Thursday, July 31, 2014

Firmoo & The Big Red Sunglasses

That title sounds like a children's book, am I right?

Maybe someday I'll write a children's book all bout something involving big red sunglasses. I'll avoid googling it to inevitably find out it's already been written.....


I got these red gems via Firmoo, which I picked out mostly because the models looked so cheerful while wearing them. But then I got them and put them on and thought, "Wait, am I bold enough for these?" So at first I just wore them in secret now and again while driving June Cooper.

And then, I started looking forward to seeing them cradled in the space between my seat and the passenger seat. They were like happy, red....lollipops....for my, that got weird. The point is, these red shades quickly became a favorite. And although driving June Cooper is always a party anyway, the big red sunglasses managed to up the ante even more!

I think these sunglasses are made for adventure.

I've even taken to making passengers in my car put them on their face, just to force them to experience the thrill. Because I'm a good friend.

And after my Iceland trip, I feel pretty sure that these glasses need to go somewhere exotic with me the next time I leave the country. I'm thinking tropical. Stay tuned for that. For now, I'll just keep wearing them to and from work and pretend that's exotic enough on its own. It's California, so, everything goes.

Do you wear glasses? Sun or regular type? Good news: Firmoo is offering a first pair free deal right now, when you pay for the lenses and shipping. They have some seriously fun frames, so check that biz out!

Disclaimer: I have been compensated for this post, but the words and thoughts and opinions are my own because y'all know I wouldn't do you wrong or ever bother blogging about something I don't actually like. #duh

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Believing in Each Other

I'm always creating analogies between various areas of my life.

Running is like job hunting. No....job hunting is like dating. No, dating is like....a food which you're not sure how much to eat now or save for later? Wait....what?

Well, usually the analogies work pretty well.

Anyway, last night I was chatting with someone about job world, and the value of companies investing in their employees. Having been a temp/contractor/freelancer for the last year (and an intern 3x during college), I know how it feels to be "temporary." And, companies have still usually treated me well during those phases, with a couple ornery exceptions. But....BUT....regardless of how great a company is, there is still something to be said for being a "real" employee.

Because it's more than just the job security and job title change and probably bigger's a sense of ownership, and also a feeling of belonging. That full-time role says, "Hey, we value you. We want you as long as you'll have us. We think you're going to do a good job. Let's commit to each other."

Later, my mind started doing that whole analogy thing about this topic. And I thought, this applies to our interpersonal relationships as well.

When you treat someone like they're on trial in your life, they know it. They can feel it. Whether it's dating, friendship, marriage, neighbors, etc., people have a way of picking up when they are constantly being evaluated. And there's a huge amount of insecurity that comes with that -- with not knowing if you've fully been accepted or approved for the long run.

And, there's insecurity in never knowing if you're measuring up to someone else's standards. Do we trust our friends to pick us up at the airport on time without nagging them about their habit of being late? Do we let our kids load the dishwasher without reorganizing it afterward so it looks neat and orderly? (Gosh I've never even mastered that, and I'm an adult.) Do we grab the crying baby from the husband every time because we just know how to handle it better?

When we do things like that, what we're really saying to that person is that they're not good enough. When really, we never gave them a chance to figure it out or succeed.

I once had a teacher who gave our class a few pieces of life advice, and one thing he said was, "Plant a tree." 

By that he meant, put down roots. When you move into a new neighborhood, invest in it long-term. Put down those seeds that say, "I'm going to be around for awhile because I'm committed to this."

We need to believe in each other more.

We need to commit, champion, promote, the people around us. We need to stand on the emotional lawns between our little hearts and plant some long-term trees. Rather than keeping each other on trial or temporary assignments, we should say and do things that say, "I'm here for you now.....and tomorrow....and the next day. I'm your friend, and your fan, and I'm not going anywhere. And, because I believe in you, I'm going to let you do things your way and cheer you on while you do it."

Because that's when people thrive, and that's when people feel secure -- when we believe they will win, and then continually act like we believe it.

Just a couple cents of thought!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's a Helluva Life

Life is real good.

I stole that title from a country song. But, he likely stole the phrase from someone else so....sharing is caring. Anyway, here's some stuff about my little ol' life....

It's the midst of summer, and since I live in paradise (summer anywhere outside my normal AZ roots feels like paradise, but northern CA is particularly paradise-y) I just want to be outside all the time. Luckily, I work somewhere that lets me wander outside with my laptop if I want. And, I want. So, I do. Often.

