Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazeballs Nicaragua

I haven't written in almost a year. Has it been that long since something has struck me enough to warrant writing about? Realistically I think it's because I've picked up Twitter for my outbursts. But lets get to the matter at hand. Nicaragua.

So this is me in the car ride from Managua Airport to our rented house in San Juan del Sur before I knew what I would experience the following week. While we were driving, my thoughts were, wow these people are so poor, this is definitely one of the poorest countries I've been to, I hope the scenery gets better soon, I hope we don't get robbed on this trip, I hope the weather holds up, etc.

After this




and this

I left Nica with a sense of awe and surprise I wasn't expecting. Yes, I made assumptions about what my trip could be from what I saw in passing but that's human. Having been privileged enough to have lived in first world cities my whole life I've learned to count on travel educate me in the areas where I'm lacking. What I know is that I've seen some of the most beautiful sights in my life in Nicaragua and I'm not talking about buildings and architecture, I'm talking, get ready for this, nature. Beauty. Life.

Due to the course of the events in my life I believe I have learned to appreciate moments. Learn lessons. Be a decent human. Sometimes I even feel like I have the answers. Until I get a reminder.

There was so much beauty in Nica that I stopped taking pictures. There were so many pictures to take but I knew that they'd all end up looking the same after awhile, especially when it'd be time to review them at home. I stopped (for the most part). Sometimes when I take pictures I feel like I'm missing out on the actual moments just so I can capture them for a later date. So I stopped and observed the moments. The silence. My hair blowing in the wind. The sunsets. The clouds and their many shapes. The view from our house. The many many cows on the side of the road. The feeling of rain. Realizing that the ocean isn't so scary after all. The pain in my bum hand after football and surfing. The wheezing in my chest after mistreating my body. Not being able to drink water freely at times. Seeing a tranny on the street and thinking about how difficult it might be to be born that way, there. How I get to go back to my comfortable apartment in Park Slope but people still live in shacks without electricity. Though I'd like to think that they could be just as happy.

'People' say that if you change up your behaviors both physically and mentally, you exercise a different part of your brain. I think this trip did a bit of that for me. I was uncomfortable at times but maybe discomfort isn't all bad and...I'm appreciative of the bit of awareness it has brought me today.

- Wheezy

p.s. thanks to Birginia for some of these pics.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You put your dancing shoes on and do it again

Hey I'm 30 now, in case you haven't heard between the invites, Facebook, and calendar reminders and I have some observations to make and random samplings of some things I love:

- I am at once horrified yet intrigued to witness the continued Jersey Shore-ification of America. Has anyone else noticed the increase in guido music on the airwaves??? I think I'll buy some stock in Ed Hardy and Swarovski today. 

- I am grateful for soft water, loofahs, sparkling water, chickpeas, and bubbles (hey, i said random samplings).

- Once in Fiji, when Milee was bug bite ridden and sun stroked she told me that I must be invincible to be completely fine without repellent and minimal SPF. Luckily I still feel invincible, indestructible, and resilient. Seriously though, I thank my lucky stars that I'm as healthy I am and remind myself to appreciate my body every day. 

- One of the highlights of my year was being in the labor and delivery room witnessing the birth of my niece while listening to Salt-n-Pepa's 'Push It.' :) Push it real good. 

- I love making playlists for any occasion, so never hesitate to ask.

- On the flip side, I'm an admitted music nazi so I expect to hear every last song of said playlist if i make it. I will also jump at any chance to 'put on a song' in an effort to hijack the stereo.

- On a serious note, I hope that we can all recognize how lucky we are to live here and know each other, despite the differences in opinion and failures of government, this is a pretty comfortable place to be. We must appreciate every advantage and luxury we have. Clean water, electricity, education, plentiful food, access to health care, jobs, etc. Just being able to go out and eat a nice meal. I mean, I often think that I could've been born a 3rd world orphan. I can't begin to imagine what that would've been like. 

In comparison we have it easy and that's the case I'd like to plead to you today, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Enjoy the present and the people around you, laugh as much as you can and remember to tell people that you love and appreciate them as often as possible. PLEASE, pretty please, remember these Barbisms (aka quotes I've stolen):

"When in doubt, it's probably not that serious."
'Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.'

'You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.'
'Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.'
'Perfectly imperfect'
'Not all who wander are lost'

- This song makes me happy. Get to know it if you haven't already:

- I also love the sentiment of this song:

In My Eyes, by Robyn

This is my love letter to you all. 



Sunday, September 19, 2010

'you have to DO you'

How long do you think you'll live?

70? 80? 90 years?

