personal

Lake Hair

“Hold on to your hats,” Natalee says as we float past the no wake zone.

Will revs the engine and then punches forward. The boat shoots across the water, the wind beating at our faces. At first, it’s hard to keep my eyes open. I feel like I’m swallowing too much air. I hold onto my (literal) hat, nervous a gust of wind might swipe it off the top of my head.

We ride around the lake looking at the hills, at the pops of green trees, at the cars driving by on the freeway above us. We curve into alcoves, looking for a place to beach the boat, all while listening to country music at full blast, nodding our heads, smiling to each other, looking forward to the day.

A half hour later, we’re in beach chairs, freshly sunscreened up, eating burgers and fruit and cheers-ing canned drinks, settling into the unplugged, independent nature of a lake day. I wade into the water on my tiptoes, flapping my arms.

“It’s cold!”

But only for a minute.

We talk about everything and nothing, and the hours melt away.

We get back on the boat and then glide out onto the water.

It’s 85 degrees, the sky is a solid blue, there is not even one cloud. My bathing suit is red, my shoulders are pink, and my hair is flying in all directions.

The boat turns and wind whips at my face. When I lift up my arms, they fly, weightless. The music blares through the speakers. I bob my head and sing loudly, knowing the sounds of the boat will drown out my voice.

We skim over wakes and spray lake water to either side as we turn. We wave to other boats and we yell as loud as we can. We are free on the water, in the sunshine, on our Saturday. The wind blows the burdens off our shoulders, allowing us to just exist in the moment, on this boat, on this day.

We are alive, and light, and happy. We are together. It’s a hard feeling to describe in words, but it is easily shared in the excited whoops and hollers. We smile and we take pictures. We record as much footage as we can. But we know it’s not something other people will be able to see or feel, not unless they were here. Not unless they understood the heaviness that was being turned into lightness. Not unless they felt the sun warm them and the water cool them, over and over and over. Not unless they felt the wind lift their arms up into the air and hold them there, taking the weight, taking the pressure.

We cruise back into the no wake zone and our hair settles on our shoulders. It’s knotted and slimy from the lake water, it’s going to hurt to brush. But when I wash it, the hot water doesn’t take the day with it. It does little to wash away the feeling on the boat, at the lake, on that Saturday. Somehow I think it just scrubs it deeper.

A Five Sense Check-In (Getty Edition)

About six months ago, I spent a Saturday at the Getty Museum.

After walking around the various exhibits on display, I sat out in the garden for a little while, and before I left I did a five senses check-in and wrote the details in my notebook.

I forgot about it for a little while, but recently found it and wanted to share. I love the way these check-ins can fully capture a moment. I remember everything about sitting there writing this, and it made me want to go back!

5 Things I See

1) The garden, made up of all kinds of colors. There are purples, oranges, and yellows. Flashes of red, hints of blue and never-ending variations of green.

2) People. There are families, couples, individuals, photographers, and friends.

3) Clothes. Alongside the smiling faces and posing people, I see so many unique outfits. Some are casual, comfortable, made for walking around the museum. Some are trendy, fashion forward, an expression of style and color much like the art you’d see inside. And others are bordering on fancy, as if they were going or coming from church. They dressed up for the occasion—for the art and the artists.

4) Levels of people and plants. The garden is set in three different levels, giving people a few paths to take around the garden. I’m on the second level, sitting on a bench, and people move both in front of me and behind me. Off in the distance is a big grassy hill where people walk or sit down, taking a break, and enjoying the outside, even if it’s a little chilly today.

5) The Getty. Beyond the garden and beyond the hill is the Getty itself. Tall and beautiful. It is relaxing to look at, and can be viewed as a background to the garden or an element of the foreground with the sky behind it.

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4 Things I Hear

1) Footsteps in the dirt path. Both slow scraping steps from tennis shoes or flats, and quick clicking steps from heels or wedges.

2) Mumbles of multiple conversations taking place around me. Most prominently “did I get it?” or, “do you want me to take another one?” in regards to the series of photographs being taken all around the garden.