Speaking of work. Ah, work! Google is an incredible place in so many ways. I think the free food is causing me to feed myself better since.......well probably since I lived at home in high school and ate my mom's food. I'm doing my body goooood.

My temp contract ends in 2 months. Two months! How'd that sneak up so fast? The hunt is on hardcore to figure out what my next step is. Maybe I can stay? Maybe I will go elsewhere? It's back to the drawing board for me.....again. And that kind of bummed me out for a few days last week.

The idea of job boards and cover letters and interviews was noooot putting me in a happy mood because.....this feels like a perma-trial. I know, a lot of people deal with employment issues for a lot longer than I have. But a year's worth of uncertainty, short-term contracts and ups and downs sure feels like a long time. And trust me, I am so grateful....SO grateful....for all those little contracts and gigs (seasonal Anthropologie job at minimum wage, hollllla!) along the way that helped me survive all of it. It's been a lot easier the last few months than it was for the first few months. I guess I'm just uncertain if I'll end up unemployed in September again or not, and that puts a little knot in my tummy. But, if there's one thing I know how to's job hunting like a boss. So.....boss mode. Let's do this!

But like I said, my life is really good.

Anytime anyone asks me if I wish I had never left Arizona, I don't even hesitate about my answer. I have zero regrets about that crazy decision last summer. I do miss my family and a few friends from back home,'s hard to miss that desert (beautiful as I do think it is) when it's July and that beautiful desert is a broiling oven. I think I prefer spending the majority of my day not covered in sweat, thank youuuu.

I have the greatest friends in California. And, in general.

I feel like I could write a whole post dedicated to the amazing people in my life here in The Golden State, and elsewhere. Sometimes it feels like the only things that have been sure in my life this past year have been the incredible people in my life. I have a wonderful roommate, and I've slowly been gaining more and more excellent friends. Friends mean a lot to me. I need my people. And it feels good to have people again, after starting from scratch and collecting them a bit at a time over the last year. It feels good to feel needed, which is something I used to naively think I didn't need in my life.....being needed, or needing people. But I do. I need the needing. I need to feel like an anchor in other people's lives, and I need them to be my steady ground when my own knees are jello. I've got friends scattered all over CA, AZ, UT and beyond....and I couldn't feel more blessed for it.

I feel like there's a lot of turmoil in the world these days.

And, all days. But particularly lately with the shootings and wars and plane crashes and so on. And I wish I could just.....fix all of it. I wish I could just pick the whole world up and hug it until it calms down. But, I can't, so, the crazy goes on. And I try to stay informed.....which keeps my own problems in perspective, makes me wonder how I got so lucky to have such a blessed life, and also fills me with an immense longing to give back and make the world as good as I can help make it be. Maybe I'll figure that magic world peace cure out someday? Gosh, I'll keep you posted. That whole thought vein is a post for another day!

Now here's a few pictures from my life lately. As I said earlier, it's a helluva life...
Featuring: 4th of July cabin trip, a day at the race track, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and one of my weekly frisbee games that included party hats for a friend's bday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Shoulders of Your Heart

I'm a chronic song repeater.

What I love best is when I find a song that moves me. The kind that I immediately have to look up the lyrics for, because one line catches my ear and I'm suddenly sure it's been written just for me. It means a lot to me when I come across a song that just NAILS my life and heart at the moment. You can bet that if I find just such a song, it's going to be on loop for hours/days/weeks to come. It's like it puts into words/notes what I'm feeling and I just need to let it soak into me until maybe some of those feelings will untangle themselves somewhere around the climactic bridge and drain out of me with the final chords.

I came across this song in February.

I usually love February (hello, birthday month!) but this year I was hurting so bad through most of it. In matters of the heart, I was dealing with more than one letdown in the form of dating (one boy who stopped calling, one who I asked to stop calling, and one old flame who put a ring on someone else's finger). In career world, I was emotionally spent and then some. As of February, I was 7 months into my California adventure, 9 months out of my last full-time writing job, 3 months into my random retail Ralph Lauren gig which (finally, gratefully, amazingly) paid the rent but also made me feel like a guppy out of water, and still 2 months away from landing my current temp gig at Google. Like I said, emotionally spent, but trying so-so-so-so hard to keep a smile on my face and a grip on the handlebars.

