Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

And then we drove

Southern coastal Iceland has some of the weirdest landscapes I have ever seen.

We pulled over and climbed out at one point because it was too weird not to take pictures. The sun all dusty and low and strange, these little hill-bumps as far as the eye could see, dead grass with dusty ice in windy patterns around it. And oh my goose, was it windy. As E. said, it felt like being inside of a vacuum cleaner. It nearly pushed me when I was standing on top of one of the hillocks to take in the weirdness, and it was pointless trying to talk even if you screamed, because the wind took your words as soon as they left your mouth. From when I stumbled out of the car to when I got back in, I laughed and laughed because it was just so unbelievably, ridiculously windy. I know "ridiculous/ly" has become a highly overused qualifier, so there is your standard: if it makes you laugh and it's not humorous, it is ridiculous.

We kept driving...

See that blue iciness creeping in from behind the browner mountains? Glacier! More on that later.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Have soy milk, will travel

[The picture was staged, but not the fact that I was walking around with a backpack on and a carton of soy milk in hand. Which delighted me.]

I'm house sitting for the week at the house of my sweet puppy who isn't mine. So far I'm drinking lots of tea, watching tons of Project Runway, taking pictures, and going for walks with puppy.

Any interesting notions for things to do with a house to myself?

From Vík

Creepy lobby with bits of all of us. My knee, plus E.'s elbow, and A's shoulder in the right and left sides of the pictures, respectively.

Rock, lotion, water, book, journal. Good job assembling for bedtime, objects.

In my room.

In the morning, we found out that our windows had views. Fancy that!

They knew I was coming and they knew what sheets I have on my bed at school.

This is just out the hostel door.

The town of Vík.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The art of eating a tangerine

Thich Nhat Hanh illustrated mindful living by describing the act of eating a tangerine. You eat it one section at a time. If you can't first eat just the piece of the tangerine that is in your mouth, you won't be able to eat the whole tangerine. In the same way, he wrote:

"If you cannot find joy in peace in these very moments of will be incapable of living the future when it has become the present. Joy and peace are the joy and peace present in this very hour of sitting. If you cannot find it here, you won't find it anywhere. Don't chase after your thoughts as a shadow runs after its object....Find joy and peace in this very moment."

That is the real art to living that I want to know, being able to take whatever you are given and recognize it as beautiful. Not because it's whatever you perceive it to be, but as a realization that there is sufficient goodness in what you have and are right now, in the present moment and in what you can make happen in it. I want to carry that ability with me.

So I have to remind myself, If you can't find beauty on this street where you are walking right now, if you can't find fulfillment in washing the dishes, if you can't find calm in this traffic jam, then you won't be able to find these things anywhere else in any meaningful way. So find it. It's there; there is something and it's enough.

And why do I rename this blog in honor of that way of thinking? Because a lot of what I write now comes from the process of learning how to think and live that way, present and receptive to the moment. You can imagine me typing with fingers that are maybe still a little sticky with tangerine juice.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Yay change

I came up with the current name for this blog back in 2007 without much thought, and I've been wanting to change it for quite a while now.

I finally came up with something that I'm wholly happy with. :)

And I decided to register my own domain at the same time. My new address is

I would be much obliged if you would update your links. So obliged, in fact, that you should tell me if you do so, and leave me a comment with the address of the page where I can find this updated link. Because I might decide to do a drawing and randomly choose one or more of these saintly link-updaters and give them presents. You never know.

^ That paragraph was important. Stop skimming, skimmers.

To my special fellow RSS rats: HERE [] is the new feed.

Explanation of the new title to follow soon.

Still a na na na na na

Look at me, rolling in the monies, living the high life of a barista!

Jk. I got paid in cash for the last three days because the owner doesn't want me anymore. He said I don't seem suited to the job. Which kinda bothers me—he hadn't given me a word of feedback or correction until then, and since so far I'd only been there when it was fully staffed (to learn from the experienced workers), I was always kind of superfluous and in the way. I do think I'm more capable than he got to see. Also, apparently someone who used to work there and went away is asking for her job back. And she gets it back.

Anyways, bye, coffeehouse job.

But I'm okay about it, really. Zen and the art of getting fired?

• I'm no worse off than I was before.
• Actually, I've got three days' pay, four free coffees, and good experience with a cash register, food prep, and coffee-makings under my belt. And I know now that I like customer service.
• I didn't need that job to keep myself fed and under a roof.
• I'm still not really unemployed.
• I won't have to worry about getting time off for family vacations and weddings this summer.
• Does this constitute legitimate rejection? Meh. Like I said, I don't think I was given a completely fair chance, and the people at the medical practice where I'm temping now really like how I work and have mentioned hiring me permanently when they expand later this year.
• More sleep for me.
• It's all part of the experience of economic crisis, right? I'm in awesome company.


