Sea Glass at Last

I have good news, but first…

I’m unemployed. I don’t where I’ll be living in August. My hair has been perpetually in an “awkward phase” for two years. (I continue to blame the stylist I visited in June 2012.) Sometimes when I call my family, they don’t answer because they claim to be “at work” during the day. Ha! My right arm is kind of sore. I think I slept on it wrong.

This was the way I was thinking about my life a month ago. I was a complainer.

Then, I kind of sort of a bit realized that maybe my life is pretty much almost practically… awesome.

I’m finishing my master’s degree at 23. I have a bright, cheery apartment for at least the next two months. I have hair. I have an incredible family full of goofballs who leave silly voicemails. God has a crazy good plan for my life, and my right arm bends and looks good doing it.

This is the way I’m choosing to think today. I have an astounding amount of blessings, and I’m so grateful for this life.

Where was I going with this? Ah, good news! The thing about good news is that it needs to be recognized.

There are some writers who think of story ideas constantly. I used to think they were crazy, but then I made a conscious effort to hold onto the ideas passing through my head somewhere between “my arm hurts” and “is this milk okay to drink?” Over time (and it’s still a working progress), I trained my brain to recognize an idea as it passes. Although I’m not to the constant-idea machine level, I am much better.

The same is true with good news. A month ago, the good stuff was hidden under a smog of life and frustrations, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I just had to clear that other stuff out. I needed to train (and am still training) my brain to recognize the amazingly good things in my life.

I had a bit of good news yesterday, but I almost didn’t recognize it; I found my first piece of sea glass.

(I know I’m jumping around a lot. Welcome to my world.)

I won’t say that I’ve been looking for a piece of sea glass my whole life, but ten years sounds about right. Maybe you’re thinking that if I really wanted to find a piece of sea glass, I would have scoured every beach and found one in a week. I live next to the ocean, for crying out loud! Well, maybe you geography nerds out there might realize that it was a bit hard to find a beach with sea glass in my previous location of Indiana. (After 90 seconds of research, it has come to my attention that apparently you can find sea glass at Lake Michigan. I apologize for the snark.)

But, guys, I haven’t been obsessing over sea glass. Who do you think I am? [Insert famous sea glass artist here]?!

It’s been more of a casual pursuit. On vacations I would look, and now that I live close to the ocean, I half-heartedly scan the shore as I walk. Then, yesterday, my brother and I were looking for cool rocks (because we’re cool like that).

Rhett at beach

Did someone say RFK?

(I realize that JFK is usually considered to be the better style icon, and therefore some might feel that he is the one to reference here, but since I have an unexplained preference for RFK (I think it’s the teeth), I chose him because it is my blog. Thank you.)

PS We found some really cool rocks (because we’re cool like that). Look at these things.

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Then, I picked what I thought was a frosty, white rock out of the sand. Rhett said, “Hey, sea glass,” in a chain-smoker’s voice (read: Mama Fratelli).

(Note: Rhett doesn’t smoke or have a chain-smoker voice, but this is my story.)

I took another look at the vaguely triangular object in my hand. Could it be? After years of searching, could I have actually… not even recognized that I had sea glass in my hand?! Yes. Yes, it was. Yes, I didn’t get it. Yes, I’m entirely too thankful to have a brother who’s better at identifying tidal leftovers than I am.

I have my sea glass at last, and you know what? I’m not exactly sure what life lesson to draw from finding it.

But since writing the sentence right before this one, I’ve had a thought. It’s been really fun looking for sea glass for the past decade. The beach is a pretty amazing place. It was a lot of fun finding sea glass yesterday. It will probably continue to be a lot of fun finding the next piece and the one after that and the one after that. Life is full of beautiful pieces of sea glass, and sometimes the piece I want is right in the palm of my hand. I just have to recognize it.

 

I apologize for the number of parentheticals in this post. (Seriously.)

 

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obsessed

One could see my life as a series of obsessions: times (varying from a week to several years) when a subject, movie, book, or show consumes me. One could also stop using “one” as a pronoun. One could try.

There’s a fun read by Polly Shulman titled Enthusiasm that speaks to this sort of crazy, following a character as she discovers Jane Austen.

I had a Jane Austen phase, too.

I don’t know if “phase” is the right word. Phase implies an end. Once I’m obsessed with something it never really goes away. The pain is just lessened. The intense heartache I feel in the middle of an obsession is eventually replaced with a dull twang.

