns out my distressed breathing. If I ever hear my own heavy breathing while I'm in the "I want to die" warm-up parts of a run, I am immediately convinced that I must stop because I am, in fact, going to die. So, music with a beat it is. And boots with da fur. (No?)

When I was out among the marshiness at the end-ish of one of the trails today, I paused to take a picture and accidentally switched my music off in the process. I was immediately struck by what I heard because......I heard nothing. I stopped and kept listening, and I did hear some things after all: the water moving, random birds in the distance.....but no cars. No people. No keyboards clattering. And it was beautiful.

I think I need to make a more deliberate effort to spend time in silence. And I realized today that maybe that means physically taking myself to places where distractions aren't immediately on hand -- no work to do, no people to talk to, no chores to be done, and nothing with me but my running shoes/shorts/shirt and my phone in airplane mode.

"The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps." 

Friday, December 5, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Canon EOS Rebel T5

Oh heyyy friends!

Giving away something pretty neat. I won't steal an image from the Internets for this post, but here's a link to what the camera looks like. Yay. You have from now until Dec. 19 to enter :) If you already follow me on Instagram, Facebook &'re three steps ahead. Neat-o. Now here's all the infffffo! 

I am pumped to be teaming up with 15 other bloggers to give away a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with two lenses. We decided to mix things up this holiday season -- with so many other cash giveaways, we decided to get a giveaway going that was a special gift just for one of you! Because we know the cash is going to all your other holiday gifts we decided to find a way to treat one of our lucky readers to a gift for themselves. And just in time for the holidays and the new year! You can check out all the ladies joining me on this giveaway by clicking on their images below.

Image Map
So what're you waiting for? It is your chance to make some photo magic with your family. The giveaway will run from December 5th to the 19th and it is open to US and Canada only. All entries will be validated and if there are any issues with your entry all will be voided. So you better be honest because we are going to be like Santa and check it all twice. Good luck! And happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only. This blog and any participating blogs did not receive compensation for the published material in this post. No purchase required to enter this giveaway and there is a limit of one entrant per household. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning are determined by the number of valid entries received. Entries will be verified. Winner will be chosen by and will be emailed via the email address used to enter the contest. New winner(s) will be chosen if original winner(s) has not responded within 48 hours of email notification. This giveaway is not administered, sponsored, endorsed by, or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or other social media outlet. Disclaimer is posted in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. I

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Very Tahoe Thanksgiving

Tahoes before bros!

JK, I don't know where I'm going with that phrase. But I did spend my Thanksgiving weekend at an Airbnb cabin (cabungalow) in South Lake Tahoe with several amazing new friends. I only knew two of them before we headed out, so I was kind of like "ummmm what will this weekend be like" but then it was like seven levels of amazing, so we're good.

We ate a Thanksgiving feast at one of the girl's family's house on the way to Tahoe, we watched important and deep films like Dan in Real Life (from a single perspective, that movie is so relatable it makes me cringe inside but I can't look away) and Pitch Perfect (along with some necessary episodes of Parks & Rec) (which resulted in frequent sing-talking like unto Jean Ralphio) (and also, what is more perfect than viewing Ron Swanson whilst at a cabin in the woods?), we talked about life/love/etc etc etc, we wore flannel and wool socks, we came up with an extremely marketable idea for a tame burlesque show (Burlesque With Borders -- it's a thing) since a couple of the girls missed their younger dancing days (and what is better than a burlesque show with uniforms of capris and turtlenecks??), we hiked up a ridge overlooking the lake (and it was freeeeeezing up there!), and OF COURSE, we spent some time out in the hot tub on the deck amongst the trees and the frigid breeze. We also ate a lot of food. I may have had a handful of peanut butter m&m's as a pre-game for breakfast one morning. Or two mornings....? We also woke up to snowfall the last morning and I was like "it's magical!!" and then we went outside and I was like "I'm freezing and wet, this isn't magical!!" So, typical.

Basically it was all awesome. And I love making new friends. Especially since most of these new friends live up in the city (San Francisco) and I'm always looking for reasons to get up there. Such lovely people, and there's really few things better than a cozy cabin in the woods.

Also on the drive home, a couple of us got hooked on the Serial podcast. I'm now all caught up. Talk to me, fellow listeners!

