Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ideas for Getting Over Someone Special-- A Working List

[ x ] Create an angsty/sexy you tube playlist

[ x ] Learn something new

[  ] Take yourself on a date

[ x ] Turn your radio up when your heart falls down

[ x ] Get PR's in your favorite workouts

[ x ] Spend time with somebody that tells you your beautiful

[ x ] Visit family.

[ x ] Post endless selfies on Social Media sites that said person has access to

[  ] Engage in guilty pleasures - like death metal and rocky road ice cream (best enjoyed together)

[  ] Explore a new religion or way of living- and try it out for a while

[ x ] Look through every picture that person has posted on Facebook

[  ] Put on a good movie and work on a craft

[ x ] Re-read a favorite novel 

[  ] Re-read a favorite novel that has nothing to do with love and romance.

[  ] Attempt to illustrate the drama between the butterflies in your stomach and the pit in your heart

[  ] Destroy something that doesn't matter

[  ] Sit on the couch and binge eat m&m's while watching reality TV

[ x ] Perform push ups to failure.

[ x ] Wax poetic on the struggles of getting older and compartmentalizing

[ x ] Watch Leonardo Dicaprio movies on repeat and slow-mo his entry scene. 

[ x ] Chat with old friends about your younger years

[ x ] Travel

[  ] Stare at at a wall and recount every interaction you've had with said person

[ x ] Ask strangers for stories

[ x ] Learn to love yourself

[ x ] Laugh

[ x ] Cry

[ x ] Revisit your favorite place

[ x ] Take photos of something beautiful

[   ] Get a tattoo

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I hadn't been to Texas in the summertime in ages. I've smartly taken the opportunity to spend my summers in drier or cooler climates for the last 5 when I received permission  to hop a flight or two to my soggy state, I jumped at the opportunity.
The first thing I noticed upon stepping from the airport was the warm hug that the air in Texas gives you when you arrive. Driving back from the airport in my Dad's car, surveying the flooding beneath the orange mammatus clouds, I felt a lot of things. Many emotions were swirling through my body the way the tornadoes had swirled through the skies just hours before: Stress melting away from months of hard work, sadness unfolding from unreciprocated intentions, loss from leaving friends and changing relationships, and hope for reconnecting and renewal.

I stood in the backyard amongst a graying orange sky and felt the air against my skin. The crickets were chirping heavily in the dark green grass, and birds still twitted from within the deep green leaves. It felt so familiar and so far removed. Here I am.
I remembered right away how nice it is to have a fan blowing the warm air around. Later on I noticed how much condensation forms on the sides of glasses here, and how quickly ice cubes melt. I quickly remembered the sticky sensation after a shower, and felt the perpetual sweat I had longed for on chilly nights in the desert.
I had forgotten how alive it is here in this Texan tropic. Having lived amongst the fence lizards and road runners for years, with the sky offering the greatest variety in species (in cloud variations), I had forgotten the abundance of life here in Texas. On this short trip, I have explored these environments from the eyes of my cat, counting endless bird calls and being stalked by squirrels. I smelled the rich vanilla scent of a budding magnolia tree, and marveled at the helicopter-like form of a mosquito-like species. I've walked to old favorite hiding spots and surveyed new creeks where there had previously only been rocks.
I went to a bar downtown and achieved my dream of existing in a tank top after the sun set. It felt wrong to not bring a jacket, but it felt so right to drive home with the ac just gently blowing.
I've sat in traffic, identified new condominiums and heard about rent prices skyrocketing. And despite all the emotions I'm pontificating on my travels, I've considered the sustainability of living here.
People have asked me how I can justify living in a desert as an environmentalist. The answer is far from simple, and I think I'll be discovering pieces to it for a long time. What I've remembered from watching the growth of this beautiful city since I've been here is that there are ways to live sustainably in almost every environment. Often they require compromises on certain luxuries, or even what people think are basic rights- like daily showers and access to hot food. But so much can be shifted with a change in mind, I've learned.
As much as I've enjoyed remembering my favorite pieces of this climate, the pleasure I have of my life in Albuquerque has been strengthened. No traffic, bike routes, work that I love. I am so thankul, so so grateful for my present situation.
In feeling the warm embrace of this state, I am filled with so many memories. It is warm here and comforting. And yet, it is stifling. It is strange to sit back in a place that I have spent years moving away from. I have had many thoughts and much reflection time on my visit back home, but most of them reminded me of being a 17 year old angsty and artful teenager. I'm ready to return to my world as a 27 year old and make some new memories.
Everytime I leave Texas I feel a longing to come back. And everytime I return my desires here are less fulfilled. I think it's time to spread my wings from this great state and ride the wind to the next adventure.

