What Makes Someone A Good Person?

16 Jan

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A few months ago, my friends and I had a conversation about what makes a person “good.” I’m still thinking about it.

The discussion began with a question, do we know any truly good people?

And if we do, what makes them good?

One friend commented she considers herself good, but is it more just an absence of being bad?

Does she need to be actively working at a homeless shelter (fill-in-the-blank) to be good?

Or is it more about the daily stuff? Being kind to a cashier. Being aware of ways to help those around you.

Another friend brought up a goodness scale. From 1-100 where do we each fall?

Are we just about average? How can we be better?

None of the answers were clear-cut, but it made me consider my definition of good. The people in my life who are kind and thoughtful and give grace.

How I can become more like that. Like them.

And as I considered all this, I wanted to open up the discussion to you smart people. What’s your definition of a “good” person?

Any thoughts on the matter?

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Oh, Isn’t Life Good?

15 Jan

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Oh, life is good.

Life is good, not in the ways I expected to think life was good, back in the day, but life is good in the way that I’m wearing a lavender and honey face mask right now.

Take it from a girl who moved to London for Adventure and Romance and know

life doesn’t get much better than a lavender honey facemask.

Life is good because I walked 11,000 steps today holding hands with the person I love, the person I look at and wonder, how did I get so lucky to be loved like this? To love like this?

Life is good because we walked five miles in pursuit of specialty yogurt and ended up with fresh fish along the way. Fresh fish that the person I love grilled and then made a lemon sauce for.

Have you ever had lemon sauce on rice and broccolini and fresh fish?

Yes?

Oh isn’t life good?

Life is good because I meditated for 12 minutes today. Because I got a nap in and potato pancakes for breakfast. Because I FaceTimed with some friends and read three different books, and one of those books was one I picked up at a thrift shop just because it looked fun.

Do you know how rare it is for me to read a book just because it looked fun?

Do you know how fun it is to read a book that is so rare?

Life is good because another of those books is Harry Potter and Rob and I are reading Harry Potter together for the first time. And he loves it and I love it and we love each other and the convergence of it all is enough to make a big, messy, porridge slop of love.

And I love porridge.

I even love the parts where it’s messy and sugary and drips its sugary mess all over you.

Oh, isn’t life good?

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One Project At A Time

19 Dec

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Today in TJ Maxx in between trying on Hawaiian print heels and convincing myself I don’t need a neon rainbow light, I maintained a conversation with a friend. I told her how I’ve become very crafty lately. I’m making pom poms and illustrating my words and putting photo albums together.

I mentioned the next projects I have in mind.

I’m about to become a BeJeweler!

Flower patches will adorn my jeans!

“I’ve told myself I will complete one project a month,” I said just as she spoke,

“Just remember, one project at a time.”

It was a subtle difference but it struck me hard.

I give myself Goals! and Deadlines! even for things that are supposed to be fun. Things like being creative.

It never occurs to me to let things happen naturally. To work on one project until it is complete and then move to the next. To breathe without deadlines. To do it as my life, as my pace allows.

There must be a structure! A plan!

Having fun was never so much fun!

We continued our conversation and our walk through TJ Maxx. I also dodged a 7 lipstick multipack purchase (but so cheap!) and white go-go boots (but so needed!). I did buy a pair of sunglasses because that is how I invest in myself and my future for the low, low price of $8.

The whole time, though, I kept thinking about my goals and my plans for next year. How I manage somehow to regulate every aspect of my life, every bit of pleasure and spontaneity. Every last inch of my creativity.

How I can ease up a little.

How I can go along with the natural pace of my life.

And so, in case you need these words today too:

Just remember, one project at a time

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What Are You Looking Forward To This Week?

17 Dec

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Every Sunday night Bailey and I text each other

What are you looking forward to this week?

I don’t remember how this tradition started, but I can tell you how it’s going.

Well.

That’s how it’s going.

It’s going well.

I like that moment of pause to think about what’s coming up, what’s exciting, how life is coming up and exciting.

One of the things depression does is rob you of anything to look forward to. You can’t see out of the moment, out of that awful, consuming moment where everything is Too Big To Tackle.

And so, even when everything is manageable,

What are you looking forward to this week?

I’m looking forward to as many Fiiz drinks as I can physically handle. North Shores probably (Peach & mango puree, coconut and fresh lime all in an enormous, bubbling Diet Coke.)

I’m looking forward to movies.

Star Wars.

Three Billboards.

Pitch Perfect.