It's one thing to be in the middle of a long tunnel with a definable end (e.g. school and graduation, etc.), but it's another thing entirely to have zero concept of the length of your tunnel, where the end might be, what happens at the end, if there even is an's taxing. And all the risks that made you get into that tunnel in the first place start to feel questionable, but also thrilling, but also exhausting, and maybe slightly pukey. (Which is accurate, because I totally had the flu for a solid 9-10 days in February. I think my emotions became a raging fever and attempted to assassinate me from the inside out.)

I was sitting at my kitchen table when I first heard the Pioneer song.

I don't remember what I was doing. Blogging? Reading? Eating? Job hunting? Staring out the window? Anyway, music was playing in the background as it always is, and I was checking out The Band Perry's latest album at the suggestion of a boy. And there that song was. And the words caught me, and kind of paralyzed me, and a few lines in all these hot little tears started rolling their way down my cheeks. I hit repeat the minute the song ended, wrote the lyrics in my journal that night, and can't even tell you how many times I listened to that song again in the days, weeks, months to follow.

I've moved on to different songs in the few months since then, and many of the dark spots of that February tunnel are now just bumps in the past as I navigate my current bumps/turns/crevices.

But the Pioneer song came on my shuffle again today and, for a minute, took me back to a kitchen table in February, all those hot little tears sliding onto my neck, and one scared, exhausted girl trying very much to be an adult but very much not feeling like she was even close to pulling it off.

Just a good reminder for me that all things pass. And that you gotta trust your heart when you're somewhere out on that plain not sure where you're going or why you even left, other than that it felt like the right thing to do. And that new bumps replace the old ones, but it's good to know that you've already forded a few rivers when you're faced with the next one. (Insert witty Oregon Trail analogies.) (Please bless no dysentery or lame oxen.)

And now you can give it a listen and enjoy the lyrics:

Oh pioneer, I sing your song
It's the hymn of those who've gone before and those who carry on
Pioneer, your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going?
Oh I don't know
But still I've got to go
What will become of us?
Oh I don't care
All I know is I'll go anywhere

Oh pioneer, so young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way
Pioneer, you orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Let your heart not be troubled

I won't run when bullets chase me
I won't rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Iceland Photos, Part 2 of 2

You didn't actually think I'd pull off both halves of this post within a couple days, did you? Ah, but I'm doing it! Look at me go!

In Part 1 I gave you all the city pictures. Now let's move on to the country! When Cami and I weren't in Reykjavik, we were out in our natural habitat bonding with the rolling green hills and waterfalls and sheep and horses and black sand beaches. (And by "natural habitat" I mean "we both like to be outside in beautiful, quiet places and should probably live on farms someday.")

The best word I keep coming up with to describe Iceland is "other-worldly." It seriously feels like another planet. Every few minutes out on the road, Cami and I would look at each other and say, "This is insane." Looking out your window and seeing waterfalls cascading down the emerald-green sides of volcano territory, with fog rolling in and turf houses hiding here and The Shire! is something I personally need each of you to experience once in your life. I NEED THIS FOR YOU. #outburst

We saw several waterfalls, but the one that most took my breath away was Seljalandsfoss (it's the one below with the rainbow, and also in the really green photo of the guy on the bench with his back to me). I feel like I have a reverence for that exact spot in the world! Other things pictured below include the black sand beaches near Vik, the famous Geysir, the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon (which we both waded into even though it made for very cold legs and very damp pants) (uhhh I don't like the phrase "damp pants"), our trip to the Blue Lagoon, and other random shenanigans.

We stayed two nights in a little country farm inn, and that was one of the better decisions I've ever made in my entire life. I've always known that at least part of me belongs on a farm, and if it's going to be a farm why not go big and have it be an Icelandic farm with a clothesline and roaming sheep and a fantastic spread at breakfast? It might be one of my happiest places on earth. We stayed up late one night (who cares? it's light outside all night!) and watched Father of the Bride II on a random British channel in the shared lobby space. Such a good time.

Now I'm all super nostalgic and I have to stop before this gets any longer and I weep on my keyboard. Gahhh!

....on to the photos!
(And yes, I found that dog in a random field. We were best friends and played fetch with a rock. He insisted because he wears the pants in our relationship.)

See also: