Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pure Reason & Sweet Rhyme

Everyone loved the princesses because of their great beauty, their gentle ways, and their ability to settle all controversies fairly and reasonably … It was said by everyone that Rhyme and Reason settle all problems...

"They're cheering for you," She said with a smile.
"But I could never have done it," he objected, "without everyone else's help."
"That may be true," said the Princess of Pure Reason gravely, "but you had the courage to try; and what you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do..."

"And remember, also," added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, "that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow."

-Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth




MY 2008
...year in review, a little more structured than last year's...

Memories of the Year:

*Santa Barbara Film Festival...went to events & interviews & parties for Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling, Ellen Page, Casey Affleck, Amy Ryan, and others.

*started Monday evenings running the city college stadium stairs with the other Corinne

*visiting Oregon in the Spring to see my dad and brother and the rest of my dad's side of the family

*the "Last Dance" party at our house on the hill...saying goodbye to that amazing house and also the years of parties that Tara and I have thrown together...

*moving into my studio, running around my neighborhood, falling in love with it

*summer days at the pool with the quinlans and stichters

*conference in San Francisco with my Informed in 08 girls

*becoming informed in 08 with megan, lesley, anna, anna, and emily

*Santa Barbara Museum Nights all summer long with the old roommates

*fourth of july with the Mesa House girls

*Fiesta, when my mom came to visit and we smashed eggs on each other and had lots of churros

*holding my first newborn

*watching the Olympics, especially with my dad and sister when they visited SB

*Labor Day weekend shenanigans in Santa Barbara and LA with Christen and others

*Josiah and Jessica's wedding at Firestone Vineyard, friends dancing the night away in the countryside...

*visiting Tara and family in Phoenix, finally

*weekend in Carmel with my family for my mom's birthday

*a fabulous 26th birthday party downtown with friends complete with the day off work and another chance to sit in on a Rhetoric class with Spencer

*that crazy night in November that started with food at the Chicken Ranch, went on to a high school play, then McConnells tart frozen yogurt, wine at the sisters' house downtown, then to Indochine and a VIP table, to meeting new people with dancefloor smoke in our eyes, to Mad Dog's for the traditional 2 a.m. hot dog, and then Stephen's for a bonfire to cap off the night

*Westmont soccer game post Tea fire, where they won in overtime and I've never seen so many alumni in one place

*hikes at Coyote Hills with family whenever I was in Fremont

*Christmas with 30 plus family members...loving cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, parents, & siblings all around

Achievements of the Year:

*buying my mac

*booking a John Mayer Cruise for March of 09... talk about delayed gratification

*thriving while living alone for the first time

*achieving my goal of averaging one goal per game on my soccer team

*booking a major trip... more details to come in 09.


Lesson of the Year:


*every year may not be better than the last, but you can become a better person than you were the year before if you are mindful enough to learn along the way...

Concerts of the Year:


*Coldplay with my family in the Bay
*John Mayer with my family in the Bay
*John Mayer with friends at the Central Coast County Fair
*Bon Iver in Hollywood
*Senior Year at Stateside early summer...always a Westmont reunion

Lows:

*February 29...the extra day of the year was my most painful.

*Having to leave our dream house on the hill

Highs:

*Running to the new Coldplay album by the beach. It's a high like nothing else. It healed me and now continues to thrill me.

*My birthday; getting to see so many friends that have made life as phenomenal as it is

*Watching baby Carly grow

Songs of the Year:

*Skinny Love, Blindsided, & Re:Stacks by Bon Iver
*Strawberry Swing, Lovers in Japan, Death & All His Friends, Lost! and Sparks by Coldplay
*In Your Atmosphere & Say by John Mayer
*More Time & Looks Like Love by Needtobreathe
*Forever by Chris Brown
*everything put out by Rihanna
*Kids by MGMT
*Day N' Nite by Kid Cudi
*Hosanna by Hillsong United
*Human by The Killers
*Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
*Dansa På Min Grav by Bo Kaspers Orkester
*Sway by Annuals


I hope your 2008 had plenty of Rhyme and lots of Reason.

stay tuned for a slideshow from the year...

Monday, December 29, 2008

an overdue purge

I'm feeling remarkably unsentimental today. Such a thing is rare for me, so it coincided well with tonight's plan for a closet purge. This was first on my to-do list upon coming home from the Bay Area for Christmas, since when I was packing clothes to go up there I became disgusted with how much clothing I have that I don't wear and/or kinda forget about. I did a purge when I moved into the studio in May but it was clearly time for another deeper purge.


So I think I created this post to say goodbye to certain items... which I guess is sentimental, but let me tell you, throwing/giving them away in these two big trash bags is a huge thing for this INFP. I just have a tendency to hang on too long to that which means a lot to me.


Farewell:

-ugly long-sleeved Page B section shirt from freshman year

-pajama boxers i got in 9th grade

-reef sandals i wore through sophomore & junior year of college

-almost all of my button-up "business" shirts...when i started working full-time after college, for awhile I though it meant you had to wear boring dress pants and button-up shirts. i never liked how those looked on me. i'm over it now and actually try to wear clothes i love and are somewhat stylish to the office. makes the workday much more enjoyable.

-tank tops from Thailand I paid to have handpainted. probably only ever wore those like twice.

-the abercrombie jeans i wore probably 2 out of every 3 days on Europe Semester. i hated them from pretty early on... but i haven't been able to throw them out. they are way too big now, thank goodness, and i think its high time they go.

-the darling little dress from the boutique in Montecito i worked at the summer before senior year of college...the owner gave me it as a parting gift, i'd been admiring it for weeks. i never wore it, it always just looked silly on me, try as i might each year to see if it changed. too bad.

-roxy cargo pants i bought in Waikiki on our high school senior graduation trip to Hawaii... i LOVE these. probably the hardest thing to get rid of.

-tennis team tank top from high school

-the t-shirt i got for completing the sprint triathlon two summers ago...i'd like to wear it as a badge of honor but i hate event shirts and never wear them, especially if they are white.

-black workout tank top with "Rinne" on the front in large rhinestones. my friends and i from suite K in Van Kampen Hall made these together sophomore year. shoot, as i'm typing this i realize i can't do it. it went back in my closet.

-a tshirt from Thailand with broken english on the front

-ribbed cute shirt from a gift shop in Ensenada, Mexico that all the girls on our construction team bought together and took a photo in. yeah, never wore that again.

-several items i bought at H&M in Europe, five years ago... haven't been able to throw them out yet, i mean hello, H&M in Europe...

-short denim jean skirt from american eagle that has not only been out of style and not my style for a few years now but also probably too young for me... that happens i guess.



Whew, I feel a lot better after that. And my closet looks great.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

lyrics for the holiday and for life

Sometimes you actually hear the lyrics to songs for the first time, even if they've played every Christmas season before... like these from a familiar favorite...


"Later on
we'll conspire
as we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
the plans that we've made
walking in a winter wonderland."


What a lovely image, and such a thing to aspire to... to face your new plans unafraid. Let's do it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

a december story: she said yes

I met her at the beginning of freshman year of college. She lived a couple doors down from me in Page B. With big blue eyes and shimmering platinum blonde hair, she already stood out, but the main reason Casey was noticeable was because she was always smiling. And laughing. She was just so happy. We became casual friends, stopping by each others' rooms every once in awhile. Through Casey's eyes, the world was a beautiful fun place, and everyone had something inside them to love. She was so positive and would literally cheer her friends on in such a way that we would ask if she'd been a cheerleader in high school. "Never!" she scoffed. She played soccer, and wouldn't have wanted people to think otherwise. Freshman year continued, and as it drew to a close it was time for sorting out housing for the next year. By chance we ended up getting into the same suite in Van Kampen Hall. That lent us the chance to grow even closer during sophomore year. She introduced me, all of us, to John Mayer. She promised I would fall completely in love with him if I sat still and listened to the lyrics of the sweetly melodic song she had been playing over and over again all week that November of 2001.
And she was right.
Our junior year I spent as an R.A., and she spent in Italy. She studied business and Italian, walked everywhere over the cobbled streets of Milano, took trips to Switzerland and France, and generally had the time of her life. But she kept in touch with consistency and care, sending me letters asking about everything going on with me. Such diligence in the middle of her adventures was remarkable to me, and I knew that it was due to her that our friendship stayed strong despite the distance.
After college graduation we got the chance to finally be actual roommates, and we had a wonderful time for a few months in that old dilapidated house that sat between estates and overlooked the mountains in Montecito. We spent our days not cooking, taking beach walks, and talking the night away about our loves, lost and found. It wasn't unlike what we do now when we get together for weekends, either here where I am still in Santa Barbara, or where she moved back to in Orange County. Eat, walk, laugh, discuss love lost and found...