3) The water from the fountain. It is a steady stream of water but it is not too loud or overpowering to the rest of the natural noise. It acts like background music, cutting through the silence but not in a distracting way.

4) Children laughing in the distance as they roll down the tall grassy hill. Their laughs echo off the building and travel across the water to me. They are having a good day.

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3 Things I Feel

1) The wood bench beneath me. It is hard but supportive. When a couple sits down next to me, a single plank pushes a little harder into my back. But they quickly decide to move on and the plank relaxes behind me.

2) Tickles of a plant beside me. When I move my head, the leaves casually brush against the back of my neck, flicking my pony tail, causing it to wobble.

3) A small breeze that, when combined with the cloudy sky that the sun can’t quite break through, can be cold. I’m glad I wore a jacket, but I have a bit of a chill! I think I might pick up ramen for dinner on my way home. (And I did!)

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2 Things I Smell

1&2) The flowers. It is amazing to me how their scents can combine and compete, but not in the way that candles and colognes would. They blend and compliment one another, waiting patiently to take their turn as you shift your head or walk around the garden. Each spot on the path has a different scent, and even that can change based on how close you stand to the flowers.

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1 Thing I Taste

1) Perhaps the briefest memory of the jolly rancher I had earlier. That reminds me—I’m hungry.


You can find more Five Sense Check-Ins here.

The Green Couch

After the Northridge earthquake in 1994, my family got a new couch.

It was green and had a plaid pattern with patches of light brown, and wood paneling on the corners. The couch sat a few feet from the front door, aimed at the television. On each side, there was a black button that made the seats recline.

When I was seven, I tip-toed up to the couch, where my mom sat holding my new baby brother.

“Gentle,” my dad said, both in reference to the baby and my mom.

I put my hand on the arm of the couch and scratched nervously at the textured fabric. I smiled at my mom and she smiled back.

Just before I turned ten, my family moved into a new house in a new neighborhood. The couch came with us. It pointed at the same television, but in a different room, close to a different front door. With a recliner chair beside it for my dad, there was enough room on the couch for me, my mom, my sister, and my brother to all sit on it, and we did, with arms and legs tangled, heads on shoulders and in laps. We’d shuffle through our collection of VHS tapes, each of us taking a turn to choose which one we watched.

When one of us was sick, we’d sit on the end closest to the bathroom, with a washcloth on our head, an empty bowl on the floor beside us, and a cup of water or Gatorade on the coffee table. At the end of a long night of homework, we’d plop down on the couch and sigh, exhausted. In the mornings, we’d watch cartoons. Dad kissed mom goodbye before Dragontales, and we knew that if we weren’t out the door before the end of Clifford the Big Red Dog, we were going to be late. After school, Troy took a nap on the couch with his thumb in his mouth, and Natalee and I leaned up against it playing Mario Party on our Nintendo 64.

When I was in middle school, my family moved again, and again the couch came with us. But when we upgraded to a new one, the couch was moved into the family cabin in the mountains, where it stayed for almost a decade. It sat just below the window in the living room, inviting anyone who visited to take a seat. In a pinch, it was used for a bed. And many late weekend nights were spent falling asleep on it to the same collection of VHS tapes that had followed it up the mountain.

Recently, a new set of furniture was moved into the cabin. It is newer and more comfortable, and provides more seating for the growing number of family members that visit. Not to mention it’s a matching set. As a result, the green couch was loaded up and brought down the mountain, and then set out on the curb and marked with a price tag: “Free.”

The sight of it startled me.

To see it outside of a house, outside of our home, felt wrong. And even though I knew we were willingly giving it away, the thought of someone taking it still felt like a robbery. I braced myself for the day I’d find the curb empty, for when someone else would claim it as their own.

