Best of 2009- Best Laugh

Oh boy. Biggest belly laugh? I laughed a lot this year. I was lucky enough to laugh a lot this year.

I laughed hysterically at Jimmie’s birthday party in Hollywood. I remember telling Anthony I couldn’t breath and he said “Bri, if you couldn’t breathe, you’d be dead”. Thanks Anthony. A lot.
I laughed in Sausalito during Olivia and my annual “Soul Weekend”.
But recently, I laughed when my best friend sent me the following to illustrate what she meant by having her bridesmaids in different styles of dress but the same color. Which one to chose now….
This year it has become ever more apparent that laughter is best shared with someone. Laughing alone… never becomes a belly laugh. You might chuckle. Feel amused, but not unless you’re with someone to share the laughter with does it ever elevate to a belly laugh.

Best of 2009- Stationary

I like cards. Always have. I think there is something amazing when you find a card that perfectly expresses what you could not put to words. In high school, my boyfriend learned this well and I have a shoe box full of hallmark cards from him. Ryan was a blank card buyer, and he’d plan for days the perfect phrase to write. What can I say, I am a sucker for words.

But my favorite, my absolute favorite cards to get are from my bestie. She has been sending me cards since we went to college, it was a big deal at the time that we were going to be a whole 20 minutes apart. And she still sends them sporadically, for no reason in particular. There was even one waiting for me when I moved into my apartment here.

She always sends the same type of card, from the Fresh Ink line. And they have a way of arriving just when I need them the most.

Best of 2009- Best Car Ride

So, Best of 2009- Car Ride is originally for December 19th. But it is so much more appropriate now!

Friday morning and Monday I spent a total of 12 hours in one car with a wonderful guy named Paul.

Paul was going to LA to meet up with his friends the same weekend I was planning to go visit Jimmie and Anthony— so it worked out so completely perfectly to go together.

The car trip was pretty amazing. For a couple of reasons. And here is the list:

  1. We never once ran out of things to say. Not once. That’s insane. The drive from NorCal to SoCal… is pretty boring. Really boring actually. But I wasn’t bored ever.
  2. Paul has some freestyle skills that are pretty epic.
  3. When songs came on that we knew… well, lets just say I wasn’t the only one singing at the top of my lungs.
  4. Paul has really good reflexes. Especially when large wooden objects are suddenly blocking the lane.
  5. We ate Wisecrackers.

Best 2009- Best Tea (with an update)

Why hello. It has been a while. Doing the 2009 Challenge makes me feel like I haven’t actually updated on life for quite sometime… So, lets see.

First and foremost, have you all checked out the Glee station on Pandora? It is kind of amazing. And by “kind of”, I mean life changing. Glee+Disney Music+Show Tunes? Done. So great.
Secondly, who’s going to Vegas in May for Bloggers in Sin City? I ask for two reasons. One, roommates (I am looking at you Nora) and two because there have been some really great ideas floating around about things to do… and I am going to suggest that we have a massive, to-the-death scavenger hunt. Preferably with pictures. Preferably while drinking a 3-foot tall Eiffel Tower Margarita (C’est Bon).
Ok, on to the life update. I have been busy. Way busy. But in the best possible way. I am generally heading straight from work to hang out with the group of friends from church… and it’s been amazing. Sleepovers, catchphrase, making dinner, doing to dive bars and hearing life stories… these are some of the greatest people I have ever met in my entire life. Ever.

Last week we went to a transition shelter for families. We brought a Christmas tree and decorated ornaments with the kids and then sang carols. It was amazingly rewarding and heartbreaking. I want these kids to feel loved, but I wish we could see them more. The little girl I had attached to me was two, and I basically fell in love with her. She was so so focused on painted her pine cone, with her little tongue sticking out.
This weekend I am driving with a friend to LA to visit the greatest people I know, Jimmie and Anthony. I am taking Friday and Monday off, and I cannot wait. At all. I haven’t hugged these two since I moved here, and that’s just unacceptable.

And lastly, my 2009 Tea of the Year: My favorite tea this year, is my favorite tea all the time. I love Sleepy Time tea.
When I was a little girl, after my parent divorce, I had a really hard time sleeping at my dad’s new place. It was not home, and I had to share a room with my older brother. My dad started buying me this tea to help me sleep. I would make a cup before bed, and I would be able to sleep again. It is the one tea that I always have on hand. It’s great when you’re sick, or mending a broken heart, or fighting bad dreams.

Ok, as a recap I need two things from you: One, tell me if your coming to Bloggers in Sin City, and secondly tell me the best snacks and songs for road trips. I have 11 hours of driving ahead of me, and need to break up the monotony with some great snacks and tunes.

Best of 2009- Best Place

The best place? The best place is here.

The best place is here surrounded by life.
Surrounded by friends.
Comfortable in my own skin, or getting there.

The best place is in Oakland, in sweats, laughing and crying with Olivia.
The best place is here in this office, at a job I love.
The best place is the blinking cursor on a new blog post.
The best place is at church, singing and feeling at home surrounded by AMAZING friends.
The best place is at my Grandparents, after having dinner, sitting on the couch and eating the ice cream Grandpa buys only because he knows I love it.
The best place is curled up on my couch with my cuddly cats curled up at my feet.
The best place is here, knowing it’s where I am supposed to be.
And the next place I go, that will be the next best place.

Best of 2009- Best Album

Hmmmm….. well. I can’t pick just one… at all. So here my 2… with a selection of my favorite track.

1. Lady Antebellum
Driving to and from the bay area a million times this year, I listened to this a lot. I think their harmonies are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, and it was so much fun to sing to at the top of my lungs. There next CD comes out next year. Cannot wait.