The thing about Casey is that guys love her. I mean it. They fall in love with her easily, and it is difficult for them to fall out. They are drawn to her carefree bubbly gorgeousness... and then their hearts get inextricably bound by her deep and observant perspectives and beliefs on life, faith, friendship, and love... her devotion to friends, her knowledge of business and philosophy, her commitment to truly living life to the fullest. I've watched it happen again and again. Casey sometimes loves them back, but she has extremely high standards for how a relationship should be and how she should feel and what would be good for her. She has never apologized for that, and always knew she'd find what she was looking for.
A few months ago she started dating a boy she knew from when they went to high school youth group years ago... Chase was the good-hearted guy that would take girls to prom that had really wanted to go but didn't have a date. He was the quiet and dutiful soul she never really got to know. So in early June they reconnected and he invited her over to his house for dinner, and once she got there she realized it was a full-on date... made evident by the elaborate lobster and steak dinner he had been working on for hours. She was impressed by his thoughtfulness and genuine display of affection for her. Summer crept by, and Casey and Chase became inseparable... and of course Chase fell in love.
But so did Casey.
They passed through Santa Barbara a few days ago en route to Cambria and then San Francisco for a birthday trip they'd planned together for Casey's birthday. I joined them for lunch, we caught up... Casey was glowing with excitement for their coastal road trip. Chase was content and smiling, happy to just be sitting by her side, as always. We said farewell, and they wound their way up the 101 along the ocean.
Hours later I saw a missed call from Casey. I called her back.
In Morro Bay, Chase had suddenly pulled off the freeway as the sun was setting. "Let's get out and check out the sunset! This looks like a path down to the beach!" They got out and followed the path, neither of them sure where it would lead, but only one of them knowing why they had so spontaneously taken it. It wound through tall grass and over some hills before delivering them to a stunning lookout point with views of the fading colors of the sunset and the hills of the central coast that roll so gently towards the beach. They sat to take it all in for a few moments before Chase popped up, fidgeted for a moment, then turned to Casey. He said some beautiful things to her... and then he had something sparkly appear in his hand...and then he asked her.
And she said yes.
My best friend is getting married.


Monday, December 15, 2008

"all it takes is a little faith, and a lot of heart, sweetheart."



I stood here, overlooking this view, at a property today. I stole as many minutes alone as I could... going over again and again in my head the changes that are upon me. Change has taught me how to be adaptable, to be stronger, and it has taught me that it can bring a more beautiful life, too. It can be scary, but I really feel ready for it, ready for the challenge and for the differences it will bring.

The place I come home to will change next month. This is unexpected and I was resistant at first, but I can't believe how blessed I am to have people in my life who will go great lengths to help me and have me near. More details another time...

My job is changing. This is a development that is a long time coming, but it is evolving differently than I expected. Like everything else, I suppose. So, I continue with Mary but alongside that, something new awaits as of the New Year...

And then, there's the change that has lost me sleep, texts me in a different language, taught me how to make a pasta sauce, likes to make people laugh, and asks how my day was... So yeah, there's that.

It all amounts to a lot, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

quotes encountered today

"Oh, my life is changing everyday,
In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, it's never quite as it seems,
Never quite as it seems."
-The Cranberries... lyrics to my favorite song, which woke me up this morning and made me smile despite so little sleep.


"Do not kiss your children
so they will kiss you back
but so they will kiss their children,
and their children's children."

-Noah benShea... found on my Starbucks cup at lunch.


"Oh yeah, go shorty, it's my birthday, it's my birthday."
-Mary... to me upon hearing word back that we got a new awesome listing on the Riviera. She's hilarious.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

toe tapping

I'm jittery. The kind where you tap your toes constantly, not necessarily to a beat... I get up and then sit down and then up again for little unnecessary errands. My mind races, like it's got an obstacle course to finish.

That's what coffee does to me sometimes on Wednesdays. I don't have it too often, but on Wednesdays I like to, even though I know what I might be in for. The caffeine shoots through me, delighting in this body that does not like to be affected by stimulants of any kind and is not inured to its effects.

But I can't resist a pumpkin spice latte as I join the girls so early in the morning, talking like we do every Wednesday before work about our varied lives...
of CPA tests, new outfits, in-laws, job searches, traveling plans, Christmas parties, text flirting, the economy. It's a safe place, made specialer with a warm holiday drink in this cold weather.

But now I wish I were busier at work at the moment, with plenty to do to keep my hyper mind occupied, my hands on task. Since there's not so much to do, all I'm thinking about is the day ahead, thoughts hopscotching over one another, often drowning out my lovely pandora station which seems to be reading my mood and circumstances perfectly...

noontime, leave office to meet Mary and new clients and interior decorator at the new property, i wonder if i look professional enough today, i wonder when i will eat, or what i will eat, don't want to eat too much, i'm still full from jodie's enchiladas last night...

after that, go to the courthouse, do some research for work, i love going downtown, wonder if i will find what i need, and by the way what in the world am i wearing to our work christmas party tomorrow, how do you dress for a "holiday ho-down"?

then i go home and finish straightening my hair, which this moist chilly weather will certainly ruin after i'm outside for a few moments, oh i'm getting my roots touched up tomorrow, can't WAIT...

gotta meet karen and the little kiddos at the new silvergreen's downtown for dinner, can't wait to squeeze the little baby and tackle my favorite six year old...

and then. i know where i'm meeting and with whom. don't know what we're doing. i do know what i'm wearing though. and i do know that it will be cold. so i'll probably want another warm drink...and so maybe this wednesday will end like it began, with wonderful conversation in chilly air. my guess is that it will be a bit different in other ways though...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

300 Miles To Go

Personality theory in relation to Myers Briggs says that an INFP operates primarily by the function of Introverted Feeling. In theory,
every type has a first and second function they use for understanding and deciding most everything.
It basically means my default mode of processing is to sift things through my head, privately, quietly, through the screen of my personal values and feelings, categorizing ideas and thoughts and decisions, figuring out what things mean, how I feel about them, and what I am to do about it. It can get irritating that my mind is never quiet... but not when I have a nearly five hour drive ahead of me.

To say that the past four days have given me lots to process is an extreme understatement. So, luckily, for this drive I've got my Bon Iver, enough rain to keep me contemplative, Christen driving her car in front of mine to lead the way, and plenty to feed my introverted feeling function for the exactly 300 miles I have ahead of me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rose Colored

During the month or so of my senior year of high school when I was thinking that I'd maybe like to go to UCSB instead of Westmont, which I'd been set on since I was a sophomore, one of the main reasons I wavered was that UCSB offered a degree in linguistics. Words, meanings, the root of words, how different cultures use language... all of that has always been fascinating to me.

I think it's so interesting when you're talking to someone from another country and as certain idioms or terms come up the conversation must pause since they need to be explained. There are so many roads that language can take, different ways to arrive at the same thing, and idioms are fun since they sort of take a shortcut to get to meaning. I find it intriguing to pick the words to explain what such phrases mean, and doing so can make you more aware of what you're actually trying to communicate.

See the world through rose-colored glasses.

They wear the pants in that relationship.

Wear your heart on your sleeve.


I smiled to myself as I broke down those phrases yesterday. Language is so fun.

And then there's also the times when your foreign friend knows why a certain word or phrase is used and what it's cultural meaning is, and finds it hilarious because of it's literal meaning.

Like, douchebag.

Or cougar.


And then there are the times when language is used similarly no matter what the cultural difference, and the meaning is direct and obvious.

Like, "so do I get to see you again?"

