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


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 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.