journal

10 Things I Do Incorrectly

Ever since the day we were born, we’ve been taught to do things a certain way—or at least the way our family (and those around us) deem acceptable. Then, as we make our way out into the world and see other people doing things in completely different ways, we have one of two reactions:

  1. We are intrigued and overall impressed, thus we adopt this new method.
  2. We are horrified.

I’m not afraid to admit I have habits that (I guess) might horrify people. Not in a clinical way or one that would warrant an arrest or anything. But some that would definitely provoke a dirty look or at the very least a pity nod and a side glance to someone equally as upset.

Don’t get me wrong, this post is not a promise to change any of them. It’s also not an apology. I’m just pointing them out to let you know that I know, and also to let you know what I know in case you’re wondering if anyone else does what you do, you know?

For example:

1) Tie My Shoes

I was never able to figure out how to work the loop, swoop and pull method, so I’m still rocking the bunny ears. Honestly, I prefer this method. I think it allows a tighter (a.k.a more efficient) tie.

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2) Follow Washing Instructions

As a persistent rule follower this is a little out of character for me, but I get so aggravated that some clothes require this and some require that. I do stick to the basics: colors vs. whites, but when it comes to machine wash vs. hand wash, I’m more than likely to go survival of the fittest on you and cross my fingers you make it out of the washer and drier. If you do, I dub thee worthy of my closet.

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3) I Cut the Crusts off My Sandwiches

I’m sorry but crusts are gross and I will never apologize for this. The only thing I’ll admit is a little weird is that crusts don’t bother me when the bread is toasted. But I feel like that’s because it’s a more consistent texture…or something.

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4) Handwriting

My handwriting is an absolute disaster. It’s a strange combination of cursive, chicken scratch and both lower and upper case letters. It’s a shame too, because I actually love writing and receiving letters. But when I look at the way I write, it’s not a big mystery why I’ve never been able to keep a consistent pen pal.

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5) I’m Right-Handed and Left-Handed

(Not really) speaking of hands, mine are moody. While my right is dominant in most everything in my daily life, I’ve always batted left-handed. As a result, I also golfed left-handed, however, I recently learned that I have a better right-handed golf swing. So basically my body is having a constant identity crisis.

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6) I Hate Peanut Butter & Coffee

I feel as though both of these preferences have been regarded as sins at some point during my life, and while I’d like to apologize (I guess) for being unable to relate/obsess/meme with you, there’s really not a whole lot I can do about this.

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7) Dream

This is one of those things where I know I don’t really have any control over it, but I still feel like I’m doing something wrong. I just have weird dreams. And not the “haha how funny” kind of dreams, I’m talking mouth agape, friends concerned and inquiring about professional opinions type of weird. I’ve written about some of them (which you can read here and here) but they just seem to keep on coming. Just the other night I had a dream about peeling the top layer of skin off of my face. Mind you I had this dream after a relaxing evening of watching a romantic comedy and coloring.

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8) I Occasionally Misuse “Literally”

I understand this is a terrible (literary) crime, especially since I like to consider myself someone with a relatively good handle on the English language. But I can’t help it! Sometimes I find myself in the middle of a story where the punch line feels so unbelievable that the person I’m talking to couldn’t possibly believe how serious I am. So I’ll say, “LITERALLY,” before the big reveal, that way they know I’m not screwing around. And even though it doesn’t make sense, and there are people who would say, “oh yeah, and what would it have been like figuratively,” the way I see it, it’s their choice to be a jerk. All I was trying to do was get them as excited about hearing my story as I was telling it, and I wanted the ending to literally blow their mind. Into a million pieces. Yes, I wanted my story to be so good it murdered them.

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9) Tanning

I understand that I have pale skin. I also understand that tanning is terrible for your skin, which is why I don’t often do it. But can someone explain to me why, when we spend a few hours in the sun, I come home 98% pale, with blotchy sunburns on my knees and a tan line from my FitBit, and my sister comes back a golden brown sun goddess? Something about that just doesn’t seem right.

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10) I Scrunch

This is more of a shrugged acceptance rather than a confident statement, as I don’t know if there is actually a designated “right way.” The other day I was watching a video on YouTube where someone mentioned they “scrunch” their toilet paper rather than “fold” it when they wipe, and there was an uproar among the adjacent parties. Words like “monster” and “animal” were used. Meanwhile, there I am, knowing full well I’ve scrunched my whole life, wondering if I’m some sort of deranged psychopath and don’t even know it? To settle this, please feel free to add your two cents here:

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In the end, some of these things are biological and some could be addressed in a nature vs. nurture argument, but most of these things are just because…me. I don’t want to apologize because I don’t think I should have to change, but I also don’t want to say I don’t want to change because my analytical side likes to weigh the pros and cons of both sides.

Except on crusts that is. You ain’t changin’ my mind on crusts.

This Blog was Written by My Dog

Hello.

Yes, yes I am cute.