Those times are fun as well.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

our mascot is the warrior

All credit goes to Emily for catching wind of this article and posting it, but I had to give it a post as well. It's a must-read!

It's about the Westmont Men's Soccer Team who played a game yesterday at Azusa Pacific, who let them postpone the game from Saturday to recover from the Tea Fire.

To have been able to attend Westmont is one of the biggest blessings in my life. It continues to affect me in profound ways, particularly in regards to the amazing community that I get to be a part of for the rest of my life. I'm so proud of how the students, staff, faculty, and alumni have come together to handle the fire devastation.

Until today, I've been a little emotionally detached regarding the Tea Fire, some sort of unshakable optimism got a hold of me early on, even as I watched the fire rage on from my backyard, even as I heard news of what had been lost at Westmont. But now in the aftermath the personal stories are coming out... the young agent in our office who is 8 months pregnant and she and husband lost everything, including the specially prepared nursery with tons of baby gifts and supplies...the family who had time only to throw some things like their silverware collection into their pool before they had to flee their dream home, which burned to the ground. I have watched flames attack my house before, but was lucky to have been spared from losing anything that mattered very much. I can't imagine actually having everything you own be reduced to ash.

Luckily, no one lost their loved ones, which of course, as one agent was reminded and shared with us at today's meeting, are the only thing you really need as you drive away to escape the wall of flame that looks to next engulf your home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meander

I'm supposed to be doing other things right now, more productive things with my alone time on the computer this quiet Sunday night.

Instead, I wander from thing to thing, idea to idea, song to song, on the internet. There's hardly anything I like doing more.

Wandering tonight on iTunes I came across the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack that I listened to nonstop for several months when I was 14 or 15. There was an anniversary edition released last year, and it included on it that song "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)". I think this song came out a couple years after the original soundtrack for Romeo and Juliet was released.

Do you remember that song??? I do... and like the song (spoken word?) writer probably guessed it would, it's more meaningful the more the years pass by.

[lyrics, trimmed down by me]

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be
it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not
understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with
people who are reckless with yours. Floss.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you
succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year
olds I know still don’t.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for
good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,
but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography
and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you
knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live
in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the
ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ash Town

I went for a run yesterday after work. I've been lacking in exercise since the time change, so I arranged to get home from work early to catch some sunlight to start my run. I set out, with some newly downloaded music, and went around my neighborhood and along the edge of the golf course that's just a couple blocks away. It was unbelievably warm, unseasonably so, and I was delighting in it. I love warm nights, and in mid-November, no less! I had a huge grin during my entire run, soaking in my uplifting music and the feeling of a good workout. And, I noticed with pleasure, it smelled like camping outside. I love that smell! I wondered if there was a reason why or if I just usually didn't notice it.

At about 6:30, after my run and dinner, I got a text from Meg. "Are you watching the news?!" Crap, I thought. What celebrity had died now. I turned on the news, saw flames, and gathered that our hills were burning. I ran to my front lawn to see if our position on a small hill facing northeast afforded us a view of anything going on.

I gasped. It sure did. From what I could see, it looked like all of Montecito and the Riviera was burning. Tsunami-size flames billowed up into the night sky, smoke encircled the rising moon and turned it orange.

The Tea Fire turned Thursday night into a buzzing, eerie, and anxious few hours... and it's not over yet. Work is forgotten by many, most schools are closed, the fire is still not contained, and air quality warnings abound. Christen and two other friends had to evacuate, and the four of us squeezed into my little place last night and watched the news, snacked, and answered our constantly ringing phones. For most of the night the sound of sirens and helicopters overhead was constant. The air got even warmer as the night went on, and today it is 87 degrees apparently, by 10:00 am. Ash is everywhere; our cars are covered in white flecks, so reminiscent of the Gap Fire a couple months ago and the Zaca Fire summer of 07.

Westmont has had some buildings destroyed, but it will be okay. Faculty housing is devastated. Clark Halls have been hit hard... sections M, F, G and S are gone. That blows my mind, I don't understand how my beloved section K (where I was an R.A.) is okay... it's set right up against the hill along with J, and M is right in the center.

Anyway, check these out.

And then here, much less dramatic, and not given justice by my mac's photobooth feature, are two shots I captured standing in my backyard.


The Riviera, around 10:00 pm, after my view of the fire had subsided since it was slipping further into Montecito and closer towards downtown.




This is from this morning at 10:00 am, a view towards the same direction as above, and the cloud of ash and smoke is constant and dispersing out towards the rest of Santa Barbara. You'd think smoke clouds from major fires would be black, but since I've lived here and experienced major local fires, they've always been a grey-white. You can't see the flames as well during the day, its hard to know unless you're watching the news where they've gone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Named Must Your Fear...

"Named must your fear be before banish it you can."
-Yoda


My fear is... doing it wrong. Being wrong. Going the wrong way. More succinctly, I guess, I fear failure.

I am hesitant too often, because I want to do something the most perfect way it can be done. To move too quickly, from my perspective, can too often lead to regret and/or a situation that could be way better had you waited to act. I sometimes don't act at all, because if I did I would come across in a way I don't want to... overeager, conceited, incorrect, dumb...

I have always known that my Spanish-speaking skills suffer because of this fear of mine. I don't practice with native, or even non-native speakers very often because I am rusty, and I'd be revealed as someone who really didn't earn her minor in Spanish or month of language school in Costa Rica. While I was in Costa Rica, Ryan, the guy at my language school who advanced most in his skills, despite starting at a level lower than mine, was the one who practiced with every single person he encountered. The guy selling coconuts on the beach. The cute girl working at our favorite bar, El Club de Banana. He just went for it, laughing as he stumbled over verb conjugations and his limited library of adjectives. Ryan did not do it perfectly but he would always come back to us after these conversations with improved skills along with a new knowledge of the world and people around us.

Yesterday at work I could hear over the intercom, "If there are any Spanish speakers, can you please come to the front desk?" Sometimes when our bilingual receptionist is out for lunch, this happens, and one of the agents goes to the front to help whoever is there. But the intercome paged twice. I was near the front desk instead back in one our offices, trying to get something mailed. I didn't answer the pages, like usual. I looked over and saw two young men, looking uncomfortable and anxious. They needed something and no one understood them. I swallowed my fear of "doing it wrong" and went over to ask them, in Spanish, what they were there for and after a bit, we figured it out and got a message to the agent they'd come for. I know I said some words wrong, and couldn't get straight a few of their phrases, but the interaction had been successful. And I felt proud of myself... as I do whenever I am forced to interpret, though I don't seek out such opportunities.

I hadn't realized how many agents overheard me, and later that day got a few compliments and some, "I had no idea you spoke Spanish!" comments. I replied, "I hope you don't speak Spanish, so that you don't know how many mistakes I made!"

Later I realized that this is no way to operate... essentially saying, "I hope you don't know it all, because then you would realize how little I know." It is usually good to know just enough, and to use it wisely and confidently, and to always be trying to learn more. And to laugh when I make a mistake, but keep trying anyway, like Ryan.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The days are shorter now...

When I was in junior high and high school youth group, we'd go on annual summer canoeing trips. These are still some of my fondest memories from my pre-teen and teenage years. I loved sitting in the front of the canoe, paddling away, the first to see the bends or choppy water coming up along the river.

Some of the most exciting moments in these 6 hour paddles would be when you were heading towards some sort of change in that Russian River. If your paddling skills were average to quite average, like mine, you'd look towards these changes with a bit of trepidation mingled with mostly anticipation. A bend in the course brought new scenery, but maybe a sharper than expected turn and a collision with overhanging tree branches. Rapids brought laughter and refined your skill with each one, but sometimes you flipped over. When the river split in two, you hoped you ended up floating down the way that your friends had already gone or would follow, or that had a surprise rope swing hanging down to pause at and make use of. Then there were the currents that could sweep you away, with little to be done but try to paddle to keep your course somewhat straight. Those moments of change made the trip. Just sitting around in the water is fun, but the transitions made the whole thing glorious.



