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Happy 2017!

January 6, 2017

I spent the last moments of 2016 with a slice of pizza to raise in the air at midnight instead of a drink. In my head I could hear the part of me who always makes things bigger than they are consider this some important symbol of change: If you want things to change, you have to do something different. But in my heart, this was mostly about eating free food and getting home safely.

Some mild chaos ensued (something about someone wanting champagne and deciding 11:59 was the moment to voice this) and we missed the stroke of midnight. People started counting anyway, but counting backwards at any time other than 10 seconds before the new year or the last 10 seconds of a timed game just sounds like we’re employing an anger management technique. You just had to laugh at how all-over-the-place everything felt and how narrowly we missed the mark.

This is what I want! Mild chaos of the innocuous sort. And plenty of pizza.

Cheers to an amusing new year!

Holidays

Thanksgiving 2016

December 5, 2016

img_0418Hasn’t it been the strangest few weeks/fall/year/lifetime?

Though part of me feels like 2016 has flown by, another part of me thinks about everything that has happened in 11 months and thinks, yes, that’s definitely a year’s worth of stuff. The kind of stuff that makes me realize that when I look back on my life I will have forgotten so much but not this year. Around me, people are pretty openly resentful about 2016. I don’t blame them. I’ve watched people suffer as individuals, as part of a community, as an entire human race. Small tragedies that make us sigh when we inadvertently let our polite façades slip. Huge, insurmountable challenges that make previous realities feel like we must have been wearing rose-colored lenses. Of course, I don’t intend to discredit any fortune that came to me or anyone else this year or to say everything was horrific period. My point is: what an unforgettable time to be alive.

Thanksgiving arrived amidst a whirlwind of history in chaotic motion, forcing us to reconcile gratitude with widespread conflict. I know it sounds ridiculous but I wasn’t sure how to even express my own personal gratitude for things without it coming across as forced. There’s a difference between saying you’re grateful and really feeling it, undeniably, as a personal truth. With something people tout as aggressively as gratitude as a tool for wellness, I was extra weary about approaching it insincerely (but for cold stir-fry from a ziploc bag at 6AM in an airport terminal I am truly thankful and I’m not being tongue-in-cheek).

You just can’t overthink things too much with me. With all that I just said, let me throw caution to the wind and say some things that made me amused/happy/thankful over the recent holiday:

My dad tracks his voting record by leaving “I voted” stickers on his dashboard and writing the year on them.

My mother asked me where I’d like to be born in my next life. I haven’t decided?

Breakfast. To be able to start every single day having something to feed yourself is the pinnacle of luxury.

Technology. Every night I curled up in bed, uninterrupted for what felt like the first time all year, watched TV completely warm from head to toe, and I couldn’t believe how good it felt, even crying at a sad scene or relating more than I’d like to someone’s seemingly impossible plight–how good that felt, to feel that stinging alone in a soft bed under a heavy blanket.

I also added my dad to my Netflix account and it felt so good seeing how excited he was to be able to watch the later seasons of The Andy Griffith Show (that are in color!). He’s asked me how he can find Westerns on Netflix and that just makes me happy. I’ve given him the gift of binge-watching.

The Bay. The other day I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. I’ve done that so rarely even having grown up not too far from it. Its grandness is so uncaptured in any touristy rendition on postcard or otherwise–it really is a site to behold up close. As we drove across the sun was falling softly into the bay and the bridge was growing before us, tall and out of reach. Both things side by side, nature and architecture were incredible. Just amazingness that you instantly miss afterwards.

Having more than I know I have. Knowing less than there is to know. Because that means that there’s more out there for me to get to, and I can take comfort in that. Imagine how hard it would be to feel like you knew all there was and that was it. Stupidity can be a relief.

