This makes me very happy.
This makes me very happy.
Remember how two years ago I made six pies? The next next year I broke my own record and made nine the night before Thanksgiving, earning myself a spot in the The Recordsetter Book of World Records (on page 78).
Two hilarious dudes from Toronto teamed up that Christmas to beat my record with 14 (and they did it wearing Christmas Tree costumes!)
Now I’m seeking to reclaim the title this Thanksgiving, and am bringing *more than 14* to Greenpoint Church again. Thank goodness my neighbor said I could use his oven. Next year, I think I’m going to have to call for backup.
It’s going to be a wonderful holiday, I can feel it.
A trip to Hawaii has always seemed “blocked” to me: too pretty, too exotic, too far… too whatever. I never thought I’d get there.
Do you have blocks like that? Those things you feel you can’t have even though they’re technically within the realm of possibility and do-ability? I’m beginning to suspect that most of us do. Other blocks for me that I’ve gotten over have been living in New York and owning a well-fitting bra, both of which I TOTALLY do now, no big deal. Funny, right? A lot of people have one about finding love; I do it with lingerie and the 50th state.
So that’s why I put it out there at Mighty Camp that I wanted to go to Hawaii in 2012, because it’s a block for me, and a DUMB one, too; you know how to be the kind of person that goes to Hawaii, right? You buy a plane ticket to Hawaii.
Still, out of the five things from our Life Lists we were invited to share, it was my “reach”, because of how expensive it is to get there. A place to stay was taken care of, so I figured it would be a matter of putting bits of money aside here and there until the dollars added up for plane fare.
Daffodil Campbell – the very lady who offered her guest cottage in Maui to my then-pipe dream – tipped me off to fares on Hawaiian Air for $212.
Excuse me what?
My silly fears of going to Hawaii flipped themselves into fear at loosing that price, and I fell ALL OVER myself getting a ticket.
So, goodbye, Hawaii block! You will not be missed. And Alhoa Maui! I’ll see you in June.
P.S. For a small fee the airline gives the option of having a greeter meet you off the plane and put a lei around your neck. I was about to click past it, but… oh gosh, I’m crying writing this!… I remembered being young and thinking that was so cool, and a voice in my head, an echo of my younger self go, sighed “Oh please?”
I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s cheesy, yes, but WHATEVER.
I’m totally making “getting leid” jokes, too.
A friend is contemplating a move to Brooklyn; I got a text after our second or third conversation about it in as many days:
Him: Do you know the Avett Brothers song “I and Love and You” ?
Him: Oh god. You need to hear it. It’s playing in my head like crazy.
I quickly downloaded it to my iPhone while I finished getting ready and then hopped on the subway and popped my earphones in, not knowing at all what to expect.
And then I swooned.
It’s beautiful, musically, but the lyrics gripped me, too, because they fit. Never have I been so neatly, thoroughly folded into a place like I have in Brooklyn. It is so very home to me, and it makes me shake my head when I think about how we almost didn’t come, that I fought it so hard, and that the thought of having to do my laundry at the laundromat was so horrific!
I’m sometimes hesitant to implore people to move here because even though it’s lovely, it’s still New York City. Unless you’re a frazillionaire (and, probably, even if you are) there’s a learning curve of toughness and grit you have to shrug on to feel truly comfortable here. It’s jarring. It can be difficult to live here, even after several years (and I’m not even talking about trying to navigate the subway on the weekends). There are mellow spots, sure, and it’s probably the best city to have fun in when you’re broke, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Still, I believe that anyone thinking about it should try. As the N train came out from underground to cross the Manhattan Bridge, giving me both a killer view of the Brooklyn Bridge and three minutes of reception, I texted back what I sincerely believe, what I found to be true for me, and what I hope will be true of him, too:
“Brooklyn will, undoubtedly, take you in.”
After my post about the Santa Ana winds, Meg informed me that they are not warm, swirly breezes, but hot, gross winds that pummel through and, as a child, picked her up and dropped her onto a sidewalk. Totally not the level of crazy I felt, so this Life List item is officially unchecked. It looks like I’m just going to have to go back to California.