My metaphor is obvious... such is life. Filled with regular, expected transitions, like the seasons; and new and/or surprising path-altering transitions, like going off to school, having a baby, or someone turning from a friend to a boyfriend to a husband. With transition happening all around, its been on my mind. It gets darker earlier now ... I don't like that change usually, but I'm adjusting, and every year my lamenting-the-sun period is shorter.

And then there's the change that Tuesday brought... the end of anticipating, debating, should we put our paddles in to the right or the left, what's around the bend... we transitioned. The direction has been picked, the churning reached it's climax.

To my own intuition and observation, this change will be, more than anything, good. Memorable. On Wednesday I had lunch at my new favorite cafe downtown, and looked at the president-elect's beautiful family on the front page of the newspaper, and felt settled and hopeful. That night at a soccer game, the national anthem was sung, and there was a giddy reverence in the crowd. I was looking through a book of quotes at an open house, and saw one by a Barack Obama, who was titled as being a Chicago Democratic Politician (book published in 2005). On nearby pages, past presidents were quoted many times. I had the feeling of our history literally being written out before my eyes, taking a different direction, as I mentally wrote in under his name instead "44th President of the United States." Each time I see him now, the transition forms more fully in mind towards him... from what he was and what people hoped him to be, to what he is now and what will be entrusted to him.

I'm grateful that I get to canoe along this particular stretch of the river of history, to come of age into the 21st century, to have witnessed so much and get to say that I journeyed over the rapids and bends and capsizings of this time at an age where I will be able to remember them vividly and know they've had a tremendous impact on me... both in my worldview and my paddling skills.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Answer is Requested

I ripped this beginning bit of an article out of a recent Oprah magazine I swiped from Mary's recycling pile.
Writes Oprah...

*****It could be considered among my most embarrassing moments. The first time I ever heard the question "What do you know for sure?" I was doing a live television interview in Chicago with renowned film critic Gene Siskel. We had been doing the usual promotional chitchat for the movie Beloved and he concluded the interview by saying, "Tell me, what do you know for sure?"

"Uhhhhh, about the movie?" I asked, knowing he meant something more but trying to give myself time to think. "No," he responded coolly. "You know what I mean- about you, your life, anything, everything..."

"Uhhhhh, I know for sure... uhhh... I know for sure I need to think about that question some more, Gene." I was clearly thrown and went home and thought about what he'd asked for two days.

I've since done a lot of thinking about what's certain, what's real, what's true. And Gene Siskel's question has inspired me to ask it of many others. Sometimes people (like me that first time) are caught off guard. But usually... they rally with thoughtful and profound responses that reveal the essence of who they are.*****

Now I write...

What do you know for sure... what do you know... for sure. What are you certain of. What can you stand behind 100 percent.
Absolute truth, according to you.

This question is hard. I like to see the world in shades of grey, and I hate being wrong, so I'm hesitant to state absolutes.

Election season reminds me even more of what I don't know for sure...policies I don't really understand, even as I explore them further... what exactly is the role of government... what is the right reason to vote for someone...how to express myself on certain topics.

I know for sure, especially after a weekend like this past one, that I have wonderful, creative, thoughtful, hilarious, and loving friends and that I am lucky to have been able to go to Westmont and find these people.
I know for sure that I live in one of the most beautiful towns in the world, and that there is no country I'd rather live in and be a citizen of.
I know for sure that my family loves and supports me.
I know for sure that I am very selfish but care intensely about others, more than they know.
I know for sure that I will love having a family someday. I know this for sure.
I know for sure that the best way to vote is through your conscience, informed by reason and fact.
I know for sure that there is a God and that He loves me.

This Election Tuesday of November 2008... what do you know for sure?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Midnight Toast

Shortly after midnight last Thursday, in the first few minutes of my birthday, the girls and I were standing on the outdoor patio of a club downtown. Our merriment was mild, just talking and sipping wine, as we were reserving our energy for the real celebration Friday night. But the girls were still telling random strangers it was my birthday. One guy said congratulations and did a toast with us. Christen and I had been talking about how over the past couple weeks people had been consistently guessing my age to be quite a bit younger than I actually am. Despite knowing that it can be a tricky question to answer, we posed it anyway to this guy who'd just raised his glass with us.
"How old do you think she is now??" the girls asked.
He turned his eyes to me. I rolled mine, and said, "It's okay if you are off, I expect it." Answers always seems to depend on what I'm wearing or how my hair is done, or how old my friends look, or how old the guesser is... you name it.
"Look directly at me," he said.
I laughed as I did so. He stared right into my eyes. I joked, "Are you trying to tell how much wisdom I have in my eyes or something?"
He didn't say anything and kept looking for a couple more seconds. I got quiet and waited.
"26," he declared confidently.

"No way!" the girls and I shouted. We applauded his accuracy, and he bought us a round.

Obviously, I thought about that encounter later, since as you may know by now, I like thinking about age and meaning. I was impressed with the stranger's accuracy, and decided that if it were true that looking into my eyes would belie my age, I would be okay with that. I've made a lot out of every single season of my 26 years; and they've been loaded with joy, heartache, love, education, success, failure, adventure... If my eyes made that number clear, I'm proud of it. But I wouldn't want them to have seen too much yet. That my eyes haven't aged me is a blessing; I haven't had to endure the sort of trials that would make them appear older. But I also have plenty of time for them to gain in "wisdom" from even more lessons learned, goals reached, self-discovery, and family created.

I'll toast to that.

"The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Waning Hours...

of being 25.

25 is a good round number. I've enjoyed it. My last day being in the very middle of my mid-20s I've spent like any, working and running around seeing friends. But I'm going out tonight, as late as I feel like it, because tomorrow, my birthday, I don't have to work. I learned a couple years ago that birthdays are so much more enjoyable when you get the day off work...original idea, huh? Mary has given me the day off for the past couple years so I've been trying to take full advantage. Last year and again this year I'll sit in on a Rhetoric class up at Westmont. I consider this a luxury. Tomorrow I plan to do a beach stroll and maybe frame some photos and do Pilates and sit at a coffee shop... and then I'm throwing my own party downtown. With purple balloons and pool tables and beer and friends and more friends.

And that's how you do your first day of being 26.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thin-slice That.

How quickly and for what reasons did you decide who you were going to vote for in this election... or have you decided? How quickly did you decide where you were going to college? Who you would marry? What you would name your child?

The TIME Magazine I picked up the other day has an article in it titled "What Kind of Voter Are You?" It discusses the four models of how people actually pick who to vote for, as researched by political scientists. The four methods are called Rational, Passive, Frugal, and Intuitive. The descriptions of the Rational and Intuitive methods really stood out to me.

Rational: You actively seek out as much information as possible about all candidates, consider the positives and negatives and evaluate them against your personal interests.
This strategy is also the most likely to result in an incorrect choice- picking a candidate who does not reflect your views. Researchers think that many people can't process all they learn and simply become confused.

Intuitive: You seek only enough information to reach a decision. Some call this "low-information rationality", but the process appears to be almost unconscious.
This approach seeks the best possible decision with the least effort.
You use as many shortcuts as possible. For example, you learn about a candidate endorsement from a group you support, and you assume it did the evaluating for you.

These decision making models were interesting enough when applied to political candidate decisions, but as I thought about how they applied to my and others' personal life choices my mind started racing.

So you're telling me that too much information-gathering, weighing pros and cons, seeking counsel, thinking thinking thinking can lead to a decision that was probably not the right one for you, or just confusion and no decision at all?

And you go on to explain how sometimes our best and most accurate choices are based on a much shorter, knowledgeable but also intuition-based thought process?

I think I've wondered this before... why the decisions I've wrestled with for the longest amounts of time despite increasing relevant knowledge and experience seem to find no conclusion... why when I don't necessarily have a deadline for them, I just put the "yes" or "no" or "how" & "when" off and continue to analyze and gather and never come to an end.

If you know yourself and trust your judgment, sometimes your quickest (relatively) decisions can be your best. I knew I wanted to go to Westmont and that I'd love it within a couple hours of my first visit there when I was 15. I often do better in soccer when I don't hesitate and just go, relying on skill and a quick assessment of the scene. If I wait and weigh whether or not that girl will actually be faster than me, or how exactly to place my foot as I take the corner kick... or, off the field... if I'll have enough money to spend the time in New Zealand that I dreamed about, or if I will be able to take the many necessary steps to get the job I want, or if this guy will meet my biggest needs and I can meet his...

