July 21, 2015 § 4 Comments
It’s the story of a family that lost an infant and donated his organs, then went to find out what had come of the donations. The podcast doesn’t harp on the pain of losing a child (though clearly that’s part of it), but rather their journey to discover the impact the short life of their son had had on the world.
At the end (SPOILER), the mother reflects on how those few years of her life changed her perception of…well, everything.
Something shifted in me. … (Before) I had felt like I was a boat on an ocean that was rocky and choppy with waves. And then I had this feeling that I’m not the boat, I’m the ocean. Like, the decisions that I make are changing other people, as opposed to just I’m a boat being slapped with waves all the time.
It has made me feel…powerful.
It’s a good one.
June 8, 2015 § 3 Comments
When you swim you spend a lot of time staring at the bottom of a pool. Turns out there are quite a few things down there. You have your hairballs, bandaids, pennies, leaves, an occasional quarter…just general debris. At practice on Friday there was something (I’m pretty sure it was a piece of plastic tangled in some leaves and sticks) sitting about 3 yards from the wall in the deep end, and every time I swam over it I’d see it out of the corner of my eye and be like, “OMG A TINY SWORDFISH HEAD!” because out of the corner of your eye, that’s what it looked like.
A few weeks ago I saw a scrunchie on the bottom of the pool.
It was also in the deep end, and during my first pass I thought, “Maybe I mis-saw.” But sure enough, on the second pass I confirmed: a navy blue scrunchie.
This was confusing on a number of levels. I spent the next who knows how long envisioning various scenarios as to how a scrunchie could have ended up on the bottom of a pool this close to Hollywood. Was it a tourist who accidentally thew it into the pool while shaking out her towel? Or maybe someone threw it in the pool over the fence as a joke, and it landed in the pool. But wouldn’t a scrunchie float for a while? At least long enough for someone to pull it out? Or maybe someone saw their friend wearing it and, in a moment of horror, threw it in the pool intentionally because (to channel Carrie Bradshaw) no respectable woman in LA would be caught dead wearing a scrunchie.
This entire internal exchange took a while and pretty accurately captures the excitement that is lap swim.
So I came home and, in trying to find a decent version the SATC scrunchie scene (which I could not), came across a four-part lecture on the scrunchie. In addition to the lecturer questioning whether the scrunchie was, in it’s hayday, a symbol of the new world order, “embodying the qualities that made American capitalism so successful: adaptability, energy, and ruthless practicality,” he also reminds the audience that while the scrunchie may no longer experience the same following it once did, because of these qualities (aesthetics, practicality) the scrunchie is still popular among gymnasts and equestrian competitors. Good point. Maybe it was an equestrian professional at the pool that forgot she was wearing a bun and just dove in.
I also learned that there was a scrunchie present at the fall of the Berlin Wall, and that Rommy Revson, the inventor of the scrunchie, is still a kajillionaire.
Then last week, while sitting at the DMV, I saw no less than 3 SCRUNCHIES being worn on the head of (presumably) LA residents. I would never have noticed before. Diversity abounds in this great city.
…and this, my friends, is just another lesson as to how the seemingly solitary act of swimming can open your eyes to things you didn’t even know you needed to know in the big wide world around you.
May 5, 2015 § Leave a comment
April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
The other day I was doing work at a hip, super minimalist cafe located in an old warehouse that only provides agave syrup to sweeten your artisanal coffee, and I watched while the girl sitting next to me spent (no exaggeration) 10 minutes arranging her glass of coffee (coffee here is served in glasses, water in mason jars) and the 2 succulent plants on the table, and took about 45 pictures from about 20 different angles.
It took a very long time. She looked ridiculous. And her coffee must have been cold by the time she actually sat down to drink it.
Not that I am one to throw stones. As a reader of this blog you know I do shit like this all the time.
But watching this girl I thought, this has surpassed fun and morphed into something weird.
Last night, after MONTHS of talking about it, we finally decided to switch to a new carrier and get new phones (my phone has been in it’s death throes for almost a year).
Our new carrier does not subsidize the cost of the hardware of the phone. So we walked into the store and I started looking at the retail prices of new smartphones.
$600, $700, $800…
Hold up. Do I really need a $700 phone?
I found myself thinking about life before my smartphone. When I had to look up a recipe before I went into the store. When I couldn’t check my email unless I was at my computer, at my desk. When I had to wait more than 30 seconds to actually listen to a song that was stuck in my head.
But along with this convenience I’ve undoubtedly experienced a loss of basic skills, including (but not limited to) the ability to:
- Read a map/have any sense at all of where I am when I’m driving (a couple of months ago as I was driving to an office in Hawthorne for the 5th time in 14 days, Waze bailed on me…and I FREAKED, convinced I was about to accidentally turn down South Vermont because I had no idea that it was 5 miles away. Because I had no idea where I was. Because I hadn’t paid attention before. Because I hadn’t needed to.)
- Take longer than 3 seconds to try to figure something out.
- Remain calm when a public facility has horrible or no wireless or cell service.
- Wait in line.
- Relax and enjoy anything without fighting the urge to pull my phone out to take a picture.
