Hodgepodgereel

Archive for the ‘General Thoughts’ Category

All the Pretty Challenges

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photo walk

I am connected to my wife. I also call her my connection to life. She brings a palette of flavor and perspective into my world that has always been two dimensional, vapid, and unchallenged. Ever since our initial endeavors and have since then, forged our way through a strange land of mystery, obstacles, and excitement, the world I have assembled with her has been the ultimate test of preservation and reflection of all the pretty challenges.

We made a promise to each other four years ago today. No matter how rough and tumble our lives are going to be, we’ll always be the strength and weakness that keeps together this foundation. I’ll depend on her forever to be those things we’ve talked about in our restless and dark nights. I’ll continue to depend on her as we grow older, hopefully wiser, and more patient and understanding.

It’s always going to be a process. And as I compare our lives with those around us, our elders who have been together for many, many years…I’m always going to look forward to those nights that we struggle through. I’m always going to look forward to those moments when it’s absolutely the worst case scenario. And I’m always going to look forward to those times when we’re just caught up in whatever obstacle is in front of us.

The above image was taken at an eatery after a photo-walk that we took together as our first date over six years ago. Throughout the years, we’ve recognized plenty of moments to be thankful for like that one, but we’ve also remembered the pain and heartache of times where we had miscarriages as well.

Peaks and valleys of life, I guess.

I’m grateful to my wife for each singular laughter and tear that we’ve shared together. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for her presence and for her beauty, courage, and strength. And there’s never going to be a day that I’m not acutely aware that I may be the most fortunate person to be able to share in the ugliest of nights and the prettiest of days with whom I call my best-forever-friend, my wife…Paola.

Happy Anniversary! I can only dedicate this song, “Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild” by J.Richman and this day to you.

from BlearyEyedBrooklyn.com on Vimeo.

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Written by F&W

August 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Our little Frankie

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My wife and I have been talking about adopting a dog for a while. We always said, wait until we get a bigger place…well, we got a bigger place (more on that later) recently in another part of California since moving away from Oakland.

This gal came into our lives a couple weekends ago from the Sacramento County Animal Shelter. Not ten seconds into seeing her in the pen, I knew she was the one we would adopt. My mind instantly went from laissez-faire and passive adopter, to first-responder, helicopter parent, panic adopter. I needed to find a volunteer to get our application in the fold. I stayed cool outwardly, but my mind already transitioned to everything possibly guardian related. How do we puppy proof our home? Will the cats respond in horror initially to her? How will we deal with potty training? Socializing, training, being responsible dog people seemed in line with all of my initial trepidation.

However, the very first instance of being a good guardian came sooner than later. The diagnosis of her temperament labeled her as bashful and timid. I knew instantly that was a great challenge to look forward to while providing us with a sense of duty at the very beginning.

To speed things up in our story, and after a few quick life lessons, first a shy and very bashful gal, she’s now very energetic, playful, and extremely puppy like (put away the shoes).

With a lot of trust building exercises like bribing her with treats and dollar bills, she quickly became fond of both of us and have since learned the better practice of 1 and 2 in our backyard.

To sum up, there are times in our lives that we feel more than fortunate. There are also moments when we feel timing has presented an excellent marker for our lives that would affirm our choices. Here, as we stood in front of a puppy in a pen, the choice was clear…and Frankie, as my wife easily named her, presented us with an easy choice and instant puppy stamped approval.

Frankie - our girl

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Magic of The Sun

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JT-1

The drought has taken over the Bay Area. We’ve only had a sprinkle of rain during the winter season. It’s both unfortunate and alarming to live in such a dry season on the West Coast when the weather has been almost on the opposite side of the thermometer on the East Coast. For those of us who live within the northern parts of California, while we are still under one state, year-round mild climate and temperature has usually greeted us.

However, in 2013, there seemed to be more days in the sun, in shorts and t-shirts, then in scarfs and layers of clothing. As Californians breathe in the heavier, sunnier, and warmer air, the Sun performs it’s daily dance and choreography. In it’s polite tone and posture, we’re showered with rays, not rain…pelted with UV, not water. As we step into the Sun and become strong like Superman, the vitamins we process from the light produces magic. Not magic like David Copperfield, but magic of nature..magic of life…magic of the Sun.

ps Don’t worry, the above image is not of Oakland. We were in Joshua Tree last weekend. The time there really inspired more creative words than normal. All of California is in a drought, but if Oakland and the rest of Northern California becomes this dry, I’m moving to Chicago. At least that’s where I’ve read that people become “Divergent“.