And now, pictures!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Coming Clean

This morning I woke up to gray skies and little waterfalls of rain pouring off the roof and past my bedroom window.

I love me a good rainstorm, and California doesn't get too much of it lately with all that drought business going down. The rain feels healing, especially given the drought, like the parched earth is finally soaking up mouthfuls of water. I woke up this morning, after a weekend away in Tahoe (pics and stories coming soon!), with messy hair and fuzzy eyes, and sat on my gray sheets, wearing just my underwears and wrapped in a gray-striped down blanket, and watched the rain come down.

And then I decided that watching from the dry side of the glass wasn't doing it for me, so within a few minutes I'd pulled on a pair of stretchy pants, a semi-waterproof-seeming jacket and a baseball hat, plugged my headphones into my ears, tuned in to a favorite playlist and ran my way to the park up the street.

At the park, I took shelter under a tree and caught my breath, before deciding to climb said tree. A shoe-full of mud later, I perched on a branch and watched the rain from there. It was breathtaking. And pretty soon, I pulled off my baseball hat, walked to the middle of the field, and just let that icy rain soak through my hair and splash all over my eyelids and down my cheeks. I think I may have concerned one lady who was out walking her dog, with my standing-soaking-in-the-middle-of-the-cold-wet-park activity. But, eh, it's northern California -- too many hippies here to feel even remotely out of place by doing any weird outdoorsy connect-with-nature shenanigans :)

I had a conversation this weekend with a friend about mindfulness, which from what I've gathered, is the art of learning to be present in every moment with your thoughts/feelings/etc. instead of being caught up in the past or the future or whatever. So, I stood in that field and thought about....just being there. I paid particular attention to one raindrop at a time, as they hit my head and ran through my hair, leaving icy little trails down behind my ear and into the collar of my soaked-through jacket.

I think I threw some of you off with my last blog post, when I was all angsty and vague and "stuff is hard and I can't talk about it." I think this, because the comments/texts/emails I received after publishing it pretty much told me so :) Blogging about things that hurt is uncomfortable because it opens me up to something I don't like being open to: pity. Like most people, I much prefer it when everyone thinks I have my shiz together. I realized this weekend that, when I've blogged about harder stuff in the past, it's either been topics that are easy to be public about (e.g. unemployment), or it was after-the-fact kind of blogging, when I could say "and here's how it all tidied up and I got through it and yay!" But blogging the raw stuff, the really insecure stuff, right in the moment when it's not all tidy, is a whole different ballgame. And in this particular case, it's stuff I wish I could be more transparent about, but I can't -- because some of it has to do with dating, and since that involves other people's lives, that's a line I don't cross unless I'm being general/vague (but here's one honest insight: it's so great to wake up to an ex-boyfriend's wedding photos on social media wait no it's not it's terrible almost every time). But yeah, very few dating specifics around here -- personal blog rule. And the rest of my current troubles fall more in the realm of religion and faith, and.....the Internets is no place for kindness/understanding in that department, let's be real. So though I wish I could spill more of my thoughts about all of the above, it just feels best not to go there. But I do hope that clarifies things, at least a little bit. And I do so much prefer not being an angsty, woe-is-me blogger....because vulnerability, yikes!....but I guess that comes with the territory when you're trying to be real and reality is not always sunshine and Beach Boys songs.

But back to the park and the rain.

When I was thoroughly soaked and done "being present," I ran my way home. The fiery red leaves (because fall is still hanging on around these parts) stuck to parked cars and floated down the street around me like little rain-made lava rivers. At my front door, I pulled off my soaked shoes and walked directly to the bathroom, where I peeled off layer after layer, discovering mud smudges and grassy stowaways along the way. I turned on the little wall heater (which is the best thing a bathroom in a cold little apartment can have, btdubs) and plopped down on the bathroom floor, amid my pile of wet clothes with my bare back pressed against the wall. My tangled, dripping hair plastered itself to my face and took up residence on my shoulders, all heavy and wet.

And I felt clean.

Even before climbing into the hot shower, even with the mud smudges on my ankles and the grass stuck to my right arm and the rainwater mingling with post-running sweat in my hair, all wrapped around my head, neck and shoulders, I felt clean. Like that cold, morning communion with a gray, waterfall sky had washed off a little weight, a little angst, a little ache. Because I'm starting to feel more and more lately that cleanliness isn't necessarily the absence of this or that sin, or this or that stress, but more like maybe cleanliness is just honesty. And there is something fresh, open and clean about knowing where you're at, and where you're not at, if that makes sense.

