Monthly Archives: June 2013

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a story about superlatives.

A few weeks ago, I got invited to join a Facebook group for my 10-year high school reunion because, evidently, I’m a lot older than I feel or would care to admit at this point in time.

It’s so fun to interact with these people again. No matter where we eventually ended up, we all have this crazy past experience in common — a collection of four years in which we all tried to grow up too fast but also be young and stupid at the same time, yielding countless memories of euphoric highs and heavy lows.

Naturally, senior year was my favorite. By the middle of the fall semester I’d already been accepted to all the colleges I’d applied to, so I tried my best to enjoy my final days in high school as much as I could.

(Read: I slacked off and, uh, let my hair down, if you will.)

One of the most fun parts about senior year was, of course, the Senior Superlatives for the yearbook. I’ll never forget the day we were filling out our ballots. The room was all abuzz about Who are you voting for Biggest Flirt? Best Hair? Most Likely to Succeed?

Then, of course, Best Looking.

“Oh, I don’t know who to pick,” I told one of my guy friends.

“I’m picking you,” he said.

“No you’re not!”

“Yes I am. Watch me.”

Sure enough, he wrote my name in on his ballot for Best Looking. My name. Mine! For Best Looking!

For an insecure girl battling an eating disorder, that was the best news ever!

Now, to be fair, he probably only did that because a) in a class of more than 500 people it’s hard to think of one person and I happened to be sitting right in front of him at the time or b) because he wanted to be nice or c) he wanted to get into my pants and I had no idea.

Still, I was very flattered. So flattered, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to tell my boyfriend.

My boyfriend at the time was a year older than me, already knee-deep in his freshman year of college in another state, and, as I would later discover thanks to the at-the-time-very-newfangled internet, absolutely cheating on me.

“I got voted for Best Looking!” I almost screamed into the phone.

“Oh?” He said.

“Yeah! Isn’t that wild?”

Then, without missing a beat, with the flattest voice, he replied, “Your class president should win that category.”

If I’d had a mouth full of water, I would have done the most epic spit take.

“I’m sorry?”

“Not to be mean, but she is the prettiest girl in your class.”

“Are you serious right now?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. First of all, he was right. She was definitely the prettiest girl in our class. Second of all, she was a friend of mine, and he knew that. Third of all, I was his freaking girlfriend! Anyone with a brainstem knows that, regardless of the validity of a statement like that, you don’t bloody say it!

“Yeah, I mean, no offense. If she weren’t in your class I’d vote for you.”

Nice save.

For the record, I am still friends with this beautiful girl. I never told her this story but I wish I would have because I know we would have laughed our faces off about it. Perhaps at the reunion?

Ten years later, I’d all but forgotten about this little exchange until the Facebook group brought back a tidal wave of memories, both great and (like this one) less than great.

To be honest, I don’t remember who won Best Looking. Or Most Likely to Succeed. Or Best Hair. (And I have no idea where my yearbook is — oops — so it’s not like I can look this stuff up.) But, you see, here’s the thing.

Ten years ago, my life hinged on whether or not people found me attractive. If they did, I felt like I was worth something. If they didn’t, it was crushing because I was convinced it meant I was useless.

Today, I know that isn’t the case.

I have a wonderful husband and a devastatingly beautiful son and a life that is so full, so abundant, that it has exceeded any and all dreams and hopes I’d ever had for myself.

I am radically loved by so many people. My God and myself included. And I am grateful.

So. Here’s a message to all you young ladies in high school right now who are praying to whomever you worship that you’ll be voted Best Looking. Or that your boyfriend won’t cheat on you. Or that you’ll lose ten pounds before prom. Or that you’ll go from a B to a C cup by your junior year.

Listen to me. Listen good. 

I know all of this seems important. Like earth-shatteringly important. And I’m not here to tell you that it’s not because it was for me, too. But what I am here to tell you is this:

Just wait. It gets so much better than this.

Ten years from now, you will look back and laugh at yourself for ever thinking (or caring) that you were fat or ugly or lonely. You will look around you and see all the blessings you have because of your brain and your heart and your talents and your demeanor and you will wonder why you ever thought any differently. So just hang in there.

