Thursday, May 26, 2016

Jacaranda Season

It’s finally been overcast these last few days, and the jacarandas are blooming wild and purple and raining petals on the street. 

It’s funny, these past couple of months have been so big, quitting my job and learning this new life, this new life that feels so unfamiliar and so good just the same, and yet, still, it’s the little moments that stand out the most. Like how Z and I went to Huntington Gardens with our friends Phil and Dama (and I don’t even think it’s called Huntington Gardens, come to think of it, but it should be called that because it’s basically all different gardens spreading around for miles, and it’s just plants and roses and bamboo and sky for forever). We wandered the grounds and sat down and watercolored. Well, I mean, they watercolored. I tried, and then got frustrated. Pretty much I don’t know how to watercolor, and I kind of don’t even know how to try to watercolor. So I just read a book. But being there and meandering around and sitting on blankets under the long shadows of tree branches. That’s the kind of day I like. When you’re sort of just here, with no questions and no struggle, but just breeze and friends and grass under your feet and bags of mangos and spicy almonds. 

And then there was another night where we played trivia at a bratwurst place with our friend Jarred (the rest of the team didn't show up, so we were down a few brains) and there were the most bizarre specific questions. I mean, I guess they wouldn’t be if you knew the answers. Jarred at least knew what most of the questions were referring to, and Z knew a few, and maybe I knew one, so that helped, but we lost anyway. Probably because you can’t really expect to win playing trivia with mostly one team member who seems to know a lot about everything and two who pretty much just know about books. But the veggie bratwurst was kind of amazing, and the french fries, and the dipping sauces, and bonding with our rivals. You don’t always have to win.

Also, we had a slumber party!!!! We spent the night over at Seth and Micaela’s place and something about that was really comforting and good. To be close to people we love and to not have to go home and say goodbye. (Oh, I sound so sentimental. To not have to say goodbye. But it’s true. Things are always leaving us. We're always leaving). And Z and I woke up with dog hair all over us and me sniffling and we were rolling into each other because the air mattress had deflated. So that was kind of fun too. Not something you get to do every day. And we woke up in clothes that weren’t ours and made eggs. Sometimes it feels like these are the ways we live the most. And keep feeling alive and together. When we’re a little bit uncomfortable and so loved. 

It’s a noticeable difference between measuring the days with coffee spoons and actually having coffee handed to you in a cup with someone else’s initial on it when you have dog hair all over you and your smiling friends are standing beside you in sleep shorts. There are just some times when things do not run the risk of feeling mundane. Those are really good times. 

And then even coming back home is fun because it’s like we live in a Parisian cabin. Cluttered and fancy. Not that that’s a thing, Parisian cabins, but if I imagine one, it’s our place. It’s all rumpled striped bed with too many pillows and floral rugs and books everywhere (everywhere) and paint tubes and paintings all over the kitchen. I think I live with Monet sometimes. And the Pulitzer committee stops by every so often and forgets to take their books with them when they leave. And Hemingway secretly places Amazon orders for us that are delivered by drones when we’re not home, just to be funny. 

There's so much good here. Even when everything feels like it’s changing and uncertain and new. It feels like it’s the moments that bind it all together. 

I’m on a new chapter and I still don’t know what this whole story is, but I know I love the small parts, the spine and the words. Like all of those gardens. And trivia that we don’t know the answers to. And dog hair. And air mattresses. And coffee cups. And books. And those purple petals covering the concrete against the grey and the green world outside the window. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Paper Party Hats and Confetti

It’s New Year’s and I’m thinking of when I was young and how my mom used to take my sister and brother and me down to Poppies, our restaurant, to see my dad every New Year’s Eve. It was so lively there with everyone celebrating and we got all bundled up and fancy and got to blow horns and wear party hats and pop those little plastic champagne bottles that blow out paper confetti. It was warm and happy around that wooden bar in the dark greens and reds and candles and the snow outside with everyone singing and blowing on those whistles that don’t make any noise but just unwind a tube of paper. And I was young and everything felt filled with wonder and safe and life was an adventure. And the confetti from those tiny plastic champagne bottles was exciting. And the whistles with no sound. And paper party hats. And everything was good. 

Now Z’s in Colorado for the holidays and he called me and his mom was walking the dog and she fell and broke her hip and now she’s in the hospital and has to have surgery and all of her kids are there with her on New Year’s. And it reminded me of everything. Of being with your family and being a kid and then a grown up and goddammit how hard it all is sometimes. 

I was thinking about all of these things. About being young and excited about paper horns and hats. About parents and children. About how none of it seems to turn out quite like you ever thought it would and everything feels more fragile than it once did. 

And then I lost it. 

I just lost it, in the kitchen, and just broke down and sobbed. Which is something that just happens when you’re alone and thinking of all of the beautiful things in your life and how hard it is still and how hard it is for everyone and all of the love and sadness. And these moments stringing themselves together. And memories. And you still don’t know what you’re doing or supposed to do or how to make ends meet as it were or what to do with your brave little self who has so much joy and just feels it being squashed sometimes. And you’re just losing it in front of your refrigerator and you have to find a way to pull yourself together and kind of laugh a little at how ridiculous it is to be crying in your kitchen just because you opened the refrigerator and thought of something sad that made you think of everything. And how life is just not going how you thought it would or how you think it should even though you are so lucky in so many ways and so blessed to be loved and cared about and have friends and family. But sometimes you just find yourself all alone in the kitchen and you can’t help but cry. 

Because you’re longing for the delight of paper party hats and confetti. And a world that felt secure.