And now I am warm and cozy, wrapped up back in my bed with almost-dry hair and my space heater doing its thing and a quiet, gray-skied afternoon stretched out ahead of me.

I hope your Sunday (rainy or otherwise) can feel cleansing and honest, in whatever way and to whatever degree. (And I also hope I don't get pneumonia from my spontaneous little mindfulness-with-a-rainstorm activity :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The $30 Therapy Session

"Write hard and clear about what hurts."

....Ernest Hemingway.

In 9th-grade English, we had to memorize a long list of famous authors and their most well known works. My friends and I came up with fun/weird tricks to keep it all straight. For Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, we told ourselves that Hemingway sounded like hemorrhoids, and hemorrhoids make your arms fall off. There may be some sliiiiight scientific/medical inaccuracy to our methods, but.....looks like I still remember that book title, 14 years later. I win, science. I freakin' win.

This blog post is totally not about Ernest Hemingway, anatomy, disease or memorization techniques. It's about that first quote up there....the one about things that hurt.

I'm never quite sure how to write about stuff that hurts, in a public setting like a blog. I can get real honest in my personal journal, and in emails to close friends, but when it's a public setting I'm suddenly tap-dancing all over that line between "relatable and honest" and "TMI this is getting awkward" or "you're being so vague I actually don't know what you're talking about or specifically going through."

Two nights ago, when I was alllllmost asleep, I burst into tears for no apparent reason. (How's that for specific?)

We're talking, full on woke myself up crying and took a few minutes to calm down. And when something like that "randomly" happens, I think it's pretty safe to say mayyyybe there's some unresolved troubles floating around in your head/heart/soul/cells.

You know that particular way that your whole body can physically hurt when you've gone through something emotionally traumatic? It usually happens to me after bad breakups. Why do I feel heartache in my arms? No idea. It has no business being there, the tactless little jerk.

Anyway, after this onslaught of bedtime tears the other night, I laid there and felt that ol' throb in my chest and arms. And then I had one of those "being single is the ultimate worst" moments, because how nice would it have been to not be totally alone in my room/bed at that moment? Real talk: being single has its perks. I know I get to have many adventures and run around all fancy free and be the envy of all my friends who can't live that kind of spontaneous whimsy. But then there are nights when your eyes are leaking and your arms are hurting and there is not a single soul around to make it better, so, don't get too jealous of my freedom too fast. I'm not a really touchy person in terms of casual physical affection with people I'm not dating, so, it was definitely an anomaly in that moment when I was curled up all small in my bed and thought, "I just want someone to touch me." Which I don't know how to word in any way that doesn't sound creepy or molest-like, but, you know what I mean. I needed the reassurance of some solid physical human contact, not in a weird way, and I had nada on hand. And since I'm not into cheap thrills, my options boiled down to........

Booking a massage.

There's this fab little $30 full-body Asian massage place ($30 for an hour!) up the street from me (I love you, California) that I go to from time to time. And after my little midnight bout with my lonely demons the other night, I knew I needed this. And so I went. I totally didn't have time to go, but I went. It meant working late, which is kind of my M.O. lately anyway (you could argue that this is why my body is stressin', but I like my job and I need the $$$ so the long days/nights just are what they are right now because times and seasons of life, yo, and that's what I want/need to be doing right now), but I still went. Because it was either that or real therapy, and I can't afford real therapy. Well, I could afford it if I didn't spend money on travel or books or eating out or movies or french fries or all the things I like to do, but, then my life would be sad and I'd need even *more* therapy. Maybe that's how they hook you, come to think of it.

I'm going to sound like an infomercial for massage therapy for a second, but I really do believe there's restorative power in physical touch. Five minutes into my massage, my head was still buzzing with all sorts of buzzy things. But twenty minutes in, I'm pretty sure I briefly fell asleep. Or, at least entered some kind of zen, dreamlike state. Which, was everything I needed right then in that moment. It was a delicious 60 minutes, let me tell you.

Buzz kill: I don't feel all better -- I wish I could say I did.