Why do you think you'll get this allotment of time? Are we entitled to it? How did we become a society of people who consciously plan through death? How do we know we'll even get to that age? What happens to everything you've earned and saved if you don't get that time? Will you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in your lifetime?

I think the answer is that we're not entitled to any amount of time. We need to stop planning and thinking about the future so much. Kindergarten, high school, college, significant other, picket fence, 2.5 children, career, retirement, retirement travel, these are all markers of a 'successful life' in our society so much so that we strive for these markers blindly/robotically and sometimes without serious examination. These are ideals, not goals. I have no problem with goals and ambitions. They're healthy and excellent. But not everyone is built to be happy with the same ideals and when we we aren't present it's harder to learn what makes each of us happy and fulfilled because we're aren't stopping to think about it, we're always thinking ahead about the next ideal and how to get there.

On the flip side, there are certainly people who are present and examine their ideals but then are afraid to veer off the 'successful life' trajectory because then there's definitely no 'guarantee' of happiness. Ack. Don't be afraid! How will you know without trying?

Now I'm not saying that one shouldn't plan for the future but one shouldn't forfeit the present in the process. The present is one of the few guarantees we have in life, not the future. I mean, would you rather make a list of all the things you've always wanted to do and wait til you're 65 to do them? Doesn't it make more sense to do it all while you're young and more physically able? I'm not saying we're all going to be crippled by 65 but biology is biology, bodies age and deteriorate, it's just a fact. You can do it now and again at 65, how 'bout that?

On a flight back from Toronto

'OMG, you're going to (insert destination/thing that you want to do here). I would LOVE to go, you're so lucky, I wish I could do it too."

It's likely not luck and you don't have to wish. Make. It. Happen. Whatever you admire in others, it's likely that you can have an equivalent. The only difference between you and them is that they're doing something about it. To quote the Jersey Shore (yes, I am quoting the Jersey Shore) 'you have to DO you.' They're not the most profound orange people in the tri-state area but they're right in this instance. Don't worry about me and what I'm doing, DO YOU!

Life can be really short people, soak in every moment.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I am me.

'A black artist can paint a wall of smiley faces and people will ask why they're so angry.'

Flipping through hundreds of channels this evening I stumbled upon The Black List. If you haven't seen any of it, I highly recommend you do.

I know I've written about this series previously and it makes me ponder race, ethnicity, and identity every time. First of all, what do these words mean?

Race: a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

Ethnicity: Identity with or membership in a particular racial, national, or cultural group and observance of that group's customs, beliefs, and language.

Identity: The set of behavioral or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognizable as a member of a group.

What do they mean? I've been sitting here trying to interpret these three terms in my own words without using one of the other two and I've failed. Why? I guess race is the most straightforward of the three. It's the most immediately visible isn't it? How much does how we define ourselves in relation to these three terms make us who we are at the core?

If you're black, is that all you are?
If you're gay, is that all you are?
If you're a woman, is that all you are?
If you're Turkish, is that all you are?

It gets more complicated when you're a mix of these things and even more complicated if these terms that 'define' us are challenged.

How dark do you have to be to be labeled as black?
How gay do you have to be to be labeled as gay?
If you feel like a woman trapped in a man's body, are you a man?
Even one's nationality can become questionable.

I feel like some think of these as cut and dry matters.

I know they aren't for me.

I know I am a mixture of many things, experiences, as well as a reflection of the people around me. I don't want to be defined as any one thing because I'm just not. I'm. Just. Not. I don't fit anywhere and I truly like that about myself. I can't say that I always have but I know that I do now.

There's one overarching theme in all three volumes of The Black List that's brilliant in it's simplicity and brevity:

I am not this, that, or the other. I am me.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

freedom, not the George Michael song

i just watched Revolutionary Road.

Kate Winslet did such a great job playing a stifled woman. it really made me think about how much i don't want to be that and how i don't want anyone around me to be that. the thought of it is incredibly scary, and i honestly can't imagine how one gets into that predicament. am i being dense? idealistic? perhaps, but i don't think i'm seriously frightened of very much however the thought of being stifled and suffocated might be it. now that i think about it the closest people to me are pretty free which is really why i love them and if they're not i'm trying my damnedest to encourage it. i recognize the word 'free' is broad, general, and doesn't describe much but the effort to define it further would make it contrary to the term itself wouldn't it? being free is what we make of it right? i imagine it's different for everyone. it could be the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to go where you desire, the freedom to be with who you want to be with, the freedom to feel and not feel bad about it (pardon the redundancy).

don't we owe it to ourselves to live as best we can? or is it a matter of living as best as we know how? is there a difference? i mean, i've been given so much thus far i don't feel right not exploring things that feel right (wow, now i'm realizing how limiting language is). am i missing something? i think i've forgotten (or just haven't thought about) how i got here. thoughts?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top 10 Albums of the Decade!