Monday, June 22, 2009

The tablecloths think they are wings to carry their tables away

My sister's first bridal shower and I am sitting with her college friends who are nice, though they all know each other and I don't know them, though I wouldn't mind knowing them better

The subject of gender roles keeps flitting through my mind and my thoughts feel like something sharp in my hands, though I guess it's no great thing to be dangerous enough to make a bridal shower unpleasant [nonetheless, I tell them they can wait]

My littlest cousin's brown feet in their saltwater sandals making their way in and out of the patio's latticed shadows

And I am shaking out the tablecloth in the warm wind this Southern California sky's exhale, and she is shrieking and running and I nearly catch her in its lace and I want to cry after her, How old I will be when it's your turn! Thirty-five, forty? And her, older than I am now? Strange and strange. I hope I am even more myself by then, and that she doesn't calm down too much.

Assorted boxes

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tell me something honest

I will keep it for you and then tell you one of mine.


Some things want out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things that are making me happy

Food with candles stuck in it.

Employment. Yes! I have a permanent job now! At a coffeehouse in my neighborhood! I have been looking for a job for ages, and to get one that I even really want? Oh, oh, it's good..

Pan's Labyrinth and its soundtrack. (THANK YOU ERIN that I watched it when I was by you in ze land of ze baking sun!)

Being appreciated at the temp job. The woman I'm helping out said she is pushing for the doctor to hire me permanently when she expands the practice soon. (Two jobs? Maybe...!)

Returning to schemes to visit Cuba next summer with my soon-to-be brother-in-law.

The rose in an iced tea bottle on my desk. It is big and red and opened perfectly. I bought it from a man downtown with a thick and musical accent who told us about his son back home with heart disease, took out a picture to show us and kissed it when he put it away. Maybe he was lying for pity, maybe it was the truth. In any case, I love carrying around flowers, and he entranced me a bit.

Videochatting with my suitemate and dear amiga in Illinois.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lately I don't have as much to write.

I don't mind. It just means things are quieter in my head.

^That's at my temp job. iPod and keyboard.

I noticed that my jeans are the color of my veins.

My neighborhood is just like this, all fog and cracked pavement and bright small-box houses and glimpses of the ocean. Worn and colorful and ordinary and full of small strange things.

Yes. There are metal flowers too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not obvious enough

I was rewatching The Fellowship of the Ring today and was thinking about the fact that that they actually costumed thousands of people for those movies, and wondering how the cost of one of those costumes compared to the cost of a inexpensive real-life outfit.

Why is it more of a priority to costume actors than to clothe people who actually do not have enough to wear? And of course it's not just Hollywood; I could have donated ten bucks to a charity instead of getting the VHS.

It seems like it's not even worth asking which is more important, that people have sufficient clothing or that some of us have epic movies with great costumes. It's obvious, right? Or if it's not obvious enough, how about...epic movies or mosquito nets to prevent malaria?

Maybe this is too simplistic for some of you, but here's the thing: I would actually have to answer the question for a person with no assumptions to know that I think human lives are more valuable than good entertainment. ["What you believe is not what you say you believe; what you believe is what you do."] I don't really like that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I still have bruises from slithering back in through the window

This is what I will think of:

- running out onto the roof with Faith and Erin to be in a dust storm.

- how The Princess Bride has never been funnier than when I watched it with them.

- making a layer [carrot] cake with Faith.

- and then enjoying it very lazily with iced tea in the backyard.

- that we three talked and laughed about nothing and everything and knew each other so well.

- Pan's Labyrinth.

- Erin attempting to assassinate me multiple times at the pool.

- how in the morning we recorded our miracles in dry-erase marker on Faith's window.

- "For some reason, I keep wanting to call you The Great and Terrible Holly." ~Erin

- a tabletop dusted with almond flour.

- realizing while I was staying with Erin's family that everyone there was a blogger. It felt awesome.

- Sharpie knuckle tats.

- the cool shuttle driver from Sudan that I talked to the whole way to the airport.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I left my laptop charger in Arizona

Computer access is a bit limited, but I've been busier than usual anyways with a temp job doing data entry at a medical practice.

I've been running a lot and it's been wonderful. I'm even happier to have the new iPod my friends and sisters got me for my birthday. My old mini's battery life was down to about twenty minutes, and I don't know if I would keep up running if I didn't have a way to listen to music during.

I took a picture of all my full journals. They are in chronological order going from left to right. The first one is from second grade; from then on they're continuous from eighth grade

I made strawberry-banana cupcakes one night when I was getting worried that life will be boring. Which is not to say that strawberry-banana cupcakes are the antidote for a boring life, but they are a good distraction from worries.

Takeout tofu and veggies from our friendly neighborhood Korean restaurant, yum yum yum.

My sweet puppy who isn't mine got spayed. Poor dear.

I have been writing many long letters.

Also plotting a photo shoot in the park with my little sister as my model. I have this idea which I am trying out in both prose and photography. I will let you know how it goes.

And you, what have you been up to?