7 Second Meditation

April 24, 2018 § Leave a comment

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A few years ago I installed some random free meditation app on my phone. It was a stressful time, and I scheduled it to send me a push notification me at the witching hour: 7am. 15 minutes before I was supposed to have everyone fed, dressed, packed, and in the car to make it to school drop off/work on time.  A reminder to breathe instead of explode.

It didn’t really work, but I never took it off my phone. So I still get the notifications at 7am.

This morning, as I was in the process of trying to figure out why my foot kept sticking to the bottom of my pant leg (mysterious, still unidentified brown goo, source unknown), while simultaneously yelling instructions across the house at my four year old who was letting me know that “EDDIE IS CUTTING THE BABY AND DADDY’S PHONE WITH HIS (plastic) KNIFE!!!!!!”, my phone dinged on the dresser next to me.

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No shit. Thanks for the reminder.

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Home Decor

March 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

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When you let your 4 year old go on Amazon with you and tell her she can choose the new shower curtain.

Also, unicorns aside, I had no idea that $60 shower curtains were an actual thing.

We got a new car

March 1, 2018 § Leave a comment

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…and part of my soul died.

Back at it

January 28, 2018 § Leave a comment

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Community is one of the best parts about swimming.  That is, until you are post-partum.

As referenced in the last post, this guy joined us about four months ago:

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I got back in the water as soon as they let me.  Which I thought was a great idea until I tried to fit into my swim suit.

After squeezing myself in, and realizing that the tiny health club towels no longer fit around my new body (ego boost), I spent about 5 minutes in the locker room trying to figure out the fastest way to get out on deck and in the water without running into anyone I knew and getting stuck in a conversation out in the open in my speedo.

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In the end I decided I just had to suck it up and embrace my new winter bod, because it was either that or not swim.

Getting into a bathing suit in public 6 weeks postpartum is a bold move, I know.  But it was necessary.

Because today when I was in the pool I realized it is the one place that I actually have time to myself.  Seriously.  Life has been so chaotic and sleep-deprived the past few months that even when I am sitting in the quiet by myself (generally at 3am with a baby attached to my nipple) I am in a fog. I can’t think. Kind of like being in a dream…and sometimes you actually are in a dream, and then you jerk your head awake and scare the baby and it loses it’s latch and you have to start all over again.

But there is something about exercising, maybe it’s blood flowing to the brain.  I don’t know.  But suddenly my mind kicks into some sort of gear.  For like at least 25 seconds.

And I get ambitious.

By the time I get out of the pool I have, in my mind, on my post-workout high, overcome my fear of sharks, signed up for a channel swim, made a list of 10 blog posts to write, and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Unfortunately, once I get out of the pool and sit down to do anything about it this happens:

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…and then I either fall asleep or spend the rest of the day obsessing about how exhausted I am.

But you have to start somewhere.

Life is Choices

November 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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It sure is.

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Lightbulb

July 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

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3 y/o: Alexa, volume down.

Alexa: Here’s one: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?  Two.  One to hold the giraffe, the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored power tools.

Sometimes I get anxious about having a microphone sitting in our living room, listening to everything, handing over all sorts of valuable information to corporations that will do who knows what with it.  Then something like this happens.  And I wonder how much I should really worry.

My Love Affair with LA

July 19, 2017 § 2 Comments

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Last month Facebook reminded me that three years ago we moved to LA.  And in a few days, we will be leaving LA.

The day I found out we were moving to LA I cried.  A lot.  In public.  I walked outside AT THE MATCHING CEREMONY and cried.  It was embarrassing.

I cried because I knew LA was sprawl and crowded and smoggy and congested was not a place I wanted to live.

A decade ago I spent a year living in a small town in the Czech Republic.  It was (is) landlocked, formerly of the Eastern Bloc, with cold winters, few English speakers, high levels of alcoholism, and weird, pickled food.

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I loved it.

This past fall, my friend from Brno came to visit LA, and she became mildly obsessed with California.  She couldn’t get over the beaches and the mountains and the culture, and about halfway through her trip asked me if I had liked living in Brno.  I told her I loved Brno.  She stared at me, baffled.  “Why?  It’s so boring!”

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Yes, Brno is small and cold and dark.  But it also has wonderfully warm people, cobble stone streets, and fantastic beer.  It has a castle and bizarre local legends and an entire holiday culture that revolves around day drinking plum brandy made in people’s basements.  Brno will never be Southern California, or San Francisco, or New York.  But you won’t find stuffed crocodiles hanging from the ceiling of the Town Hall in any of those places either.

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When we moved to LA I discovered that I was not wrong about LA.  It is, in fact, congested.  And smoggy.  This afternoon it took me 45 minutes to drive 5 1/2 miles (which, if I’m being generous, is a distance that at one point in my life I could have run faster).

But when I stopped fighting, stopped believing somewhere deep inside that if I were angry enough about the traffic and smog that they would go away and started accepting the place for what it was, I began to notice things.

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Like all the cultural landmarks:

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And incredibly long, uninterrupted bike paths:

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And quiet views:

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And local spots:

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And sun.

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It actually is the LA of the movies.  The same way Brno is the Brno of Kundera.  And Kentucky is the Kentucky of this dude.

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Paul once told me that when he drove from Kentucky out to California for the first time and saw signs for Los Angeles, he got super excited.  He said his whole life California had been some place that you heard about and saw in movies, it didn’t seem real.

One day in grad school as we made the trip from San Diego north and passed under the sign for the 405 to Los Angeles, something he had done dozens of times since that first trip, he said it still gave him butterflies.

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When you are new to a place, or are visiting it, it is easy to pick up on the things that make it unique.  The people, the food, the stereotypes…you see it everywhere.

The longer you stay somewhere, the less you notice.

You stop realizing that finding yourself in the middle of Ice Cube’s posse at the airport doesn’t happen in Kentucky.  You catch yourself talking about The Valley and riding #murderoustrains that leave you stranded in Crenshaw or chatting with soap opera stars in your lap lane at the local public pool.  You forget that eating at the best taco trucks in the world and trying to decode parking signs, or sitting next to a former teen heart throb that recently started a cult while at a fundraising fashion show for some cause that I can’t even remember isn’t the norm just anywhere.  It’s so LA.

And when you can hold on to that, when you can remember to embrace a place for what it is, life is so much better.

So on those days when I’m sitting in traffic on the 405, dead stopped, sweating in a cloud of heat and smog, one of a million+ gridlocked cars, feeling the road rage well up inside, I roll down the window, look up at signs for Mullholland Drive or Inglewood or Hollywood, think of all the lyrics and movie titles and iconic images inspired by those places, envision all the celebrities sitting in that same traffic next to me, feel the sun on my face, and invite the butterflies.