And I’m hungry.

I’m always hungry and cute. Always.

Sometimes I feel like people judge me for it, but I can’t help it.

I woke up in a great mood this morning.

Going to bed at a decent hour probably had something to do with that.

My family likes to stay up late and watch TV at an unfathomable volume, and in MY room no less. I guess I have the best TV, but something tells me they’re wasting its potential by watching a bunch of sports and network dramas. Doesn’t anyone watch the Discovery Channel anymore?!

And don’t even get me started on the other dog we got a couple years ago. She’s always up in my business. Always. I love her, though. So much. But stop looking at her. AND DON’T GET THAT CLOSE.  She’s mine.

Anyways.

I was lucky last night because my family got tired early, which meant I could go to bed early. And since I know them (and love them!) really well, I could tell they were getting tired way before my sister, so I snagged the big dog bed and pretended to be asleep before she even knew what hit her.

She was mad. It was funny.

I love her.

The sun was particularly lovely this morning, which immediately made me want to go outside and pee. My sister wanted to play, but it was too early. I just wanted to lay in the grass and look at the bugs that fly around.

She doesn’t like when I don’t want to play. Sometimes she’ll even bite at my legs to try and rile me up. It’s annoying, but I love her. Plus, I know how to get her in trouble. And when she gets in trouble, I usually get some extra pets. I’m clever.

I have a love/hate relationship with summer. It’s a much more social season for me. I tend to meet lots of new people and my family is together more, which makes me happy, but this heat is ruff. I spend most of my time dreaming about the next cold place I’m going to put my body.

Dog Tip: If you’re ever at my house and get really hot, just put your face on the floor in the kitchen or underneath my dad’s reclining chair. Those are the best spots.

Some days my family shares popsicles with me. They take the first lick and then I get the rest and then they get another popsicle for themselves. Sometimes I try to lick that one too, but they say no and kiss my nose.

They’re hilarious.

I like to go hiking too. There is a stream that we cross and my mom lets me off the leash and I run through the water and kick it around and dance. It’s the best thing ever. I love it. I wish we could stay in the water for the whole time, but my mom likes to move on eventually. She wants to get the top of the big hill. Sometimes she even asks me to help her get up the big hill, but it’s a really hard hill and I’m not as young as I used to be, mom. But I love you.

I have a basket of clothes at my house. I love dressing up for special occasions. I have one shirt that is for football. It’s blue, I love it. My family has the same shirt. We match and it makes me happy. I also have one for Halloween. It has stripes and when I wear it my family calls me “rufferee” instead of my name. I love it. One of my favorites is my sweater. I love it. My family lets me put it on when it’s cold outside and they are hanging shiny balls on a tall tree that they bring into the house.

My family’s crazy.

I hope they know how much I love them, though. I think it might even be more than they love me. But I think that’s only because sometimes I bark more than I should at strangers that come to visit and they tell me to stop but I’m too nervous that they are mean strangers instead of nice ones. I hope they forgive me. Not the strangers, my family. The strangers can chase their tail for all I care. I hope they never catch it. My family though, I’d help them catch their tails if they wanted to. They’re the best. Make sure you tell them I said so too, it might get me a treat.

A Few Challenges for My Birthday

As of yesterday, my 28th birthday is officially one month away!

This is both alarming and exciting. I’m not necessarily intimidated by the prospect of being 28, but then again it’s like, woah, I’m going to be 28?! You know?

Anyways, in order to welcome in age 28, I’ve decided to do a few challenges.

I did some deep diving in the Pinterest universe—and made it out alive, so 28 is already looking good—and I’ve found a few that look both fun and doable. Plus, they’re lists, which if you know anything about me, you know I love the hell out of some lists.

Some people might say giving yourself a hefty amount of tasks to check off in the month before your birthday would be stressful, but I have never been one of those people. Thus, let the lists commence!

I got one for exercise:

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I got one for drawing—which should really be a challenge since I don’t/can’t draw, but hey, maybe 28 year old me draws. Who knows?

30 Day Drawing Challenge

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I got this one that will give me something to write about each day

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And this one for happiness, because it just seems like a logical way to welcome in another year of life.

30 Day Happiness Challenge

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Is this a bad idea? Will these challenges end up stressing me out more than building me up? Have I made a grave mistake by committing to them on the internet rather than just keeping them to myself?

Maybe.

But all I can do is my best. The whole point is to get 28 started with a bang.

Not bangs though, I don’t think I (or my sister) could do those again.

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I’m Still Trying to Land My Own Jump

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across a video of a skateboarder trying to land a super complicated trick. Massively complicated for someone like me. Impossible, really. But for this guy, it was something he knew he could do eventually. It was something he could work towards little by little.

The caption of the video described the trick as a “triple set with a massive laser flip,” which undoubtedly means…something.