Chances will be that I will wait too long and misstep or become confused and be guilty of inaction.

*********
Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fabulous book called "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" that talks all about this, and now I think I should reread it. He says,

"To be a successful decision-maker, we have to edit. When we thin-slice, when we recognize patterns and make snap judgements, we do this editing unconsciously...Many believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and spending as much time as possible in deliberation. That fundamentally undermines your ability to access the best part of your instincts. So my advice to those people would be stop thinking and introspecting so much and do a little more acting.”


Cheers to more action.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hoop Earrings

Oh hi, internet.

I'd love to tell you everything. Describe each encounter in detail, and then breakdown my thoughts about each. Tell you all my secrets and crazy stories.

But I can't. I never tell anyone everything. I've never even had a journal that I've been completely forthcoming to...

And even my intention with this page is not to treat it like a journal, though sometimes I'm tempted to dish like it is. All too often I feel like I can't sort things out until I write about them. And sometimes I just have a good story to share. Sometimes I have a weekend like this last one.

I can tell you about the homeless woman who started talking to us in Northstar Coffee on Saturday, got mad when she decided we were talking bad about "bums on the floor" (which we weren't, we were discussing my broken sunglasses) and chased us out of the place and followed us for a block saying some nasty things and then came within an inch of assaulting us. We were shaken up for the next little while, and the adrenaline rush was even stronger than when I get intentionally knocked down on the soccer field.

I can admit to you how fun it was to not be the one driving all afternoon and into the evening as we went from the Seafood Festival to cocktail hour at Jodie's and then downtown... I always decide to be the driver and not be drinking that much and have the freedom to drive myself wherever I get the urge to go... it was actually freeing to just rely on other people and have one more beer. Maybe three more.

I don't think I'll tell you my whole thought process after having a friend of a friend, whom we'd hung out with for about two hours downtown late at night, tell me, "You are extremely hot... but can I give you a couple pointers?" And then basically say that I send my flirtacious energy and hot vibes to just my girl friends, and that I keep it from going out to guys and people I don't know. I will say that I know what he's talking about, but I also know some people who would beg to differ with him...guess it depends on the situation. Still figuring that out.

I'm not going to share the story of what happened when a fellow Westmont alum I vaguely remembered approached me ten minutes after the above conversation and three sentences into chatting asked me to help him out by letting him spend the night at my house. If you had asked me earlier that day how a situation like that was going to turn out, I don't think I would have predicted it accurately.

Finally, I will share that if a guy speaks Spanish and some French, has traveled a lot and takes lovely photos of his journeys AND gives me tasty orange juice late on a lazy Sunday morning, it will be the push that I need to spread said "flirtacious energy" around to someone other than my girl friends or people I only know really well.

Okay, that's enough sharing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Healed

I am realizing that hardly anything makes you feel more lonely than being sick while actually being alone.

Being alone hardly ever equals loneliness for me. But I couldn't quite figure out why, after such a fun and super social weekend, Sunday ended and my Monday started with such an unshakable feeling of loneliness. I couldn't come up with a solid reason for feeling lonely (which I feel like I should always have for any unusual and unfavorable emotion), but then I drew the connection to how I'd been feeling physically. It was as early as Friday that I had not been feeling so hot; work had left me feeling totally beat, and I continued to have low energy all weekend which grew to a stronger fatigue as Sunday waned and I could do nothing for a couple hours but lay around, which then became a penetrating headache all day today that no medicine would dull. So whenever I was alone, my listlessness and lack of energy would weigh upon me and exacerbate any feelings of loneliness, which are usually fleeting and hardly noticeable (but which come with the territory of living alone, I would say).

And so then it all peaked this afternoon, after I'd left work hours early to lie down here at home. No one really knew I was home alone with a splitting headache. A few months ago, my roommates would have known or my boyfriend. Not so now.

After setting up a dinner with an old friend passing through town, things were started to look a little less bleak. I hoped the headache would subside just for an hour or two so I could get that social dose which seems to always do more for me than a few advil can. But what really shook me out of my funk was discovering someone had known I wasn't feeling well, and had been concerned.

I walked out of my place, down the path and across the front yard to my car. I could hear the door of the main house open. Oh, I hoped my sweet landlords didn't want to chat, that would hurt my head and make me later for dinner than I already was. I looked back as I reached my car, and there he was. I waved and smiled. He said, "How are you doing?" It was not a howsitgoing question, it was an areyouokay question. My voice was hoarse as I replied across the yard, "Well, um..."
"Not great?" he said. "Yeah..." I said and told briefly of how I'd been feeling all weekend and today. He nodded with concern and said "good" when I said I'd left work early and would see how I felt about going tomorrow. The exchange ended with him encouraging me to take it easy. It initally appeared like he had walked out of the house to get something from the car, but as I drove away, I could see him turn back to the house before even getting to the driveway. I realized he'd likely heard or seen me leaving, and came out to ask after me. It wouldn't have been the first time. They know I'm usually out and about all weekend, and at work til past 5, and my car being here for most of the afternoon and evening yesterday and today had tipped him off. So he'd pursued his concern and let me know that he'd noticed.

I drove away biting my tongue to keep my eyes from getting moist, but with, I swear, not only less ache in my head but feeling healed from my bout with loneliness.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September Born


"You know, even if she weren't my Mom, I would go out of my way to be friends with her."

Both my sister and I gave our mom something with those words on it for her birthday today. The same designer made each item (a card and a magnet), and we came across and bought the items separately, unbeknownst to each other.

Not every girl is so lucky to have a mother such as ours.

She is thoughtful. Every summer when we would go away to camp for a week she would hide letters in our bags that read on the envelopes, "Open on Tuesday!", and "Wait til Thursday for this one!"

She is adventurous and fun. We once spent two weeks together in Costa Rica at language school and she was an ideal travel companion... game for white water rafting, charming the teachers at our school, suggesting we have spontaneous happy hour after a beach afternoon, and getting on the dance floor with me to salsa on Ladies Night at El Banco Bar.

She has consistency of virtue and integrity. Too many examples to list.

She is smart. She got the highest score in her junior class on the PSAT in high school, got perfect scores on tests for proofreading and math and logic when applying for jobs after having us three kids (surprising herself and her interviewers, who'd never had people get 100% before), and kept an A average in gaining her Bachelors Degree while working full-time.

And she's gorgeous. I've heard it all my life (most recently from my landlord, who called her a "vision") and I'm sure I'll hear it for the rest of hers.


Happy Birthday, Mom!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"glide down, over mulholland..."

3 Things I'd Like to Change Right Now...

1) The temperature of nighttime in Santa Barbara. I wish it was comfortably warm or even hot when the sun goes down for more than just a handful of nights per year.

2) My geographical distance from my family... I'd love to pop over for the extended family dinner nights that one Tuesday every month if I was closer than 5 hours away.

3) Every once in awhile I'm a little too reserved. I don't like the word shy for myself, so reserved is what I call it. Every once in awhile it becomes a hindrance.



3 Things I Wish Would Stay Forever Exactly As They Are Now ...

1) How peacefully thrilled I feel whenever I listen to John Mayer's version of Free Fallin. That hasn't worn out yet.

2) The VCN condo crew and how I can walk over to their places from mine for the Olympics or football or pool time and it feels as comfortable as with family.

3) My organization and promptness in cleaning & laundry here at my place. Nothing like living alone in a small space to really streamline (or create, for that matter) your systems and be productive in those ways. Now my cooking skills, on the other hand, I would not put in this category of wishing they'd stay the same... those can certainly be improved on.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Naptime

It's naptime here at the Adam & Tara household. They and their darling one year old daughter are taking a break from the world on this hot Phoenix afternoon, as they customarily do on the weekends and especially now that Tara is eight months pregnant. I, on the other hand, while quite drowsy, am the world's worst napper, and am busily clicking away on the computer. I've never been a good napper... for many reasons. I don't fall asleep quickly. Waking up is the worst part of my day, so I don't like having to do it twice. If I do nap, I don't find that I feel refreshed afterwards, just groggy. I'm not generally good at being present in the moment, so my mind does not know how to rest during typical waking hours. Plus, I don't know how my friends found the time or quiet for it in college, and ever since then I've either lived with roommates (how can you nap when there is so much going on around you?) or since living by myself recently I can't bear to sleep away weekend hours when there might be something social going on. I know that doesn't sound like the introvert that I am, but believe me I get plenty of alone time during the work week, both in my office and at home in my studio. Oh and when I come over to your house and occasionally find myself in the corner with your coffee table book or wandering off a few moments by myself if we're all shopping... I'm getting my alone time in then too. Anyway...

