Monday, September 30, 2013

Awakening Dreams

I should mention my mom helped me dig this out of the trash because I wanted to keep it
     This weekend I spent a bit of time thinking about the future, which is a change for me as I usually spend a fair amount of time reflecting on the past. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my current job, my excitement for new opportunities is growing all the time. What if I could write for the newspaper? Be an extra in a Hollywood movie! HELP ASTRONAUTS BUILD A SPACESHIP! (ok, only some of these things are realistic).

     On Saturday I drafted an email to a family potentially looking for help with their preschooler. When I had finished, I asked Scott what I should put as the email subject. He said "Call it 'Children Make Great Foot Rests". I went with "Potential Nanny Position". He's a funny one, that Scott. Later that day he took some photos of me surfing and messed with different camera settings. Then we went home and ate a bunch of popcorn. 

     On Sunday I woke up a little more melancholy than the day before. Following these dreams of mine hasn't exactly been easy, especially not lately. I had to fight off more potential dream-related bad news that arrived in the form of a phone call on Thursday and by Sunday I was feeling discouraged. In the middle of all of this, I found myself sitting in church for the first time in months. And while I'm certainly not about to preach to you about anything, something the priest said stuck with me. You know that (kind of creepy) prayer "If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take..."? Well the priest started saying it "If I wake before I die" and while I was worrying he was having a senior moment of sorts he proved me entirely wrong. He explained "that is my greatest wish for you--to wake before you die; to live a great and beautiful life full of awakening moments." And that really stayed with me. I think I'm hungry for more awakening moments and I hope whatever I find in the future will bring them. 

     Sunday night we went to my parent's house to eat Chinese food and watch the finale of Breaking Bad with the whole gang (all I can say about the ending is wow). My fortune cookie told me Happier days are definitely ahead for you. Struggle has ended. I believe some of this is true and some of it isn't. Life is a never ending struggle of sorts, doesn't it seem? I think that's what makes it worthwhile. But I do believe happier days are always ahead. And although I'll admit that recently I have worried I'm foolish for being a dreamer, I'm back to being happy for my dreams and where they've taken me, even with the struggles.

    Now I'm sitting here writing this all down on a crisp Monday morning as fog pours in through the double doors in the living room. I think I'll have some Chinese food before I set out to pursue these awakening dreams (and make a new resume! It's been a while...)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Every Sandal has a Story + Sseko Giveaway

     I'm am so honored and excited to share today's giveaway with you because this giveaway isn't only about a product I really love, it's for a cause I really believe in (and I have a feeling you will too). 

     Last night, Scott and I went to Daphne's for dinner, but on the way there we stopped at this little plot of land that embodies so much of what natural coastal California is to me-desert plants thriving in the dryness right next to expansive waterways. I wore my new Sseko sandals and Scott took a few photos. That's my story and this is their's... 

      Sseko, an ethical fashion brand located in Uganda, hires women to enable them to earn money through employment that will go directly towards their college educations. If you watched the video above (and I recommend it) you know that in an impoverished and male dominated society like Uganda's, it is challenging for female students to find jobs to help them pay for their schooling. And, although they are driven and qualified, many young women do not continue their education because they can't afford it. Sskeo offers a safe place for women to earn money for school, to live, to create and to be heard. 

     How the sandals work: You pick which strap or straps you want (it's nice to have a variety so you can mix it up and change them to go with the outfit you're wearing). The straps come with the sandal bottom in your specific size and then you can check out the "How-to-tie" page to style them however you want. I wore mine like the classic flip flop, tied around my ankles, but I really love the braided thong design and sidewinder slide styles too. There's so many creative ways to wear them that the sandals feel like so much more than just footwear. Also, to re-state the obvious, by supporting Sseko, you are supporting the next generation of women who will hopefully lead Uganda towards a brighter future! Yes!

     Enter below>> and if you don't win, definitely grab a pair of Sseko's for yourself or a friend or family member!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Off Season

     This morning I spent approximately 20 minutes reading Surfer magazine in bed before doing anything else. I usually get up and make Scott's lunch (PB and J everyday), but on Wednesdays he has half day and comes home for lunch while I work from home. So there I stayed in bed and in my pajamas until it felt like time to surf. I'm predicting socks weather any morning now, but I was happy to walk barefoot to the beach for at least another day. 

    When I got there, it was apparent the wind had beat me by a few hours. I think it made its way around the whole county before sunrise. West winds too, not the eastern ones that blow the tops off of waves and make you feel like you're in a surf movie or under a magical spell. This didn't matter to me, though. I like a good variety in my surf sessions and some wind-blown unpredictable mushburgers feed my surf craving just as well as some glassy five footers do some days. The best part is, nearly no one was out and this might be my favorite surf condition of all (right behind surfing with family and close friends, of course). Somedays you just need the solitude a solo session can bring and today was that day for me. 