The video fades in on the guy, Christian Flores, standing on his skateboard, his voice coming through the speakers saying, “Everyone has their own project that they’re doing mostly for themselves, you know?” He’s standing next to a double door entrance of a medical building, on a small patch of cement that leads down three small sets of stairs. The camera is pointed straight at the building and Christian is in the far left corner of the frame. With a quick pump of the leg, he rolls towards the edge of the stairs and comes to a quick stop so he can look down at the jump he’s going to make, visualizing every movement required in landing the trick successfully. He then goes off camera to give himself more room to pick up speed, before soaring back into frame and hurling himself into the air. When he lands, the board is upside down under his feet and he rolls on his back across the asphalt. It looks like it hurts, like maybe he should be broken in more ways than one, but he pops right up, grabs his board and runs back up the stairs.

For the next few minutes, the video shows a montage of what should have been (at least I think) the last day of Christian’s life. He skids and slides and crashes and rolls and booms and bangs and oww and how much milk did this kid drink that his bones are not in a pile right now?

The caption of the video states that throughout the trying process—which took over two years—Christian did endure a few broken ribs, but that’s a laughable amount of damage compared to what should have happened. If I tried a trick like this, I think the acting doctor would end up laughing, but in more of a, “great news, you didn’t break this rib!” type of way. But as much as I’d like to go on and on about how broken this guy should be, how beaten down and discouraged and exhausted, there comes a time when you have to respect that the guy just knew how to fall. Being a skateboarder, he was used to it. And being a good skateboarder, he didn’t let it bother him. With each crash he popped right back up and ran up the stairs. Again. And again. And again.

Not being a skateboarder myself, it’s hard to understand how he kept getting up. But I suppose his wanting to land that trick (regardless of the consequences that came with it) is just a physical representation of any of us being knocked down en route to accomplishing something we’re passionate about.

There are clips of him rolling around in obvious pain, tears rolling down his face, and anger radiating out of his bones. There are countless moments when you almost want him to stop, for fear he really might hurt himself. But there’s no stopping him. He keeps getting up.

The funny part about the whole thing is that it’s just a trick. All of this falling and nearly dying and hours of frustration, it’s all for a silly skateboarding trick. But then again, is that really all it is?

Like any muscle, perseverance takes time to build up and make strong. We’re not born with blind determination, we have to work for it. We have to want it. And so even though this want of his may have seemed like small potatoes to someone trying to start their own company or run a marathon or write a book, the drive to do any and all of these starts in the same place. Who knows where his determination could take him after this trick? Who knows what his mind would set itself on next? What counts is that he knows he can get himself anywhere he needs to be, because he knows he’s willing to put himself through hell to get there.

At about the four minute mark, we see him propel himself into the air for what seems to be the hundredth time. He floats up off the stairs and his feet leave the board. His arms go up in the air to keep his balance and his eyes focus down on where he needs to land—which he does. With both feet cleanly on the board, he rolls down the asphalt for a few dozen feet, then comes to a stop, throws his skateboard and shirt into the air, and walks over to hug his friends.

As the video closes, Christian says he is proud to have accomplished his goal and happy that it is done, but even so, he is already looking for something bigger. My response to this was a solid two minutes of letting my jaw hang open, and then I wrote this blog. It’s just a short, silly blog, nothing more. But then again, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s part of something bigger.

To the People Who Get My Organs

I’m an organ donor. I’ve got the sticker on my license and everything. And when I die—which hopefully will be in a timely manner, but you never know—I hope my body can piñata it’s way into the hands of people who need it more than I will.

To those people, whether you’re reading this on my blog, or on some kind of high tech floating orb in the mid 2000s, first off, hey! I totally used to be alive and typing this in my living room. Super sorry I’m dead so we can’t meet, but super glad my deadness can provide you with some superior aliveness. But before you take one—or more if it’s a perfect match/buffet type of situation—of my organs, I just wanted to provide you with some you should know’s about said organs that might help you acclimate quicker.

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1) My eyes

I’ve always liked my eyes. I think they’re a good shade of brown—not too, you know, just brown­—and they have kickass vision. If you’re lucky enough to get them in the same shape they’re in right now, expect a lot of people to ask you, “what does that say up there?” because somehow you’ll be able to see it and you won’t know why. But watch out, you’ll also have a tendency to try and read too fast and you’ll mix words up. So just keep it cool and take your time. That is, unless you’re playing Jeopardy at home with your family, then by all means, read the question quicker than everyone else so you can answer first and win a point.

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2) My Lungs

Let me tell you, the three of us have been on quite the journey. When I was in high school, I was convinced I had what I called “baby lungs” that were too weak to function (a.k.a run) when really I was just out of shape and needed to push through the hard part. So if you get one or both of these bad boys, expect some push back should you ever try to strive for any athletic accomplishments. But don’t let them win! They are strong and they are capable of a hell of a lot, you just need to give ‘em time to warm up.