I’m looking forward to being in the suburbs for a week. For random trips to Old Navy for more fuzzy socks. To Target for everything. To Hobby Lobby because it’s close! And I can start our wedding photo album!

I’m looking forward to starting our wedding photo album. For finally getting to tackle that project. For putting my creativity and words and art towards something I know I will cherish my whole life. For something I’ll make my future children cherish if I can make them do anything.

(I know, I know, you can’t make anyone do anything.)

I’m looking forward to lunch with my grandma and brunch with Mandee.

Long, extra-slow walks at the gym where I listen to all my backlogged podcasts one-by-one, step-by-step.

I’m looking forward to giving my friends presents at our yearly holiday party.

To making salsa with my family to hand out as neighbor gifts.

To seeing my family!

To Hallmark movies.

Café Rio.

The day my sister finishes finals so she can join me on all of these adventures.

I’m looking forward.

How about you?

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My Word For 2017

16 Dec

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On our wedding night, lightning struck our inn.

As we jumped over puddles in our formalwear, the inn’s manager told us just how intense the rain had been. He was sitting on a chair wearing galoshes and a waterproof coat. He recounted how the power had gone. How lightning had struck. Not just nearby. Not in the area.

Lightning struck our inn.

The next day as we looked in the newspaper and read the articles about it we laughed.

What did it mean?

If rain on your wedding day was good luck, what were flash floods and lightning bolts?

Well, we’re either the greatest relationship of all time or we’re going up in flames.

This year I got married. It makes sense that the word for the year was committed. I got engaged. I pledged to love someone in sickness and in health. We karaoked in front of our loved ones in torrential downpour. I put on birthstone wedding rings. There’s no going back now.

And yet, I committed to more than just Rob this year.

I committed to my work in libraries. In taking a job that I love, one where I can grow as a librarian and as a person. One I’m committed to.

This is no in-between phase, this is it, baby.

I bought the first couch of my life. A yellow thing that’s surprisingly easy to lift and surprisingly comfortable to sit on for being in the clearance warehouse at Living Spaces, La Mirada.

I committed to a kitchen table. That round one everyone has from Ikea?

To a new therapist. A new city. A new health insurance plan through an employer.

Because I have a single job right now! A job I love!

(Did I mention?)

(Did you know last year at this time I was working four different part-time jobs?)

Mainly I committed to a life.

I didn’t think it would take so long and then on the other hand I think, wow, OK I’m here. Am I here already?

I’m reaping the benefits from the long hard in-between phase. From the jobs I hated and the bad relationships I loved and the places I didn’t want to live and the versions of myself I didn’t want to keep.

I fought for this life. Therapy session by therapy session. I cried and I struggled and I sacrificed and I gained a bunch of weight because, listen, I don’t always cope in super healthy ways like meditation, and here I am.

In a life I’m committed to. A life I love.

I’m all in, baby.

Bring on the lightning.

 

PS: What was your word this year?

My words in 201620152014, and 2012.

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Occupy Wall Street Or, In Other Words, Our First Christmas

8 Dec

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The thing is that 99% of me knows what I’m doing is irrational. That I should just take a breath and say, “Jill, you leave out of town in a week and a half. You don’t need a perfect Christmas tree. Maybe you didn’t need a Christmas tree at all.”

I know these things. And I say these things.

And then the 1% ruins it all.

OCCUPY WALL STREET!

You see, the 1% is all my romanticism. All my ideas for my life and future.

It’s our first Christmas together! Traditions are forming! I must string popcorn garland by hand while watching something we’ll watch every year! I need more twinkly lights! And normal ornaments won’t do, no, I must make yarn tassel balls by hand! This will all take hours! No one else will even see it! But I must!

Also fresh mistletoe!

And gingerbread cookies! By the dozen! Which I will deliver to friends all over the greater Los Angeles area even if that takes 6-8 hours!

The thing is that 99% of me knows what I’m doing is irrational.

But will you look at that tree.

And that ‘toe.

Will you look at me calling it ‘toe?

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We’re Getting A Cat And Other Updates

12 Nov

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Oh well.

Hi there.

Clears throat

Sorry, I’m just feeling a little self-conscious.

It’s been a while since I’ve stretched my blogging fingers. I’ve almost forgotten why I did it.

Do it?

I keep thinking that maybe I’ll have some great idea that I’ll need to write about and that will snap me back into it like a sugar snap pea!

And yet.

I’m sitting here on a Friday night at 7:33 PM. My laptop is at 10 percent so I’m writing at a weird angle so I can charge this baby.

