Archive | December, 2017

One Project At A Time

19 Dec


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

What Are You Looking Forward To This Week?

17 Dec


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.


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?

My Word For 2017

16 Dec

Jillian&Rob-434 Jillian&Rob-435 Jillian&Rob-436

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, 2013, and 2012.

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

8 Dec


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.


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?