Anything Goes Experiences Holidays

Visiting My Family for Thanksgiving Recounted in Unspoken Thoughts

December 1, 2015
  • I’m sleeping in my old room next to a huge pack of dixie cups and several dozen rolls of toilet paper piled up in the middle of the floor because my room was turned into a glorified storage closet shortly after I moved out.
  • A bunch of old home videos have been converted to DVD by my dad. I looked like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in his 3rd Rock From the Sun days) when I was a 11 because I used to part my hair down the middle. Also, I used to say really fucking embarrassing things at that age, like “I’ll sock ya!” I had a ton of annoying kid energy, the kind I still do when I’m alone in my apartment.
  • Under “I have good parents” memories I’m banking the time my dad stood next to the sweet potato casserole all night and declared how good it was over and over again because it’s one of the only things I’ve made for Thanksgiving, ever.
  • We’re sitting by Nordstrom’s at the mall drinking coffee. My mom asks my dad, “should we tell her?” And then they decide that now is the time to tell me what they would like me to do with their bodies when they die. They also asked for feedback on their plans.
  • My dad tells a dirty joke and I don’t understand it. My parents then have a debate over whether I’m old enough to know these things. I’m present for the entire debate but have no say in the matter. Sadly, they decide that I’m an adult. They explain the joke and I bleed from my ears.
  • My visit home is almost over and I can tell that my parents are getting sad. Who will help them google Pat Sajak’s and Vanna White’s salaries when I leave?
Anything Goes Holidays

Trying to Be Festive

October 27, 2015

caramelcorn

Fall is my favorite idea of a season, and I say idea because a little bird told me that we don’t have the real version of it here in California. I’ve definitely seen an orange leaf here before but I’m sitting on my couch right now with two fans on either side, so you tell me. Beyond having a great sweater with the word “tacos” on it that I’m bummed I can’t wear yet, I just want to enjoy the excessive amounts of string lights that come with the last three months of the year. I’m also really obsessed with pumpkins just like the rest of the world, stopping short of snorting pumpkin spice of course. The reason for this obsession is a crass half-joke-half-truth for which I haven’t found the perfect opportunity to use. That’s an every world problem, my friend.

There’s no way I’m going to get any trick-or-treaters at this apartment and truthfully, I’d be surprised at any parent who felt this complex looked safe enough to not only allow their kids to walk by but to encourage them to seek out the tenants and beg for treats. I did a couple of crafts and now I have tons of candy corn and melts everywhere, and that weird who-am-I-kidding with trying to be crafty aftertaste. I could probably scrape a layer of sugar off my countertops, which is all the more reason to give sanding my island another go. I put a tub of caramel apple popcorn on top of my microwave and when I see it, I feel like I’ve succeeded in decorating for the season. Maybe it’s the idea of popcorn as a festive shape–I mean, you do put strings of popcorn on Christmas trees–or that warm caramel color that’s so quintessentially fall, but that plastic tub full of popcorn that’s way prettier than it tastes makes me feel like I’ve just hit the nail on the head with autumn decor each and every time.

Food Holidays

On Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2015

021415_compartes

I’ve never really celebrated Valentine’s day, and by that I mean the Valentine’s day that comes ribbon-tied with red cellophane wrapped souvenirs. But I’ve never felt like I was missing out on something either. It seems like there are two major camps when it comes to the holiday–some people either really let it influence their mood for an entire week while others feel that they must inform you that it’s a Hallmark holiday in a way that has a certain unspoken “nobody told you?” tone that is frankly, trite. I’m either somewhere in the middle or not at all on the grid. I usually find that if I’m not dating on February 14th the same goes with the 13th and 15th, so another day doesn’t cause additional despair. I mean, chocolate is tasty and flowers are pretty. Do I really care who they’re from?

021415_tomatosauce

I’m making what has to be my favorite tomato sauce ever (from smitten kitchen) tonight while I think about this, but before I can feel like a wise, mature adult because I’m so mellow about this holiday, I struggle with the can of San Marzano tomatoes with two different can openers for ten whole minutes and get tomato splashed on my white shirt and all over the cutting board. It’s then that I realize I’m no more enlightened than anyone else and bring dishonor to my family’s long history of competence with canned goods. I’m no cook (as if you needed me to tell you that) but I can stew tomatoes with butter and onion. I’m also perfectly capable of using the holiday as an excuse to enjoy a decadent bowl of pasta followed by a glass of milk and some chocolate. That, I think, is pure love. Or joy. Maybe both.