It's so serene here in Tara's house. It's so comfortable too; it's such a Home. Those that live here are family. They are all mutually adored and part of a team working towards their own common good. They delight in the new things learned and discovered every day by their little one. It's something I look forward to. It's hard to imagine myself being there, though I will greet that day whenever it may come with a warm welcome. For now, Tara is a mom to a darling little girl with another on the way and a wonderful husband who dotes on them and as a bonus loves cleaning. They own a lovely home and have both earned masters degrees. Now, she and I both started dating at around the same time, we both graduated high school in 2000, we both went off to liberal arts Christian colleges. And a few years later, as life played itself out for us, she is now how I have just described, and I am in an obviously quite different place. Unattached and living the bachelorette beach lifestyle in Santa Barbara. The night before I came out to visit here I dressed up and went out to a glitzy cocktail event at the museum and danced the night away afterwards. I (can choose to) spend my money on flying to visit friends and going on John Mayer cruises. I answer to no one for what I want to do and when. After graduating college this personal and financial freedom was newfound and quite glorious, and I still appreciate it very much. But I certainly don't believe I'm in my glory days, or that this is the lifestyle that means one is truly living up their mid-20s. It just happens to be Corinne's lifestyle. I accept that, advantages & disadvantages, and try to make the most of it. I believe Tara is doing the same with her lifestyle. We are both magnificently blessed, in similar and in significantly different ways.

I appreciate so much my friends that are in different places than me, and how they have been consistently faithful to our relationship; how we can discuss our life troubles with each other, different as they may be. Where you're at in life does not define you, it's who you are and the integrity of your life choices, and my friends remind me of this all the time.

Tara, thanks for having me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

With a trembling voice...

Usually I woke up to music, or maybe DJs joking around on their morning show. The songs or upbeat voices would stir me out of my too few hours of sleep, and I would press snooze once or twice. That morning as I slowly awoke and mustered the strength to climb out of bed, the sound from my radio alarm clock was different. It was just voices, very serious voices. It didn’t quite register until the voices came back on for the 3rd time after a couple hits of the snooze that some news broadcast must be interrupting the morning music show, and that it sounded like they were staying on the same topic. Something about a plane, maybe something about a building… I was still too groggy to comprehend.

Shoot, it was 7:45. Had to be on upper campus for class at 8:00. Gotta go.

As I hurried out of my suite I asked Casey in passing if she’d heard anything that morning about something serious happening with a plane. She hadn’t.

But as I powerwalked up to the Clark Classroom something on campus didn’t feel right. The few people I passed looked hurried and preoccupied.

I got to the back door of the class at 8:03. Professor Longman was praying, voice trembling. This was not how he opens class. I could hear someone quietly crying. His prayer contained the first details I'd heard that morning...planes hitting buildings in New York City, chaos and damage somewhere around the Capitol, the victims and their families. Then he dismissed class because, as he said, "I'm sure the only thing all of us want to do is watch tv to find out more about what is going on." Most of the class went downstairs to huddle around the tiny Clark Lounge tv, but I headed down to the DC to watch it on a bigger screen and maybe find a friend and hear more of the reaction from around campus.

I walked into the DC to an eery sight I'd never seen before... dozens and dozens of students transfixed, plates of food forgotten, jaws dropped, staring at the flat screen tv. Their faces registered some dismay, but mostly they looked shocked. I joined the crowd to finally see my first images of the day. You know how it looked, as they played it over and over and over again. The jumbo jets flew into skyscrapers. First one, which was unbelievable. Then a second, which was absolutely frightening. It's still outrageous to think about. Then images of the disaster at the Pentagon. Reporters saying that there were maybe another plane or a few other planes to be worried about. And then, the buildings collapsed. There's no way. Many of us had to see it a few times to really get it... the Twin Towers no longer stood. Like it was a movie. It was like we were watching a movie but there was no way to know how to react when what you're seeing just happened to some of the biggest and most important buildings in your country. And, as the speculation grows, it likely happened as a result of a full scale strategic terrorist attack against your country. We didn't know what to say to each other. Like I said, it was just shock.

I called in to Carlitos Cava Restaurant where I worked in Montecito that fall of my sophomore year at Westmont. I asked if they needed me, and they said they certainly didn't anticipate getting any business that afternoon so I didn't have to come in. From what I remember most classes were canceled, and then our chaplain called for a special chapel later in the day for students to gather and discuss and pray about what was going on. Apart from that, my suitemates and I spent the rest of the day sitting in my room, transfixed to the tv, and doing mindless things like painting our nails while trying to piece together what the day would mean and what tomorrow would look like and how things would change... as best as our nineteen year old selves could.

That was a dynamic and transformative year for me in many other ways, my second year of college, but it was kicked off by September 11th. That date will never look normal again, I've thought every year since, as I glance at my phone or write a check or look at my work calendar. I'll never forget how that day played out for me, and I think it's been very interesting to have experienced it on the cusp of becoming an adult and have it shape my adult life thus far.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I love you this much.

So I'm finally reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get to it... maybe I thought I'd lust too much after the travels the author writes about, maybe I was just reluctant to buy my own copy instead of waiting to borrow a friend's, maybe I am having a hard time getting into books the past couple years in this quick & dirty information culture, maybe I am lazy... probably all of the above.

But finally I opened it, and within a few chapters knew I should probably buy my own copy since some major highlighting and underlining was going to be in order. The author's voice; her thought process and method of conveying her realizations and lessons, sounded immediately familiar to me... I recognize my own heart within her writing, even though throughout her narrative it's obvious that she has quite a different personality from me (way more extroverted, more ambitious but less cautious with herself & others, and more neurotic but certainly smarter).

If you haven't read it or if you have, I want to submit something more worthy of your reading this post than just my joy in reading and loving the book.

Elizabeth says in Chapter 50 of the "Pray" section, "I met an old lady once, almost one hundred years old, and she told me, 'There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge?'... Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering."

I've thought all the way around this and can't find many conflicts that don't fit under those two questions. And in personal relationships, it rings so true. When I think about conflicts I've seen or experienced within families, in the classroom, between friends, and in romantic relationships... what else do our battles boil down to? I'm positive that the reason I have great relationships with both my mom and dad is because they made consistently clear to me the answers to both of those questions (which for each parent were: 1)I love you beyond measure 2) I'm in charge!)
I think it is of particular note that the love question isn't whether a person loves you, but how much. Most of us are lucky enough to be loved to some degree by our family, friends, and partner, and to have some awareness of that love, but I think it is a beautiful and essential thing to know within a relationship just how much you are cared about... When the question of how much is made clear and is sufficient, that's where the most healthy, fulfilling and lasting relationships are found. When the question is left unanswered or is not sufficient, therein lies resentment, dissatisfaction, argument, and sometimes broken relationships.

So, friends and family, I love you all very much. As for who's in charge, well, you can be. Except for when I want to be.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

True to Type

Like the little INFP that I am, this week I've performed true to type in these ways...


Acting on my preference for Introversion, I skipped soccer practice (which I rarely do) because I just wasn't in the mood to exercise around people...and I'd been having a headache that day so I decided I deserved the chance to act on my natural impulse and go running alone at City College. It was the right choice, and the alone time energized me when I'd felt so drained all day.

I've been obsessively seeking to understand the concepts and ideologies that drive the two presidential candidates, and how those might shape the future. To figure out ideas, theory, and abstract the future possibilities are tasks that are driven by your Intuitive side, whether you prefer it or not. I'm adding to the research and observation I've already done this past year by reading everything about them I can find, watching interviews with them on Youtube, and studiously observing their speeches from the past week to know what drives them personally, how their personalities shape their beliefs and interactions and relationships, and why they believe what they believe... and then how these things might shape 2009 through 2012. It's a fascinating journey and in Sensing fashion, I plan to cover all the details and leave no stone unturned.

