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Activities

I Even Procrastinate On Summer.

August 8, 2016

080716_Sunset

Sometimes I think Summer’s almost over. Then I remember that I live in Los Angeles and summer has no beginning and no end here. There’s just waves of weather, hinting at another season but then quickly pulling you back into life under the sun.

Part of me almost forgot what season it was because I’ve been living the glamorous life of a person with air conditioning. I just want to note that I’ve never had an AC in my entire adult life and there’s something deliciously spoiling about blasting sterile, cold air at your body on command. I’m doing it right now. Maybe it’s bratty to admit how much I love this but I’m just happy I’ve quite literally moved up from sleeping on a yoga mat on the floor with the door open. After a while I missed the torture of roasting in the midsummer heat so I began only allowing myself to run it if I had worked out that day. For the first time in years, I’m actually exercising regularly. Just in time to get toned for fall.

I spent a paragraph talking about air conditioning because it is the smallest thing that I am blowing up as a symbol of maturing. I own something heftier than a $20 fan. I felt like I needed something and I found a solution. I didn’t ignore my instincts for once. Now if only I knew how to do other summery things that adults do, like incorporate seasonal ingredients into my food and wear large-brimmed hats with white denim. Have I wasted summer if I haven’t had sorbet? How come no one talks about sherbet anymore?

I did go hiking recently, which is summery and very apt to do. One day after work I braved traffic (because it truly is brave to endure it here) to go on what I believe was my very first evening hike. I watched the sky fade to dark and the shapes in the landscape become silhouettes. I love the look of silhouettes when executed in non-creepy ways. Sometimes even when I’m enjoying a view I wonder if I like it as much as other people or if I’m amazed by it in the same way. Sometimes I wonder if I just like views because I’m looking down on something for once. Then I tell myself overthinking the integrity of my enjoyment of a view is dumb.

I’ve decided that there is certainly time to do some things that personally satisfy my definition of summer, though they mostly involve just sitting on my porch. Sitting on my porch with some guacamole and watermelon beer, sitting on my porch and reading a book, sitting on my porch with other foods. Going on another hike. Swimming. Things I need to take initiative to do but that I know I’d enjoy. Actually, I’m realizing now that I could’ve sat on my porch while writing this post.

I lack foresight. Also, I lack hindsight.

Activities

Sanding Islands

August 25, 2015

DSC_0048I’m always trying to tackle projects that take ungodly amounts of patience because I don’t have as much patience as I do some sort of yearning for personal growth. On a subconscious level one of these projects must be collecting so much stuff over the years that decluttering could easily take the rest of my twenties, because slowly tidying my life in this studio is a constant these days (more on that later). But the project I’m talking about today is sanding my kitchen island.

I have a teeny tiny kitchen with little room to move around in and to add insult to injury, almost zero counter space. Maybe I eat too much or maybe I’m an undiagnosed spice hoarder but as hard as I try I can’t seem to get rid of kitchen things, even when my blender starts emitting a burning smell and I realize I own upwards of 20 mugs and most of them are identical.  For months I went about searching for this kitchen island I had in my head–butcher block, huge surface area to work on with tons of storage underneath, with a little breakfast bar that drops down if need be where I’d spend most mornings drinking coffee at an inspiring 5AM staring out the window into the dreamy view of my complex’s laundry room. I finally found one I could afford on Craigslist and after lugging it up my stairs with a man I’d just met, dragged it into my kitchen and put my forearms exhaustedly on the surface only to realize–

It’s disgusting.

There was a layer of dirt from neglect that’d been collecting and this wasn’t, to my dismay, something to be rectified with a soapy sponge. I can’t claim to know much about sanding things, but I can claim to know nothing about sanding things because that is the truth. I asked a couple of friends about little things, you know, what size grit would work, if they had a sander I could borrow. And without the patience to really be sure I knew what I was doing, I just went at it like a drunk person to a plate of nachos.

The thing is, you can’t just whiz over the entire surface and believe that it’s powerful enough. It required, of course, patience. So I would listen to a Cold War Kids song and promise myself I’d go over one area until I got to the chorus, the bridge, whatever. And I did this over and over again and scraped and wiped and revisited until finally the table looked partway decent, and then I covered the table with oil. It wasn’t a spectacular job, and I’d do it again with an even rougher grit of paper, but it did work and I was forced not to learn patience, but to dig up the sufficient bit of patience I’ve had all along.

Activities Rambling

Work, “Running”, Working on Running

August 5, 2015

moonnot

I wanted to show you how incredible the moon looked tonight, especially offset by that wispy pink sugar-spun sky, but after trying my hardest to compose it just so, I realized I was taking pictures of a street lamp. In my defense, I had just finished up a really intense 15-minute jog/walk.

I forced myself to go for a run tonight because I’ve been reading The Slight Edge (which I affectionately consider to be more like the huge guilt trip). I used to be not horrible at running long distances and I wanted to clear my mind so I wouldn’t end up doing something weird again like deciding to sand my table in the middle of the night by hand.

I need a sander, by the way, and a lesson in carpentry.

I decided the healthy way to exert my energy was a good run, one of those runs that leaves you dry heaving and beet-red yet full of that fitness charisma. I used to always leave my place and then feel self-conscious that my roommates would judge me by how long my run was, which would in turn force me to stay out and exercise for a considerable length of time. But now I live alone, and there’s no shame in coming back to my place after just 15 minutes. That says something about my internal motivation that I don’t even want to confront right now.