Rob is watching the Celtics and cooking pasta in the other room and I’m reading three books at once. One is too emotionally draining and has to do with, oh I can’t even speak of it. Another is scary and so I keep taking breaks for the emotionally draining one. And one is due at the library. That one is the most neglected.

Is that me sticking it to the man? Neglecting the library book I actually should read?

Not playing by the RULES.

I turned 30. Remember that?

I actually spent the month before I turned 30 writing poetry about all I had learned in 30 years of life.

Excuse me while I find some of it.

OK I’m back.

You ready for this?

 

Buy the great big underwear

granny panties

waistless

size up

buy the great big underwear and start living the great big life

 

Hey that one was pretty good!

What about this:

 

Wash your face before you get tired

Wash your face before you get tired

Wash your face bef

 

And finally:

 

A poem about bangs

Don’t do it

 

DON’T TELL SYLVIA HER REPUTATION IS BEING THREATENED.

 

OK, ok, what else?

 

I’ve been really happy lately.

Let me rephrase that.

I’ve been content lately.

It’s different than happiness, or at least how I see it. Happiness is an inherently temporary condition, one I’ve been chasing for most of my life, refusing to recognize it as an impossible standard. Contentment, on the other hand, is more a feeling of enjoying the right now. It’s not flashy or even that exciting. But oh my Oprah, what a relief!

What a rare treat.

Let’s see.

Let’s see.

We’re going to get a cat.

That’s happening after Christmas.

A cat was part of the great, ongoing pre-marriage discussion of What We Want in Life and Can We Give it To Each Other.

Rob is just about the biggest animal person the world has ever produced and I have had a lot of bad experiences with animals and so a cat.

A cat is where we landed.

Listen, I’ve had a lot of bad experiences with men and I still got married so I do have some level of faith and belief and hope.

I have faith and I believe and I hope that I will learn to love a cat.

And now here we are.

I recently bought a fluffy cat makeup bag at Forever 21 that looks like what I imagine our fluffy cat (non makeup bag) will one day look like.

I then converted said bag into a purse because nothing can be easy, and then. And then! I realized I’ve become the mother who buys matching clothing for her and her kids without even being pregnant. I’m that cat mother! Heaven help us all.

Other things.

Otter things.

Do Unto Otters, have you read that children’s book?

Political turmoil. Women getting angry and making a difference.

Hey! We’re here, we’ve always been humans and we are powerful and we are FED UP HEAR US ROAR.

It’s a hard time. I want to record it. And I also want to live. I want to feel content and not always hurt and riled up and angry and confused.

I want to live.

I’m going to Hamilton this Tuesday.

That seems as good a place as any to end this thing.

I’m going to Hamilton this Tuesday and life is good and I want to live it.

I’m living it.

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Life As Advertised

10 Oct

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This morning we walked to the library and then the farmers market. I was getting hungry so I told Rob to go on without me.

Save yourself!

Soon, I was in a movie theater getting their large popcorn/large drink combo. Rob discovered me, some time later, on a bench, smiling boldly. “Someone’s happy,” he said, before asking if he still needed to bring popcorn back from his showing of Blade Runner later in the day.

“No, but I still want pancakes.”

“Well, I knew that one.”

We got back home and made brunch together. I’m in charge of any and all baking tasks. This time: banana pancakes. He’s in charge of eggs and bacon and choosing out the good basil.

He put on Madonna Borderline because we had just watched Will and Grace and Borderline was a whole plotline.

I attempted to dance like Jack and settled for Will.

The pancakes were delicious. (Add pecans and chocolate chips. Top with fresh bananas.)

After, as we cleared the dishes, I read Helter Skelter out loud, our October book of choice.

We discovered that the person currently residing on the property where the Manson murders took place is none other than the creator of FULL HOUSE.

You didn’t see that coming, did you?

It was a beautiful morning, the sort where is life as advertised.

I don’t want my money back, thank you.

I’m perfectly satisfied.

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And All Is Well

9 Oct

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Yesterday I took a bath for the first time in ages. I have a bathtub! It’s really small! I have a really small bathtub I used while listening to Joni and burning a churro candle!

Yesterday I took a bath for the first time in ages after going on a very long walk.

What a relief that was. To find a safe place I can walk at night. To lace up my shoes and burn through some podcasts. To start the mindfulness it takes to walk in circles without checking my phone, without texting or tweeting. Just being. Just walking. Just being grateful I’m walking.

Yesterday I took a bath for the first time in ages after going on a long walk and scheduling my next therapy appointment.