I saw Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants three or so years ago on a whim with Lesley for a midweek girls night out. I expected to find it cheesy. It was, but I also found it lovely and I laughed and cried. Ever since I heard the second one was coming out I really wanted to recreate that sentimental experience with whatever girlfriends I could, and I've been making Feeling-based decisions all month in order to do so...skipping opportunities to see it alone when it would be cheaper and convenient, and taking a chance that it would still be playing the next weekend...since I'd rather just not see it than not get to have the sentimentality to enhance my viewing pleasure. I know I'm a freak...but I can't wait for the cheesy but lovely sequel that I've held out for until tonight when we finally got some girls together.

Early on Sunday morning after a crazy night and little sleep, Christen and I woke up at my house and grabbed beach bags with a change of clothes and hit the road for L.A., where we planned to first go to church in Bel Air, but had no plans for what would happen next and if we'd come back that day or the next...in the true P fashion that she and I are so good at. We had a spontaneous and fun second half of Labor Day weekend, and I hadn't imagined that I wouldn't get back to SB until after sunset on Monday... on the train.

And then like the NP (sometimes scattered, oblivious to objects) that I am, here's what I did yesterday... on my way home for lunch, I was waiting to make a left-hand turn and as I did, the car behind me did a short "beep!" and I looked back to see a lady gesticulating urgently. She wasn't pointing down at my car, so it didn't seem like she was pointing at something like a broken light or flat tire or anything... I wrote it off as that she was just annoyed that I didn't turn soon enough. Then I got home and remembered that as I'd gotten into my car at work I'd put a saran wrapped hunk of fresh mozzarella cheese (which I'd had at work to put on my rice cakes for breakfast, naturally) on the roof of my car as I loaded other stuff in... and never picked it up again. Oh.... that's what she was pointing at. I ran back out to see if it had made it home on my roof, but of course it was long gone. Bummer.

How have you been true to type lately? I'm guessing it doesn't include a lost ball of mozzarella or any traveling pants.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday Funday

What makes a Sunday awesome:

-Starting it off with a leisurely 2 hour brunch at Summerland Beach Cafe with friends.

-Moving on to a 3 hour session at East Beach, complete with a little bit of softball played with seaweed, swimming, and chocolate milkshakes from the Grill. The perfect breeze was blowing to keep the heat at bay.

-Going straight from the beach with wet bathing suits under our clothes and sand on our feet to a 4 hour-plus meal at Endless Summer Bar Cafe at the harbor...where we enjoy salmon tacos, salty popcorn sprinkled with lime juice, live music, about a half an hour of Myers Briggs discussion with a couple of my best friends- Casey & Christen- both ENFPs, and a cheery smart-ass server who knows some of my friends and therefore brings us an endless supply of margaritas. You know you're having a good time when you get somewhere before 4, don't leave til after 8, and don't think to look at your phone once to see the time or if someone else called.

What makes a Sunday interesting:

-Starting it off realizing I locked my car key in my car the night before, calling for Geico's trusty roadside assistance, and after the mechanic saves the day and opens my door and then takes off, I look and see that my car key wasn't actually in my coin purse that I'd left on the front seat, but in my overnight bag that I'd had with me all along and checked twice.

-After continually giving me crap for taking two hours to finish my first drink, a bit of banter back & forth, and later introducing himself by saying, "I should know your name since I've been flirting with you", the aforementioned server gives me a side hug goodbye and says quietly, "Sorry for giving you a hard time, I've actually developed a crush on you, I wish you didn't have to leave."
And what do I do before he ducks away to get to his next table? Laugh with surprise as I pull the tip of my straw fedora over my eyes...and then leave.

Future related post: Lines I Have Fallen For.

Monday, August 18, 2008

August Addiction

I can't think about anything else.

I'm completely obsessed with the Olympics. I can't get enough. I've always loved the games, but I don't remember ever being as glued to them and as vigilant about what's on and when as I have been this Summer of '08. I have the tv schedule for my zip code printed out for the entire two weeks of events, and have everything I wanted to watch highlighted. How J is that. I've been racing home on my lunches to watch water polo and fencing. When I'm not by the tv I'm googling athlete interviews and the medal count and olympic blogs and opinion pages. I've had constant bags under my eyes as I can't help but stay up through the end of live coverage each night. And I'm already sad that the end is in sight.

Highlights:
-Just before I was going to fall asleep I caught the 4x100 men's swimming relay where Jason Lezak swam a superhuman lap to beat the French. I was watching alone, from my bed, and going nuts hollering at the tv and pumping my fists.
-Headquartering at Shane & Anna's, where we have been marveling at Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor, staring in disbelief at the male gymnasts on the rings, cheering on Shawn and Nastia, and discussing our frustration with the underage Chinese gymnasts and questionable judging...
-Watching the 100 meter sprint with my dad and sister where Usain Bolt made 9.69 look like child's play. The same night also saw us cheering on Michael Phelp's 8th gold medal win. I knew he'd make it happen.
-Aaron Peirsol.

I think I've historically been more into the Winter games. But this year I've been so attached to the Olympic coverage that I've had the chance to more fully realize the wealth of interesting events the summer games contain, and I'm gaining more of an appreciation for the different types of athleticism each of these different sports take. Have you seen those ladies hurl the shotput? Astounding. Because of these past few days I'm totally inspired to be more focused before and during my soccer games, I've downloaded a new super sweet workout mix for my ipod to pump up my stair running, since it seems to work for Phelps before his races, and I've decided to commit to being a better swimmer. Because I'm sure if Aaron Peirsol saw how lousy I am it wouldn't work out between us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

Two of my oldest and dearest friends have their 26th birthdays this week. Tara, I'm a bad friend and thought about your birthday in the days before, and forgot to give you good wishes the day of. Kristine, your card is in the mail but coming late. Typical.

Writing Kristine's card today I realized that I've been wishing these friends birthday wishes for so so long, since we were 15 turning 16 (Tara, maybe even before that!). In honor of these seasoned friendships, here are some choice moments from a decade ago as we were turning sixteen and shortly thereafter...If you would humor me with one of yours that would like totally be awesome.

*** Tara and I went to Japan and performed for their Prince and thousands of others in a handbell choir, along with a hundred other choirs from around the world. Yes, handbells. We were good. And we got to tour Japan and see Mount Fuji. Tara and I rang bells for all four years of high school. You should hear our CD. And yes, we've heard each and every way you can make fun of us.

Tara & I at a lookout point right by Mt. Fuji

***Kristine and another friend put together a surprise party for my 16th birthday. I have never been more surprised in my life. I mean I was shaking from the shock for the next hour. There were so many friends there despite it being a weeknight, and I had had no clue. I've hardly ever felt so special. I was given a surprise party for my 19th birthday too, but after my roommate left the guest list and location on my desk accidentally days before, along with other numerous obvious clues from indiscreet but lovely friends, there was unfortunately not a single element of surprise in that party. I put on a good act though. Anyhow, a day after my sixteenth birthday I had my first kiss. A sweet sixteen in every sense of the word.

Kristine & Lisa, the planners, and a still stunned me, who looked awkward in many of the first photos of the party as I took it all in.

***On New Years Eve Kristine and I were really frustrated with our boyfriends, who were also best friends. Once the boys took off we decided to have a sort of psychological cleansing ritual to get us back in a more positive mindset towards them. We, along with our friend Kelli who was dating the third leg of the trio of boys, wrote out a list of the things that our boyfriends did that annoyed us. Then, we went out to the backyard and took turns yelling to the moon a few of our frustrations. And then, we got a fire going and burned the lists of grievances. To get rid of the negative energy, obviously. And then we each wrote a list of things we liked about our boyfriends. By that point we had smiles on our faces. I laugh at this story, it's hilarious to me really, but maybe there was something to our dramatic teenage method of self-help. Did any of you do anything like this... anyone... no?