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My Best Friend

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PEPPER

My wife’s birthday is today. We’re celebrating it by unplugging and heading to the mountains. This is a bit of a hyperbole—we’ll be 2-4 miles from the local town, might have wi-fi, and our car will always be within reach. Still, camping and being outdoors are both part of the fun when we celebrate this weekend at Bullfrog Pond. It will also be a time to get back to basics, check-in with each other, and take a moment to be thankful for each other and for everything and everyone we have in our lives.

It’s nothing new for us when it comes to being thankful. Most of time, I emphasis how fortunate we are to have each other and everything else. We’re constantly checking ourselves to remain humble and gracious.

However, as this year passes, the sentiment that captures what I really feel and want to express is gratitude. And as simple as the word is, that’s just exactly how my thoughts can be summed up.

Each year that I’ve spent with my wife, I am stunned just by raw emotion when I think of how we met. I’m not crying (yeah I am), but the goosebumps form. And each year, I am amazed how connected we are to each other. And each year, I try to become a better person because of her. And each year, I get to know her a little bit more. And in each year, there have been challenges along the way. Often times, we’ve responded to those challenges with patience, broad perspective, and resilience. While I have always taken the lead in our dynamic to push ahead and challenge ourselves, I never say how much gratitude I have for her and this relationship that we’ve created together.

So now, while I express to you, the readers out there, what she means to me, my strengths and weaknesses directly relate to the strongest part of me…my wife, my best friend.

Thank you for being with me, and for showing me how brave and strong you are, and for having the courage and patience to stand by my side, and for dedicating your life to mine…I love you.

Added bonus — my song for her birthday:

To My Wife…

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april first-1

This is not an elegy by any means. However, if we can just look at it as a thought experiment, the what could’ve been or paradox is also powerful. I am sending out a message to my wife…

Many events have lead up to this moment today. Some good and some not so good. All I know is that I count on this woman to be my strength, support, and sounding board. I will always be grateful to her for her courage and patience, sacrifice and willingness to be my best friend.

Don’t ever wait until terrible things happen to say “I love you” to the one that stole your heart.

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Written by F&W

April 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Smothered Burrito Equality Avatar

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Burrito Equality

I’m not the only one who wants this DOMA business settled soon. However, I like the direction that many are taking to show support against Prop 8 by taking to social media to change avatar images.

Originally an HRC movement and design below, but many like me have gone on to customize our own iterations of this popular symbol of this campaign against Prop 8 and DOMA.

 

Written by F&W

March 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Welcome to Thirty…Jorge

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Painted

I often have things that I need to say. And I am fortunate that this space gives me a place to express myself in whatever creative way I want. Recently, one of my dear friends, Jorge, turned 30 years old. He is, by far, the closest relationship I have to feel like my younger brother that I wished I had in my life.

30 years old is nothing to sneeze at these days. We celebrate the milestone because of it’s approximation to adulthood and confirmation that our “questionable” days are clearly behind us. We set a new path by erasing those markings which have deemed us twenty-somethings.

Jorge and I met while he was still living in the Bay Area. He and his partner, Marisa, would eventually become one of our closest friends. But our time together in the Bay Area was short-lived. I imagine that if they were still around, we’d always have dinner parties and have picnics, go hiking and camping together, and generally enjoy each other’s company.

Since he and Marisa moved back to LA, we have had many chances to go visit with them. One thing that makes our visits really enjoyable include their big backyard. In the Bay Area, if you’re a renter, generally, you do not have a back or frontyard of your own to plant flowers or have a garden. For Jorge and Marisa, they get to enjoy sunny days and a beautiful backyard that resembles a retreat-like location.

What has made the backyard even more magical is the fact that Jorge has created his own vegetable garden. Completely sustainable and fruitful, he plants year round and is able to enjoy fresh veggies all the time.

When I first saw that he was able to grow his very own vegetables, I knew that he was really going to be good at it. He was going to be able to do a lot of things in the backyard. He had the patience and care needed to grow veggies. And in some sense, I also knew that he was going to be fine in LA.

I think part of the reality of coming to adulthood is managing expectations by limiting yourself to a handful of great things to do periodically without overwhelming yourself. And part of that management comes with ease for some, while it takes a lifetime to learn for others. For Jorge, he’s managed to create a space for himself back in LA, take his time in crafting his skills as a first rate mac technician (TechFixed) and patient farmer, sharpen his photography acumen (image of truck was painted and shot by him in Joshua Tree), handy craftsman, and soon develop into an excellent early childhood educator…because at his age, he’s welcomed into the life of a 30 year old with dignity, pride, and many, many great skills.

Below you can see that in June of last year, he was able to harvest pretty fresh and healthy looking veggies.

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