Oh — and for Christ’s sake, eat something.

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what i noticed for nora: a mystery.

Dan and I have (finally) resumed our running routine. Three days a week, when Dax first stirs, we go get him, I nurse him while Dan changes into running clothes, then while I change Dan gets Dax ready, then we head out the door with the jogging stroller.

We’ve orchestrated this little routine because it leaves little room for complaining or excuse-making. If Dax is awake, so are we, so we might as well run.

At the end of our run yesterday, as we were coming back into our apartment complex, we ran past a few trees that we see everyday but I never really “noticed” until then. I made Dan stop.

“Give me my phone,” I said breathlessly.

“Why?”

“Because I have to [GASP] notice something for [GASP] Nora.”

Dan handed me my phone and I snapped a picture of these little beauties.

babyoranges

In the picture, they look like oranges. But they’re not. Look at the size of the leaves for reference, and you’ll see that these tiny, orange fruits are no bigger than sweet peas. But they’re orange. And on a tree.

And I have no idea what they are

Since I haven’t lived here a full month year yet, I have never seen these things go through all the seasons. (By the way, in Naples, there are a grand total of TWO seasons: snowbird season — or just “season” — and off season.) It will be exciting to see them bloom and grow and ripen over the next few months to find out exactly what they are.

These little orange bulbs remind me of my own “season” of life. Like these tiny fruits, it is a mystery to me, currently in the very early stages of blossoming. I don’t know what it will turn out to be like once it’s ripe, or how long it will take to get there. All I know is that at this moment it is new and fresh and beautiful and intriguing and I’m eagerly awaiting the impending harvest.

 

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things i love thursday! (june 13, 2013)

It’s REALLY hot out and it storms everyday. But, so long as you time your day right, you don’t get caught in it and everything is great!

piano

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Catching up with THIS GUY over a hoard of technologies in one sitting.
  • My Fridays out to myself.
  • Meeting lovely girls who want to watch my baby.
  • Going to the farmers market alone, even though it was terribly hot.
  • Crepes for breakfast!
  • Having my husband home on Sunday after a long week.
  • Finally getting into a routine with Dax.
  • Cooking. (I know — who am I?)
  • A much-needed hour-long phone conversation with my dear friend Andrea.
  • Going to Starbucks and not buying anything. (What are you gonna do? I used your WiFi, too! #AMERICA)
  • Hashtags in texts.
  • Also, #hashtag.
  • Birthday texts.
  • Learning fun songs.
  • Accidentally making old people blush which, in turn, made me blush.
  • Whenever Dan comes home.
  • Whenever Dan goes to work (because he loves it, and that is fun to watch!).
  • Secret DIY projects.
  • Outings with my little guy.
  • Dax now mimics us when we stick out our tongues and when we “fake” cough. So fun!
  • Donut Day!
  • Jammin’ with new musician friends!
  • Also, doing so on a piano that once belonged to Sir Elton. (I DIE.)
  • Ordering chinese food in.
  • Dax’s first spaghetti!
  • I know I’ve said it already but the sunsets here are seriously killer.
  • Running with Dan and Dax in the morning when it’s not a bajillion degrees yet.
  • Random accents.
  • Nursing Dax until he falls asleep on me. I love that he still does that at almost 1 year old.
  • How is my baby almost a year old?!?! Whatever — best year of my life!
  • The demise of wedding-related garments. It’s sad, but it still made me smile, because it reminded me of the day I married my favorite person in the whole world.
  • His beard.

What do YOU love this week, people?!

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when it rains.

I know this can’t possibly be true but it really feels like it has rained nonstop since I moved to Naples.

dangnatureuscary

First, it was your regular ol’ summer-in-Florida situation in which the sky would turn a mean black around 2pm and then vigorously pour buckets for all of ten minutes before clearing back up.

Then, one day, it just kept raining.

And then a tropical storm rolled through.

And it kept raining.

Really put a — wait for it – damper on things around here. (I COULDN’T RESIST. I REGRET NOTHING.)

rain

Yesterday was one of those five-star parenting days in which I was operating on very little sleep and it was all I could do to not burst into tears and so, despite the tropical conditions outside, I took Dax out for a drive hoping the lull of the car and the sound of the rain would calm him.

I told you; five. star. parenting. (It worked, by the way.)

While I was waiting at a red light, enjoying the sound of my baby not crying, I tiredly stared through the windshield while the wipers swish-swished back and forth rapidly to clear away the cascade. My eyes fell upon that triangular space between the wipers that never gets wiped and I remembered analyzing that same spot as a child driving with my mom. I could hear my tiny voice in my head, whining: “Why can’t they make wipers that wipe the WHOLE windshield? There is so much left of the glass that has droplets all over it!”

(I’ve always been a perfectionist, I guess.)

As an adult, I looked at the glass differently. Instead of being upset that, all these years later, they still haven’t made wipers that actually wipe the whole windshield, I felt grateful for those wipers and their persistence. No matter how hard it rains, no matter how many drops (or buckets) fall, those wipers keep on keepin’ on, with no regard for how many drops have already previously fallen or how many will fall in the future. Swish-swish-swish-swish. Dry-not dry-dry-not-dry-dry. 

One of my last days in Tallahassee, I was out wedding dress shopping with my best friend. Toward the end of the trip, though, I got a frantic text from Dan asking me to come home as soon as possible to nurse a very cranky Dax. I headed home as fast as I could which evidently wasn’t legal because I got a speeding ticket.

I was so angry with myself because, I know better. During my twelve years of driving, I’ve gotten more than my fair share of speeding tickets and, until that moment, I had finally cleared all points from my license and was again deemed a “safe driver”. And one stupid misstep of speeding home cost me all that.

When I got home I yelled at Dan and yelled at myself, saying, “I’m just so sick of the fact that I’m such a crappy person.”

“You are not a crappy person,” he said, “you are just a person. Who does crappy things sometimes. Because you’re a person.”

“But I always do this!”

“Just because you’ve done bad things doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. You’re forgiven.”

It’s amazing to me how often this happens to me. I make some (relatively) minor mistake and I fall apart because it makes me think I am forever doomed to making mistakes and that I’ll always be bad and nothing can fix that.

It just keeps raining.

If you have the same issue I do — you seem to remember every dumb thing you do and beat yourself up every time you do another dumb thing — just remember the windshield wipers.

What.

Forgive yourself as persistently as my wipers clear away the rain. Forget the drops from the past, don’t anticipate more drops in the future. Just wipe them away as they come, just as fast as you can, so you can see what goodness lies ahead.

Because if I was still angry about all the rain that has fallen in Naples over the past three weeks, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy myself right now, sitting outside at a Starbucks, warming in the sunshine with the dry sidewalk beneath my sandaled feet.

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Filed under psychology, transformation

what i noticed for nora: banyan trees.

banyan_tree

If you’re coming to visit us on a weekend, I’m going to take you to the Farmer’s Market on Third Street South on Saturday. (But you’ll have to get up early with us because it’s from 7:30 to 11:30 in the morning.) Not only are there tons of stands with organic produce/meat, there are also homemade jewelry stands, arts and crafts, and even a woman who sells homemade organic dog and cat treats!

Oh and don’t eat breakfast because we’re going to get s’mores beignets from the sweet Dutch man in his food truck. (I may be turning into an organic/clean food Nazi but I can’t refuse fried dough just yet.)

To get to the market, we have to drive down Broad Street, which is lined with these GORGEOUS banyan trees with twisty roots and sturdy trunks and limbs that stretch for days.

According to some random Welcome to Naples! signs that are posted all around the city (still not entirely sure where the city limits are for this reason) Naples is nicknamed Tree City, USA. It’s quite fitting, as you can’t turn your head without laying eyes on at least 100 palm trees.

But these trees are special to me. The first time I saw them I literally gasped at their beauty.

I’m not entirely sure my picture does them justice but just trust me on this one.

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