2. Eric Hutchinson

Best of 2009- Best Challenge

Most of the time I don’t feel very brave. I feel insecure. Sometimes terrified.

So, challenges. I moved to a city I have never lived in six months ago. I drove here after receiving a job offer. I found an apartment. I was in the uhaul on my way here two weeks later; the night after finishing my last paper for grad school and three days before I was scheduled to start working and a mere two months after ending a 3.5 year relationship.

My challenge has been creating a new life, and one that I am proud of. In my relationship, I disappeared and my identity had been so entwined with Ryan… that I felt lost when he left.

So my challenge has been to build MY life. Me. Moving here wasn’t brave. Neither was finding groups of people who I really enjoy. Those things seemed like givens. “No choice but forward” kind of things. The challenge has been a redefining of myself. To locate my flaws, the things that I did poorly in the past with the hopes that I can address them and BE better.

And it’s been the best challenge. Because, I can’t really go wrong. I can mess up. Take wrong steps– but nothing is permanently ruined. Mistakes are not character flaws, they’re things to learn from. The best part, is that I am actually moving forward. I am gaining independence. Confidence. Joy. And that is pretty amazing.

Best of 2009: Moment of Peace

Until 2009, I had never lived alone.
And, I am mostly not a fan of being alone. (You know, for the record)
But while I wait for the next phase, the next love…. here I am.
2009 has been a lesson in being happy alone and there are two moments that I want to share that reminded me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, alone and all.

There has been a few moments, driving home from somewhere, or sitting by myself in my apartment that I have been stunned with overwhelming gratitude.
I could not love my job more.
I have been able to make friends here, faster than any other time, ever.
And I am SO at peace with my move here.
I know it was where I was supposed to go.

Sunday night was a huge moment of peace as well.
Sunday my pastor gave a sermon on sexual orientation,
(i.e. the reason I stopped wanting to be associated with a church at all.)
And while I didn’t agree with everything that was said, it was the first time I heard a sermon
on the topic that didn’t make me want to bolt.
It gave my peace.

So I sat there, tears streaming down my face,
surrounded by a fantastic group of friends
knowing, without a shadow of a doubt,
that I am home.

Best of 2009- Best Blog of the Year

Continuing on with the Best of 2009 Challenge.

Oh, this is SUCH a gem.

Stuff White People Like.

It’s just hilarious. Here is an article on #128 of Stuff White People Like…. Camping.

If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a “nightmare” or “a worse case scenario like after plane crash or something.” White people refer to it as “camping.”

When white people begin talking to you about camping they will do their best to tell you that it’s very easy and it allows them to escape the pressures and troubles of the urban lifestyle for a more natural, simplified, relaxing time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.

Camping is a multi-day, multi-step, potentially lethal activity that will cost you a large amount of both time and money. Unless you are in some sort of position where you absolutely need the friendship of a white person, you should avoid camping at all costs.

The first stage of camping always involves a trip to an outdoor equipment store like REI (or in Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-Op). These stores are well known for their abundance of white customers and their extensive inventory of things for white people to buy and only use once. If you are ever tricked into going to one of these stores, you can make white people like you by saying things like “man, this Kayak is only $1200, if I use it 35 times I’ve already saved money over renting.” Note: do not actually buy the kayak.

Next, white people will then take this new equipment and load it into an SUV or Subaru Outback with a Thule or Yakima Roof Rack. Then they will drive for an extended period of time to a national park or campsite where they will pay an entrance fee and begin their journey. It is worth noting that white people are unaware of the irony of using a gas burning car to bring them closer to nature and it is not recommended that you point this out. It will ruin their weekend.

Once in the camp area, white people will walk around for a while, set up a tent, have a horrible night of sleep, walk around some more. Then get in the car and go home. This, of course, is a best case scenario. Worst case scenarios include: getting lost, poisoned, killed by an animal, and encountering an RV. Of these outcomes, the latter is seen by white people as the worst since it involves an encounter with the wrong kind of white people.

Conversely, any camping trip that ends in death at the hands of nature or requires the use of valuable government resources for a rescue is seen as relatively positive in white culture. This is because both situations might eventually lead to a book deal or documentary film about the experience.

Ultimately the best way to escape a camping trip with white people is to say that you have allergies. Since white people and their children are allergic to almost everything, they will understand and ask no further questions. You should not say something like “looking at history, the instances of my people encountering white people in the woods have not worked out very well for us.”

Note: this works for all races!

Best of 2009- Best Book

Ok. I am starting to see a theme here. I feel like I am looking at 2009 primarily while comparing it to what 2008 was like, if that makes sense. I am a voracious reader… usually. However, for about 6 months after the break-up, I was completely unable to finish a book. I started about 20, no joke. And I am sure they were really fantastic books… but, I was just broken. This thing, reading, which has been so my thing for so very long– I just couldn’t do it. I wish I could have.

I remember being in bed at night in the two months after the break-up, being in the hollowed remnants of the home we had shared for two years. It felt so dead in that apartment. The air was stale and nothing I did could brighten up the rooms and erase the “us” that had been imprinted there. I spent two month sleeping in “our” bed, the bed feeling ominously too big, like I could be swallowed up by it completely. I remember trying so hard to read things when I was stuck there. I wanted to escape. To not be there; I wished myself to anywhere else in the world. I wanted to not feel the brokenness… but there it was.

I can’t believe I only read one book in 2009. That’s insane. I went from crazy-thesis writing mode– to broken. Which is why this book means so much this year. It meant I won. It was a promise that I would be myself again; that I was on my way to being myself again.