Category Archives: Thinking

Good point

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

– John Green

(italicizing mine!)

Found via Middle Child Complex and reposted here because – good point!

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Freedom and Fear

I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about writing.

I always spend lots of time thinking about writing. All day, all the time, I think about writing. And when I sleep, I dream about writing.

True story: I had a dream last night that my coworkers and I were on a road trip and I had a backpack full of random things. Everyone dove into my backpack in a shark-like feeding frenzy and took everything inside it. When they had finished their frantic rummaging – those dirty jerks – I felt about the bottom of the bag for something – anything – that might be left. My arm emerged from the bag with a pen. And I was happy.

But happiness while writing doesn’t take away the fear of writing. The thing that makes me happiest is also the thing that terrifies me the most. Figure that out.

My friend Dan has reminded me a few times that nothing is precious. You just have to write…and write and write and write and write. And then trash all of it. And then write some more.

I am bad at trashing anything. Ask the 27 Barbies living like refugees in a rubbermaid tote in my parents’ basement. I choose to think they’re having a party in there, where neon leggings and shoulder pads are still all the rage, but the truth is that I am afraid to get rid of them because I believe, deep down, that there will come a moment in my life where I will need precisely 27 Barbies and two Kens and I will somehow, magically, be in my parents’ house when that moment arrives.

True story.

And I think that’s how it is with writing. I am afraid to start – to truly start – because it will mean facing days where I will feel I am not very good at it, this thing that makes me happiest. I am afraid to begin because it not only means hard work, but because it means work done, and re-done, and re-done again. I am afraid to start because maybe, deep down, I believe there will come a moment in my life where my novel magically comes pouring out and I will simply be a vessel for words from the heavens.

True story: I used to be afraid of running. My shorts would accidentally leap from the drawers during vigorous cases of laundry folding and I would shield my eyes as I shoved them back in. My Nikes would stare at me dolefully out of all of their 16 eyelets and my heart rate would rise as I thought about myself running, slowly, without purpose, and badly.

I just ran three miles. Just now, about two hours ago. I laced my shoes, cranked up Florence + The Machine and away we went, for three glorious, sweaty, red-faced miles.

True story.

I’m not a great runner. But I run and run and run and run and run. And now it’s not so scary.

This week, I am going to start writing. And writing. And writing. Because there is freedom in doing something that is scary. Just like there is freedom in talking about things that are scary (thanks for listening.)

There is also freedom in failing at something. Because as soon as I fail – or give up, or take a night off, or stop writing, it’s all the same – then I am one step closer to trying again, and being better.

This is my arm, emerging from the bag.

It is holding a pen.

 

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Carrots and Resolve

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about carrots. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about this lovely blog post, about the produce guy at the farmer’s market (who, I should add, makes fun of me for how excited I get about carrots), about the sunshiney way carrot orange makes me feel, and about little babies who eat too many carrots and have little orange noses because of it.

One day I will have a little baby with an orange nose, because no offspring of mine is going to get through life without a deeply felt and rhapsodic love for vegetables, I feel certain.

Because carrots are occupying my thoughts so intensely, I have decided that tonight is going to be all about carrot cooking and consumption, and darn it, I’m excited!

Take that, produce guy!

I hope you had a really wonderful end of the year. This autumn was so lovely – I felt a sense of fullness that I’d never quite experienced before.

Isn’t it nice to still be surprised by how we feel? Just when you think you’ve experienced 98% of emotions a human is capable of, your own internal odometer of feeling stretches a little bit more. A little bit sadder, a little bit happier, both valuable.

It may have been that I finally felt (and still feel) settled in San Francisco – this is home now. Or the fact that I both adore my job and I know what I’m doing now (usually). Maybe it was Europe and spending time with LP, who continues to be a grounding influence in my life, even when she’s far away. Or maybe it’s the fact that someone else has come into my life – someone we aren’t going to talk about now – but who has been on the periphery for years, on the horizon for months, and who has finally come into my life to take off his jacket, sit by the fire and stay. And for many, many reasons, I’m glad.

The interesting thing about all of the lovely moments of fullness, however, is that the time between can be chaotic. There are days at work that frustrate, long flights to London with drunken Icelanders, small earthquakes, roommate nonsense, and the fact that my someone lives 1,268 miles away. (He checked.)

I don’t do well with chaos. I wish I did. I would love to say that I thrive on it. But the truth is that moments of panic, tears (not even usually mine!), and running five flights of stairs in high heels are just as stressful to me as they sound to you.