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3) My Liver

My liver and I actually have a very good relationship. We’re like the Gilmore Girls but with less coffee. Sure there are times when we’ve hurt each other, but we worked through it and came out stronger than ever. So just treat my liver like Rory would Lorelai and vice versa, and never shy away from a good pun in times of need.

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4) My Kidneys

I’m not gonna lie, I actually had to look up what kidneys do—which FYI is remove waste and excess water from the blood—so I could feel properly prepared to prep you. Good news is, from what I’ve read, I treat my kidneys like fine wine! I’m an avid water drinker, which is the kidney equivalent of catnip. That being said, you might want to invest in a large—say, 32 ounces or so—reusable water bottle, as these guys are constantly craving that good H20. Straight up.

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5) My Skin

For those of you who might be needing either a skin sweater and/or a quilty like patch job, I have answers, but I also have questions. First off, we burn easily y’all. But then, would that even come into play? From what I’m reading, it really all depends on what kind of trouble the universe has put you in. If you really truly do get a big chunk of this epidermis and it works all Freaky Friday like, expect a lot of goosebumps and the occasional pop up of eczema with no rhyme or reason. Also: FRECKLES. Because when we don’t burn, we freckle like it’s our job. I’m looking down at my arms right now and it’s like the night sky up in here. I hope you get Orion’s Belt, that’s one of my favorites.

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6) My Bones

These guys have been through a lot, but I like to think they like me more than they hate me, so I assume they’ll feel the same about you. They like to crack a lot, but try to think of it as their way of saying “hi” rather than “help.” They like yoga, but they love lying down after long day of work. Also, they love ice cream. Because, you know, calcium. So make sure you get at least a few servings every week.

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7) My Heart

When I say this gal is in the right place, I mean that both literally and figuratively. I was literally born with my heart in the right place—because FYI you can be born with it in the wrong place, I am learning so much right now—and I also often feel the old girl pushing and pulling me to do what’s right. Also, expect a lot of pounding. She tends to get a little worked up when she sees something that she likes or something that makes her nervous. She’ll settle down though. Try chewing through a pack of fruity Mentos and putting on good playlist.

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I’ll admit, it’s a little weird talking about giving you my organs. Especially since they’re so cozy and upbeat on the inside of living me right now. But I have faith they’ll treat you right. And hey, if all else fails, try kettle corn and a John Cusack movie, that usually puts all of us in this body at ease.

 

 

 

The Last Thing on My Phone

While scrolling around the black hole of YouTube, I found a series from both WIRED and Glamour that asks celebrities to answer questions based on the “last ____ on their phone.” It’s an alternative interview to give actors and actresses that are on press tours for whatever new movie/television show/etc. they are starring in.

For the average YouTube consumer, these may be relatively boring interviews, but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of them. I like to think it gives me a more realistic picture of the person being interviewed and provides them with a new set of questions to answer rather than the same old spiel they’ve been toting around. I’m also just plan nosey, so there’s that.

The other night, I was sitting at the table with my roommates and I decided we should answer the same set of questions, just to see what we came up with. Here were the results:

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1) What is the last photo you took?

Rachel: This is the last photo I personally took rather than screenshotted, and it’s pretty great. It’s from just outside a dive bar right near Dodger Stadium and I just thought I needed to…well look: IMG_7104

Natalee: I have this one of the two of us (meaning her and I) celebrating [our friend] Nicollette’s birthday this past weekend.

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Me: Mine was also from Nicollette’s birthday, but it’s of this cool window.

Natalee: Yeah, that sounds like you.

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(Note: if you’re ever in the Ventura area, check out The Tavern. It’s a really cool bar made up of a series of different rooms/outside areas, one of which is a speakeasy type room where I took this photo, right before we started dancing to swing music.)

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2) What is the last thing you Googled?

Natalee: “Paprika spinners chips.” Rachel and I were talking about types of Cheetos and then I found these and I wanted to order them on Amazon but they aren’t on Amazon so I Googled them and it turns out they’re only sold in the Netherlands. So…

Rachel: I have two that I made right around the same time. First is Natalie Imbruglia who sings “Torn”, that song that came out when we were kids. And then the other is Heaven’s Gate, a cult I was recently researching. I’m big into cults right now.

Kim: I was trying to look up which skateboarding competitions Shaun White was going to be in to see if we could go watch any.

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3) What is your last text?

Rachel: I mean, technically my last one is just, “oh yeah.”

Natalee: I sent one to our roomie group message asking Rach what kind of ice cream/donuts/Hot Cheetos we should get on our snack run.

Kim: Yeah the last one I sent was in response to Rachel’s response to that, which is this Bitmoji of me casually skateboarding with a raccoon.

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4) How many alarms do you have set?

Rachel: Oh gosh. Oh, actually I only have two right now. One is for 3:00 a.m. and another is 11:15 a.m.

Me: I don’t think I have very many. Nope, just four. One for work, one for church, one for naps, and one to take my pill at night.