Thanks, Texas. <3

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Een beetje lichtheid

I realize that I often unload a lot of my deep, and heavier thoughts. I make mention of the joys in my life, but it's usually as evidence for a dogmatic shift I'm hoping to influence you into. Today however, I wanted to share something light, maybe inspiring, but very beautiful.
Today was a big day. I cried great tears of joy today, and all for something relatively simple.
Ever since finding the quote by Albert Camus:
vivre et de créer au point de larmes
 Which translates to "Live and Create to the point of tears" I have tried to embody that sentence. Whether I'm taking a walk, having a conversation, or eating a sandwich, if I live to the point of tears, I am fully aware of the incredible energy around me. And many times, by living on the verge of tears, your levvy fills up, and a sweet warm drop of internal emotion spills down your cheek. And you feel totally human...and beautiful.
Today was one of those days.
I woke up at 4:45 to get some things in order before I had to commute out of town for a gig. I even got a quick workout in and made a delicious carob/banana/strawberry/cherry/oat smoothie. When I arrived at our base camp 100+ miles later, the first thing I noticed was the sweet, damp smell of the pines. To me that smell is congruous to the smell of walking into your house on thanksgiving smelling mom's mashed potatoes in the oven. She doesn't always make that treat, but when she does you know that smell. 

Soon after the smell got familiar to my nose, we began our activity leading a group of teachers through some culminating processing of their two years in Teach for America. While walking down the trail from that activity to our next, a reading that my co-worker had picked out called The Other Way to Listen, I saw a little bug crawling up the grass. I stopped in my tracks. It looked like a cicada. I had only ever heard them, or found them dead at the end of the summer, but this one was low to the ground and must have recently emerged. I stooped and picked it up, feeling it's little climbing claws hold onto my finger. I carried it down the trail a little ways, then stopped in awe, noting that one of it's wings hadn't quite finished developing since it emerged from it's molt, and wondering if it could fly, much less make that infamous clicking sound with its wings.

One of the things that has amused me so much about these desert cicadas is their small size, and the considerable difference in sound they make compared to the Cicadas of central America, and especially the 13 and 17 year cicadas of the East.
After admiring him for a bit, he flew off, much to my amazement, about 15 feet above my head. I signed, expressing to my coworker how I had always wanted to see a live one, and we settled in for our reading...but the true sounds of nature had yet to be revealed.
Less than an hour later, feeling the sweat build in the places that sweat does, I found myself walking back through the trails to grab something. I noted the warmth of the day- reflecting that even 5 days ago when I was out here, there was still a sort of crispness of winter. Spring had finally emerged. I saw an Indian Paintbrush blooming, and heard crickets. Lizards were growing in abundance from my last visit, as were the hummingbirds. I have worked at this base camp for 3 years, but I always come into the lush life that is the warm season, I never to get to see the change as starkly as I did today.
On my way back from the mess hall, I noticed another little creature climbing up a blade of grass. This one, however, was bright orange. As I let him crawl onto my finger I discovered that his exoskeleton was soft, almost fuzzy. He must have emerged within the hour (I assume) from his subterranean home, and begun his journey up. Despite his age, he definitely had a strong instinct to climb. I moved him to a nearby tree and I saw another one. Throughout this moment it really hit me-- not only was I to see and touch a cicada today, but I was seeing them emerge from their molt, a true symbol of metamorphosis. I snapped some shots- of the insects, and of me crying about it..and carried on.
Bright orange cicada?
Bright green cicada?!

