Sunday, February 28, 2010

this will look good on him

I think I was about 12 years old, and my mom had just brought us kids home from something and we were sitting down for dinner. My sister and I were commenting on how we probably missed one of our favorite tv shows that night. Then my brother, around 8 years old, jumped out of his chair and made an animated joke about the show, and I almost fell out of my chair laughing. So did my sister and my mom. "He really is funny... more than your average funny guy funny..." I remember thinking.

I always knew it must be hard to grow up as the youngest by several years of three kids, and the only boy, and with obvious personality and interest differences from the older two sisters. I knew it was difficult and it was hard for me to show empathy since we were so different. We all loved each other even if it wasn't said very often, and we mostly got along, and we definitely had some awesome pretend games in the early years... but then sometime along the way as we grew to resemble adults more than we resembled kids, a few years ago, the realization came that my brother and I weren't so different. Definitely not in every way. Inside jokes were easily created and cherished. Laughter was easy and often. Texts back and forth were clever. He would have thoughtful things to say about the guys that I dated.

And so this early adulthood stage in a brother-sister relationship is a great chapter, and it's not necessarily the early years that are the most important in a sibling relationship. All the time you spend together can make it seem like that... but even when you don't wake up and stand on opposite sides of the wall heater every morning before school every day, you can grow as a brother and sister who are friends.

I thought these thoughts the other day when I was wandering around H&M looking for a present for my about-to-be 23 year old brother. I had texted him to double check his shirt size. "Medium, right?" I asked. "Yeah!" he said. Then, a second later, "Except when I'm flexing. Then I'm like an XL." I laughed out loud. I grabbed the medium size sweater. "Obviously!" I texted back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

lala land

Where do you go when you need to get away? Be refreshed? Get a taste of a place you love and don't get to see often enough?

I go to L.A.

It's not always my escape, but I love being there and it's so close, and I miss it sometimes.

It's been a week-plus of sickness and not too much social time or productivity. I needed some time out of a house littered with herbal supplement bottles and blankets, some fresh air, a new atmosphere, some shopping maybe, and some time away from my computer and watching the Olympics to get some reading in.

So off to Venice and Santa Monica I went.

After a successful shopping session, I went for some lunch with one of my favorite people and ended it with some fried plantains... I'd been craving them for months. We walked along the beach boulevard and played on the rings, balance beams, and climbing ropes that dot the walkway near the pier. It's such an energetic and carefree scene, I wish I could start or end every day there. Then I watched a cold and colorful sunset looking over the coast of L.A. I found a birthday present for my brother on Third Street. Then I sat in an airy cafe with passionfruit tea and eggs on toast for dinner while I read. The rain waited until I started driving home, where a couple more hours of Olympics welcomed me back before bed.

*photo credit not mine for this one

It's good to get away for the day, even when it's away from my wonderful paradise town. It's also good to treasure this time when I have nothing else planned, nowhere to be, and no one to answer to.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


If I really think about it, I've only truly felt healthy for maybe a dozen days since my birthday in October.

It's unlike me... well, unlike how I grew up. I was always super healthy. The year after college I got a lot of colds, but I blame that on working with kids and an extra rainy and depressing winter season. And then in the past year and a half or more my colds have lasted too long. Then last May I had to go on antibiotics to get over a 6 week weird cold-turned-chest congestion thing. Same in the beginning of December. And then a few days later, before the antibiotics were over and I'd been able to enjoy more than 5 days of feeling better, I got sick all over again. So at the end of December, another ten day round of antibiotics. These were stronger, made my mouth taste like poison, and generally made me feel strange. As January came to a close and after a few nights of little sleep, my throat started warning me again with a familiar dull ache, and then all of the sudden, last Thursday, my head and chest were exploding with congestion. And then followed days of the most debilitating cold or flu or sinusitis or whatever I've experienced since I can remember.

When I've talked about it in the past few days, I start to tear up. So it was all I could do to keep my tears from spilling down when I sat in the office of a soft spoken Belgian homeopathic doctor yesterday. I sat there thinking about how I didn't really have a choice besides him, since I knew I shouldn't go back to urgent care and be on antibiotics again, but he was going to cost me so much money. His questions turned from details about my symptoms and history to... my feelings. "How does it feel to have been sick so often?"

"Well I'm used to getting to do whatever I want since I'm a healthy person with a pretty healthy lifestyle. I am not used to having to be careful, to say no to things, to be balancing precariously on the edge of health."

" do you feel?"

He kept returning to that, to ask me to explain it precisely, what I've been and am thinking and feeling. I felt silly almost, to say that it frustrated me, made me upset, made me feel weak. It felt weak to even say all this, like I shouldn't be making it a big deal. I didn't feel like myself saying those things, trying to verbalize thoughts and feelings that I was slowly realizing had been affecting me negatively the past two months especially. I'm not used to being emotionally affected by my health, though it comes as second nature to know how I'm affected emotionally by everything else.

