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Filtering by Tag: magic

Happiness Is Holding a Baby Goat

Amber Adrian

I joke about the magic of good hair, but evidence is mounting in favor of my head's ability to produce strands of pure blonde witchcraft.

(Just kidding. I'm not really a blonde.) 

Today I drove down the coast to Half Moon Bay to get my hair done by my aunt at her salon on Main Street. (Yes, it's actually called Main Street.) We chat, she covers my head in foil, I walk out with new hair. 

As I'm parking my car to get the best sandwich I have yet found (and I consider myself a connoisseur of the art of putting stuff between slices of bread), I see a woman walking a baby goat down the street. 

Let's just pause to appreciate this for a moment. A baby goat on a leash tottering down the sidewalk. To whomever reads the universe's suggestion box: YES PLEASE ALWAYS.

While gaping at the baby goat from the driver's seat, I see a couple stop. The man picks up the goat and, as I'm climbing out of my car, he says "This is the best day of my life" while wearing a grin that cracks his face open. 

So, of course, I ask if I can hold the baby goat. 

BABY GOAT.JPG

My mouth does basically the same thing, because...

GUYS, I CRADLED A BABY GOAT. HE ALMOST FELL ASLEEP IN MY ARMS. 

That, my friends, is pure magic. And, obviously, the magic is my hair. 

Get your hair done, get the best seats to a Giants game for free. Get your hair done, get a baby goat. Maybe this means I'll finally take my new curling iron out of its box.

Predictably, now I want a baby goat so I can walk it around small towns and make people happy. Hire a photographer to take pictures of all the delighted baby goat cradlers. Put the goat in a Karmann Ghia and drive around the country. Maybe put a box of Sallys in the trunk and pass out stuffed therapy otters to anyone who needs one. There will probably also be glitter and cupcakes.

In my head, this is called the Happy Goat Tour and it has its own Instagram account that, of course, becomes wildly popular and raises money for animal sanctuaries. 

Though I'm not sure how happy a baby goat would be on multiple long car rides. My fantasies often have holes.

Regardless: I GOT TO HOLD A BABY GOAT BECAUSE OF MAGIC HAIR. THE END. 

When Love Goes Awry

Amber Adrian

If you’ve never seen your dead father staring out at you from a stranger’s face, I assure you, it’s an experience.

At this point, I'm just spending my life splatting face first into the space-time continuum of metaphysics. Over the past four years, I've worked with all sorts of coaches and mentors and healers who do really fun, weird, and often completely inexplicable things.

One day, my smoke alarm starts howling like a banshee of the damned while I'm on Skype with one of my coaches. My ears split and my eyes watered and I spent ten minutes trying to get the damn thing to stop – made more difficult by the fact that there was no smoke anywhere and I couldn’t reach the off button.

When the unearthly shrieking was finally curtailed, I hop back on Skype and my coach asks, “What were we talking about right before the alarm went off?”

Often, when there's a disturbance in the force - the phone cuts out, Skype hangs up on you, or fire alarms go berserk - it means something important is happening energetically. 

We were talking about my father and it was so intense, my coach sent me to his mentor - a man named Carl who does family constellations. 

Far better explanations of family constellations exist, but my understanding is that they call in the energy of the family and the specific family members, alive or dead, and whatever is needed to be released or healed shows up. People playing the roles within a family will begin expressing the emotions they feel – sadness, anger, relief, comfort – emotions that shift and change and vary depending on who is introduced into the constellation and what their relationship was in life. Family constellations often shed light on patterns and feelings and events that even the people within those systems don’t understand.

So on a summer Wednesday, I end up in a room where a circle of Carl’s students are waiting to call in the energy of my family.

Sitting in a gazebo under the stars of Northern California, I watched a small Asian woman in striped pants take on the role of my grandfather. I know nothing about my grandfather, except that he left abandoned the family when my father was very young. I don’t even know his first name, although I carry his last.

A blonde woman in a red shirt took on the role of my father. She started dancing. I dance, but to the best of my knowledge, my father never danced a day in his life. But there she was, twirling and spinning, before collapsing in a chair. Her eyes narrowed as she glared at my grandfather, and a deep anger began to radiate from her like electricity. “Rage comes in waves, I suppress it like it doesn’t exist. Turn it off, don’t look at it, eat ice cream.”

“So I push it down and create a new life,” she continues.

If I had any doubts about the process, they would’ve been laid to rest right about here. I’m well-acquainted with deeply suppressed rage – and my father’s favorite comfort food. Before he died, one of his last requests was for ice cream.

