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Curvy in California

A Life Without Curves Is Just A Straight Line

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December 2014

12.31.2014 ~ Anything Can Happen, Child…

I didn’t make plans for New Year’s Eve.  Not that I’m not into it…well, maybe I’m not THAT into it this year, but it just honestly wasn’t a priority for me this week.

I just got home from a full day at work, and after several invites from friends this afternoon, I finally decided, you know what, some of this sounds like a lot of fun.  So, I’ll be getting my behind together here soon to head out to Huntington Beach for dinner at Cucina Alessa with Katie and Evan, and whatever other rag-tag New Year’s Eve rejects decide to come together last minute.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking today.  You know, the “cool” thing to say, the “trendy” thing to say today is that I’m not making any resolutions this year.  Why make resolutions?  Why not just live your life as you see fit every single day of your life?

Sure, it’s fine to have hope, to make goals, to see yourself as the best you that you can be.  But this is a thought process that shouldn’t just happen one time a year.  It should be something that you think about every day.  Am I happy with myself today?  Was I happy with myself yesterday?  If not, what can I do to make sure that I’m happy tomorrow?

As the ball drops tonight, and Katie and I have likely taken way too many shots out of that $100 bottle of top shelf tequila she got for Christmas, I’d like to think that I’ll be grateful for the plans that I didn’t make.  Because instead of making plans, I’ve been doing something that seems increasingly more important as I get older…

I’m living.  I’m living a life of hope and faith, a life that values the past, makes the most of every moment in the present, and brightens the future.

Happy New Year, guys!  See you next year!

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12.30.2014 ~ Just Like Riding A Bike

I got a bike for Christmas…

Yes, at the age of 31, I asked Santa Claus (AKA my dad in this case) for a big, shiny beach cruiser for Christmas, and he totally delivered.  The request wasn’t some nod to my childhood; it was actually a very utilitarian request.  I live close to the beach, and having a bike and using it for everything from grocery runs to lazy cruises by Newport Pier is just part of the lifestyle that I now find myself a part of.

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Funny thing, though…I’d kind of forgotten how to ride I bike.  Not that I didn’t understand the basic mechanics anymore, but it was just a bit uncomfortable.  I hadn’t really been on one in years, and it was with some apprehension that I took the cruiser out for a test drive on the street next to my aunt and uncle’s house.

Dad had left to spend the rest of the day with his girlfriend, and so it was that Uncle Hugh found himself airing up the tires on the bike, making sure my brakes were right, and well, basically guiding me through how to ride a bike all over again.  Under his studious supervision, a small bit of instruction, and one loud warning of, “Watch that car!” it wasn’t long before I found my balance and got up the courage to fly down the street, feeling the warm Christmas wind in my hair.

There’s a pretty good chance that if you’re reading this, you know how to ride a bike.  It was probably one of the first things you learned as a child, and it’s been so long now you don’t quite recall how it even happened.

For most people it’s just a natural thing, so natural in fact that there’s a common cliché about it – “Just like riding a bike.”  This is supposed to mean that, regardless of how long it’s been since you’ve done something, what you learned is retained long term.  So much so that whatever skill or knowledge it is, it simply becomes intuitive to you and you’ll know exactly what it is you need to do when the situation calls for it.

There are so many things that can be characterized in this way, but I got to thinking, there are a lot of things that can’t.  Why is it that, no matter what we’ve learned over time, no matter how long ago we’ve learned it, we find ourselves struggling in some of our relationships?  Why is it that we can remember the skills required to ride a bike, but we can’t seem to remember the skills to prevent us from toxic relationships? And I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, but familial relationships and friendships, too.

On Christmas, I found my heart strained by the weight of the poor relationships in my life.  While so many amazing things are happening for me right now, I found it hard to express the joy that this time of year usually brings.  It was hard because I realized I had no idea how to move forward and heal these relationships that actually mean a great deal to me, or meant a great deal to me at one point in time.

