Monday, January 17, 2011

Caaaaaaaalifornia! (Way better than "Ooooooooklahoma"...)

Do you know how beautiful California is?  Do you really know?  I thought I knew - thought that having been all over this state I really understood what a cool place it was.  Well folks, I was wrong.

Mike and I decided that, since we have been together for so long and because we were showered with SO many gifts this year from the wedding festivities, we would simply enjoy each others company for Christmas.  And what a gift that was!

It was also a gift to hang out in a new place, and explore what a beautiful and amazing state we live in.  Seriously, there are some beautiful places here.  We decided to go to Monterey, after having found a really good deal on a hotel there over the New Years weekend.  It was a beautiful place, right by the old fisherman's wharf, and greeted us with warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies upon check in!  I was sold right away! (It was a really good cookie, too.  Thinking about it now makes me want another one!)  We had been to Monterey before, actually for our first Christmas together. But, it is always cool to come back to a place so many years later, and now we're married!

We spent the days just walking around, down to the wharf, down to Cannery Row, visiting the Aquarium (which is pretty cool).  The last time we were there, the Aquarium was being remodeled and so a lot of it was shut down.  It has a lot of cool new exhibits that we enjoyed.  We stopped for lunch at this little place on the beach.  The great thing about Monterey is that all of the restaurants have someone outside offering you little cups of their clam chowder, which was invariably first place in some kind of local competition.  They must have a LOT of competitions because almost every restaurant somehow had a first place chowder...  Since it is my year of "yes", I made sure I said yes to midday cocktails!

One of the days we also decided to take a drive up the coast to Carmel and Big Sur.  I had never been there, and definitely wanted to see it.  Man oh man.  California is beautiful.  It is amazing how you can, in one moment, be right on the ocean, and then the next minute in the middle of a forest.  It rained a bit while we were there, but that didn't stop us from taking a little New Year's day hike!  We stopped on the way and enjoyed the ocean a bit, and took the opportunity to play around with our new camera.  We also just like to be photographed being silly.

All in all, it was a successful and refreshing start to the new year.  It will be a great one, full of adventure, fun and love in our new married bliss.StumbleUpon

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 - Really? Already?

So apparently I am suffering from the Rip Van Winkle syndrome.  I woke up yesterday, and it was 2011.  Did anybody else experience this same phenomenon?  I could have sworn, when I went to bed the night before that I was 15 years old, in Truckee, jumping around outside in the snow with my Mandros calling all phone numbers that we could with the new year number, drinking apple cider (no, really) and filming an awkward and ridiculous version of Cinderella.

Of course, this is an exaggeration.  I don't suffer from extreme narcolepsy, nor did I go to sleep before watching the ball drop on Spanish TV (because we couldn't find it happening on the English channel...until like 12:02...)  But, when I woke up in the morning, I found I was 28, married, graduated (3x) and in Monterey.  What a trip.  Time flies.  For real.  Most of the last decade has been pretty freaking incredible when I look at it holistically, but MAN did it go fast.

When I think of my favorite NYs of the past, I invariably think about my high school girlfriends - still my friends to this day.  We would all gather at someone's house, and for many years, had the brilliant idea to film our own rendition of Cinderella.  We were goofy, and pretty freaking ridiculous.  But I smile when I think of how five girls whose idea of a good time involved drinking apple cider on NYE and acting out a play, found each other.  I mean, what are the chances?  This year, though, was one for the books too, but I found myself in a very different time and place, and so I can't help but reflect on the whip lash that has resulted from the last 13 or so years of my life.

You know when people try to tell you when you are younger to enjoy things because it will be over before you know it? I totally know what that means.  I feel that same, almost compulsory, desire to tell people to live it up - get over it - smile - enjoy -  don't hate high school - get over this stupid fight you are having with this stupid boyfriend who won't even be around in a year.  Because it will be gone before you know it.

I don't want to be a doomsdayer here and freak myself out and think about how we are all going to die.  If I think about that for too long it really scares me (so do all of the claims that the world is going to end in 2012.  One of the first things I did yesterday was Google Nostradamus and the meaning of 2012.  I was irrationally calmed by reading on Wikipedia, the most reliable website out there, that scientists have debunked the claims that the world will end next year.)  Whoa.  Sorry about that super random tangent.  But in all seriousness, life is so short, and so fast.

Maybe I am feeling this way especially because this was such a big year.  I mean, in June I was reflecting on how amazing it was to watch my first group of Freshmen walk across the stage at graduation, in part because it had been a full decade since I had done that very same thing (in the same school colors no less).  Then, we got married, which was obviously a highlight of the entire year.  That really freaked me out too, because that is like one of the big steps into the world of adults.  It was also hard because it was a change in my identity.  (In fact, I went to close out my bank account at Wells Fargo last week, and unexpectedly, the sad tears started to come on again.  Banking - so not a big deal, right?  Wrong!  I was fine until the teller said to me, on the way out "We appreciate your business for the last ten years."  Totally got me.  Mike knew it.  I knew it.)  But anyway, even then, I still didn't and still don't feel any older.

I guess that's the weird thing about life. You move forward, and experience things at age appropriate times (for the most part).  But sometimes you just don't feel the age you are.  Sometimes, when you are like 12, you act like you are 40, and sometimes the opposite is awkwardly true.  And my reflection isn't really about age, though it does weird me out that I am going to be 30 in 2012- the year the world is going to hell anyway.  It's really about how fast things go, and how important it is to live in the now.

I think this is partly the reason why, in my last post, I talked about this being a year of yes for me and a year of now.  Not because it is a NY resolution.  I have long since given up hope that I will ever follow through on one of those.  They almost always have to do with losing weight and they never work.  But, if I decide something is important, I want to act on it now.  I don't want to wait until January first of the next year, because that is a long time to lose out on the benefits of something that you have deemed  important to you and your life.  I also am a victim of starting things on Monday.  Also, a fools way, and the way that many of us without self control get to eek out the last bit of "pleasure" from something we are trying to leave behind (eating entire boxes of chocolates), or put off the pain of starting something we need to (exercising more frequently).

I want to be a bit more of a hedonist in this life and enjoy what my life is in this moment.  Say yes to things that will make me happy, or even things that MIGHT make me happy, and bask in the uncertainty.  Say yes to vacations, no to work (sometimes), yes to long walks with the dog, and no to some trashy TV (not ALL of's pretty good.)  Yes to good cocktails with even better company and no to stressing out about minutia such as dust on the coffee table and an unmade bed.  Yes to opportunities and no to extra work that will not really make a difference to me, or my students.  Yes to laughing and embracing the hills and valleys of my profession and a HELL NO to letting snide comments or name calling from people not old enough to enjoy my "good cocktails" with me, get me down.  Yes to love, no to being a hater.  Yes to embracing my individuality and quirks, and NO to comparing myself to other people who, uh..., aren't me!  Yes to making time to go and visit dear friends and no to putting work over play (too often.)

I will enjoy this day, this year, this life.StumbleUpon

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