I also really want to see the dessert in the sun, too. I made the trip from LAX to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs via a more populated highway, and we drove from the Ace Hotel to Phil’s house in LA the middle of the night, so I only caught glimpses of the wild John Wayne-looking landscape in the moonlight. I would have gotten out to run around in the dessert in the night as a consolation, but Phil pointed out that there are scorpions. And no thank you. So two more things to do once I’m there, now.
Even so: have amazing Mexican food in California? Finally see LA? Not on my Life List, but check anyway. I’m still dreaming of that burrito.
Oh, Camp Mighty. It’s hard to explain what it is because it is so much more than words can tell, but basically it was a weekend where we brought our Life Lists and focused on accomplishing things. From the website:
The objective is to improve your life until it cannot be further improved…The retreat gives you time to think about what you want, a team to help, and a pool. For floating.
Camp Mighty was a larger version of the Mighty Summit I went to last year, a life-changing event, as it was what started my business in earnest and what helped me realize on a visceral level that living epically is totally possible, even for little old me.
This year’s event brought into focus that I’m in a Good Place right now. My Life List is chugging along; I have successfully created the space for doing Amazing Things. The time is there, the room is there, the fortitude to press onward and accomplish is there. That didn’t come easily, but my 2010 goal of making my lifestyle such that I could Life List as I wanted was accomplished.
And it feels SO GOOD.
“So, Amber,” I asked. “What now?” Because, ok, excellent, but one can’t stop.
The larger conference was broken down into four teams; we met together and were encouraged to share five things with the group that we wanted to accomplish. Here are my picks, and if you can help with any of them, get in touch, please. It would be so nice of you.
They’re all “doing cool stuff” things because that’s where I am right now: I want to have FUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNN! Wouldn’t you know: I was seated a few chairs over from two ladies who live in Maui – one of who is building a guest house.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m Amber, and I make an excellent house guest.”
“See you this spring?” she said. “I know a cliff you can jump off of.” (Later that evening we decided capes should also be involved.)
Someone else had “have a professional portrait of myself taken”, and, of course, I had my camera. The only thing cooler than having someone help you with a Life List item is to help someone else yourself. (A lot of people had this on their list, actually, but between timing and the rain, I didn’t get to snap as many faces as I’d have liked.)
Best parts: hugging people who have inspired me. And hugging people I’ve inspired. (So much inspiration!) And rocking out to the TonTons (plus chatting with the singer between sets – she’s adorable). And drinking champagne in the hot tub while chatting with super smart ladies. And the speakers. And dancing my ass off at the space-themed dance party, in my pretty space-themed dress. And soaking up the sun poolside. And road tripping with three hilarious gals from LA to Palm Springs, with a pit stop at In-N-Out (as one does when one is from the east coast and lands in California).
(My dress is from here.) (I totally brought my one-frillion dollar camera into the hot tub. I was careful. The photos were worth it. Don’t judge me.)
I did end up floating in that pool, too, alone on Friday night, with the rain in my face and my body warmed up by the hot tub. It was incredible, and an excellent way to think, by the way, should you have the opportunity.
“What next? What bigger? What more?” I whispered these questions to myself softly, but heard them loudly because my ears and my lungs were both underwater. You want to know what popped into my head?
Adventure. Business bigger.
Everyone who has heard the details of AMP growing the past year is astounded at the trajectory, but I still want more. I decided, as the pool wormed its way into my ear canal, that I will be consciously unafraid of making more money and getting more business. (It is terribly difficult to be consciously unafraid when your stomach is in knots.) I will take on larger, longer weddings, I will stop dragging my feet about offering customers prints and albums. And I will have more adventures, because those are rad, and I deserve them.
You all know me by now; you know I do not believe the “Universe speaks to us” or anything like that, but goddamn if there isn’t an unprecedented inquiry for a 120 person wedding sitting in my inbox as of 9:30 am Tuesday morning.
So I will open myself to adventure and success this year.
Oh man oh man. Here I go.
After Mighty Camp (recap soon) I drove two hours to hang out with my old friend Phil in Los Angeles, and he showed me around for a day.
As we were driving through Encino I rolled my window down.
“Is it too hot?” he asked and reached for the air conditioning knob.
“No. I’m relishing the thrill of driving with the windows open in November. It’s warm!”
“That’s the Santa Ana winds you’re feeling.”
And boom. Life List item done.
