Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Vacation For One

Vacation time is like intangible gold and I accrue such worth in the amount of (up to) 40 days each calendar year.

I don't always find it easy to spend.

~~~~~

The city of Las Vegas.  The under constructionally hot landscape, not likely what you'd call our favourite.  For Travis,  I sense it's the deeply sad & desperate energy slathering every inch of his surrounding, for me it's the shocking familiarity to my desert past that I'm not looking to re-explore right now.

Travis usually books an annual week of shows out there, hosting the Laugh Factory.  I often go because time with my fella, wherever that is, is one of my favorite ways to tick the clock.  However, this year posed new logistical challenges.  I returned my leased car in May, so we're being a power couple on four wheels; I really wanted to take care of some 'boring to anyone else but me' house things; And mostly we had no one to watch Leroy.

As his planning unfolded, I realized I hadn't taken a proper vacation yet this year, making this the perfect opportunity.  The calendar inched closer for missing Travis, but I became increasingly excited to spend the time alone.  Yo, pick your chin up and read the above paragraph again. It afforded me the luxury to clear my personal list, which is just inherently harder when your spouse is around.  Or at least it is when you dig them so much.

and together, we'll head back in December to visit Mercury, NV.  {wink} look it up.

~~~~~

The goal was simple: Enjoy the time supporting my self-happiness & 1000 more head kisses to Leroy.  I needed some life quiet and this week the noise should come from blasting my speakers.

- No social media or news
- Spend time with myself
- Spend time with Leroy
- Lots of walking & running
- Lots of stretching & literally putting my legs up

And:
- Paint the living room
- Paint some canvas
- Reorganize & Purge
- Read some magazines
- Work in the garden
- Mostly be alone but enjoy the few scheduled outings


Day 1:  Travis left late morning, after all last minute preparations were done.  Normally he packs up the car, does a verbal check of everything needed, we'd exchange XOXOXO and as he'd wave goodbye, a hefty dose of depression would step in.  For the first few days I wouldn't do anything but watch television in the cuddle position hoping to hug Leroy but really he's cool just being near, and feel bad I wasn't accomplishing anything I had planned.  But it was different this time.  This time he drove away and I was immediately struck by the determination to action!  It was an unexpected upturn, one I anticipate has to do with my overall life positives.  I turned up the tunes that'd been knocking to get out of my head.  oh and I miss Travis.


Day 2: Noticed interesting affects of not posting or checking the social media triad known as fabinster (facebook, instragram, twitter).  There are things I thought or saw that I wanted to share, but the easily adhered to restriction meant they now become just for me.  Or a text to someone - I like that.  The instinct was to post on twitter or instagram, which I later figured was because I didn't mentioned going off-line on those platforms.  Like one was closed for renovations and the others were open during construction.  curious...

I also recognize the few times I wanted to look something up on facebook - a link, a company, piece of information... but said out loud each time, no social media!  I was out with a friend this night and said (more than once) argh! I'll send you the information later.  He just laughed, although encouragingly.  I don't think people mind the reprieve as much anymore - I like that.

 I discovered some new music through a random search.  oh and I still miss Travis.


Day 3: Went for a nice, long run in the cool morning.  Despite doing a boatload of more cardio activity, I've been getting faster per mile times.  I'm somehow averaging 8:30 as compared to 9:15+, which I have no idea if that's a small or significant improvement.  But I'll take it!  A girlfriend wanted to celebrate my vacationness, so she invited me to an afternoon movie and early dinner.  What a treat! This is obviously what tap dancing feels like.

Stayed up late with some Mazzy Star.  oh and this is the day that's the longest where I miss Travis.


Day 4: Decided to give my run legs a break and walked 2.5 miles to a favorite market because I was making a Korean dinner for a friend, based on her suggestion of bringing vegan Korean ribs.  So much schlepping of spices and eggplants!  Legit my first attempt at such a thing tho and luckily I had time to prepare and perfect.  Turns out she brought regular vegan ribs, so my sides were quite the spicy surprise.  oops.  Luckily they complimented each other and it was a fun mish-mosh of food.  I truly love cooking and being lost in my own excitement was quite pleasurable.

It's becoming normal course to keep off the platforms.  No joke, it feels like a distant activity reminiscent of before they overtook daily life.  The political news allure of keeping informed has been on my mind a tad more than expected, but staying busy keeps those desires at bay.  This mental check has been teased by knowing in a few days, I could watch again.  Not sure how I feel about that or whether I will.

So. Much. Rap.  oh and I way miss Travis but am getting excited it's closer to him coming home.  Like when you know it's almost the weekend and that shit flips fast so then the thing you're waiting for will be here ever sooner!


Day 5: I still get up early because I want to make sure I hit all the things before it gets 1000 degrees.  Nice long walk for Leroy, my exercise, any garden tending.  That frees up my day for the inside stuff and today is a day for MUSIC.  I really don't know what I'd do without those melodic vibrations, which makes me question why I never went into that industry.

I summoned Al Green and Otis Redding, who kindly serenaded me while I prepared some AH-MAH-ZING homemade soyrizo that isn't made from soy so I should call it LIErizo.  (hrmph, I don't love that either).  A friend was coming over for lunch and street tacos were our tasty jam.  Seriously, unleash me to reverse-engineer a food and I'm a happy bird.

Tonight tho, I broke.  sorta... Email was never on hold and I was resting on the couch when I ran through a few sub-accounts.  Most are setup for creative projects and only receive daily notices from Twitter.  On any particular day ending in Y, they usually land in the trash unopened.  Tonight of all weeks, I opened one and the headline caught my eye.  It was the first time since Sunday evening I felt tested.  Do I?  I mean it's only opening a web page and I'm not actually opening the app.  But I knew it was still me reading the who & what in that certain layout and it was still my body experiencing the affects.  I froze, staring at the email blurbage that beckoned me to trash all I'd worked for.  In slow motion my fingers found the point on the screen that would take away the entire weeks' worth of clarity.  I clicked and instantly felt weak.  fuck.  It ended up being so stupid and I spent the next 12 hours bummed that decision became my vacation ending reality.  ok life, lesson learned.

oh and in that moment, I really wished Travis was home.


Day 6: Leroy and I had a lovely early morning park date with his two best friends and another 4 from his usual pawd squad.  We haven't been going every Saturday like before and I think we souly needed it.  I watched him be the most puppy - chasing ball, running in puddles, drinking water off a slide, and burying his face in the grass.  I couldn't have asked for a better jump start to shake off the previous night.

Leroy and I got home around 9:30a and we sat in the backyard for a while, he hoping there's something to chase I don't have the back to work blues yet.  In fact, I'm sitting outside in the morning knowing it's my usual first day off but this week is Day 6.  I thought a lot about the week, all that I've done and some I didn't.  I thought about the funny looks I'd get after telling people my plans, both staying at home - not needing a car - being busy.  I didn't care, this wasn't there holiday.


Day 7: This one is just for me.


~~~~~

The last seven days started off meaning one thing, but through each of the experiences, became much deeper.  I realized it was not about deprivation, it was about reminding myself to slow down.  That, in itself, is a huge extension of kindness I don't often grant myself.

This week has been totally worth the wait.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1000 Opposite Sides

Travis has been writing 1000 words (at minimum) since January 1.  So what's that make, like a couple of roller rinks' worth of stories?  He's so rad.  No matter how tired, now matter what's happened during the day, he does it.  He freely and experiencly admits they all aren't brilliant, but that's not the point.  It's about doing it and through that determination, he's had some incredible pieces of creativity throw up in word.  It's inspiring.

Brandi has been conjuring 1000 ideas (at minimum) in her head since January 1.  So what's that make, like a couple of roller rinks' worth of dreams?  She's so mad.  No matter how much she fights being tired, no matter how much she ignores the day, she's not doing it.  She openly and humbly admits they all aren't brilliant, but that's not the point.  It's about doing it and through that damn fear of failure, she's had some incredible goals of intention throw up in someone elses portfolio.  It's infuriating.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It's April And Junk

I haven't written in a while.  Travis' 1000 words per day is supporting most of our scripted household.  I am in awe of his determination and goals this year.  Creative minds have the power to impact our emotions and that's what makes it so sexy.  Another soul allowed you in to the most personal depths.

And here's a thought.  I'm listening to the all Neil Diamond special radio channel and he's signing about blue jeans.  But his metaphoric denim is actually about being with some bird, holed up next to a fire.  It all doesn't have to be brilliance, sometimes you just need a good romp.

~~~~~

Life has been busy, socially & worldly and the in-between.  Emotionally I've been up and down, but mostly up!  And when you've had both, it's scary to think how long you wore that former clothing: weighted and ill-fitting.  I guess that's it, depression and sadness feel like an oversized coat you always have on.  It doesn't fit right, you feel hot and uncomfortable.  On the positive though, this year has sparked a lot of optimistic plans - especially for Travis.  And it feels good knowing I've started the incline over the mountain and my toolkit is stronger for keeping it that way.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Designed for Action: My Social And Personal Responsibility Plan

I haven't spoken to anyone that attended the Womens March who wasn't impacted by it in some way.  I sure as hell was.  It seemed to reinvigorate a collective by organizing, standing up and effectively working together to move a message forward.  For my lifetime, this is the first major movement I've been part of (or that we've long-term needed.) And I have never felt more empowered and driven and supported in taking on that great responsibility.

We are moving through a disparate time and we're all trying to understand how we progress together instead of disconnecting separately.  And no matter what you believe, yelling/screaming dilutes the message. So with the increase of people getting involved for injustices I wish we weren't still debating, I am hopeful! the uptick in awareness will result in a greater forum for discussion.

I could go on... and I also did something.

~~~~~

I created a Level 1 Action Plan for both social and personal goals this year!
  • My social actions address opportunities to improve navigation of this unique world
  • My personal actions achieve the commitment to grow connections and wellness
  • Actions by the Womens March will likely crossover, which is all the more reason I'll do my best to fulfill each one

There is significant change occurring everyday, so let's take accountability for the things we can transform.


It feels good and I look forward to this absolutely important & evolving process.
Please stand by for progress details, yo.

PS: I hope you appreciate idea pig as much as I do.






Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Marching Orders

Back in November, probably just after the 8th, I met my friend Amy at work so I could return her book on the history of olive oil.  Looking back, how poignant would it have been if the book was a history on suffraging, tampons or Pussy Riot.  But olive oil feeds my (v)egan soul, too. Trying to put the perplexity of the results on hold for a moment, we spent time catching up on happier conversation.  But inevitably our attention went to the sadness we felt and talking through ways to support each other during this election trauma.  She was the first person to ask whether I was going to the Womens March in January.  She didn't have details, but it sounded like the perfect thing to ease my current state - so I absolutely agreed.

I had no idea at the time the impact it would have on me and our world.

~~~~~


I marched alongside hundreds of thousands in solidarity of a message bigger than ourselves.
It was one of the most significant days in my life.


I am so proud to call Womans March LA my first organized demonstration.  What an important and incredible experience.  If you weren't there, let me just say the TV captured the crowd but could not come close to replicating the intense energy of the people.  I don't think the chills have left me...  There was something in the air when we arrived at Pershing Square, but I felt the magnitude while my posse waited patiently on Hill Street. We heard far in the distance an incoming wave of excitement and it arrived like a fierce crash.  Without prompt we all cheered, raising our fists & signs in unison.  It seemed to pass slower than it came, which was fine by me because I didn't want it to end.  This happened several more times and each one brought a deeper level of understanding for why I was there.  I realized we stood with an unknown pack, each marching for our own reasons but with the same common agenda.  Utterly Powerful.

The people were as varied as the conversations, a free flowing exchange of support and encouragement. The words of kindness & smart societal comments prevailed. There was a sense of community and change, it was peaceful and with purpose.  High fives were being traded like everyone needed a pocketful and it was beautiful.  Dude, it didn't matter whether you arrived by yourself, you were never alone. As I walked slowly down the route, I observed the numerous souls in all directions making their personal statement, just like I was.  That we as fellow humanoids could stand against the normalization of nonsense & hate and it would count!  The view changed as frequently as my eyes could blink and I thought, this is what it's about. This is togetherness. I told every person I spoke with that I appreciated their courage and don't let this be the end! Continue being a unified voice with me.


I marched For Myself.
I marched For My Rights.
I marched For My Beliefs.
I marched For My Reasons.
I marched For Women in my life who have empowered me more than they'll ever know.  {I promise to take better notes.}


~~~~~

"Nothing changes if nothing changes, and if I keep doing what I've always done,
I'll keep getting what I've always got and will keep feeling what I've always felt." 


I pledged weeks ago Saturday's March would not be a single day experience, but a commitment to do better for the things I care about. I get those calls to action now that President Obama, Michelle Obama and Bernie Sanders rallied for.  I can't imagine how anyone participating wasn't impacted by at least one moment, interaction or story.  I witnessed it tenfold and that makes this all the more real & tangible

To keep the national momentum going, the organizers of the Womens March created a new campaign: 10 Actions, 100 Days.  It's just that, 10 totally doable, high valued activities we can each participate in for our political future. You wanna spice up in 2017 but not quite sure you're ready to pickle your way to the party?  That's cool, take 10 minutes over coffee, yo.  Write both Al Franken (because you know why) and your state Senator. Write local, contact a councilperson. Tell each of them what issues matter to you, that their help is appreciated (recognition is a key morale driver) and
you'd love to hear what doughnut shops they love!  It's about better connecting leadership with the movement.

And it doesn't stop there for me.  I'm keen on utilizing that model for assembling my own personal campaign.  Or as the kids say, I'm motivated AF.  It's easy to fall into the trap of life's too busy, so I did something about it - I permanently cancelled my very made up subscription to Next Week Monthly.  These will be the community and personal Actions I can organize for myself over the next year.  It'll be a mixed bag of solo shindigs and knocks on your door, friend.  It's about impacting those around me through charitable & social improvements.  Volunteerism, creative projects, wellness, picking up trash on the street, get a block hootenanny going, submitting a piece to an art show, getting more involved with my home owners group / maybe joining the board, and the Swing Left initiative.  It's ambitious, but I urge you to figure out a little plan for yourself.  I can spitball ideas for hours so call me if you wanna session together! Mine will evolve and grow and be better defined over time, but they're manageable.  And if enough of us manage the expectation, it's achievable.

How awesome would it be if we started saying, oh man... I've had too much good news today!


I will stay invested.
I will not let this motivation lapse.
I will no longer sit idly by and hope.
I will hold myself accountable to continue the movement.


WE ALL HAVE A SPHERE OF INFLUENCE, DON'T BE AFRAID TO USE IT.

~~~~~

Instead of a handheld sign, I went for a tshirt because I brought my camera to document this historical event. Lemme tell you tho - WOW, the creativity. I mean talk about a pussy riot.  But if I had made one that wasn't my shirt, I liked EMUFFS ENOUGH.  I was also keen on unicorns pooping a magical message.












Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Moonergy

Our interaction with the moon is like an emotional metaphor ~
- UP: You're looking towards the future, symbolizing your desires, goals, hope & personal strength
- AHEAD: Where we spend most of our time, focused on tackling the daily challenges of getting by
- DOWN: Our body & soul knows we break and this is the space before finding our way back

~~~~~

My mind is open lately and I've been interested in broadening my understanding of new ideals.  Human energies & interactions, mindfulness & non-religious philosophies, and even the power of (a few) crystals.  Not to say any one of those will/will not resonate, but I am a creature of curiosity and a good curiosity satisfies.  But rarely have I sought out a moon event that was considered of spiritual significance, I just usually stumble upon them.  Like blood moons and eclipsed moons, moons that are missing or ginormously neat.

My friend shared an article about the best way to absorb the Wolf Moon of January, which happened January 12.  After scanning the highlights I decided to have a go.  It was after 10pm when I slipped on my jacket & wrapped a blanket around my shoulders, enticing Leroy from his slumber where he too, slipped on his OUTSIDE! face.  I gathered what I'd just read and created my version of the procedure: sit with the moon, look/absorb its beauty & energy, speak the achievements & tone for the upcoming year, and identify opportunities to grow from the last.  I'd never done that before, but I guess you can't really do it wrongly.  So I wasn't expecting anything other than the joy of being present after stopping my brain for a few shakes.

I ticked the roster of things I wanted to discuss and had a conversation.  And while she never verbally responded, I felt her reply.  I stared at the giant, glowy mass, my eyes taking in the movement and magnitude of the moment, as if it was drumming a Brandi beat.  Or maybe it was just the blood pulsating through my eyeballs...  I noticed a small, wispy cloud pass in front of the moon in an otherwise chill sky.  It was hanging on just enough to overcome something important.

I could relate.

In between his writing breaks, I asked Travis to join me.  Maybe he would find his moment too.  Although I can't speak for him, we did spend time literally howling together.  It was rad and self-assuring and liberating.

Before going to bed, I set my tiny crystal outside to charge in the moons luminescence.  What the hell, right?  If it hadn't had been like freezy cold, it would have been awesome to yard camp.  I went to bed excited about my new experience, feeling optimistic & way more self-kind than I have in a while.

~~~~~

The next morning I woke up refreshed.  I got me & my new kicks ready for a lovely jog in the cool morning air.  my favorite.  As I headed towards the neighborhood track, I grabbed the tiny crystal, shrugging as I tucked it away in my stash pocket.  what the hell, right?

I had a very, very solid pace & distance.  I had a great day at work.  I still believed in what I declared that night.



just sayin'...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Friend Morton

"This is really delicious. I can't imagine how anyone has a better life."  Morton sat quietly in the shade of a large oak tree, savoring a crunchy snack as two bluebirds gossiped above his head.  He wasn't ready to swallow the joy he heard in their shallow speak, but he'll put it in his pocket for later.  The warm lemonade sun filled the sky around him, but not directly.  He didn't care much for that.  Morton swallowed the rest of his breakfast with a final crescendo, meticulously tidying his face as he searched for hidden morsels.  "I mean, seriously..." he simultaneously sighed & closed his eyes, resting on the wise bark.  The faintest of smirks began to creep along the side of his mouth.

Morton loved his home and was proud of how far he'd come.  Although modest in size, its collected wares displayed a thoughtful appreciation to his first true love.  The one who took him away from his other life.  His parents weren't usually there, as folks around those parts tended to never be.  Morton was a typical middle existence, confined to the demanding attention of all those sibling eyes begging for attention.  Responsibility didn't come easy, but he took it seriously.  Some days he would scour the back alleys behind the downtown bakeries, hoping there lay a feast around the crumbling bricks.  Some days his family didn't eat at all.  He often felt alone while tending to his younger kin, day dreaming about creating a life bigger than what could ever be found staying in the corners of the room.

"Just a few more minutes in this moment..." his shift would be starting soon.

~~~~~

"I always wanted to make a difference."  Morton proudly said to no one as his eyes grazed upon today's harvest.  A surge of determination filled his voice.  He found this bustling world to be the pin that inspired his choices, both in cooking and in life.  Although no one ever noticed his contributions, he actually enjoyed getting up early now, excited for the days' purpose yet to be written by his knife.  Not like before when he would sleep all day after brawling into the dawn, doing anything to escape his circumstantial boredom.

Morton spent most of the week working in a stale restaurant, the old familiar faces blurring past while he stayed focused on his goals.  He delicately sliced & chopped, prepping a beautiful offering for the tired scavengers who never noticed.  He often distracted himself by imagining his own place, the signs' firefly like glow beaming his name.  Morton thought of the customers who would wait all week for a chance to sit at his chef's table, patiently watching him weave a masterpiece of fine delicacy from scratch.  He knows one day his presence will tremble the lessor creature.  And he liked that very much.

"MORTON!!  I need that side in 90 seconds."  demanded his boss.
"On it chef." he hoped, emitting an aire of fraudulent confidence as he flipped his precisely cut vegetables sautéing in the small fry pan.  He respected what he could learn from the boss, but wished he would put him in charge some times.  Just once, then he could prove them all wrong...

"Hello Miss, how are you today?"  chirped the host.

"Fine." assertively sending a half-grin as she walked past, headed for the usual table.  The stench of her judgement lingered deep into the kitchen.  What was her story, Morton wondered.  It was the one customer he always noticed because her indistinct attitude bothered him.  He didn't like the courage she emanated, from her curls to her frilly dress.  She sat there, freedom to eat her toast and cottage cheese while his talent was stuck behind a "yes chef."  he was jealous.  His eyes seething as he stared out at her tiny frame.  She knew what she was doing and he hated her for it.

~~~~~

"This is really delicious. I can't imagine how anyone has a better life."  Morton sat quietly in the shade of a large oak tree, savoring a crunchy snack as two bluebirds gossiped above his head.  He wasn't ready to swallow the joy he heard in their shallow speak, but he'll put it in his pocket for later.  The warm lemonade sun filled the sky around him, but not directly.  He didn't care much for that.  Morton swallowed the rest of his breakfast with a final crescendo, meticulously tidying his face as he searched for hidden morsels.  "I mean, seriously..." he simultaneously sighed & closed his eyes, resting on the wise bark.  The faintest of smirks began to creep along the side of his mouth as he heard her struggling to loosen the heavy chains again.  He patted his chef's knife that lay near him on this beautiful day, "Soon friend we'll get to work."