The greatness of the day wasn't over, however. Later I got to return a soggy baby rabbit to its hole after it had been chewed on by a friendly dog. I'm not sure if the rabbit will survive, which is unfortunate...but there isn't a shortage of them around. I have been hoping to catch a rabbit around here for years as well, and I got to feel the soft (wet)ness of its fur, and the way it trembled with newness.
And yet, day of curiosity and crossing things off my Base Camp bucketlist wasn't complete.
Our final activity took place under some towering Ponderosa pines. These are the same pines from which we've heard a friendly owl for the last few weeks. On Tuesday I tried to find his/her nest, but only found the owl, and it flew away as I got near. Today, however, while inspecting the tree more thoroughly from different angles, I was able to make out very clearly its nest, and then I set out to achieve another goal- to find an owl pellet to dissect. I walked around the base of the tree that I had checked just days before, and there among the pine needles was a little round gray ball of lint, with a tiny bone sticking out. Success.

These may seem like pretty petty experiences...especially to evoke such strong emotions. But it goes back to Camus. I live each day looking for beauty, and therefore I find it. Sometimes it's in the faces of the men standing with signs on the side of the road. Sometimes it's in the shape of a cloud, or a gesture of another human. But increasingly often, it's the sights and sounds of the world around us. The world we don't often get to hear.
If you haven't read The Other Way to Listen, click the link- the full PDF is there. We can all listen. The first step is wanting to. The next step is working toward it. But I promise the rewards are astounding.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Sharing is Caring

Riding  downtown with one of my friends last week, I was struck by something she did. She reached under the radio for a chapstick, used it, and then offered it to me. I wondered if my lips looked chapped, but thought to another event. Earlier at her house, she had offered me half of her banana, and pushed over a jar of almond butter to dip it in. Although things like chapstick and bananas are seen to me as personal items, she clearly has a communal way of thinking. These were not forced or unusual exercises, but rather a continued practice in her habits of sharing.
I guess what stuck me about these actions is that I've been really critical about my hesitation to share lately. Sometimes I'll wait until a time I can eat a snack privately, to avoid giving nibbles to others. Or if I'm really trying to be polite, will offer someone to taste my meal, then hope that they'll take a small bite, or offer them a minimal portion. And then there are a few of my peers, that will reach for food without asking, or puppy-dog-eye me until I feel obligated to give them something. I suppose it's because of my experience with those people that I'm hesitant with others. But that's not a reasonable excuse. Why am I so sheltering of my food, my chapstick, and my stuff, when friends of mine, or even aquaintences are so willing to share? If I dream of living in a society where there are tool libraries and food forests that are open to everyone, then I need to change my habits of sharing, and learn from my friends.
I suppose there's a greater issue at play, and it's not a subtle force. Although I appreciate communalism in theory, I have been raised in a society of capitalists. I have been told all my life that the harder I work, the more I can achieve, and therefore receive. Only once I got to college did I start considering the effects of privilege (so well explained in this video) on my realities, but even then didn't start sharing the way my friends do now.

Isn't sharing one of the first things we learn in kindergarten? How is it then so easily forgotten as we work toward the American dream. Where in the American dream does it ask us to share, to give back, to build community and contribute. Capitalism is an every-man-for-itself sort of system that doesn't work well in a kindergarten classroom. Why not? Because of limited resources. Just as our earth only has a finite amount of coal, a classroom only has a certain set of markers, or only one Goodnight Moon book. If Josh and Julie and Jamie all want to read the book, they're instructed to Share. But when Josh and Julie and Jamie are land developers all wanting to repurpose a plot of land with a beautiful little pond, the spoils go to the one with the most money, the loudest mouth and the deepest connections. 

Can you imagine a world where our kindergarten emphasis on sharing extended to the finite resources that we're currently exploiting? Like many changes I dream up on my blog, we won't shift to a sharing society overnight, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. I challenge you to share something. Share a meal with a stranger, or an old friend. Share a jacket with a homeless man. Share your sewing machine with a neighbor. I guarantee you'll feel great. I know, cause I've started sharing.