But that’s the thing, I guess.  If a relationship “means a great deal” to you, then that is an object of the heart.  The heart is its own entity, and no matter what the mind says or does, it can never take over that ground.  The mind can tell you a great many things, it can even tell you how to ride a bike.  But it can’t ever tell you how to heal a broken heart.

“Now something so sad has hold of us that the breath leaves, and we can’t even cry.” – Charles Bukowski

12.25.2014 ~ A Christmas Poem For The Lonely, A Poem For The Sad, A Poem For The Dreamers, A Poem For The Bad

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King John was not a good man –
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
And men who came across him,
When walking in the town,
Gave him a supercilious stare,
Or passed with noses in the air –
And bad King John stood dumbly there,
Blushing beneath his crown.

King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon…
But no one came to tea.
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf
Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself.

King John was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
They’d given him no present now
For years and years and years.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
Collecting tribute from the young
For all the songs they might have sung,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,
He lived his live aloof;
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing up the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
“TO ALL AND SUNDRY – NEAR AND FAR –
F. Christmas in particular.”
And signed it not “Johannes R.”
But very humbly, “Jack.”

“I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I don’t mind oranges,
I do like nuts!
And I SHOULD like a pocket-knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!”

King John was not a good man –
He wrote this message out,
And gat him to this room again,
Descending by the spout.
And all that night he lay there,
A prey to hopes and fears.
“I think that’s him a-coming now!”
(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)
“He’ll bring one present, anyhow –
The first I had for years.”

“Forget about the crackers,
And forget the candy;
I’m sure a box of chocolates
Would never come in handy;
I don’t like oranges,
I don’t want nuts,
And I HAVE got a pocket-knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!”

King John was not a good man,
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people seized their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,
King John said grimly: “As I feared,
Nothing again for me!”

“I did want crackers,
And I did want candy;
I know a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I do love oranges,
I did want nuts!
And, oh! if Father Christmas, had loved me at all,
He would have brought a big, red,
india-rubber ball!”

King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing in the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all …
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
An india-rubber ball!

AND, OH, FATHER CHRISTMAS,
MY BLESSINGS ON YOU FALL
FOR BRINGING HIM
A BIG, RED,
INDIA-RUBBER
BALL!

12.23.2014 ~ Outfit Post ~ Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It

I wasn’t really committed to doing outfit posts on the blog anymore, not on purpose anyway.  That was until Robin from Tulip Boutique in KC reached out to me recently.

I had done some work with Robin as a KC fashion blogger, and her boutique is one of the most adorable little places located on the Country Club Plaza in Downtown Kansas City.  She is one amazing lady, and the way she runs her business is just truly inspiring.

Since the blog format had changed from fashion-focused to lifestyle-focused, I wasn’t really expecting to hear from too many businesses anymore, but what Robin had to say in her email really touched my heart.  She told me about Tulip’s new feature called Tulip Twist, where participants are asked to style a particular item of clothing in a little bit of a friendly competition.  Robin said she knew I wasn’t writing a fashion blog anymore, but she’d still been following my journey, and realized that this particular item of clothing was perfect for me.

She was SO right.

Sometimes the littlest things can carry the biggest messages, and this is ultimately true of Tulip’s custom girl tee emblazoned with, “Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It”.

Robin, thank you so much for thinking of me.  While I may not be focused on fashion anymore, you’ve confirmed what I’ve hoped all along – that the people who fell in love with Curvy in Kansas City would be just as touched by Curvy in California.  I AM just a girl who decided to go for it, and it’s been the best decision of my life.

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12.19.2014 ~ Dating After Divorce, Part Three: Even In Fairy Tales, Sometimes Love Is Not Enough

It is Christmas, and as I sit down to write this thoughtful piece, I find myself reminded of a particularly relevant Christmas movie quote:

“Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.” – Ralphie, A Christmas Story

So true, Ralphie, SO TRUE.