So one of my goals for the New Year (“goals” sound so much nicer and friendlier than “resolutions” don’t you think? A goal is just something you reach for…) is to embrace the chaos. Learn to let some little things go. Theater will still happen if I don’t check everything off my list at work. Dinner parties will still be enjoyed if I don’t starch the napkins. This blog will still be a semblance of me and my life if I re-design it, or start adding pictures on a regular basis (gasp). Life will go on, even if there are shoes on the floor, my hair is wild and curly, and I have not ROY G. BIV’ed my bras.

No, really. I do that. It’s sick.

Other goals for the year:

Big Stuff:

Continue to write + make it a priority. Always a goal, but I have so many ambitions that I sometimes get intimidated and don’t even start. I’m choosing some external projects with actual deadlines to help me along.

Listen better. I realized recently that I start a lot of sentences with “I” and that needs to change.

Focus. I can’t even finish this post without switching my music, checking the New York Times online and my watch. I used to be able to sit for hours at a time under a tree devouring books. Somewhere I have gone awry, and I refuse to blame technology for the fact that I am just an over-user of technology.

Medium Stuff:

Run a half marathon with my brother.

Organize my room.

Continue with flossing.

Fun Stuff:

Take a trip with friends…Costa Rica is in the works!

Surprise someone (or “someone” perhaps?!) on their birthday.

More spontaneous play/picnics/bike rides/trips to the park.

Wear more dresses. Dresses are good for a girly girl soul like mine, I’m just sure of it.

What are your goals for this year? I’d love to hear!

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Filed under Gentlemen Friends, Thinking

Autumn List

Let’s be clear – I love San Francisco. The artful graffiti and the hazy sunrises. The fog rolling in like the unfurling of an old woolen blanket and the sailboats gliding across the water, as elegant as ladies in ball gowns, but wetter. Boatier.

I love the candy colored Marina houses, packed together like three scoops of ice-cream towering on a cone. I love the crazy colored Victorians in the Haight, just daring you to judge them so they can flip you off behind your back. I adore the street musicians, the crab sellers, the old hippies, and the man with the toothy grin who sells flowers at the Saturday morning market at the Ferry Building. I even relish in the crap weather. There is no town that invites you to brew an extra pot of coffee and read just one more chapter like San Francisco (except for perhaps Seattle?) because hey – it’s pouring rain outside, and who wants to get their hair wet in that hot mess, am I right?

Except. But. However.

I am craving Fall. Allegedly, it’s here – or rather, there, and also there – but alas, it’s definitely not here. As I wandered through the Presidio in the 85 degree heat today and plucked fresh peaches and heirloom tomatoes from the wide farmers market baskets, I couldn’t help but think that Fall seems a million miles away.

Where are the crunching leaves? The crisp winds that whistle in the hollows of your ears?  Where are my new school supplies? And where, for Pete’s (and Trudy’s) sake, are all the pumpkins?!  Doesn’t San Francisco know it’s time?

Maybe I’m being ungrateful. September and October are the respite from my beloved crap weather mentioned above, and usually I’d be happy to have a sunny day when it comes. But something about summer and San Fran don’t quite fit together. I don’t know if it’s a little short in the sleeve or tight in the crotch or if it’s a deeper personal problem we’ll never truly understand, but it’s not right.

So I’d like to go on the record with this: I’ll take rainy afternoons and windy nights over this hot nonsense any day, thank you and you’re welcome. I love you San Francisco, but I just might love Fall more…

Inspired by the lists on this talented photographer’s beautiful site and this lovely lady’s blog, I’ve made a Fall to-do list.

What do you do in the Fall?

Listen:

Septimbre Sizzle and Pumpkin Spice Latte – my all-time favorite music mixdowns by D. Heavy on the Adele, Camera Obscura, Jamie Cullum and Brandon Heath, nothing takes me back to my favorite Fall ever (2008, in case you were wondering) faster than these two CDs.

HideawayThe Weepies. Arguably my favorite album of all time (a list for another blog post), this music is perfectly mellow and a little melancholy, without being depressing. Perfect for Fall.

James Taylor. Any and all. Steamroller, Carolina on My Mind, Fire and Rain…you can practically smell wet leaves in the street and chili on the stove, and that’s exactly right.

Wear:

That One Gray Sweater With The Giant Cowl Neck And The Perfect Sleeve Length. Do you ever look at your closet and wonder what ever possessed you? I’m looking at you plaid dress from last year… And then, do you look at your closet and think, oh thank goodness I own this beautiful thing? What amazing shopping foresight I had!

That’s how I feel about That One Gray Sweater With The Giant Cowl Neck And The Perfect Sleeve Length. It’s a love affair that has begun anew every Fall for almost nine years (oh lord), and one I’m eagerly anticipating this year again, as though it were the first time.

Cook:

Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, D’s mom’s pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, my Grama’s ace, A+, number one pumpkin bars that melt in your mouth…can we say pumpkin?

Roast chicken and bread salad a la Zuni. I once cooked this dish for a boyfriend who I’m not sure appreciated it. Let’s try again, shall we?