My head and heart are at so much war right now. Not with each other, just with.....things. (Ah, vagueness again. I am failing Ernest Hemingway so hard right now.) My head and heart aren't at war with each other, which is what most people seem to mean when they say that. They're actually in league together, and at war against a whole tumult of outside circumstances. So at least we're all on the same team inside my bod, if I'm focusing on the positive :) (Another positive: since I felt better during my massage, maybe I just need one of those daily. Is that in my budget? Shhh) (Twice a day? YEAH GO TEAM!)

I haven't even gone back to read this ramble and I'm already fairly confident that it might not make a lot of sense. And it certainly isn't as clear as Mr. Hemingway urged me to be. So maybe I'll never end up on a list of authors that some kid has to memorize someday (at which time they hopefully associate me with an uncomfortable medical situation, because, karma). But maybe I just wanted to write hard and clear about the fact that something DOES hurt, even though I don't feel like I'm quite at the point to open up about what/why.

So there you go. Hard and clear. Emphasis on the hard. Emphasis on the $30 massage therapy. Emphasis on the it's time to wrap up now or this ramble will only get worse's Thanksgiving Eve, you guys. I'm headed out of town for the weekend with a couple friends because I saved my trip home to AZ for Christmas, and, every single lady and fella knows that the last thing you should do on a holiday weekend is sit around your own apartment by yourself. That's like the first rule in the handbook, and I'm no fool.

Also I got a Christmas tree and she is beautiful and you will get to see and hear everything about her at the end of the month because I have to make sure I have all the good stories lined up and visitors photographed and gosh if she isn't having her own party next week and you know I have to save her blog feature until after that. Stay tuned for tales of the tree, and.......


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Weekend in Maryland

Things I do emotionally: eat, run, change my hair, and travel.

My brain started to feel a little fuzzed lately. Got some shtuff on my brains that kind of gets to me now and again. So about a month ago, I took a look at my Southwest points and thought, "I could go somewhere. I should go somewhere."

And so I picked a somewhere, and I went! The somewhere I chose was, as you probably know, Washington D.C.! I went there once before -- right after graduating from college 5 years ago. It's the first big place I've done a "repeat trip" to since I started traveling as an adult. My old roommate Rebecca (who I once wrote about here), who was my roommate after graduating from college (and who I moved in with about a week after that first D.C. trip, funny enough!) lives in Maryland these days. So with airplane points to burn and a free place to stay and a Rebecca-friend I really missed and hadn't seen in like 3 years, the trip was booked....and a few short weeks later, away I went!

Reasons I love Rebecca/Reebs, as told by the quotes I wrote down that came from her mouth this weekend:

"I woke up with chocolate on my legs."
"I choose housing options by their proximity to specific restaurants."
"Someone taught me a trick for putting a duvet cover on...but I don't know it anymore."
"The blanket is kind of damp. Eh, it'll dry on our bodies."
"I did! I went clubbing! My cardigan saw some good times."
"That business model doesn't sound sustainable. I'll get hooked on it and then it'll be gone, because they hired too many cheese tasters." (On why she can't shop at Wegmans)
"I can probably trace any issue back to why we need the Common Core standards."

I needed this trip so, so much.

It really was the perfect weekend. I played, I relaxed, I explored, I got to ride public transit (I love trains and people watching), I took a tour of the Capitol, I got to set foot in the Library of Congress again (which I'm convinced is one of the most beautiful buildings in existence), I had many heart-to-heart chats with Rebecca (as well as a rendezvous with another friend, Savannah, who just spoke to my soul in so many ways), watched a crappy Hallmark Christmas movie and laughed heartily....and, oh man, I can't even tell you how much FOOD I ate this weekend, I got to see the Theory of Everything (a movie I'd been much anticipating for many moons, and, it did not disappoint), met up with another friend at the greatest coffee shop with magical mismatched couches....the whole thing really was heaven for me. And while I was flying back home and pondering life again (while listening to calming Christmas tunes in my headphones, o'course), my head just felt.....clear. And I felt good and brave and settled. I just wish I could relive this exact weekend over and over every now and again, because it really was perfect. (But don't worry -- no plans to move out there. Too freezing and I'm too emotionally attached to California.)

And now you get pictures. Enjoy!

p.s. The trip ended on a real high note when a man at the airport curb asked me, "Are you Jason?" I mean, I thought my hair and outfit looked decent that day but....guess I'm glad we're being open-minded :)