I have a therapist here now. That’s exciting.

It took some time, as these tasks do. A failed appointment or two. Online research. Health insurance hubaloo trubaloo.

But I have a therapist and I have a walking route and I have a bathtub

And all is well.

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11 Hobbies I Once Thought I Had (And Where I’m At With Them Now)

23 Sep

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1. Photography

I went through this whole phase where I would haul an SLR camera around with me on mundane activities as though I would then examine the high-resolution photos of…my pancakes? The Band Perry concert? I don’t know.

This interest came around the time I started blogging so maybe I thought this was a necessary part to making money selling my clothing and children? I truly don’t remember the thought process here.

Verdict: Donated camera to Goodwill. Was asked if it actually worked. Yes, sir. It does. And I almost took classes on it! And I have been asked to do multiple weddings! (That’s actually real and I’m actually really glad I did not).

2. Croquet

I stand by this hobby and I stand with a tall spine.

I actually do enjoy croquet. I just don’t have the sort of social circle at the moment that all meets up at a park for a rousing game of croquet on a Tuesday night. Currently my vintage croquet set sits in our one measly storage closet taking up way too much room and I refuse to life-changing magic it away. One day!

Verdict: Actually a hobby in another life of mine.

3. Person who goes to workout parks

I’m not sure where this came from, but I’ve always been convinced workout parks are my thing. I don’t like to exercise and I’ve never actually seen someone use a workout park, but those adult monkey bars seem so fascinating and kind of thrilling?

Verdict: Not a hobby, simply a soul love.

4. Snorkeling

I like snorkeling as much as the next person, meaning I go snorkeling when on vacation in tropical locales. Unfortunately, I thought this meant I needed to snorkel here in California (where there is very little snorkeling) and I purchased snorkeling gear. This involved a whole fight with the post office where someone else claimed my package. How many of us are pretending we are snorkelers here??

I’ve used this gear exactly twice. Once with Hilary at Point Dume. It was freezing and she kind of has a fear of sharks and we were definitely in the rocky-don’t-walk area of the ocean and we gave up.

Another time Rob and I took the snorkels to Santa Barbara. There was nothing to see.

Verdict: Still have the gear. Holding on to that post office grudge.

 5. Paddleboarding

Hilary and I went paddleboarding once in Marina Del Rey. It was a really fun afternoon and I only fell in once on the way home when I was exhausted from exercising. Afterwards I decided I would be Paddleboard Girl and bought a paddleboard.

It was a whole thing.

The nearest Costco to me was over a canyon and simply getting the 10 foot paddleboard in my car required several Good Samaritans and a lot of embarrassment. Then there was the drive through a canyon with seven feet of that thing threatening to fall out of the car at any moment.

After the emotional turmoil of getting the paddleboard home, it went into storage and I never saw it again. That thing is HUGE. And heavy. And the idea of strapping it onto my car and driving it anywhere was enough to make me stop idea-ing.

Verdict: I sold it in my last move for a huge loss despite the fact I had never used it.

6. Running

High school cross country HA.

7. Painting

Rob suggested this one when he heard I was writing this post and I thought that was rude. I have fully painted at least three times and I always bring a paint set to the beach with me just in case!

I was going to go to the beach for a daily painting of the sunrise for a time, some sort of Monet-style thing about light and the impermanent nature of life. I would then hang said watercolors around my room as the only decoration needed. This never happened.

Verdict: Not throwing it away. Maybe someday? Maybe next month? Daily yoga and then a sunrise watercolor painting sounds reasonable and likely.

8. Blue Apron

I’m not a cook and there was a lot of ginger which is why I can’t really get into kombucha and it time-consuming and expensive! And the portions are way too small for someone like me! Also do you know how many Jack in the Box tacos I could get for the price of one Blue Apron meal? Neither do I!

Verdict: Never again. Plus now there’s Rob.

9. Biking

I bought a bike before I moved to California because I was going to bike everywhere and then I moved to Malibu where biking anywhere is biking up a hill and eventually the facilities crew at my old apartment just threw the rusted thing out and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Verdict: Maybe someday?

10. Golden Milk aficionado

For a while there Golden Milk was all the rage and it seemed so cozy! Welcome over friend, have some golden milk!

I ended up buying bulk bags of turmeric and ginger (ginger again!) on Amazon, making the milk once, realizing I hated it, and then throwing out the bags.

Verdict: Nope.

11. Apple Cider Vinegar person

See Golden Milk aficionado except this time I couldn’t even down my first shot. HOW? WHY?

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