Thursday, December 5, 2013

Look At the Sky

We had our second annual Friendsgiving a couple weekends ago, and we did good. It was quite the trio of celebratory events: giving thanks, Octavio's 22nd birthday, and Miley Cyrus's 21st. And I guess we can celebrate the fact that we finally have a decent picture of the four of us smiling. We're lucky to have Carlos around with his actual camera so this page isn't filled with grainy iPhone pictures.  Barrett was asleep and missed out on the stair-sitting fun, but he made sure to let us know he was thinking of us later when he graced us with his groggy presence during a grand game of Cards Against Humanity. 
I have big plans for more pie making and cookie cutting, along with walking the streets in a peacoat and scarves. Hoping those activities can make it actually feel like the holidays are here, despite the fact that we're all making huge dents in our Christmas shopping. Supposed to be branching into the 50s this week, so here's hoping I can see my breath one of these days! I think I might be the only one hoping for some chills, but we live in southern California, so we'll be getting warm temperatures in just a couple months. Let us appreciate the crispiness in the air and flaky dry skin, at least for a couple weeks. 
I read The Giver yesterday for the first time since I was 11. Their world is without color and love, and obviously reading that is supposed to make me stop and think, "Wow, I take those things for granted." And that's what I did. That's what we do. And then a few days ago I watched a TED talk about a man working on a project called "Happiness Revealed." It holds themes similar to the ones I was thinking about in The Giver, the idea that we walk around wrapped up in our own little place, not truly looking at anybody or anything. The elderly man in the project states, "Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open. That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment. Look at the sky. We so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going. We just think of the weather...we just think of good weather and bad weather. But this day, right now, has unique weather. Maybe a kind that will never exactly come in that form again. The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same that it is right now. Open your eyes, look at that. Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face...Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. There is electric light, you turn a faucet and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It's a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience...Open your heart to all these gifts. Let them flow through you. Then everyone who you will meet on this day will be blessed by you. Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch. Just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then it will really be a good day." We all know I'm not one for the phrase "blessings," but thinking about this made me define blessings just as the good stuff. I think this excerpt holds true to the feelings we have during this weird and beautiful season, even if we're only conscious of feeling this thankfulness when carving a turkey or unwrapping a bowed gift. Or maybe some of us aren't really conscious of these feelings until later when we're in bed. At least we're sometimes thinking them, and hopefully we can begin to battle it out within ourselves to start feeling that gratefulness every single day. 

Had enough of my inspirational sappiness? 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Mind is Beautiful

The mind is beautiful because of the paradox. It uses itself to understand itself." -Adam Elenbass
I've been speaking to multiple people (almost everyone I know, actually) about the idea of figuring it out and how we're pressured to know what's going on in different, "important" aspects of our lives, and we're supposed to know these answers by a certain age. But as days keep passing and years keep strolling, it is clear that no one has figured it out. By the time Barrett is old enough to understand what I've been writing and is old enough to question these things within his own life, it will still be clear that I haven't figured it out. And I am beginning to feel okay about that, and also beginning to feel okay with the fact that I kind of like knowing that I will never know what I will be doing when I am 40 until I am 40, and I will never know what will happen at the end until it's the end. We don’t even know what’s going to be happening next week. It's funny that this all seems like common sense, and yeah, everyone does (or should) question life at moments, especially the not so good moments, and we're left wondering what else is out there, even when what's right here is just enough.
The five of us are flying through the mundane webs of this one life, and they say life is short, but it's only short when you're stuck in the shit of the now. We need to realize that life is actually insanely long when we think about how much we have left. Of course, there are those statistics that tell us that one of us might die in the next twenty minutes in some freak accident, but those are just numbers. And ones I just made up for matters of perspective. In reality, we're just average twenty-somethings that will most likely live for the next sixty years. Sixty. Years. And our parents will most likely live for the next thirty years. And Barrett, he's got triple that. We tell little ones, "you've got your whole life ahead of you," and I believe that. But after a certain age, we begin to tell ourselves that, and I call bullshit on that phrase after the age of 18. Or maybe 22, when life actually starts to feel like life. That phrase becomes an excuse, and a terrible one. We get caught up in telling ourselves that and we push the dreams to the side, even it's just a dream about moving, traveling, etc. And I know I just said that life is long, but it's not long enough to simply sit down and reflect on what happened, think about trying to be in the present, and keep telling ourselves that there is always tomorrow. There is tomorrow, but tomorrow is just going to be another today. And if we spend our time thinking about dreaming but not acting, then we're just defined by the nine-to-fives, the social security numbers, and the facades of our Instagram feeds. 
 Maybe I am simply addressing myself and what has been going through the mouths of those around me, but I think it's relevant to document feelings of uncertainty. I think uncertainty is beautiful and almost always frowned upon. I even feel privileged to be overwhelmed by my many options in how I want to spend my days, even if I don't always choose the most fulfilling. I just want to tell myself and those around me that it's okay to not know. That it's okay to fail.