Natalee: I must have some kind of record. I have 15 different alarms and they range from 3:55 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They’re not all set at once, some are set for just Wednesdays, some Tuesdays and Sundays, some just for Saturday, you know? My favorite one is for 7:01 a.m. because I’m usually supposed to be up by 7 o’clock for work and that one extra minute makes me feel like I’m being risky.

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5) What are your most frequently used emojis?

Rachel: My phone says these: face-throwing-a-kiss_1f618heavy-black-heart_2764expressionless-face_1f611thumbs-up-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f44d-1f3fb_1f3fbsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a  But if I were going to go with my most frequent I would definitely say this one: i-love-you-hand-sign_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f91f-1f3fb_1f3fb I’m not sure why it’s not in the top ones, though. Actually, now that I look at it, I have a train on my frequently used that I’ve definitely never used before. I also have a motorcycle and a gondola? I don’t even know where these came from.

Natalee: Mine also seem kind of messed up, so I’m just going to give you the ones I know I use the most: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602sign-of-the-horns_emoji-modifier-fitzpatrick-type-1-2_1f918-1f3fb_1f3fbwoman-shrugging-type-3_1f937-1f3fc-200d-2640-fe0fyellow-heart_1f49bface-with-rolling-eyes_1f644

Me: I think mine are pretty accurate: face-with-tears-of-joy_1f602smiling-face-with-heart-shaped-eyes_1f60dnerd-face_1f913thumbs-up-sign_1f44dsmiling-face-with-smiling-eyes_1f60a

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6) What is your last voicemail?

Me: Mine is from my dad. It’s from a couple of weeks ago when my car started making this bad grinding noise and I called him to come check what it was. We decided to take it to the shop the next morning but he followed me home just in case and then left a voicemail telling me that in following me it didn’t appear as though my car was going to blow up before morning. So that was nice to hear.

Natalee: Mine is from some random company saying that it’s “very important” that they speak with me, I didn’t call them back.

Rachel: Mine is from CVS and they’re practically threatening me to pick up a prescription I don’t even want.

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7) What is the last selfie you took?

Me: Mine is with our sunflowers that I took for one of the Plant Aunt videos. (For those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram, I’ve recently been documenting the growth of the sunflowers we planted in the backyard. It’s essentially me rambling/trying to stay involved because Natalee does all the work in watering them. Also, I’m pretty sure the neighbors think I’m crazy.)

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Natalee: Mine is too! I had a full on sunflower photo shoot the other day.

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Rachel: Oh no. You guys…

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8) What is the last app you downloaded?

Natalee: Ballpark. It was from when I was at the Dodger game getting to sit in the fancy seats for a day and this app let you order beer to be delivered to you!

Rachel: Mine is probably Game Time, that app that lets you download tickets on the day of a concert or sporting event.

Me: I don’t know which one was last. It was either Runtastic, which is a running app that is partnered with Run for the Oceans, or The ASL App which I got because I want to learn sign language, but I haven’t opened that one yet.

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9) What is the last podcast you listened to?

Rachel: Ooh! Dr. Laura, Call of the Day.

Natalee: S-Town.

Me: Modern Love.

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10) What is the last note you made?

Natalee: Mine is boring, it’s just work notes that I typed up and then sent in an email.

Me: Five minutes ago, when you guys were discussing your opinions on Cheetos, that’s a blog post waiting to happen. (Natalee picked up a few different bags of Hot Cheetos during our aforementioned snack run and then she and Rachel sat at the table and had a very professional opinion on which Hot Cheeto flavor reigns supreme, stay tuned for those results.)

Rachel: It’s notes for a calendar that I’m working on full of daily quotes that sound like they should be inspirational, but they really aren’t… (Also stay tuned for this, y’all, it sounds hilarious.)

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All in all, I’d say it was both an educational and overall enjoyable experience. It’s interesting to check in on where you’re at with your phone, especially since we spend so many mindless hours staring at it. Plus, it’s always fun to be a little nosey.

For that One Person

It’s easy to want to be famous. To get a lot of attention. A lot of views. A lot of love from a lot of people you don’t know. It would make you feel important. Valuable. Loved. At least that’s what it seems like it would be.

I’ll admit, I struggle with both wanting that fame, and wanting to not want that fame, but I don’t fault myself for it. I love writing. And to gain fame, and thus gain value in the writing field, would give me the chance to make writing my one and only job.

But when I think about “fame” and all that it entails, I know I don’t really want it. I want to write, yes. I want it to be my job, yes. But I don’t want to write because it’s my job, because that’s not why I started writing in the first place.

I started writing because someone else started writing, or singing or making movies or simply smiling or laughing or just feeling honestly and openly for me to see. I started writing because I wanted to be as open and free as the people I saw doing the same thing. I wanted to feel and I wanted to make other people feel.

When I write, I try to spill out whatever I’m thinking, be it a serious thought, a goofy one, or somewhere in between. I try my best to say, “hey, this is where I’m at today, care to join me?” And it is my hope that somewhere someone is sitting or standing or lying down, reading that blog and saying, “yes.”