I kept waiting for a truck to pull up with a family inside, or maybe a couple or a parent or a single person starting over, grateful for the opportunity to take this couch and put it in their living room. I thought maybe they’d feel everything we’d put into the couch, that they’d notice how we’d broken in the cushions by cuddling and climbing and, occasionally, jumping. I wondered if they’d understand the life the couch had lived before they started writing their own stories with it. But that’s not what happened.

One day, I walked outside and saw a man get out of a large truck. His flashers were on and he blocked half of the road. The bed of his truck had five or six couches standing on their sides, each of them looking dirty and old. With gloves on his hands, he lifted the couch up and threw it in with the others. It was painfully impersonal, and the slightest bit violent. I quickly walked back inside.

I thought about the couch for the rest of the day, wondering where it was. I wondered if eventually the angle put pressure on one of the buttons and made the seat recline. If as the man drove down the road, the couch spit out a footrest as it had done thousands of times before, waiting for one of us to lay down, sick or tired or ready to watch a movie. It took a little extra oomph to click the footrest back into place, but I suppose he’d have to figure that out on his own.   

July & August Favorites

We are back with another edition of Favorites, where I tell you all the things that I’ve loved over the last two months. You know the drill. Let’s get right into it.

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Podcasts

First up, Workin On It, a podcast put on by Meghan Trainor and her brother Ryan. I love podcasts that make you feel like you’re sitting in a room talking with (or eavesdropping on) some friends and this is one of those podcasts. Plus, it’s based around the concept that we are all works in progress, always “working on” something, and so it’s given me some great advice and encouragement along the way!

I fell in love with Toni Collier and the Still Coloring podcast pretty much instantly. The name comes from the idea that “broken crayons still color”, and so the podcast is all about finding beauty in brokenness. I am consistently encouraged and inspired by the honest, faith based conversations that take place, and the space that Toni creates for her guests.

I have no shame in admitting that I was a diehard Laguna Beach fan back in the day. So when I heard that Kristin and Stephen (if you know, you know) were doing a rewatch podcast, I was all in. Back to the Beach is fun and nostalgic, and also gives a lot of behind the scenes information. I’ve had so much fun rewatching the show and then listening to the recaps episode by episode. It’s hilarious to see the show with my 30 year old eyes, compared to my 14 year old eyes—they see a bit differently.

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Books

I’ve been on a bit of a memoir binge lately. They have been my go-to audiobook that I like to listen to in the mornings while I get ready for work, and in the afternoon on my drive home. I like memoirs in general, but I especially like hearing them read by the author because I feel like it lets you in on their emotions, and you can hear the exact intonation they wrote in.

My number one recommend would be I’m Glad that My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy, which I thought was incredibly well written and so gripping. I also loved Happy People are Annoying by Josh Peck, and No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny.

And if you’re not interested in memoirs, two other favorites from this month would be Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman and One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle.

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Movies

I saw Where the Crawdads Sing in theaters and loved it. I was so excited to see the story brought to life because I was such a big fan of the book, and I thought it was adapted really well. I’d recommend both the book and the movie!

I also liked Purple Hearts on Netflix, which tells the story of a singer/songwriter and a marine, who get married solely for the military benefits, not really taking into account all of the potential consequences. It was sweet, the perfect watch for a movie night at home.  (find it on Netflix)

And finally, it is both easy and hard to recommend Thirteen Lives. It’s easy because it’s an INCREDIBLE story. It follows the rescue of the Thai soccer team that got trapped in a cave in 2018. But it’s hard because, at least for me, it was almost overwhelming to watch. The trauma of being trapped in that cave for WEEKS, and the miraculous nature of the rescue. It was a tense watch. SO good. But tense. I knew what was going to happen and I still felt nauseous for almost the entire thing. (find it on Amazon Prime)

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TV Shows

I’m a big fan of Sally Rooney and I loved Hulu’s adaption of Normal People, so I was very excited to watch their adaption of Conversations with Friends. You definitely have to go in ready for a slower pace, because so much of Sally Rooney’s work is dialogue and complicated human emotions. It’s a quiet show, if that makes sense, but it was a comforting watch. Comforting in the way that it shows how flawed and complicated people are—how no one really has everything figured out and how everyone has a lot going on. I loved it. (find it on Hulu)

I heard about Claim to Fame and was not convinced it would be my style, but it has absolutely sucked me in and I look forward to it every week. The show started with twelve contestants, all of whom are related to someone famous, and the goal is to figure out who each celebrity relative is. There are challenges every week that give clues and then at the end of every episode there is a “guesser” who tries to reveal the identity of one of the other contestants. It’s fun and easy to watch and has had me saying, “oh my gosh WHO DOES SHE LOOK LIKE?” over and over and over. (find it on ABC or Hulu)

The Bear was a show that I didn’t hear anything about until suddenly it was the ONLY thing I was hearing about. It follows a chef who has to leave his prestigious restaurant to take over his brother’s sandwich shop in Chicago. It was unique and stressful and gave a cool look at the inner workings of a kitchen. (find it on Hulu)

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Music

Firstborn by Nicolle Galyon

Bad Together by Rozzi

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Misc

I read an article (that I can no longer find) that ranked the best ice cream sandwiches. It put FatBoy Ice Cream Sandwiches at the top of the list, so I immediately decided this is something that I needed to confirm or deny. I wanted to know what earned this sandwich the top spot, but I also wanted an excuse to try a bunch of ice cream sandwiches. So my mom and I have set out on a quest to find “the best” in our opinion. Though I’ll admit, these are the best so far…


Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

Savor the Silver

On a recent episode of Couple Things, Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and her husband Andrew East were talking about things they wish they knew when they were young adults.

I liked the episode as I feel like you can never get too much good advice. And one thing that stuck out to me was, “focus more on how your life feels on the inside than it looks on the outside.”

As an example, Shawn briefly told the story of her experience getting a silver medal in the all-around competition at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She said that she was incredibly proud of herself and her performance, and felt like she’d done the absolute best that she could. By contrast, in the balance beam event, she won gold but felt like she could have done better.

After the all-around event, when being interviewed by the press, they focused on that second place finish. They asked her what she did wrong, or what else she could have done to secure herself the gold. But in thinking and reflecting on it, she was more proud of her silver than she was of her gold.

I (like many of us) don’t believe I will ever find myself competing at an Olympic level, but there are many aspects of my life where I catch myself believing that if I am not actively succeeding, if I’m not the best, if I’m not perfect, or if my life isn’t outright impressive to other people, I’m doing something wrong.

Why?

Because I feel like every time I talk to someone new, every time I sit down to talk to a friend I haven’t seen in a while, I feel like they’re going to react the same way the press did to Shawn Johnson. I feel like everyone is ready to ask me what else I could be doing and why I’m not doing it.

Are you really happy with silver?

But rather than silver they say something about my life that they find dissatisfying or unimpressive or just plain boring. Surely they could pick apart the things I like to do, or the path I’ve chosen to get here, or the biggest dreams I have for my life. Given the chance, anyone can make you feel like you are living a silver medal life.

But if that silver means I’m happy, inspired, content, and hopeful for the future; if it means I’m doing everything in my power to make my life a good one, and my days are filled with people and things that make me feel loved and accepted and grateful then PASS ME THAT SILVER BABY. Because it’s a gold to me!

Everyone’s opinion of what makes a “good life” or a “gold medal life” is going to be different. So it’s a waste of time to try and shape your life into their idea of what is “the best.” We are all actively competing in the “all around” life event, but the only person we’re up against is ourselves. We are the athlete and the judges and the press. We know what it feels like to give our best, and we know what it feels like to do our best. So why give anyone else a scorecard or opinion?

Do what feels good. Try and keep trying. Find what makes you happy. And strive for your own version of success. Focus on what your life feels like on the inside rather than what it looks like on the outside.

After the Small Talk, We’re Just Us

Every year, my grandpa’s side of the family gets together at the end(ish) of summer. Sometimes we call it a “family reunion”, other times we call it the “summer sizzle”, but really it’s just our annual summer appointment to hang out with each other. We head down to the coast and we barbecue and we watch the sun move from high in the sky to just above the horizon. It’s a good day. It’s always a good day.