And there we are, the boyfriends and us at our prom. You know you love our gloves.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Why 8 is great.

I have loved the number 8 since, well, I was 8.

My mom told me around that time how much she had loved being 8 years old. For some reason she remembered it being a particularly good year. I remember thinking that of course the same should be true for me, being her daughter and all. I was in third grade and then fourth during the time I was 8, and I really lived it up. I think that summer was the first time I ever went to summer camp. The first time a boy ever told me he liked me was also while I was 8... Jacob held his notebook up in front of his face while sitting across the table from me with his elementary school handwriting saying, "It is true. I like you." I was horribly embarrassed, of course, and even though I thought he was cute, I ignored him (some things never change, I suppose!). Besides, I really had my eye on the older brother of a friend in my neighborhood anyway, who was in sixth grade. Jacob eventually moved on to Bianca who was in a different class and wore very short jean skirts. I digress.

One time in Sunday School when I was 8 I brought up a serious concern with my teacher. I wanted to know what age we were going to be in heaven. I said that if I could choose, I would for sure choose to be 8, because I couldn't imagine having any more fun at any other age. To be younger was nonsense. If I were older, I'd be boring and have less energy. I would be laying out by the Heavenly pool instead of jumping in and playing Marco Polo. My teacher said something like, "I don't know that we'll be any age in heaven, I don't think it will matter there." But I knew better. If God knew what He was doing, He'd make me 8 again the second I got there.

I have worn the number 8 on my sports jerseys since I was allowed to choose, I think since I started high school. My current soccer team knows that I always grab that number, but once in awhile a new girl joins the team and beats me to the punch. I wear #18 rather forlornly and commit to beating her to the field the next weekend to reclaim my shirt.

Earlier this year I had wanted to plan a party or something for this greatest of dates, 08-08-08. Then I realized that today would be the first day of the Summer Olympics. You can hardly ask for more than that. I love the Olympics, and I can't tell you how many times growing up these games inspired me, my siblings, and friends to create our own versions. We were especially obsessed, as little girls are, with gymnastics and figure skating. I'm sorry to say that there's no video recording of our choreographed rollerskating routine to Phantom of the Opera music on our neighbor's smoothly paved driveway. We did triple axels and everything.

Anyway, today is a great day: it's Friday, it's very sunny out, we'll watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics tonight, and... my good friends and old neighbors Karen and Darren just welcomed their baby girl, Carly Skye, to the world this morning. Her birthday is 08-08-08. I'm jealous of her... but mostly just excited to meet her. I'm heading to the hospital this very minute to hold my very first newborn.

8 is great.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

what's in my head

Random thoughts while reading the following quotes from Olympic athletes...

"It's the Olympics. If you can't get up to swim in the morning, don't go."
- Swimmer Michael Phelps, on finals being scheduled for the morning, Beijing time.
(makes sense to me. hmm he's matter-of-fact, no nonsense, dedicated and successful. i bet he's an SJ.)


"It's very awkward and weird. I train six to eight hours a day to be the best athlete that I can be for my team and my country, and then people want to talk about my looks...I don't feel like a celebrity. I'm still just a little dork."
- Softball player Jennie Finch, on her off-field fame.
(okay, i can see how that's frustrating, but come on, you know what you're doing, Jennie... bleach blonde highlights and posing for the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.)


"I would compare myself to those sprinters that do a lot of chest pumping or yelling, who are pretty intense or get pretty hyped. I would consider myself exactly like them, except I keep it all inside instead. I'm nervous before the race but I'm like a quiet hyped person. I don't really let it out or say explode until the gun is shot and that's when I really want to show all my excitement. But during the race, I kind of keep it all to myself."
- Sprinter Tyson Gay, on bottling his emotions until the start of a race.
(no doubt he's introverted. that he even uses the phrase 'keep it all to myself' outs him. outward expressions like chest pumping or yelling to express emotion or hype yourself up are totally more (but not exclusive to, of course) in the realm of extroverts... like that loud softball pitcher we played against in high school who grunted and yelled all the time.)


"I think with her own family she's competitive, everybody. Like if she was racing for an ice cream cone with a little kid, she'd probably push the kid out of the way."
- Beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, on her teammate Kerri Walsh.
(well i guess that's how you become a world champion. anna q, you acknowledge that you're super competitive, would you push a little kid out of the way if you were both racing towards a bowl of mac n cheese as big as your pool table?)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Page from the Past

Something reminded me today of an experience we had on Europe Semester, and I felt like putting down this excerpt (slightly expounded upon) from my email to friends and family describing it...

October 2003

The last day in Greece, by the way, can't go without mentioning...we traveled by bus from Athens out to Mycenae and Corinth. We stood right where Paul was judged by the council of Corinth, and we read some of his letters to the Corinthians from the New Testament there too. Where we were standing, upon these ruins of stone that have since comingled with grass and trees, ancient civilization played out; merchants sold, prisoners were sentenced, prostitutes persuaded, and children played. It was really too much to grasp. My name is Greek, and essentially was born of this place. Magnificent.

Then we went to this ancient amphitheatre in Epidaurus. As we hiked up through a landscape that was by far more green than any we had yet seen in Greece, we started to feel large drops of rain fall upon us. Once we reached the half-circle outdoor amphitheatre the drops had officially become a downpour. We had been traveling all day, and often confined to stand in one area as our guide shared detail after detail of these places we were visiting, and with the rain I believe came a sensation throughout the group that there was no more room for confinement and structure. Not many moments had passed until all of us had thrown concern for keeping dry to the wind, and were climbing up the marble steps, having left both our bags and our dumbfounded tour guide under a tree. Then there was thunder and lightening, and we just stood with hands outstretched, looking out over the forest, getting drenched, and laughing all the while. I believe I will remember this moment for all of my life.

Professor Vandermey began to read some pieces from the play Beowulf to us, standing in the center of the stage, rain pelting his glasses, but arms dramatically gesticulating and voice raised to compete with the thunder. He was determined not to let the rain keep him from taking full advantage of the opportunity to read aloud this ancient bit of literature that was likely performed in that amphitheatre so many centuries ago. And again, like so many times on this trip, my mind is doing backbends attempting to juxtapose the modern scene that we are creating in a setting so ancient, with so many scenes played out before us.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Year Ago Today

Happy Birthday to you, Outnumber the Sand.

I started this blog a year ago. I'm happy that I did because...

1) I have an outlet for various ideas and thoughts that I used to never fully formulate and this forces me to completely think them out and put a period at the end.

2) I'm reminded of how much I love writing, and I am glad to have an opportunity to do it, since I hadn't been writing anything really for years.

3) Writing has got me reading more, mostly other blogs, both personal & topical, which I have realized count as quality reading material.

4) It helped me process through a couple of difficult months, having something else to focus on and indirectly express myself through.

5) I am in touch with more friends on a deeper level. Can't ask for much more than that.

So, I'm glad I'm here. Looking forward to whatever the future brings, on these pages and off of them.

Home

We had been playing and hiking and climbing over rocks for an hour or so. Afterwards we were riding in the car and chatting, when suddenly she stopped what she was saying and peered into my eyes with her big brown ones, and said, "Wait. Are you a grown-up?"
I don't know what gave me away. "Yes," I reluctantly answered my four year old cousin, Lauren. I think I will maybe always admit this with a bit of wistfulness...like, I don't know just how I arrived here but here I am indeed.



Visiting Fremont is always lovely, and I think I love the Bay Area more every time I go back. Sometimes it is difficult to drive away; from family, from rolling hills, from the network of fun little towns in every direction to visit, from the diversity, from history, and again, family, so much family.

But then I take my road trip back south, and slow my freeway speed under those familiar Santa Barbara exits...Las Positas, Carrillo, Garden... I go straight to my soccer game under the lights at City College. A warm salty ocean breeze blows over us as we win our game. 3 friends call me in a row to get me to join them at Fosters Freeze for a milkshake. My studio is cozy and inviting with the smell of my orchid from Meghan. And Fiesta has arrived, beckoning me with its churros and confetti eggs and flamenco dancing and citywide good cheer.

Living here makes being a grown-up way more than worth the while. I think I'll stay here for now.