I write for that one person, hoping I can do for them what someone else did for me, even if it was just being honest. And when I think about doing that—or even better: accomplishing that, I realize that in no life would I ever need “fame,” because I imagine I have something far greater.

The way I see it, I’ve been given love, and I share that love (or at least I try to) in my writing. And if someone somewhere receives that love and then passes it on, I’ve already done the most important thing I could ever do.

For you, the person reading this, I hope that someday I can do that for you. And I also hope that whatever you do, you try your best to spread love with it. I hope you’re out there, living your life, living your love, feeling open and honestly, because you never know who’s going to need you. As you go about your day, there very well may be someone in your path who needs you to be exactly who you are, because it will inspire them to do the same. I for one am happy you’re you and I hope you know how much it encourages me to be me.

2018 Goals Check-in #2

Whoops, I blinked and now it’s July. Time to check in on those goals.

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1) Do a handstand in yoga

1st Quarter Progress: 33.33%

Current Progress: 33.33%

I’ve definitely made more of an effort to go to yoga classes these last couple months, which is good, and I’ve been working hard at strengthening my arms at the gym. Now I just have to start trying to do a handstand. I’m only slightly terrified, but I’ll give it a go.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Unfortunately, I have not got around to this quite yet. The last few months have been extremely busy, so when I do squeeze in the time to exercise, I usually stick to what I know. But the next few months are a lot slower paced, so hopefully I’ll venture out and find a class.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (5%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (5%)

This is another one that has fallen victim to my lack of time over the last three months. I think any spare moment I could find I spent sitting on the couch or trying to nap. That being said, with the beautiful summer weather sliding into play, I have no doubts I’ll find my way into more than a few museums over the next couple months, if only for the free air conditioning.

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4) Get CPR certified

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

This one is still on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

I’ll admit, those first couple rolls were a little rough on me. Both because it was hard to get back into the groove of shooting film, and because it was awkward to be behind an actual camera rather than a tiny phone. I felt like I was making everyone uncomfortable, but I’m pretty sure the only one that cared was me. Thankfully, these last few months have felt a lot more natural, and I’m genuinely excited to get my film developed.

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

1st Quarter Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

Current Progress: 23/104 (22.12%)

This one continues to be kind of hard to track because I take pictures of things and have no idea if they correspond to the list or not. So once I get all my film developed and scroll through the pictures I’ve taken on my phone, I think I’ll have a better idea of where I’m at. But for now, I’m taking a guess based on things I know I’ve taken a picture of.

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I did some research on flights/how to get there/etc. and as of now, my roommates and I are planning on making the trip this fall! 🙂

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8) Go to the dentist

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

1st Quarter Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Current Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Honestly, I blame The Office for this one. I mean, I know I need to make more progress on this, but I also know that Jim and Pam just found out they’re pregnant. So I kind of need to see that (and three more seasons) through before I can really care about re-commit to this goal.

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10) Perfect an omelet

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I’m still on the hunt for a good omelet worthy pan. Anyone have any good suggestions?

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

1st Quarter Progress: 3/12 (25%)

Current Progress: 6/12 (50%)

Even though things have been busy, I haven’t missed a month yet! Plus, this summer promises a bunch of good movies, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble continuing to find ones I’m interested in seeing. Here’s a list of all the ones I’ve seen so far. In case your curious, I’d say A Quiet Place is my favorite so far.

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

1st Quarter Progress: 2/20 (10%)

Current Progress: 6/20 (30%)

I really tried to crack down on this one in the last few months, and it didn’t hurt that I spent a good amount of time waiting around in airports. The funny thing is, the more books I check off this list, the more I wonder if I’ll ever make it through this list. The books are tough, and long, and um, boring? Okay, not all of them, but I have struggled through a couple, and I’ll admit, I did quit on one. However, I’m still counting it because I made it 60% through, which is more than I wanted to, and I heard there’s a movie version so I’m just going to watch that and round it up to finishing the book. Hey, my goal, my rules.

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13) Pay off credit card

Current Progress: Progress

Yeah so, let’s just say progress has slowed on this one. It hasn’t stopped, which is what counts. But these past few months have held *expenses* and I’ve had to crutch a little. I’m not worried about it though, I’ll get there.

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14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

1st Quarter Progress 0/5 (0%)

Current Progress: 2/5 (40%)

I’m excited to say I’ve found my way back into the groove of volunteering! It always takes all of one time for me to remember how much I love it and how good it makes me feel. After that, I’m constantly logging on and finding new opportunities. I’ve volunteered twice in the last couple months and already have three more dates on the calendar. Yay!

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16) Donate Blood

1st Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%

As I mentioned in my first check-in, I did have an appointment to donate blood at my church. And while I did go to that appointment, I did not give blood. Not because I chickened out, not because I overslept, not because I made any excuse whatsoever not to. My iron levels were just way too low, so I was physically unable to give blood. With that being said, I have decided that, for now at least, this goal is completed. I’ve also started taking iron supplements and done a lot of research on ways to start incorporating iron rich foods into my diet. Who knew this goal would be so educational?