But typical of any get together, there’s a beginning. The part where we are so happy to see each other but don’t always know where to start. We get together twice a year, so usually when the end of summer rolls around we haven’t seen each other since our holiday get together in December. So as we hug and smile and start our day together, we try to figure out where we’ve been and what we’ve done in the last eight months—which can be tricky, because sometimes it’s hard to remember what happened in the last eight days.

What stories do we have to share? What made us laugh or cry or shifted our perspective? Did we travel anywhere? Are we living somewhere new? How about those Dodgers? Is there any good gossip to spill?

Even with family, there can be that moment of nerves or awkwardness or pause as you skim through the days that have passed since you’ve last seen each other, through all the good and the bad, wondering where to start when someone says, how are you?

But the best part of family—or at least our family—is that there’s space for that. Space for pause, space for awkwardness, space for you to consider the question and how deep you want to go with it. Because in my family—my great, big family—there is always someone willing to lend an ear, or to gossip with, or to joke around with, or to sit quietly next to. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it as you walk around the patio or stand in line for food or lounge around on the couch.

In my family, there is permission to just be. And that doesn’t come with a responsibility to say everything on your mind or tell every secret or have everything figured out. It doesn’t require you to always know what question to ask, or to necessarily say anything at all. In my family, and on this day, there is room to just embrace the love being offered, and to pass it on to the next person.

So even when things feel shy in the beginning, when we don’t quite know where to start, we know that in time—sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a few hours, sometimes as the sun makes it final descent—there will always be ease waiting on the other side.

And by the end of the day, when we’re all tired and a little dehydrated, when we’re no longer sitting up straight on the couches, but slouching into each other with feet propped up on knees and elbows tangled with elbows and heads resting in laps, we’re saying anything that comes to mind. We’re loose and we’re giggling and we’re delaying the end of the night. We’re sassy and we’re repeating inside jokes that took shape earlier in the day. We’re debriefing and we’re already planning when we’ll see each other again, because for the last eight hours we’ve been reminded of the ease that exists here, and we want to make plans to find it again, as soon as possible. Because after the small talk, we’re just us, we’re family. And that’s what makes it a good day.

Embrace Your Multitudes

I just finished watching The Bear on Hulu. While I haven’t counted, I’m probably a season or two behind on at least 15-20 other shows. My wishlist on the library app is 150 books deep. My bucket list has 64 items and only six are crossed off.

When I get an idea for an essay or a blog, I write it down in a moleskin notebook I carry around in my purse. Sometimes I write paragraphs, sometimes I write miscellaneous words, knowing that I’ll understand what I mean later.

When I wake up in the morning, I have a thousand things running around in my head. What I want to do, what I should do, what I could do, what I’ve been needing to do for too long. Little sparks of inspiration and courage flash through my mind, telling me, maybe this is the day we try this or maybe we’re brave enough to start taking steps toward that. And waves of anxiety interrupt those thoughts, saying I don’t think we can do this and we’ll never be good enough for that.

I know my hopes, I know my dreams. I know where I want to be in five years. I know where I want to be in forty. Or at least I think I do. I know what I want based on all the things I know right know.

Some of what I think, I write about. Some of what I think, I share with friends, family or even acquaintances and strangers. But a lot of what I think, a lot of what I know, a lot of what I imagine, is just mine. It lives in my head and it stays there.

A big part of my world is just my mind. It’s the colors it knows, the sounds and the smells. It’s the feelings it feels—sometimes different than the people around me. It’s the way I want to be seen and the way I’m afraid I might be seen. It’s all the things I’ve collected, all the things I’ve explored, and all the things I’m waiting to discover. Everything is a layer, a piece, a portion, a reason, a quirk, a characteristic of me. And no one else has all the same parts.