You know, I had this whole intention to drag this part of my story out.  Make the Dating After Divorce series an eight-parter, and really delve into what happened between John and I.  This relationship meant a great deal to me after my divorce, but I really don’t want to write about it anymore.  John is gone.  There’s nothing I can do about that, and continuing to write about him won’t do anyone any good.

Unbelievably, I did fall in love with John.  I fell in love with him fairly quickly, and I was pretty sure he felt the same.  No, it wasn’t the kind of love that you build over a lifetime.  It wasn’t the kind of love that you would fight for and would die for, day in and day out (at least, not yet).  But it was the kind of love that got me to thinking that there was SOMEONE ELSE out there that I would fight for…SOMEONE ELSE to make me see that there are some things in this world that I would give anything for.

John’s love was one of those things that I might have given anything for.  And at nearly the precise moment I realized I didn’t need to give anything to get it, John completely disappeared from my life.

At the height of my revelry, when my joy was at its zenith, when all was most right with the world, the most unthinkable disaster descended upon me.

It was devastating each day that tick-tocked by.  I didn’t know if John was dead, I didn’t know if he had been hurt, I didn’t know if he had just lied to me about everything. I didn’t know…PERIOD.  I sent John a final text message one month after his disappearance imploring him to say something to me, anything.  And when I didn’t hear back, well, what could I do?  I patched up my broken heart, and I kept trucking.

Four days later, though, I received a reply.  I won’t go into every detail of what John said because, honestly, some of it is crazy, some of it you’d never believe, and well, some of it is stuff I just want to keep to myself.

In a nutshell, though, John told me that he had fallen for me hard, but for where he was in his life and career, he just couldn’t see having that kind of relationship and making it work.  He said he would miss me, and he hoped that I would find someone who cared for me the way he did.  He said he would always remember me.

Bullshit is a word that crossed my mind a time or two…

Then, as I often do, I began to think with my heart.  And somewhere in the jumble of thoughts and feelings, notions and emotions, I came to a conclusion.  It’s not a novel idea or anything; it’s even a bit cliché.

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Love was not enough to get me to stay in my marriage.  I loved Haywood with all my heart, and I still have love for him to do this day.  But the love I had for him was not enough to overcome the problems that plagued our relationship.  It was not enough for us to truly make a life together in the midst of the struggle, pain, and woe.  It was not enough to make me stay in a life that no longer made sense to me.

And love was not enough to make John stay.  No matter how amazing our love was, no matter how many fairy tale moments we shared and might have shared in the future, he found that he could not sacrifice the life that he was on the path to obtaining for our love.  And that’s what love is, really.  It’s sacrifice.  A part of loving others means that you have to be willing to give certain things up.  It’s the price we pay for the great reward of giving love, and being loved in return.

This part of my story is over, John and I’s story is over.  But I will always be grateful for the great love that John showed me that whole magical summer.  It was literally unlike anything I’d ever felt in my life, and I have to be satisfied that he made me happy, even if it was only for a little while.

To end, I’ll leave it with John’s own words.  I always thought it funny, but years before he had met me, it seemed John had written the song that would define our relationship to me.

“The farther apart we get, we still feel closer than most, It’s an honor to present you these roses, It’s nice to know at least with the band and with Scar, and The Remnant, Some of these sentiments can come to light, And I can only be who I am, Cause you are what you’ve been, I hope that you’ll remember you’re my sunlight, Love.”

12.16.2014 ~ The Road Not Taken

You can see love.  There’s just something – a buzz, a heat, a fire – that you can always seem to tell surrounds two people who are deeply and truly, madly in love.

You can see family.  The grandmother who pitches in and babysits to give her own child a little respite from the daily grind of motherhood, the father sitting at the head of the dinner table asking his family to bow their heads in prayer, the teenage daughter that shrilly yells, “I hate you!” when she’s told for the millionth time, “No, you can NOT date that boy!”

And you can see friendship.  This is what it looks like…

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It’s really hard to make friends as you get older.  Sure, you meet all kinds of people, have all sorts of acquaintances.  You might have a cup of coffee with them once in a while, or have them over for dinner parties.  You might have lunch with them once a week, or go hiking with them once a month.