No compilations, 'best ofs/greatest hits', or soundtracks. They must have album release dates after 1/1/2000. It's kinda hard to whittle down but really how many albums are there that you can listen to from beginning to end? I reserve the right to modify. These are mine in no particular order:

Confessions on a Dancefloor, Madonna
Supernature, Goldfrapp
The Reminder, Feist
The Fame Monster, Lady Gaga
Lovers Rock, Sade
FutureSex/LoveSounds, Justin Timberlake
Kala, M.I.A.
The Greatest, Cat Power
100th Window, Massive Attack
A Rush of Blood to the Head, Coldplay

Simple Things, Zero 7
Finally Woken, Jem
X, Kylie Minogue
Fever, Kylie Minogue
808's And Heartbreaks, Kanye West
Ladyhawke, Ladyhawke
Back to Black, Amy Winehouse
Some People Have Real Problems, Sia
Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
Versions, Mark Ronson
The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
Come Away With Me, Norah Jones
I See Red, Uh Huh Her
Most Sigur Ros albums

Thanks for the idea Joanna! What are everyone else's favorites?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

random acts of barbness

it's a beautifully crisp day in new york. i just went for a bike ride 'round Prospect Park and realized it was a little too crisp for shorts perhaps. i don't know why every physical activity revolves around shorts for me, even if it is the dead of winter. dense much?

a few things:

i'm going to Buenos Aires on Tuesday, not Brazil. And no, Argentina and Brazil are not the same country and wont be. Ever. well, it's unlikely.

i have been there before. i'm going again bc i got a cheap ass (though likely not so comfortable connecting flight) by happenstance, it's 80 degrees there right now and i like traveling. i think that's enough of a reason. fingers crossed Mexicana!

Switzerland and Sweden are not the same country just as New York and New Jersey aren't the same state. put's it in perspective no? no? really?

Hong Kong is part of China which is not the same as Japan. supposedly we all look the same but even i know London is in the UK and not France. yeah, i wrote it. what?

no i am not half Swedish and half Japanese.

no i am not turning 30. not that there's anything wrong with that.

yes i work at yes, the website for the same Glamour magazine placed just so on your coffee table.

no, i don't write, edit, or test makeup. once upon a time i did write, edit, and test things but no longer.

what exactly do i do? words and pictures don't appear magically on the interwebs, someone has to put them there (whether they write them or not) and make it look pretty for you to 'read.' it's like christmas, just believe it.

i went to Binghamton University and no, it's not located the next town over from Southampton, Long Island. and yes, i did just look up exactly how to spell 'Southampton.'

before that i went to Birch Wathen Lenox for grades 8-12. don't you dare think for a moment i don't dread saying it every time because NO ONE catches it the first time. 'Birch, like the tree. Wathen, like i dunno what. Lenox. yes.' wonderful school otherwise.

yes, it was on the Upper East side but no it wasn't like Gossip Girl. yes, there were 18 people in my graduating class. 18. yes. really? yes. and you probably have met 10% of my graduating class.

i really did grow up in Manhattan. no, i am not a unicorn.

i lived in Hells Kitchen before it was clean, Battery Park City before it became a suburb, and the Upper East Side before it was...? currently i live in Brooklyn. a strangely passport free experience.

with the same roommate.

for 7+ years. yes. really. really.

i was born in Hong Kong and strangely i'm not Japanese.

yes, i like to travel.

no, i am not a trust fund baby. (i know you're thinking it. stop thinking it. right. now.)

yes i speak Cantonese but no i wont 'say something.' do i look like a trained monkey? and i most definitely will not order your next delivery order for you in Chinese.

Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese.

my name is spelled like so: Barbara. thanks Mrs. Streisand for screwing it up for the rest of us. that's right, look it up, there's a difference.

feel free to call me any pre-approved (please submit written requests via email) iteration you like except for Babs, Barbie, and Asshole.

my last name is not pronounced 'Hoover.' so, no, not like the vacuum.

i am not a monk, despite how i may sound at times.

no, i do not steal children. stop spreading lies.

generally i prefer a handwritten love note on my birthday rather than a gift.

that is, unless you were planning on giving me a Land Rover Sport.

my main pet peeves are flakiness, bad spelling, and general misuse of the English language.

yes, i am a snob.

people don't read yet i bother writing...riddle me that.

you have just read (probably scanned) the answers to the most often asked* questions in my life. now back to regularly scheduled programming.


that is all :)

*these may not reflect reality