No one else knows what I’m thinking about when I’m staring off into space. No one knows the exact shade of blue I see when I look up at the sky. No one knows what the sun feels like when it hits my skin. No one knows all the stories I want to write. No one knows all the doors and corners and gardens and gravestones that live inside me.

Last week, there was a terrible car accident in Southern California. A drunk driver sped down a side street, ran a red light and crashed into multiple vehicles, one of which exploded on impact.

In a blink, lives were lost. In a blink, a person, a collection of colors and sounds and smells, of doors and corners and gardens, of layers and pieces and portions was gone—and not just one.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Haven’t stopped imagining what it would be like to be gone in an instant—never even knowing I was leaving.

Sometimes after car accidents like this I try to take comfort in hearing that someone was “killed on impact”, because it meant they felt no pain. But it’s overwhelming—incomprehensible, really—to grasp the weight of a loss that happens in an instant.

All those things that live inside a mind, all the hopes and dreams, all the plans not yet shared, all the one-word notes that won’t make sense to anyone else. Gone.

I’m not one to always treat myself nicely. I don’t spend enough time appreciating the value of being alive—of being me and being alive. But there’s something so strange about knowing that it can all be gone. That sometimes people are just gone. That every day, the world loses unique, creative, inspiring, one of a kind, irreplaceable people. And we never get to know all the things they knew. Never get to see all their colors.

There are so many things happening inside me—inside all of us—all the time, all at once. We are so much. We are so many. We are each an entire universe. And I think sometimes we forget.

We don’t know how long we will be here. How much time we have to share our universe with the world. But we do have a choice each day to appreciate the tremendousness of our lives. To realize how much exists in us, how many colors and corners. To see our abundance and that in those around us.

So today I’m just trying to appreciate it all. Everything that I am, as imperfect as that may be. And I hope you’ll do the same.

Embrace your multitudes. The world is lucky to have you.

You Might be the Answer

It’s always easy to imagine that when you meet someone new or put yourself out there, things aren’t going to work out. It’s easy to imagine being rejected, which is why we often don’t want to put ourselves in that position to begin with.

Saying the wrong thing, tripping over your own feet, doing something awkward with your hands or your face, not remembering a single word, or worrying that nothing about you—no part of your life—makes you worthy enough for someone’s attention, affection or love. It’s easy to imagine all the bad things. Because it’s easy to assume they’re all true. After all, they have proven so, haven’t they? We all have that list of moments that live on in our minds, reminding us of the times we were less than perfect or the farthest thing from it.

But one thing I don’t think we wonder about enough, one thing we might never even consider, is that maybe we’re not time bombs. Maybe we’re not mistakes waiting to happen or dark clouds on our way to ruin someone’s day. Maybe, just maybe, we’re the answer.

Maybe someone out there, in the far future or on this very day, is looking for you. Hoping for you. Maybe the exact thing they need to hear is something you’re going to say. Maybe the smile or hug or text message or gift or shoulder to lean on is going to come from you. Maybe the answer to the prayer someone has been praying over and over and over is you.

Not because you are perfect or because everything went according to plan. Not because you never made a mistake or wore the exact right outfit or knew exactly what to say, when to say it and who to say it to. Not because you were cool or pretty or skinny or in shape. Not because you have everything together or nothing left to figure out. You’re the answer just because you’re you.

Isn’t a wonderful thing to consider that just by being you, day in and day out, you have the potential to make someone’s life better? You open the door for someone’s dreams to come true. You give someone that deep breath, that belly laugh, that safe place, that moment of connection, those butterflies in their stomach, that feeling of refreshment—of love, of peace.

Imagine that today, you are the answer to the question someone’s been asking, or perhaps the answer someone doesn’t even know they’re looking for. And all you have to do is be yourself.

Try letting those thoughts be louder than the ones telling you you’re doing it all wrong. They have just as much of a right to be heard. And they have just as much of a chance of being true.

200 Time Time Capsule Blog #9

Has it really been 200 days already!?

In one sense, I feel like YES, January was 45 years ago, so much has happened since then, omg.