I probably don’t need to tell you that I didn’t achieve a runner’s high, so the usual work stress, life stress, partially-sanded table stress circle in my head, as does the image of my co-worker standing behind me just as x-rated photos popped up on my computer and the hopelessly awkward conversation that took place afterwards.

What’s comforting after a long day though, is the promise of a comfortable couch I’ll relax in while watching old seasons of Louie until I fall asleep. Later, in some dreamy state, I’ll awake, glad to have had a break from thinking too much, beet-red, but only from sleeping in that peak-of-summer heat with the line marks from my corduroy couch imprinted on my skin from my knuckles to my face.

Activities Anything Goes Travels

Taking Baths as an Adult

December 20, 2014

Another airport terminal, another post. I applaud myself for getting here early, but then again the seating area by my gate smells like socks. I tried exhaling three times for every one inhale, but it just makes me lose my breath and then I have to take one giant whiff of sock air just to steady my breathing again.

If you know anything about me, you know that once I get an idea in my head I have to try to see it through. That goes doubly if it’s an idea I don’t need anyone else’s help to execute. A couple of weeks ago I got the idea that I should start taking baths again. I imagined myself being more relaxed than I’ve felt in years, lost in my thoughts before coming up with some genius idea for a story–sort of the way men swear urinals are the ultimate atmosphere for inspiration. Well, the bath would be my urinal. Wait.

Then I’d emerge from the bath smelling like lavender or something surgary, the cold air sharp on my skin the way a spicy mint makes your whole mouth tingle. And I’d feel so sublimely renewed because somehow some sort of mental and physical toxicity would leave my body and spin down the drain. Then I’d pass out happy and wake up a new person.

A part of me did wonder if I was too old for a bath, but don’t adults take baths while drinking wine or something? I feel like I saw that on TV, or on Pinterest.

I nixed the idea of drinking while bathing (surprising, I know) since I had a horrible image of myself falling asleep in the tub, but I tried to do everything else right–epsom salts, a candle, some coconut oil. The epsom salts were scented since I was really determined to smell like a sprig of lavender (see pipe dream as described above) but CVS brand epsom salts just make your bathroom smell like detergent. I even tried bringing a book since reading in the tub is a thing, but I didn’t know how to sit and hold it. Sitting too upright with the book made it feel pointless since my whole torso was out of the water, but if I really lied down in the tub I would start sliding forward and the book would get wet, so that didn’t really work out, either. So I put the book down and after I kicked around the salt for a while, it finally dissolved and I eased into the whole thing. It was hot and once in a while I’d lift a limb out of the water and it would feel like my skin was inhaling something crisp and cool. I liked that part best of all. I emerged nowhere near the new woman I thought one bath might transform me into, but more of a wet happy raisin.

Well instead of toweling off and falling asleep straight away, I’m relaxed, a little sleepy, but sitting in a crowded airport about to board a plane. The guy who kicked my duffel bag twice as he walked by is now leaving voicemails and singing the name of the recipient.

Here’s hoping I can get to sleeping in a window seat!

Activities

Ocean Ideas and Book Hunting

October 19, 2014

When I moved into my last apartment I met a musician who also happened to be a former surf instructor. (Side note: at what point do I get to reference my previous jobs as “past lives”?) She was selling a shortboard and told me it’d be great for me since it’s so lightweight, etc., etc. and I figured since it was already sitting in my new room, why not? I mean, I can’t sew two strips of fabric together and that didn’t stop me from buying two body forms. I told myself it was the push I needed to get into something I’d always wanted to do, and just three years later, here I am, finally finished with my first time surfing ever–of course, not with the board I bought though. That’d make too much sense.

I waited until it was officially fall to start since I’d never want my status as a grade-A procrastinator questioned, but it was still a warm, mellow morning on the beach, even for October. It was all fine and good until someone mentioned covering your head when you emerge from the water as not to get hit by the board and then I couldn’t stop picturing and fixating on that image.

People have a lot of ideas about what the ocean can be a metaphor for and the grand life lessons surfing teaches you. I have none of my own to contribute now having barely more than zero experience, but I think it really just teaches you whatever it is you subconsciously need to learn–patience, perseverance, knowing precisely the time to make your move and when to submit to forces you can’t control. Maybe it’s that the yearning for the lesson was there all along and it needed a vessel to inhabit so you could actually recognize it.

That’s enough of me riffing on things people say about water sports for now. I’m off to read Gone Girl and while I know I’m supremely late to the party, I’m not as late as the man at the local book store I called when I was trying to support small businesses on my quest to buy the book:

“Do you have ‘Gone Girl’ in stock?”

“…What is ‘Gone Girl’?!

“A book?” (note: probably shouldn’t have said that like a question.)

“Well what is it? Who’s it by?!”

“Gillian Flynn.”

“What is it?! I mean is it a novel? A horror?!”

Yes and possibly, but maybe not as horrific as communicating with him was. He did sound just that exasperated with every reply, but I can’t blame him too much. It’s addictingly peaceful not to be so in tune with what everyone else is doing, reading, and seeing–

Being in the ocean taught me that.