But I’m talking about REAL friends, not situational friends – the soul sisters, the ride-or-dies, the women you meet where there is just an explosion of friend chemistry and you can’t imagine what your life would ever be without them.

The sad fact is, as you get older, your priorities change, schedules become tighter, and you often become pickier about the kind of people you choose to be in your life.  While we were all too ready to explore every avenue of friendship in our teens and twenties, it seems after thirty, the era of making BFFs pretty much comes to end.

But on those rare occasions, you might just be open enough to that chance, to that wonderful possibility.  Maybe like me, you’ve just experienced a huge life change, and there’s a brief moment where you realize, I could use a friend.

When I met Brittany, I honestly didn’t know how much she would end up meaning to me.  First, we were colleagues, then we were work BFFs, then suddenly, she was cuddled up next to me on a Friday night while watching Merry Friggin’ Christmas, scarfing down a Hotties pizza, and ranting about the thoroughly stupid things that the men in our lives were doing at the time.

She’s not just any old friend, she’s a best friend.  And she’s leaving me!

God bless her, just when I realize I can’t live without her, this child decides she wants to move to Portland.  And you know what?  As much as I’ll miss her, I know she’s got to go.  Because I am living proof that taking a journey into the unknown can be the greatest thing that could ever happen to a person.

So, this one is for you, babe.  I love you.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

 

 

 

12.14.2014 ~ Dating After Divorce, Part Two: First Dates

Let’s talk about first dates for a minute.  First dates, generally, suck.

You’re filled with anxiety and the need to be on your “best behavior”, which really means you try to be “a you” that doesn’t exist in real life.  You go through a great deal of trouble simply preparing for the date, and you do so not even knowing if the person you’ll be spending a few hours with that night will even be someone you see again after it’s all said and done with.  Every first date is a risk, and taking risks is scary.

Since my divorce, I’ve taken a few risks.  And in doing so, I have had both the worst first date of my life, and the best first date in my entire life (so far).

THE WORST…

I went on a dinner date recently with this guy named Elijah.  He was a handsome guy, a standup comedian by trade, and he seemed, at first glance, to be a completely normal human male.  God, was I wrong…so epically wrong!

After about forty five minutes into the date, I realized Elijah was an arrogant, over-bearing, over-the-top, damn near militant asshole.  Everything he said was law.  If he made some grand observation about life, and I tried to engage in the dialogue, he would tell me I was wrong or I didn’t understand the issue.  And then he would start trying to touch me, kiss me even, like he earned that right just by showing up.  The guy made my skin crawl in every possible way.

Finally, when I had cringed I don’t know how many times at his physical advances, he asked me, “Aren’t you attracted to me?”  I told him that physically, I thought he was handsome, but I just didn’t think our personalities were matched.  And this subtle rejection, apparently, touched some kind of nerve because the next thing out of his mouth was, “You know what?  That’s the problem with you white women dating black men.  You find a REAL black man with an opinion and you don’t want him.”

I looked at the guy for about thirty seconds and did the only thing that made sense to me at the time.  I got in my purse, took $20 out of my wallet, stood up, put the money on the table, and said, “This is for my dinner.  It was nice to meet you.”  And I walked away.

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I still don’t understand how or why I did it.  God knows I’ve never done anything like that in my life.  A younger version of me likely would have stuck it out, tried to make something out of nothing.  I could say that I reacted that way because it was just a little too soon after John, but honestly, I think I’ve just reached a point in my life where I can’t tolerate the bullshit.  Plus…the guy was just a dick.

THE BEST…

We can now rewind to the not-so-distant past to a not-so-average Friday night in the month of June.  Later, John and I would joke that our first date was really like three dates wrapped into one.  And it was kind of true, we certainly did meander around Hacienda Heights like we both had ADD and couldn’t decide what we wanted to do.