But in another sense I’m like, WOAH, it feels like yesterday.

Either way, we are back for another time capsule.

I always love getting these ~letters from the past~.

At the beginning of this one, I wrote, “Wishing you well on these next 200 days. Do your best and give yourself grace.”

That’s so nice, past me. I think I’ve done that, but there’s always room to do better. In these next 200 days, may we all strive for better.

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): January 5th, 2022

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2) Describe yourself today

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): I feel calm. Which is kind of funny because looking at my crazy schedule for the next 6 months, there is NO reason to be calm. But I have been really prioritizing doing things that make me feel good (going on walks, doing yoga, cooking dinner, reading my Bible, working on my counted cross stitch, calling friends on the phone, going to bed early, etc.) and it has made me feel really good. It makes me excited for the year to come because I feel like I can always come back to this place if I get stressed. Aside from that, I’m in jeans and a sweater, in full New Year mode, wanting to learn and achieve everything all at once and practically bursting at the seams from the anticipation of what might come next. And yet, calm.

The funny thing about this is that around this same time, I was talking to my friend Nicole on the phone and I said, “I feel like everything is about to change. I don’t know in what way but I just feel like a lot of change is coming.” A few weeks later, our apartment flooded, and then over the next couple months we moved out, my sister got engaged and then married, and now I’m living with my parents while I look for a place of my own. So while I can’t say I’m still completely holding on to that “calm” I am optimistic about what’s coming next.

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3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): I feel like I always start these with “I worked.” She is so brave and hardworking, folks. But alas, I did work today, and I have plans of going for a run in this strangely wonderful 70 degree weather, then I’m going to do some writing, have some leftover roasted cauliflower tacos (yum!) and hangout (from afar) with my sister, who currently has COVID and is locked in her room, so we text and play iPhone games throughout the day. I might encourage us to get ice cream too since that is an *obvious* COVID cure.

Cannot confirm whether or not I went for that run, but a week later, once my sister was COVID free, we went out for ice cream. Two days later, I tested positive and was down for a week. I lost all of my running stamina and haven’t found the motivation to get it back. 🤷

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): Oooh. This is usually an easy one for me, because I’m almost always in the process of overplaying a song, but I don’t have a particular favorite right now. Maybe “Oh My God” by Adele, or one of Leon’s new songs like “Soaked” or “Fade into a Dream.”

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): I just watched Red Notice on Netflix last night, which was pretty good. I’m excited about so many movies coming out this year!! This month alone I’m hoping to see West Side StoryLicorice Pizza, Redeeming Love and Belfast in theaters. 

I saw all but Belfast in theaters (and have yet to see it now that I think about it!) and have been so excited to see a bunch more movies in theaters since. I missed the movies so much during lockdown and I’m trying my best to get there as often as possible.

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6) Who did you last text and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): I texted my sister “Omg SO close to a bullseye” because we’re playing darts on iPhone games. Haha!

These proved to be a lifesaver, both when she had COVID and when I did. I think we tried every game there was, and we weren’t all that good at them lol.

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): Hmm, I don’t know if there is one that stands out above the others. I have my usual list of 17, and then I’ve created a small list of side goals for myself that are just self-care items that I’ve wanted to make habits of for a while, but nothing stands out as “THE ONE.” So maybe I’d just say that my biggest goal is to continue pursuing my best self. My most honest, genuine, and happy self. 

I think I’ve done pretty well at continuing to pursue this. And I think part of living a good life is always pursuing this, as our “best” self will look and feel different as we grow and change. My best self now is probably already different than my best self then.

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): There is a TON to be excited about this year. Some friends are getting married, some trips and concerts are on the calendar. But I think the thing I’m MOST excited about would probably be our trip to Nashville coming up in March!

Spoiler alert: Nashville was incredible!

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): That we’ll find ourselves in the same place come this next time capsule (or even next January). I am just so tired of seeing the same arguments, the same news headlines, the same negative, fear based announcements that send the public into a constant tailspin. I really want to have hope that we are headed towards something better and brighter, but a part of me is afraid we won’t make any progress any time soon. 