     I wore my 2/2mm spring suit for what might be one of the last times this year. Even though the water didn't have a wintery bite, it was sure starting to cool down. Kinda like someone had dropped a few ice cubes into the pacific over night. Seaweed strands were wrapping around my legs and leash like ribbons do around a little girl's pony tail. I swear my shadow seemed darker too, although I think that's only because the sun was so bright overhead. I couldn't see it as I made my way over the ridges and bumps in the wave's faces, but I knew it was back there following me as I sailed towards the sun. 

     Sitting in the ocean really makes me feel the change in the seasons. Southern California's are pretty subtle, but out in the water I feel they are unmistakable. I feel like a little seasonal thermometer soaking out there, deciding with my bare legs if it's really fall or not. My legs said it was fall today and the deserted beach and lack of airplane ads said it was the start of the off season; which is my favorite one of all to be a surfer. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let it Fall Where It May

(somedays I listen to songs over and over again; today it's this one)

   On friday night Basia flew into town. Thank goodness for this, and I mean that for a number of reasons. 1) she's one of my best friends. She lives in the bay area now, but ours is one of those relationships that never really changes despite distance and the passing of time. 2) there was a dog birthday party this weekend and try and give me one good reason why you wouldn't go to one of those (unless, maybe, you're allergic)? Basia's even scared of dogs and still made the 500 mile flight down (and Maddie stopped by too!). Third, I got laid-off from one of my jobs on Thursday and needed some comforting. 

     Winston-the-dog's birthday was more than just a bunch of dog's running around sniffing each other's butts. Basia dropped a whole hamburger on the white carpet and I spilled some red wine. Stephanie and I got some time to discuss our working situations before we ate our veggie burgers. We also took a group picture with mostly everyone except Ben who always asks why he isn't featured on my blog more. It was his choice, though, to miss being in that picture above. I think it went something like this: be featured on The Mermaid Chronicles or go to the Galaxy soccer game? I see how it is. He missed seeing Winston dressed up like a unicorn, too. Next time Ben, next time.
   The next morning Scott, Basia and I surfed, ate popcorn and watched our football teams lose. The weather was so perfect I started wondering if I liked fall more than summer (and I've exclusively thought of myself as a summer girl since I had a crappy school year in third grade). I kept trying to tell Basia how fall-like it felt. She was entirely unconvinced that 70º temperatures meant fall until we saw some grapes being harvested at a local winery and tried cider beer, pulling sweaters over our shoulders once the sun went down. 

     Last Thursday when I got that aforementioned bad news I thought I might not want to talk about it at all with my friends. For the first few hours after I found out that the family I nanny for wouldn't need me now that Kai is in school all that materialized were thoughts from the practical part of my mind. How am I going to supplement that income? What new job makes sense with the other jobs I do? Once hour three hit, the emotional part of my brain (easily the more dominant) kicked in and I realized that the impending goodbye would be far more painful. I thought this pain stood a chance at ruining the weekend, but it ended up staying away just like the clouds in the weather forecast. Being surrounded by people I love tends to make all my worries feel smaller, I was reminded. 

     It won't be easy to embrace this change, but I have to remember that this is how it's supposed to be and battling the order of things is kind of like trying to stay up past your bedtime: you'll inevitably grow tired fighting against something that you need. 

   Some things are a little out of sorts right now. To add insult to injury, Scott got a ticket on the way home from work right after I told him I was going to lose my job. But my mom tells me this is just a part of my journey and Basia says that it's better to have loved Kai than to never've met him at all and Scott tells me it's going to be ok and of course, they are right. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thankful Things

Parts of yesterday straight sucked. I will get to that, but there's still so much to be thankful for. 
This week I'm thankful for...

1. and 2. Surfing for making me fly and fall and feel free and like myself (and on and on and on).
3. Decorating the house for company (do you ever need people to come over to motivate you to finish projects? We made this heart with branches from our pittosporum tree. Easy and free!)
4. For the waves that came back and came from the north.
5. For bees and trees that are pesticide free.
6. Starting some painting projects. I'd never call myself an artist, but I really love art. I miss being assigned art projects like in school, but I've finally motivated myself to start some on my own again.
7. For my home and my freedom. I can always be thankful for that.
8. For this little guy and his little feet. Even if I don't know him forever, he will always be responsible for helping me learn how to take care of people.
9. I'm thankful for changes, even though sometimes they are so hard to embrace.
10. For Scott because he is inspiring and patient and loving and he really gets it (and on and on and on).
11. (not pictured) for my family and funny stories

How about you?

p.s. find my wetsuit on

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New York Bloopers

This past weekend we flew to New York for my cousin Marisa's wedding on Long Island. There were a lot of memorable moments, but these were the best? funniest? most embarrassing? yes.