Back to Jane Austen. Back to writing letters that began: “To My Future Mr. Darcy.” Back when my children’s names were planned to be “Fitzwilliam” and “Georgiana.” Mom doubts this is not still currently my plan. (Maybe I do, too.)

There have been other author enthusiasms and other book obsessions.

Boston Jane. A little series that made me like cherry pie, and I HATED cherries.

Ella Enchanted. Ella and I both “frell” for Char.

Harry Potter.

John Green could fall into this category as well, but it really all began with the vlogbrothers and not with his books. The land of Nerdfighteria is deep and fathomless, and I’m still a little in there.

There have been movie enthusiasms.

Mom says my very first obsession was with Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (or as I call it, “Diving Girl”), a movie about a girl who rides a horse into a pool. It inspired me to befriend my imaginary horse named “Wilburt with a ‘T.'” Obviously, this obsession ran over into the period of Anne of Green Gables enthusiasm.

There’s my killer whale stage, aided and instigated by Free Willy. I had a blow up Keiko -Willy’s real name, people- for the pool. I aspired to be a marine biologist. I considered the ways in which I could fill the lake outside our house with saltwater to properly accommodate a whale. Certain recent tragedies of SeaWorld have all but crushed my image of riding an orca (but now that you mention it, said whale would obviously be my best friend and have a super clever name like “Free Hilly.”)

There was the Age of Star Wars, one of my longest obsessions, strongest from ages 8 to 14. Highlights of this obsession include: attendance at Star Wars Celebration, a Queen Amidala Halloween (or maybe two or three), and several Tatooine-themed sleepovers (with only myself).

Does watching Mutliplicity at least once a day for several months count as an obsession? Add Multiplicity then. I’m not proud.

For television there was 7th Heaven, a show I recorded on VHS tape for my sister when she went to medical school. I thought she was probably going crazy without watching. (She wasn’t.)

There was the three months of watching every I Love Lucy episode multiple times. I read both Lucy and Desi’s autobiographies, watched several documentaries and miniseries about them, imagined living at Desilu Ranch, and cried several times over the couple’s failed marriage (and not over the fact that they are both deceased). I was 20.

The Young and The Restless. I blame Mimi (my grandmother) for starting this, and I blame the Nick/Sharon breakup for ending it.

There were the more odd obsessions.

Presidential trivia. In my memory, it was a blast to utilize on family road trips (but I have a sneaky suspicion that I am the only one who remembers it that way).

Crock pot recipes. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say it involves a “crock pot pancake.”

Crocheting. Two Christmases ago I made everyone in my family a scarf. I haven’t crocheted since.

Kristen Wiig’s Target Lady, which just consisted of me using that voice and severely embarrassing myself at actual target check-out counters (because the cashiers didn’t watch SNL?).

When I get into something so heavily, I often get hurt. Please see my fourth grade reading of A Bridge To Terabithia for evidence. **I devoured that book. Ate it up. Then I cried so hysterically that I literally made myself ill.**

Fortunately, I’ve learned to simmer down my tendencies to go bat-crap crazy over something. I do things to protect myself. While reading Divergent over Thanksgiving break, I got pulled in hard, so I looked up the ending when I was halfway through the second book. I know, I know. It was sacrilege, but knowing the end meant I didn’t have to go all in.

Going whole hog insane over something is a very selective process at this point in my life. There are farther stretches between obsessions, and when I do go there, I try to be very intentional about the amount of time I spend thinking about things like roast beef sandwiches. Because when one falls in love, one wants to really mean it (especially in the sandwich arena).

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things i like (that no one else does)

Okay. I know everyone feels like this at some point in their lives, or for their entire lives.  You fall in like with something. You can’t get enough of it.  You share it with your best friend, your mom, your dog, and no one is as interested as you are.  This is pretty common in my life, and I’d like to share some of my favorite things (that no one else likes) with you.

KATHERINE HEIGL// People really don’t like Izzie Stevens. Oh, what’s that?  You LOVED Izzie, but you HATE Katherine? Nope. Sorry. They’re a package deal.  Katherine Heigl rescues dogs, has two beautiful children, and is still married to her husband.  Her mom is her manager (still), and she makes cute movies.  27 Dresses wasn’t trying to be The Black Swan, folks.  I encourage everyone to catch either the 1996 Disney Channel classic, Wish Upon A Star, or the 2003 Hallmark finest, Love Comes Softly, in hopes that their opinions would be altered.