I’m keeping this worry in my prayers. I like to believe we’re always making progress somewhere, but in some cases I think it’s a one step forward, two steps back type of deal. Nonetheless, I do believe there always room for progress, and there are always people working to make it happen.

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10) What’s the best thing you’ve eaten in the last 200 days?

My answer from the last time capsule (1/5/22): My mom’s Thanksgiving stuffing and/or the 5000 Christmas desserts that I ate for the entire month of December (and most of January).

The summer months in Southern California have not packed their usual grueling, boiling, sweaty punch this year, but I’m already craving those cool(ish) fall months that lead into the holiday season and the DESSERTS. Or maybe I’m just craving a cookie. I can’t be sure.


You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: Tuesday, February 14, 2023!!

As usual, I will excitedly await the arrival of this next time capsule and the future it lives in, but I won’t rush towards it. Here’s hoping there’s lots to enjoy between now and then.

Sending you well wishes. Do your best and give yourself grace ❤️

A Denim Eulogy

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of a dear friend.

Finding friendship is special, but experiencing true friendship is rare. I feel thankful to have experienced both.

A true friend is someone who is there for you on your good days and bad days. Someone that makes you feel like yourself, even when the rest of your world might be up in flames. A true friend asks nothing more from you than who you are—who you REALLY are—and tells you that person is more than enough.

I hope that many of you know (and have) the kind of friend I’m talking about. I hope that you are keeping them close, appreciating each and every day that you have with them while you still can. Because time moves fast. And you never know when life is going to throw you a curveball you didn’t expect. You never know when your favorite jeans are going to rip.

Yes. That’s right. I stand here today, emotional and broken, knowing that no matter what I do, no matter what I say, my favorite jeans are gone. They have ripped. Not just your innocent, across the knee but we can make it trendy kind of rip. But the terminal, upper thigh, if I stretch or bend with too much enthusiasm things could get *spicy* kind of rip.

One morning on my drive to work I felt an unfamiliar breeze, so I looked down and there she was. A patch of my bare thigh. Pale and heartbroken. Knowing full well we should not be making eye contact. She knew what it meant. We both knew.

Which is why, even though the risk was high, even though my job requires me to sit and stand frequently, climb stairs, and often squat down to reach drawers of various file cabinets; even though my outfit could become one which made me skitter away to my car and drive home, perhaps with one butt cheek singing in the wind; EVEN THOUGH I am lucky enough to own other pairs of jeans that are not ripped and, perhaps more importantly, not six years old, and thus not as thin as a piece of paper, I continued my drive to work. I let my jeans have one last ride. I let them see the world one last time.

Now, it would be easy to say that I could just throw these jeans away and move on. They were cheap, they were not made to last, they arguably should have been thrown away two years ago when I realized they provided little to no warmth during the winter months. But, as many women might know, buying jeans is a nightmare. If you were to ask me what size jeans I wear, firstly I would slap you in the face, but then I would tell you I didn’t know. Because who could know when every single store tells you different?

But in a world full of uncertainty, inconsistency and injustice, THESE JEANS WERE THERE FOR ME. They protected me—not from the cold, or really from the sun, as I received many a splotchy sunburn on my knees during our friendship—but from shame and discomfort. These jeans welcomed me every time I put them on, with the waistband landing at exactly the right spot on my hips, and the length neither being too long or too short. These jeans worked with boots, sandals, heels, and the occasional UGG. These jeans took me to work and to nights out on the town. These jeans never judged me, never reminded me that I had eaten a cookie every day of the holiday season, and never went rogue in the washer and came out a different color, size or shape.

These jeans were reliable, they were comfortable, and they were loyal.

So thank you, jeans, for being you, and for letting me be me. Thank you for holding on as long as you could, and thank you for not splitting down the middle at work and making my shift R-rated.  You will be greatly missed, always remembered, and forever loved. RIP.