I do really love that I can hail a car, find a recipe, or see what my friend in Shanghai ate for breakfast whenever the mood strikes. But it’s a tradeoff. Because I am pretty sure that net-net, my smartphone has made me dumber.
A flip phone is smaller and cheaper. And if HH accidentally dials my old boss again, I know for a fact that I can hang up (because even if the touch screen goes blank, I can always just close the phone) and not force both of us into an awkward conversation. I could stop feeling the compulsion to constantly check my emails, texts, Instagram, FB feed…it would allow me to break free from these Pavlovian reflexes and reconnect with the real world!
I got the Samsung Galaxy 5. Because podcasts.
Maybe I can hold off installing Instagram…
…at least for a week.
February 14, 2015 § Leave a comment
February 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
There’s a guy asleep in a shopping cart in your driveway. Do you know him?
-sent to a friend, from her neighbor
February 5, 2015 § 4 Comments
Last week a friend with a 4 month old made her status on FB: “So when do I get to sleep again?” It took everything in my power not to comment: “Never.”
I remember being at work in Kentucky one day, in a fog, when HH was like 3 months old, and reading a blog post by Brad Feld titled: “Are You Getting Enough Sleep?” Before reading the article, before even thinking, I yelled “NO!” at the computer and started to cry.
Lack of sleep is the worst. I don’t handle it well.
HH is going through a phase (but let’s be serious, when are they not “going through a phase”) where she is not sleeping. And yes, we have done cry it out (it works sometimes), but even if she puts herself back to sleep she’s up again within two or three hours. By 4am she’s usually up yelling, inconsolable, and I am so, so tired I bring her into bed with me, so at the very least I can lay down while she throws herself around, inadvertently punching me in the face, and maybe snooze on and off until 5 or 5:30.
Also, Paul is working nights. He gets home around 8am, sleeps, leaves again at 4pm. I am more or less flying solo.
So very quickly out the window has gone: meditation, yoga, early morning work, and my ability to focus or handle any kind of stress.
I have started putting her down at nights, cleaning the house, and IMMEDIATELY going to bed to read/fall asleep by 8:30. And I still feel like my head is full of cobwebs and cry when I can’t get the cereal bowls to stack up in the dish rack to dry (happened yesterday).
Paul, on the other hand, is getting about 5 hours of sleep a day and seems to be handling life just fine. Because he has superhuman strengths.
Like everything, this is temporary. Paul won’t be on nights next week, and this phase for HH will eventually, undoubtedly, morph into some other phase. I know I just have to hang in there a little longer. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
On the bright side (literally), the sun is out! It is 74 degrees! And the pool is open! Hellloooooo February in LA.
One of the perks of being in a daze like this is workouts, for me, can be mentally much easier. I just do what I’m told and don’t think too hard about it (or anything else). I don’t have to get in the zone, because I’m already zoned out. It’s kind of great.
AND, weirdly enough, it doesn’t always have a huge impact on my ability to have a solid, sometimes even stellar, workout (though my 3 mile “run” yesterday might beg to differ.)
And today, because I am so energized and ready to rock after a good swim, Paul is getting up early to watch HH for an hour so I can get a workout in this afternoon. Because what fun is life if you’re not about to faceplant while your toddler tears around the house unrolling any roll of toilet paper she can find.
So for now I’m doing my best to keep the cereal bowl situation in perspective, strategizing on new pillow arrangements that prevent my child from rolling off the bed while simultaneously protecting me from getting pummeled by tiny, flailing fists, and embracing every opportunity to capitalize on on my inability to think.
Until the next phase kicks in.
January 21, 2015 § 1 Comment
I keep thinking about that play, Our Town, I remember we did it at my high school and at the end of it…you know, the person dies and they get to kind of revisit…it’s a little bit like It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s the same thing. They get to look at their life and they miss eating breakfast, you know, they miss seeing their sister walk to school. And you start to realize it’s just the minutiae of life that’s wonderful. We think that being a Maverick or being a big shot or winning this prize or having these significant … moments, whether it be a wedding or an achievement, a prom, a party, or whatever it is, the Oscars, these things, we think that they’re going to be the good stuff. And the good stuff is like waking up in the morning. The good stuff is the stuff that’s for free, it always is. And that’s what I mean when I say ‘wax the corny’, but there’s that line, I forget who said it, ‘the secret to life is enjoying the passing of time’. To me that is essentially…if I had to do Boyhood in a pithy little statement, that really is it.
~Ethan Hawke, “waxing the corny” on when people ask him what the movie Boyhood is about and why it is so moving (Nerdist Podcast 625)
January 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
On the radio the other day they played Mozart’s Piano Concerto 21 and mentioned that there was a study done somewhere (Sweden? Switzerland? I couldn’t find it) that concluded that women who listened to this specific concerto during lamaze classes and while in labor had a much more pleasant experience giving birth (how they prove this I have no idea). But interesting concept.
So today, I decided to give it a try. Not having a baby, but since I was struggling to produce any meaningful work, I thought listening to Concerto 21 might help me birth out some good results.
So far: not working. But you did get this post. You can thank Mozart and KUSC for that.