SEATTLE’S BEST COFFEE// Everyone is on The Starbucks Train or The Coffee Bean Train or The Peet’s Train (which I also love), and poor Seattle’s Best is stuck at the caboose.  I understand that Starbucks and Seattle’s Best are owned by the same company.  Let me say that again: People who like to say Starbucks is better, they are owned by the same company. Get it?  My main reason for loving Seattle’s Best is their gingerbread latte (another thing that a lot of people hate).  They put a little gingerbread man on top of the whipped cream.  Adorable!

ONCE UPON A TIME// Admittedly, I have a friend with me on this.  A SINGLE FRIEND.  I don’t understand!  Every week is a fairytale on this show! It’s good vs. evil.  It’s a tale as old as time.  Literally, Belle is on the show.  Why aren’t people (my friends) watching?  Remember how people went ga-ga over Lost? Well, it’s the same creators! Ahhh, I don’t know.  I love it.  I love Mary Margaret’s pixie cut and Rumpelstiltskin’s odd romance with Belle.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on Hook. Hello, hunk! You should check it out, but you probably won’t and that’s okay.  Fyi, I recap this show for Lydia Mag.

CROCS// I’ve had my fair share of Crocs in my life.  I even had a couple of Mickey charms that went in the little holes on the top.  People out there hate crocs. Why?! They’re like flip flops with more support.  They feel like slippers.  I’m behind them 100%.

THIS MEANS WAR// The movie.  Everyone hated this movie. I really liked it.  It was funny and cute and had action.  Plus, Chelsea Handler and Tom Hardy in the same movie? Sign me up. I get that it has issues, but let’s not all pretend that we didn’t go around quoting Congo before it suddenly became uncool. “Amy, good mother.”  “Stop eating my sesame cake!”

BOARD GAMES// Okay, people like these, but usually not enough people like them to be able to play one.  Whyyyyyyyy?!  Scattergories, I miss you! I will say that if I sound depressed on the phone, my mom will play online scrabble with me.  I’ve gotten really good at fake tears.  I mean…

But really, people. Let’s play board games. Mmkay?

Happy Monday! Make it great!

12 days of Christmas films

I know it’s early, but I couldn’t resist.  Plus, I used “films” instead of “movies” in the title, so this is a fancy post, not a silly one. Okay, okay, it’s a silly one.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not much to me that isn’t silly and crazy and weird.  I’m just going to do a list.  Kind of lazy, right?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not much to me that isn’t lazy and silly and crazy and weird.  What else can I add to that list?  Oh, that’s a post for another time.  Anywho, here are my 12 favorite Christmas films.

 

It’s a Wonderful Life (Zuzu’s petals!)

A Christmas Story (Scut Farcus is the worst villain the world has ever known)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The Santa Clause (only the first one makes this list)

Elf

White Christmas

Prancer (Prancer! Prancer!)

Hallmark’s A Princess For Christmas (a classic!!)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Scrooged

Christmas With The Kranks (“Haha, she must be kidding!” Oh, shut up.  It’s funny)

Miracle On 34th Street (a twofer. Both original and remake are a-okay!)

 

Merry Christmas to yooooooooou!  It’s not even Thanksgiving…

favorite flower

It’s a tale as old as time.  Girl grows up.  Girl decides on a favorite flower.  Happiness ensues.  Haven’t you read that Grimm tale?  Just kidding because if this were a Grimm tale, girl would end up dead.  So let’s just say it’s time to choose a favorite flower because that seems adult and easy (and how many times do those two go together?).

 

Obviously, our first candidate is the daisy, “the friendliest flower.”  Youve_Got_Mail

Daisies are beautiful, cheap, and VASTLY SUPERIOR to carnations.  You can make a crown with them or one of those fancy balls on pinterest. If you go barefoot and stick them in your hair, you may or may not be transformed into a fairy, and fairies are pretty amazing little things, sometimes portrayed by Julia Roberts in film.  I’m glad we got that cleared up.

 

Our second contender is the yellow rose.  Why the yellow rose?  Because it means friendship and gladness.  Isn’t that lovely?  *Big sigh*  I’m so very thankful for my dear friends (family included) and the gladness they bring me.  jdwh4f-l-610x610-sweater-rose-clothes-yellow-sad-smily-black-topThe con to a yellow rose is its inability to last.  I find I can only explain how the sadness of the yellow rose’s fault affects me in haiku form:
“On sunny petal
brown begins to show on edge
Oh no no no no”

 

 

Let’s go to the ball game.  What are we bringing?  Sunflower seeds.  Oh, yeah, salty sunflower seeds, the most frustratingly delicious snack around.  I also just like sunflowers when they’re whole.  Why?  They’re tall, strong, and beautiful.  They’re the Wonder Woman of flowers.  sunflower wonder womanThey also mean happiness… I’m noticing a pattern.  I like happy, yellow things.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  (I think there might be something wrong with that.)