It’s Steely Dan’s fault. My friend Kevin made me a mix tape when I was 15 that had Babylon Sisters on it; I was too young to realize it was a song about prostitution, I just knew that I liked it, and that I wanted to feel whatever it was they were talking about. When I made my first draft of a Life List at 15, this item went on there.
I figured they were magical, as was the entire West Coast in my mind when I was that age. They weren’t, actually, but the Mexican I ate was, so I’m calling my whole 24 hour L.A. experience a win.
What an insanely cool trip. Or “amazing”, which someone joked was the key word of the entire retreat. Maggie and Laura, you ladies throw one hell of a party.
I have a lot to catch up on (and I have CLEARLY failed at NaNoBloMo), but I wanted to say this because it’s important, I think, that everyone remembers this is still an option:
I opted out of the backscatter imaging at LAX. You probably know about these controversial machines the TSA has been rolling out to more and more American airports in the past few years that allow screeners to see under clothing to detect weapons. The fact that loads of people are totally fine with screeners seeing them naked is distressing to me, honestly, but I can kind of see how one would think it was not a big deal, either.
What really concerns me, though, is the radiation. The TSA and company that makes them (obviously) claims they are safe, but scientists – and not the ones funded by the manufacturer of the machines, the independent ones – have said they are not good for humans. I’ve known for a while I would refuse to go through one, but have successfully avoided them until Sunday evening.
“Sorry,” I said, bracing for some sort of fight and knowing it would be inconvenient for the workers. “I have to opt out.”
There was no fight, and everyone made a big show of being Professional. I was ushered through to a separate screening area, and a woman* patted me down. It was fine; it helped that my pants sit lower on me so she couldn’t quite get all up on my crotch, but I wonder how that would play out if I had a skirt on.
She asked why I opted out, and I told her I didn’t trust the machines, that science says they aren’t safe, and she answered that the images aren’t saved on the machines and I only viewed for a moment by someone who isn’t even in the room.
Right. Are you scratching your head, too? She addressed a concern for privacy instead of safety, and it was almost as if she reached for a canned answer in her brain and selected the wrong one. Still, I smiled, nodded, and made my way to my gate, Libertarian sensibilities mostly intact.
Don’t forget, you have the option to “opt out”, too. Just make sure you say those two words, and it should be fine.
*I have no idea how they select a screener when someone has an ambiguous gender, or none at all.
I could only find the YouTube video of the first 39 seconds of this song, but I really love it, so you should got Spotify or Rdio this song and rock out to it. The whole album, actually is super fun.
I think this band is going to blow up in the States soon; when they do and everyone is “Oh Em Gee! Elbow!” you can shrug and say, “Whatevs. I knew about them because my cool friend Amber told me all about them ages ago.”
Image of the Ace Hotel’s pool by Karen Wise. I will be here this weekend. You may hate me. I kind of hate me, too.
I’m gearing up for Camp Mighty this weekend. The final “Yay! You are coming!” email went out yesterday, and in it were the words “celebratory dinner” and “cocktail attire requested”, causing multiple ladies to wring their hands and shriek all over Twitter and Facebook. I started to as well, then realized that I’ve gotten my closet to the point that, if you need me to be dressed nicely on a whim, I can make that happen.
Other anxieties that are coming to the surface: making friends. I got this email from a friend who is going (darling, I hope you don’t mind, I just found it so poignant and wanted to share) that said, in part:
On the one hand, I’m so excited… and on the other hand, I kind of become the 13 year old version of myself where I’m intimidated by the people around me and no one talks to me.
Is that weird? Do you ever feel this when you go to these kinds of things?
And I had to think for a minute before realizing that I really don’t anymore. That used to not be the case – I used to go pale with fear at things like this – until I realized that everyone else feels the same “oh my gosh, am I cool enough?” anxiety. So, if I’m the gregarious one, the one reaching out and smiling and introducing myself to people, I’m not lonely, and neither is anyone else around me. Win and win. This is an exciting development for me as an adult, and a lovely “fuck you” to all the inner demons that plagued me throughout the years.
So I’m just plain old excited! It will be nice to surround myself with “my people” and drink cocktails by the pool.
I’m bringing my camera, of course, so if anyone would like to contribute themselves to my Faces of No Specific Number project (formerly the 1000 Faces Project), pull me aside and we’ll photo shoot. See you there?