S’mores, SF-style: Trader Joe’s cinnamon graham crackers, homemade marshmallows from Miette Patisserie on Chestnut, and, of course, freshly snapped dark chocolate from Ghiradelli Square. Best when building a bonfire on Ocean Beach, if you please.

Do:

Birthday BreakFEAST 2010 – celebrating October birthdays with a little breakfast for dinner. We did this on a whim last year and now I associate pumpkin pancakes and champagne with my birthday – and what’s better than that?

London + Paris with LP! I can’t wait to sip lattes, eat warm bread, wear a cute hat and wander through museums and take photos to my heart’s content.

More Fall things I hope to create/eat/experience…

More real photography (ie, non-Hipstamatic photos)

More writing + more intentional making time for writing

Long evening runs in long sleeved t-shirts + early morning hikes with roommates

Boots, boots, boots!

Grilled pizza on the back deck

The Tate Modern in London

Camping in Yosemite + new North Face sleeping bags

Seeing the Brother/Sister Trilogy + being so proud of where I get to go to work every day

Giant mugs of coffee + sleeping in more if I feel like it

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass + ice cold Fat Tire in a field full of hippies

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Filed under My World, Thinking

Let’s chat…

…about how {this is glamorous} makes me want to live in a tiny jewel box of an apartment all my own. I’ve never loved the idea of living alone – I’m much too chatty and I like knowing other people are knocking around upstairs or out back, even if I’m not talking to them – but I suspect the idea of an apartment decorated in lace and swirls and shiny things is something I’m going to have to do by myself someday. And maybe that’s a good thing?

…about how excited I am for yoga tomorrow morning. It’s less like working out and more like setting aside time specifically for breathing.  And that’s definitely a good thing.

…about how I took an impromptu road trip to Disneyland last weekend and brought back this tacky gem of a purchase. I’ve been drinking out of it every morning in an attempt to keep the magic alive!

…about how I drunk bought a pair of shoes online after drinking too much wine with my old BFF from work.  I would blame it on her, but she was long gone when I made my tipsy way on over to Seychelles. Whoops!  On the plus side, just too cha cha, don’t you agree?  Please agree. The cab sav and I need some validation.

Anything you guys need to chat about?  You good?

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Letters From The Bay, Week 46: Pink paint and man time

I need a little more woman in my life.  I’ve come to realization that, for the last few months, my life has been all man all the time here by the Bay.  D, man friends visiting from out of town, my man roommate, dear coworkers, The News, and now my brother…I feel like it’s too much man here in the city.

Some would argue you can never have too much man, but when fart jokes are hilarious and you end every statement with, “that’s what she said…” – even completely random statements like, “I think I’ll go to the grocery store now.” – you start to see how this could be true.

Because here’s the thing about men, lovely though they are: they are not the same as women.  At their best they are commanding, yet graceful, like giant cats.  Comforting, satisfying, protecting in a way that women usually are not. At their worst they are rude, stern, sometimes awkward.  They fumble around emotional moments, cheapen the beautiful, and roughen up your day in a way that can be messy and incredibly frustrating.

Women make things easy, smooth.  They listen and really hear.  They protect you from heartache, and sometimes from yourself.  Women love wide and deep and encompassingly, in a way that I’ve never yet known a man to do.  Yet.

I miss my real friends. My woman friends. My sisters, my soul mates, my partners in crime, the keepers of my life’s memories and experiences.  My best friend lives 5,350 miles away (yes LP, I google mapped you) and the rest of the KDs are scattered all over the world.  I miss them, and sometimes man friends just won’t do.  Even when they’re at their best, as most of the men in my life are 99 percent of the time.

Today’s experience: typing to the sound of paint rollers.  The News has moved out of our house and out of my life, and his replacement is a lovely new roommate.  Who is a woman.  One who is painting The News’s former room two brilliant shades of pink.

The News, for all of his good qualities, is also just a man.  One who is selfish, and who doesn’t listen, and who is only interested as long as things go his way.

New Roommate is fantastic, and soon, we’re going to plan a dinner party together.  One where we will talk, over wine, about things that are of interest to everyone, and we will listen to each other, and we will really hear, and we probably won’t tell any fart jokes either. It will be the start of a beautiful friendship, even when things don’t always go our way, and I think right now that sounds just perfect.

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How you know: You’re becoming a grown-up

1. You check the weather before getting dressed. And actually dress according to the weather.

2. You do your own taxes.

3. Lipstick and perfume make all the difference, instead of being just for dress-up.

4. You actually have a biological bedtime that won’t fight with you (ie, no more staying out all night, not because you don’t want to but because you physically can’t).

5. You watch the news.  On purpose.

How did you know?

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