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

1st Quarter Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

Current Progress: 185/365 (50.68%)

I totally love this goal. Sure, it’s a little stressful when it’s 11:47p.m. and I sit up in my bed, panicked, realizing I didn’t take my second of the day. But I also love to see what I come up with in a pinch. The way I see it, on days when I’m out doing something exciting, it’s easy to remember to whip out my camera and record a snippet, but when I have a normal/routine day where nothing of interest really happens, I have more trouble. On those days, when that 11:47p.m. panic might take place, I find myself working through my routine again and picking out parts of it that I like/find interesting. In my first check-in, I gave a little sneak peak of what the seconds look like strewn together, but I think I’m going to keep the rest a secret for now. Stay tuned for the final product!

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 34%. As always, I’m a little behind, but I’ve found that tends to push me forward. It keeps me motivated and doesn’t give me room to slack off, which I need, especially when the thermometer is about to start reading consistent triple digits and all I’m going to want to do is sit around watching rom-coms and eating popsicles. (Though to be honest, I’ll probably still do that pretty often.)

If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

I Went to the Dentist

So yeah, the fact that I had to include “go to the dentist” on my list of goals this year because it was the only way I was ever going to do it is a little embarrassing. But hey, it got me there, so oh well.

To be honest, when I walked in I felt like I’d forgotten how the whole thing worked. Did the cleaning come first? Or did they check for cavities first? At what point would a drill be involved in today’s visit?

Before I had time to sit in one of the waiting room chairs and try to recall the last time I’d been to the dentist—which ended up being so far back they had to search the archive files for my charts—they were calling me in.

“How are you feeling today, Kimberlee?” the woman asked as she walked me back.

I DON’T FLOSS,” said my guilty conscience.

“Fine,” said my mouth.

The woman sat me down in the chair and moved the levers up and down and back and up, until I was in position that was definitely less comfortable than before, especially now that I was looking up at a bright rectangular light that gave me flashbacks of the orthodontist.

Am I getting my braces off today?!

Nope. Maybe next time though. Come back in six weeks.

*walks back to the waiting room with a bag of dental party favors, a new set of wires that are nowhere near as inconspicuous as they promised, and a healthy dose of despair*

The woman clips a bib on me and leans me back even farther. For the briefest of moments I wonder if anyone has ever slid backwards out of the chair, but then she stacks some tools, gauze and whatever else she can fit onto my bibbed chest, and I realize that this countertop treatment must even out the gravity.

The doctor comes in and greets me and asks how I’ve been, even though we’ve never met, and I think she knows that, because she’s looking passed me at my chart, which shows it’s been a solid four seasons of Game of Thrones since the last time I was here. She takes a seat in her chair, next to me, her end table, and goes to work.

Recalling previous visits to the dentist, I wait for the terrifying metal tool she’s poking around my mouth with to make that sticking noise. The one that goes all metal detector at the beach when it finds a cavity—HERE’S ONE. AND HERE. AND HERE!

Much to my surprise however, nothing happens. My teeth are like a roll of knockoff scotch tape—they ain’t stickin’ to nothin’! Pride surges through me, and I picture them giving me an award for my superb brushing that protected my teeth all these years. But then the doctor leans back, slides her mask off and nods sympathetically.

“So it appears as though you have quite a few cavities, Kimberlee.”

Don’t you use my full name like you know me.

Apparently my teeth are “completely free of plaque” (#superbrusher) but my complete and utter lack of flossing caused there to be little cavities in between my teeth (#apparentlyflossingisforreal).

She then goes on to explain “the plan” as if my upcoming cavity intervention is as complicated as a corporate merger. I barely listen, only hearing every couple words as I wonder whether dentists are trained to sympathize with you, only to send you on your way and do a happy dance in the break room.

*dials phone*

“Honey, it’s me. Yes, I just had a patient with a good handful of cavities, go ahead and buy the boat!!”

I’ve now gone to two appointments to fill the aforementioned cavities. One of which left my mouth so numb I had to look in the mirror to put on chapstick. The other was so early in the morning I almost fell asleep, but I was so scared and vulnerable—what with the drills in my mouth and all—that I forced my eyes to stay as wide open as they can go which, picturing it now, was probably an incredibly scary sight for the dentist looking down at me.

So, some lessons learned here.

  • For real.
  • Go the dentist every year rather than every presidential term.

Hey, I’m learning.

 

I’ll Always Remember the Good Parts

A couple weeks ago my mom, sister and I took a trip to Arkansas to visit both my cousin Brittney and her family, as well as my great great Aunt Evelyn who just recently turned 97 years old.