Sorry for the absence (Brit, I'm talking to you) and sorry for the long rant. 
Got some catching up to do on the documentation front.
Halloween! Barrett went as baby Frankenstein and got a handful of chocolate and a face full of blue artificial coloring. He had fun and checked trick or treating off his list of things to learn. 

Here are a few more life moments: 

I spoke to Daniel on the phone the other night for over an hour, speaking of topics similar to the ones above. At the end of it all, I ended up at this video, which kind of gives a beautiful face to the concepts I've been teasing out. You can measure your life out in jelly beans, coffee spoons, or not at all, but whatever you do, don't forget to remember that it's all going to keep moving no matter what, so we've got to do the same. And Julian will always be there with its sunshine-y fields, apple cider & pie, and a house of books to remind us that that is really all that matters in this life. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Life on the Farm

In honor of pretending that we actually have an Autumn season in the beginning of October, all five of us made our way to Oma's Pumpkin Patch. We learned about cow births (one every day!), hung out with itty bitty baby goats, waved to inanimate objects, took awful pictures in those head board things, and realized that this is where people come to take pictures of their 3 month old alien babes nestled in a bundle of hay. Saw a lot of that, and I guess we did the same thing last year. Sometimes it's hard to remember little Bear as a little blob, especially with him being able to throw away my trash for me (if I ask nicely) and pointing to everything and knowing its name. Shower is shower, screens are shows, and juice is juice. Are we already almost approaching his 20th month of life? You're closer to 2 than 1, Mr. Bear, so I guess we'll stop counting your life by the months and start checking off the years. My new goal is to write you letters--something a little more formal than this electronic journal we've got here (which I hope you enjoy reading one day), and something a little more tangible. Until then, I hope to document the little things. Cliche, yes. But also important, I think. Even though I've got some weird memory, a good one at times, I still forget about moments, and, more importantly, milestones. I guess this is just a hope to give you what I wish I had for myself. We could say that this is in part for me as well, and it definitely is, but those parts of myself that you are involved in. And, these days, those are some of the best. 
P.S. We got the prettiest pumpkins that we have no intention of carving. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October & O'Hara

Another month has been greeting us with its chilly winds and hopeful season ahead, and we're embracing it with mini pumpkins on sticks and candles that smell up the whole house with nutmeg and cologne. We're getting in shape over here, we're making soup over here, and we're all "working for the weekend," even if some of us don't really even have weekends. There has been less TV and more porch times-- these filled with Miley buns, novels both long and short, organ aches, falls, and a failed quest at meeting more neighbors.
Barrett says 'puppies' perfectly, the government decided to cool its jets for a while, and we're really hoping to boost our Scrabble skills with 5 & 6 letter words. One day we'll start tallying the scores for the Ultimate Champion, but for now, let's just try to remember that walking around City Heights with a Scrabble board in hand is the true way to make new friends. 
A fistful of moments (a lot of them): 


A day in North Park followed by a rest in South park | dinners of soups, potatoes, and salads, and a breakfast of baked pumpkin french toast | not many guests, but a few that matter most | a little glimpse at home as it is forever changing | and, as usual, the great life of Barrett sprinkled throughout. 

September brought me a beautiful appreciation for the banality of dailiness, and the routined weeks sped by, but the steadiness was comforting. And now, here we are--onto the next one, I say! Soon, I'll be thinking about wrapping paper, yet 75 degrees on the coast reminds me that San Diego is in limbo, and I think some of us can resonate with that.  Routine is a comfort, but it's also a terror, and I am constantly battling against the feeling of wanting more and hoping for simplicity. 

And on a completely unrelated note, here's some pretty O'Hara. Partly because I can't stop listening to this, and partly because I love his hairline: