Monday, January 25, 2010

31 and having FUN

So, even though my birthday is not until Wednesday, I feel as though it has already come and gone. You see, I had a little get together slumber party at my favorite paradise in Texas: King spa and Sauna. In case you haven't heard, this is a little prelude to heaven, right here on earth. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

It's a Jjim-jil-bang (say that 5 times fast!), a traditional Korean spa. What that means is that it is a split-gender bath house, with a lady area and a man area, where you get into your birthday suit and enjoy the delights of hot tubs, steam rooms, cold plunges, and scrubs and massages. Back in the mixed-gender area, everyone wears spa-issued pajamas (pink for girls, gray for boys) and lounges around in the many dry saunas, the restaurant, movie theater, karaoke room, and well, lounge areas.

It's very Korean. But super friendly and welcoming to us whiteys. Which is nice, because it would be a lot less enjoyable if you were dealing with discrimination in the place.

Me and something like 22 of my dear friends met up there and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I loved it! It was like a birthday for everyone!

Anyhow, birthdays are funny. Last year, I was very concerned about celebrating my 30th. It was ridiculous, me getting all pouty because things weren't working out perfectly. Not to mention that I was insanely broke, stressed out, unemployed, and injured.

This year is completely unlike last year, in almost every sense.

I still don't know the future, but then who amongst us does? (and if you do, don't tell me, I want it to be a surprise!)

Things aren't perfect, but they are pretty wonderful. My outlook is sunny, I am surrounded by people I love in a city that brings me joy. I am doing work that reflects my interests and values, using skills that I went to school to learn.

What are birthdays for then, if not remembering how far we've come in the past year, and evaluating what we want, who we are, and how things are going?

I'm doing well and trying to do good, too. I hope you all are in the same boat, because right now, from my birdsnest, it looks like pretty smooth sailing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'd like to be a less crappy "blogger". I neglect the hell out of this thing, which is either a mercy to those of you unaccustomed to long, rambling sentences bloated with florid phraseology, or a tease to those of you who cannot get enough of said sentences.

This year is off to a jolly good start.

Of course, I can't keep up with correspondences, but I can spell remarkably well, and my business is booming. Someday, I'll even direct you to our website.

I love landscape design, but can't help but wonder if I will be forced at some point to succumb to the nagging inner voice that tells me that my talents are being wasted on residential landscape design. I'm not entirely sure that they are, but there is a part of me that thinks in broader, grander terms and often wonders if I should be looking at graduate schools and applying myself to international aid work, or at least international development.

I mean, that was my plan at the outset. I never meant to be here in Austin, designing landscapes for whomever is willing and able to pay for my services.

I'm pretty sure that happiness (and the ability to support onesself) is the goal here, in which case I am doing relatively well... but there is always the question of whether I am doing enough to help my fellow man.

The Haiti thing, well, we all know how horrific all that is, right?

And the search for answers is not even remotely forthcoming. But it begs many questions. And those questions birth more questions, an endless flood of them oozing from the skin of this issue: where do you start? and with whom? and who administrates?

I've studied all this for years and still find my probings only able to yield more questions, and no definitive answers.

Meanwhile, I got the flu last week. It was thankfully brief, but terribly uncomfortable. My fever peaked at 103, and it made me quite nervous for a short, delirious spell.

I knew I was better when I began cleaning, compulsively, all the things I'd been too sick to lift a finger to take care of before.

And when I began to think, "oh my god, this is what it feels like to be healthy, not in pain, and functional!"

So here it is: healthy, not in pain, and highly functioning. That is my week in a nutshell.

And me, I couldn't be happier if I tried.

Sending love,

Friday, January 8, 2010

The New World

While there is, I admit, an arbitrariness to time, to it's measuring and meting out, the naming and defining of it--- I love submitting to this system of notching our sticks, of charting our courses by the ever-shifting positions of the heavenly bodies making their impossibly distant celestial rounds. Of sifting through the sands of our lives on an annual basis. Of remembering.

It's good and right somehow to have these milestones: birthdays, holidays, New Years. Anything to recognize yet another anniversary of our spinning blue planet making yet another revolution around the sun. I adore this.

2009 will go down in history as one of those pivotal years where everything changes, not only for myself, but for many others as well. It's been up and down, beautiful and tortured. And now, like every breath we've taken thus far, it is behind us.

I'm already in love with 2010. I like the squareness of it, visually. One box that fits neatly inside another, like those nested Russian babushka dolls.

In lieu of proper resolutions, I have a few simple goals and one overarching desire for this year (and possibly every one hereafter).
  • Learn to properly ride a horse.
  • Do more tango, and dance in general
  • Let the important people in my life know that I love them more: be a better friend, daughter, partner, artist, and just an overall better person.
But the most important desire for this year is simple, and one I'd like to share and challenge everyone I care for to join in...

I want to experience happiness not as a fleeting feeling, but as a discipline. I believe that happiness can be practiced, cultivated, and perfected.

This year I long to focus on the blessings that have marked my life, rather than that which I do not have, or have lost. I aspire to meet obstacles with a smile, to give more than I take, and to do so without expecting any reward aside from the experience of manifesting joy.

Life is short, justly difficult, and beautiful.

I'm really glad we're all in this one together.

Let's make this year the best one yet.