 

My last choice is the underdog.  It’s not really a flower… it’s more of a weed.  And I just found out it’s actual name is limestone hawksbeard.  1358426I have no idea what this weed symbolizes, but weeds are resilient.  And this little guy is close to my heart because I used to pick them each year, make mom put them in her best vase, and watch as they got their weediness (<–this is a real word) all over the counter, which she loved.

 

So now it’s time for the real drama: what flower to choose.  I suppose I will probably go with my patch of daisies, mostly because I envision myself dawdling along a seaside cliff picking the ethereal little flowers as I lose track of time.  However, I also have to respect that although ten-year-old me shared the same vision, I made do with a light stomp in the backyard around the lake, pulling little weeds with beard in the title.  Oh, how I love those weeds, that backyard, that lake.  If I had to pick, I’d go with that weird weed every day of the week.

free fallin

September is in full swing.  Soon enough, Christmas will come.  Yes, I am one of those crazies. But before we get to the sacred birthing of Jesus (“birthing” is a word, gross), let’s get excited about fall, shall we?  Now, living in Malibu makes Autumn difficult.  I fully understand this sounds a bit like complaining, which I have no right to do when I live here:

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The weather is perfect in Malibu.  It’s in the sweltering seventies in the summer, and the brisk sixties in the winter.  Rough, I know.  Trust me, come November when you’re trying to savor hot chocolate and fashionable scarves, it really is rough.  I have to go into some sort of mind warp where I fool myself into thinking it’s a brisk 40 degrees outside, so I can where my flannel shirt; I’m not sweating because I’m overdressed, I’m sweating because the crackling fire is too welcoming (note: no fireplace near).  However, even with the weather dilemma, there are some amazing things that I love about Fall even in Malibu.  Here are 7 of them:

1. Pumpkin (for food).  Pumpkin lattes.  Pumpkin smoothies.  Pumpkin mousse. Pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin bread. My mom’s pumpkin pie.  Why don’t they make pumpkin to-go, like pumpkin go-gurts?  (OhmygoshI’mgonnaberich)

2.  The Colors.  Ooh la la, the colors.  Malibu may not get the leaves like Indiana, but stores, decorations, and clothes get a gorgeous overhaul that makes me wonder why they don’t keep the palette all year.

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Indiana color

3. Thanksgiving.  Eat, I must.  Half the fun (or more) in Thanksgiving is the prep beforehand.  Turkey Day is a major bonding experience in our household.  While one person stresses about the food getting done before company arrives, another chants, “goosfraba,” reminding us that it doesn’t matter that no one has showered 30 minutes before dinner starts.  It’s chaos.  It’s lovely.  It’s full of laughter. It’s time to watch the parade.

4. Halloween.  I’m not a particular fan of the holiday, but I am completely on board with the movies that go with it.  I feel like people are going to make a horror jump here.  No, sir.  I’m talking Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, The Addams Family, Harry Potter (more of an anytime-ever-whenever-always film), Young Frankenstein, and Shaun of the Dead.  I feel like I’m stretching this a little far.  No?  Okay, then.

5. Pumpkin (for decoration).  I happen to be a pumpkin artist.  However, because my tales of pumpkin carving glory came before the days of (my involvement in) social media, tracking down evidence for said prowess is difficult.  Just trust me.  Maybe I’ll prove it to you in October.

6. Apples.  An apple a day keeps hilary happy.  Fiji.  Gala. Jonathan. Granny.  Gimme, gimme, gimme (a man after midnight).  As good as SoCal’s produce is, I’d kill (maybe just love) for an Indiana apple.  Don’t even get me started on the orchard’s apple slush.  Oh, you got me started.  Our hometown orchard has a sweet, sacred nectar basically consisting of apple cider in slushy form.  Yummmm

7. Coziness. Fall is just cozy, right?  Like the over-sized sweater my sister has worn for the past twelve years.  Sure, it looks a little worn, but it’s loved and there’s something entirely too comforting about it that can’t easily be reconstructed.  Besides, don’t you love New York in the Fall?