Top 10.
1. Scott arguing with a dude who was yelling at me and my sisters because he thought we kicked him in the butt at this club (we didn't!)
2. "Let's take quetila shots!" ~my aunt
3. Danielle acting like the girl from "The Ring" in her fancy long dress in our supposedly haunted hotel
4. Marisa eating Doritos in her wedding dress
5. Maddie catching the bouquet and the DJ encouraging the dude who caught the garter to give her a lap dance in front of everyone (including our parents!...yes, Danielle and I were basically falling on the floor laughing!)
6. Singing "Empire State of Mind" on the mic with my cousin and sisters and getting cut-off!
7. Random dude mooning my mom and the mother of the bride (my aunt!) at the hotel pub.
8. Me saying "I think I swallowed a fox!" with real sincerity after getting acid reflux from tequila (quetila!)
9. Danielle getting lost in the hotel and me (drunkenly) thinking it would be a good idea to pull the fire alarm so that we could find her (good thing Maddie was the voice of reason there...)
10. My hair getting a second screening pat down in security on the way home...

alright, now back to surfing and eating healthy...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Polaroids of Vegetarian Food

avocado, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, hummus sandwich on whole wheat bread // kale and lentils sauteed with olive oil
Daphne's felafel pita taco and side Greek salad // garden variety taco with potatoes!
mushroom risotto, green beans sauteed with liquid aminos and sesame seeds and teriyaki tofu// Daphne's California salad with falafel (a favorite of mine)

had any good vegetarian meals lately?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Don't Worry, It's Only Life"

     I feel it might be time to send summer a decent farewell. It's pretty hot around here still and the water's warm, but I know any day now I'll wake to crisp air and cold waves and that will be fine too. It's been hard for me to really process all the events that have graced our calendar this summer. I am hoping my fondness and appreciation for them will grow and surface again in time. I'm counting on fall to help me sort through it all. It's been quite the busy summer, I know I've waxed about this at length, and I've honestly been rather apprehensive of the fact that this might just be how life is now that Scott and I have combined friends, families and schedules, but I'm hoping that with some cool weather and shorter, more structured days that a bit of solitude and calmness will return to our lives. 

    One of the best things that has ever happened to me happened this summer. We went to the Seychelles to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday. That was awesome. He was stoked and our whole family really came together to not only celebrate my dad, but to celebrate each of our unique differences. Scott and I honored our two year wedding anniversary by camping down at San Onofre during a decent south swell, we worked on the house together a lot, visited the lake with Scott's family and even went sailing with a wise neighbor-friend; friends came in and out of town and so did we. And all of this was lovely, it was more than that, it shaped us and brought us together, but with the highs of this season I like to call my favorite, the opposite is inevitable. It's just the way life likes to be, I think. In all the commotion of driving here and flying there, there were times where I was left feeling like I wasn't doing enough. Like I couldn't be everything I wanted for everybody.

     There was one day last week, last Saturday to be specific, where the confident side of my personality wasn't prevailing and I gave in to my anxieties. In this moment it felt painfully obvious that I missed my sister's birthday because I was out of town, I felt like I'd been a pretty angsty wife as a result of our over-booked schedule and after talking to my mom on the phone, I was pretty sure my whole family thought I was selfish (she called back and reassured me that wasn't true). 

     Following all of this, I managed to get up (I was laying on the wood floor in our room cuddling my stuffed dragon) to drive myself in Scott's old Volvo to Anaheim for my Great Aunt's 92nd birthday (he took my car to Lake Mead for a bachelor party). About ten minutes into the drive the air conditioning stopped working and the thought of being in a hot moving metal oven caused me to immediately roll down all the windows to allow the 90º air to blow my hair around. Of course, this made it impossible for me to hear the music playing out of my i-phone sitting in the adjacent cup holder (the CD player is on the list of broken things too). And, because I felt that music was the only thing helping me keep it together in this moment, I moved my iphone from the cup holder to my shoulder and there it perched singing to me for the remainder of the drive.

     Finally, after a few minutes of sitting sweat-soaked on faux sheepskin seat covers driving up the I-5, I pictured what I looked like and started laughing (which probably made me look even crazier!) and I could feel the bright spots in my life again; the humor, the love, and the things I haven't totally screwed up this summer. Sometimes you just need to feel like you are doing something right and in some heat-induced state of delirium I felt I was. I was trying. And sometimes, that's all you can do. Life is short, life is funny, life is tough, but you just have to keep going. We all know this on some level, but you just have to do it; find the good and keep on moving forward. As my mom says "don't worry so much, it's only life."

(one of the songs I was listening to in the volvo that day and all summer)