Dinner at a Chinese place, a quick drink at Outback, and a night of pool, dancing and new friends at a surprisingly amazing dive bar found on Yelp…these are the places, the activities.  I know it doesn’t sound like much, but what I realized about that night was that it wasn’t some epic first date because of what we did, or where we found ourselves.  It was an epic first date because of how we made one another feel.

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John was funny, smart, kind, a perfect gentleman and a million other wonderful things.  And the way he looked at me, it was like he had found the most spectacular thing in the world and he couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have discovered it.

If I’m at all honest with myself, I have to say I felt the same.  I just can’t even begin to describe what was going on in my head and heart at the time.  I wasn’t expecting to feel that way about someone, and especially not on a first date!  I mean, does that even happen in real life?  Can you fall for someone the first day you meet them?  Is that allowed of a grown adult with complete common sense?

I don’t really have the answers to those questions.  But what I do know for sure is that when the night came to its inevitable close, John said something to me that I’ll never forget.  It’s one of those things, it seems kind of crazy as I think about it now. He looked me straight in my eyes, and with that little smirk that he always seemed to have, he said, “I know this may sound weird, but, I don’t want you to date anyone else.”

And I didn’t.

12.12.2014 ~ Home, Home, Who’s Got A Home?

I sit at a table by the pool bar at The Atrium Hotel waiting for my dad.  We’re meeting up for happy hour as we often do.  It’s a Tuesday, and he won’t be there until six.  I get off at five so I typically go ahead to the bar, order a beer and some food, and fiddle around on my phone until he arrives.

I’ve come to learn to leave half of my food for him.  Because although he says he’s already eaten, he’ll nibble on anything that I have ordered.  Plus, if he eats too, then I don’t feel so bad about putting the drink and the food on his tab.  The bartenders know us there, so they don’t even give it a second thought when I say with a little smile, “Dad’s buying.”

When he arrives on this particular Tuesday, he looks a little weary, and there seems to be one thing he wants to know – how was my trip home to Kansas City?

He tells me he was worried.  He said he read my last blog post before leaving on the trip, and he sat there wondering the whole time I was gone whether going home would sway me to return.

The thing that is truly funny about this situation is that the ONE thing that I really wanted to tell my dad that Tuesday was that I know now, completely, that moving to California was the exact right thing to do.

Because it wasn’t until I went home to Kansas City that I could really see how much my life there was over.  This feeling has nothing to do with my family.  I still miss my mom, my sister, my niece and my nephew.  I will always want them in my life, and when they are far away, I feel their absence deeply.

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No, this feeling comes from realizing that there is no real LIFE for me in Kansas City anymore.  My real life is here.  I am vibrant here in this life; I shine here in this life.  I feel full in this life.  I’ve sat down at the table, and I’ve gorged myself.  But rather than feeling heavy and weary, I am energized by my insatiable appetite for this life.

And knowing this gives me a thought…there is more than one kind of home.  Home can be where your heart is, home can be where your life is, home can simply be anywhere where you feel safe and loved.   Tonight, as I write this, I am grateful to have so many places that I can call home.

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12.9.2014 ~ Taking The Scenic Route…

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“Who am I?” you ask.
What kind of girl might I be?
I’m the kind of girl
Who likes Wu-Tang AND Seinfeld.
I’m the kind of girl
With a bottle opener as a keychain.
I’m the kind of girl
To quote Bukowski and tattoo it on her body.
I’m the kind of girl
With a hundred pairs of shoes,
And only wears about five of them regularly.
I’m the kind of girl
With just as many dresses,
And now has them interred in a box in the corner.
Because it’s a little known fact among men,
Women can only wear a dress once,
Then that love affair is over.
I’m the kind of girl with a scenic soul.
You’ll miss too much if you come straight to the point.
Take the long way ‘round,
You’ll never know what you’ll find.
Cause I’m the kind of girl worth the trouble,
The kind of girl that you won’t mind,
Getting lost in my eyes, or my heart, or my rambling.
And if we find ourselves by the side of the road,
No worries.
You have to be lost first in order to get found.

 

 

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