He diagrammed for me on a piece of paper how my emotional, mental, and physical elements are not in sync, and how my physical health issues are causing the other two elements to get off kilter. His questions were all a fine-tuned attempt to figure out how my body is functioning and predict what will help it to function best.

I recognized his analytical method, could compare it to how I analyze people and personality functions. I have to believe, since he is an expert and I am not, that he is more accurate than I am and that this cocktail of supplements I am on now will lead to an end to all of this.

Monday, February 8, 2010

you are very cute.

It came on. I stopped talking. I leaned forward more and more. And then I teared up instantly, and grabbed the hand of my friend who'd just done the same. Across town at another Superbowl party, my friend yelled for the party to pause and rewind the commercial so it could be seen again, because it was "just sooooo Corinne!"

There are so many different versions of those same searches I've typed before in various years of my life. For different and similar reasons. My life has been launched into dozens of adventures, the biggest yet to come, from what has come up on my dramatic and/or curious Google searches. I was so moved by the simplicity of the words and the vulnerability that we give to our internet searching. And as one youtube commenter put it, what the ad showed in so few searches was "just the journey of being human."

Millions of other viewers have been touched by the spot too... just a few comments:

afterburner - Wow.
I met a french girl two years ago while she studying abroad here in the US.
We started to date.
She came back to the University. For me.
We were sitting together at a Super Bowl party and this commercial came on.
Everyone became silent at the party and stared between us and the commercial, smiling.
Almost as good as our first kiss.

rwalford79- And that my friends is EXACTLY the same thing I do, except mine is for Colombia :)

hundredyard-I am a hard-hearted prick and that made me tear up.

marcustodd-i love this commercial, reminds me when i was in love with a foreign exchange student from sweden......

jeromebesnard - That's my story (the other way around).  I'm French, met my wife in the US and we just had a daughter. Very nice!

timberwolves-Great commercial. Stopped an entire bar dead in its tracks last night. By the time the commercial was over you could hear a pin drop.

starsandsea - As someone who met her current partner thanks to study abroad, this made me tear up a little.

JohnnyB - This is crazy. My girlfriend is French. We have been doing everything we can to get her a job back here in the US. We met in business school at SU and she has her MBA. This commercial speaks to us on so many google has been spying on us. It's one of those things that give you hope and assurance that it has to all work out in the end.

usafpilot - this is something that i am experiencing right now. went abroad last year, have a girlfriend in Germany, and hopefully i'll have the same fate as this lucky guy.....

jpickles - I wonder what the Paris girl is searching about on her end?


Great question. I wonder that too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

amazing except for

A few days of my favorite class in college focused on how to observe and experience your environment more keenly. Our professor taught us that we should learn how to cultivate "The Illusion of the First/Last Time." The idea is that when you see a place for the first time, you are supremely more aware of the details around you, noticing things that those that are accustomed to the place don't notice anymore, and you are maybe more appreciative. And then, when you see a place for the last time, you tend to linger, soak it in, let your senses take their time over the things there are to remember about the place. In these ways, if we cultivate the illusion that we are in a place for the first or last time, we can see, feel, and learn more about it. It can work with a person or an action or anything. I've never forgotten this lesson.

I don't know if I will be leaving Santa Barbara this year. But in case I am, I have been trying to soak up the luxuries that my daily life in this town bestows upon me, thinking about them more deeply than before, and wringing out every bit of wonderfulness from them. If I leave, I would miss a thousand things as much as I might miss my right arm if it were gone.

But one of the main ones would most certainly be the weather. There are so many great things about living in coastal California and having one of the most mild climates in the world... it's what I've grown up with. But as I look around me, in the dead of our winter, I'm noticing more as I wonder if I might not have this next year.

Tonight, people sit on outdoor patios of restaurants. It was rainy and windy today, but tonight was calm and mild, and outdoors they sat with thin jackets on and no hint of chill. When my friends and I want to dress nice to go out at night, we can leave our jackets in the car for the short walk to the destination. In February. I can go for a run in a tank top and shorts. It rains for more than three days in a row and it makes major news. Just a few days ago, I laid out in a bathing suit in my backyard to read. I mean, this is ridiculous. And I've never known anything else.

This part of the world is wonderful, and many who live here consider the weather to be the best part about it. And I might leave it for a place, as described by it's locals, that is truly amazing except for one bad thing: the weather.

I'm reveling in the 50 and 60 something degree days, sometimes 70+, that we call winter. But I'm also trying to convince myself that these are not non-negotiables for a content life. I'm trying to make myself believe that I wouldn't miss them desperately if they were gone. Because weather isn't everything... right?