Usually when I go on a trip, I like to blog about it (check out some examples here and here) but when it comes to Arkansas, I tend to just let it lie. Not because the trip is boring or not worth sharing, but because it always seems to feel different than any other trip, making it hard—if not impossible—to find a way to write about it. In a way it feels like it’s not so much a trip as it is a step into another world, one that I couldn’t explain to someone as well as I could show them.

Our past couple trips to Arkansas, while fun and the exact breath of fresh air I needed, have had a bit of sadness attached to them. With my Aunt Evelyn’s health declining first slowly, and then quicker than we could keep up with, we saw our trips change from spending afternoons reading on her porch, to sitting at her bedside in a nursing home. For these trips, rather than staying at my Aunt Evelyn’s house, we’ve stayed with June, a childhood friend of my mom’s mom, and her husband, Jim. This alone has balanced the scales of the trips, filling them with as much laughter as they had gloom.

This past trip, after being warned by June that Aunt Evelyn had fallen not once, but twice in the last few days, and that her cancer had spread to nearly every part of her body, we took a few extra breaths on our drive from Brittney’s to June and Jim’s, knowing that this trip would be somewhat of a goodbye.

Upon arriving at June and Jim’s, we all exhaled, because at least for the moment, we were home. In an instant we were laughing, almost too hard to walk. They greeted us at the door and we dropped our things, unable to peel the smiles off our faces. It was almost 6 o’clock when we got there, so it wasn’t long before we were back on the road, headed out to dinner at one of June and Jim’s favorite restaurants. June sat next to me in the backseat, cracking jokes and nudging my elbow whenever she made a snarky comment just out of Jim’s earshot.

At dinner, we talked about our trip to Brittney’s. About her husband Scott, their five year old son, Landon, and their two and a half year old daughter, Nora. We talked about the three days we spent with them; about the slow mornings filled with Nora’s singing and Landon’s giggling and dancing and soccer ball dribbling; we talked about the day at the waterpark and the evening at the comedy club; and we talked about the afternoons on the couch talking or napping or laughing or just simply being.

The next morning, as we slowly got ourselves out of bed to the breakfast table and then out of our pajamas and into real clothes, we took another collective breath. My mom, my sister, June and I loaded up in the car to go see Aunt Evelyn, all of us the slightest bit nervous, even if we didn’t say so. When we got there, we found Aunt Evelyn asleep in her bed, so asleep it took two nurses to finally coax her awake to eat, even though she didn’t want to. I sat in a chair in the corner of the room, watching her slowly bring the world into focus, my mind flickering from the woman I saw in front of me, to the woman I’d sat beside in her living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

As an adult, I’d never seen Aunt Evelyn without pain. She was always moving slow, her back keeping her slightly hunched and most content in her chair in the living room. But there were moments when it seemed to dull. Like when my sister made her favorite cookies in the kitchen and she giggled in her chair, excited to have three too many. Or when a story we told reminded her of a memory she carried. The three of us could never get enough of her stories. Both the good ones and the bad, the happy and the sad. Aunt Evelyn had lived a long, oftentimes hard life, and had spent many years living on her own, ruminating, reminiscing, and understandably burying a lot of memories.

As I sat in the corner chair, watching my Aunt Evelyn’s eyes squint and her brow furrow, I saw fear and confusion, pain and exhaustion. Then, for a moment, it passed. June cooed at her and Aunt Evelyn smiled in recognition, saying, “Hello June,” almost sarcastically, before softening her eyes and smiling at the sight of my mother, “Gina.”

But just as soon as peace settled in her eyes, the pain was back. The nurse sitting at her side offered her a bite of each helping of food on her tray, and Aunt Evelyn begged her to stop, hating every bit of it. Then, her eyes shifted again, this time into anger. She looked up at June and my mom, perhaps embarrassed, perhaps ashamed, perhaps longing for that woman I pictured sitting by my side in the living room watching reruns of Judge Judy.

“Get out,” she said. It was stern, but calm.

At first.

Then it was meaner. Louder. Fiercer.

“Get out of here!”

On the drive back to June’s we were all quiet, all bearing wounds that we didn’t want to talk about. Knowing what we knew about her health, we knew that could very well be the last time we would see her, and it was hard to swallow that as the last time. But just as I was able to picture her how I knew her, how I’ve known her, not in that bed but in her chair, in her house, in the hundreds of old pictures—some from stories I knew, others from those I might never know—I made a promise to remember her that way too.

On our flight home, my mind flashed with memories of trips we taken to see her. And even though there were hard parts, sad parts, bad parts strewn in, I clutched desperately to the good. To the funny and beautiful and indescribable. I hoped she knew I’d remember those parts most. And I’d visit them as easy as we did our weekend at Brittney’s as we sat across the dinner table from Jim and June. No matter what, I would always hold on to the good parts. Both today, tomorrow, and (if I’m lucky enough) seventy years from now, when I have my own chair in my own living room with a pair of great great nieces sitting by my side watching reruns and making me cookies.