I know better than to think that a man abandons his family simply because he wants to – there are always reasons, deep and profound and unsettling reasons, why such a course of action is chosen. But when my grandfather, still in the form of a small woman in striped pants, turned to my father and said, “I’m overwhelmed by warmth and tenderness. I can’t look at you because my heart is aching,” I was surprised. Without ever really thinking about it, I reflected my dad’s anger toward the man who took off, leaving my father and his family in a very bad situation that lasted until my father left Pennsylvania for California.

What came through in that small room was that my grandfather was young, maybe not yet ready for the demands of a family. He loved his young son, but he was restless, he longed for adventure. He wanted to be at the bar with his friends.

As he was explaining the love that wrestled with his need to leave, a woman sitting in a chair across the room suddenly flopped face down, nose squashed into the carpet. “I just need to be here,” she said.

Nobody has the answers in a family constellation.

Carl has no idea what’s going on, the volunteers who assume the energy of different family members have no idea what’s going on, I sure as hell don’t have any idea what’s going on. We all just have to watch it unfold and put together the pieces. That’s why sometimes, when there’s an unknown element at work, a random person will flop out of a chair and squash their face into the carpet. Even when they’d really prefer not to because the carpet has been molding on the floor since approximately 1982.

Suddenly, the woman playing my grandpa begins to look guilty. “I did that,” she said, pointing at the woman on the floor. “I did that.”

That’s when it gets really weird. Like film noir weird. Like the moderator looking up from her notes and saying “holy shit” three times weird.

Turns out, my grandfather accidentally killed a man in a bar fight. So he and his buddy left the body lying there and skipped town, never to be heard from again.

Children, even when only a few years old, perceive things.

Looking at the dead body on the ground, the woman in the energy of my father says she feels a strange sense of peace. “You won’t see that,” she says to my grandfather. “You’ll run because of it. I’ll see it for you. It feels good, because it’s reliable. If this is all I can have of you, I’ll take it.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” says my grandfather.

A man who was accidentally murdered by my grandfather in 1944 in a small mining town in Pennsylvania made my smoke alarm shriek seventy-one years later.

Left on the ground in an alley, he needed resolution. The energy was called in so that my grandfather could acknowledge and own and apologize for what he’d done.

Carl makes a joke about dragging the body to a river. “It would’ve been a sign of respect to put me in the river,” says the woman playing the dead man to my grandfather. “Don’t just do this and leave. Put me somewhere.”

After accidentally killing a man when a fight got out of hand and then abandoning his family, my grandfather lived a haunted life. Death was all the only thing that brought him peace. 

When a parent abandons their child, the parent is left half-alive. Even when that decision is made out of love, out of fearing of hurting the child if they stay. Decisions made from a very deep love can do great harm. Simply because, at the time, there doesn’t seem to be another way. Fear consumes and makes it very difficult to make choices that will serve us well. On a deep level, this can impact the family for generations if those emotions are not fully felt and acknowledged and peace made.

“Just kill me,” my grandfather says. “It’s better than feeling what I’ve done to you.”

“This is the first time in any constellation when ‘Hey, douchebag’ is a healing statement,” Carl says.

The murderer and the murdered each turn to each other and say, “Hey, douchebag” and the ownership of accidental, terrible actions transform into something funny and heart-breaking and healing.

"Hey, douchebag" was their path to peace.

Emotion was deep and overwhelming, experiences described by these people who had never met me or any other member of my family so closely mirrored my own experiences – of being overwhelmed, stuck behind a wall, going blank with no words in times of great stress or emotion.

That’s why I love this stuff. It makes you question what you believe to be possible and nudges you into expansion.

After absorbing the energy of murder and abandonment, my father wasn’t very alive. All he wanted was to escape and begin a new life and shield his children. He wanted to shield us – and so my brother and I took that shield and divvied it up. For reasons I never fully understood, I couldn’t let things in while my brother couldn’t let things out. This includes money, relationships, connection, love. Not all-inclusive, but I’ve always felt a wall there.

At the end, my grandfather and the accidentally dead bar buddy lying on the ground behind us, my father turns to me and my brother and says, “We can breathe now.”

“You’re seeing your father for the first time,” Carl says. “Because of what happened, he could never be fully present.” Even as I write this now, I begin to cry. Because it’s true. My father had to maintain a certain distance his entire life. Less so with my brother and I than with most people, but distance nonetheless.

We received a blessing from our father that day from beyond the grave. Children receive a spiritual blessing from their father. If his wounds block him from giving that blessing, then our supply of money and of creative power becomes crimped, because it can’t run through the pipeline without causing Dad stress.

After his death, we received what he meant to give us while he was alive. Drained by circumstances beyond his control and without the tools to heal it, he simply didn’t have it to share.

Who knows what of this is true, what truly reflects what happened in my father's family. But on some level, who cares? More is gained from believing than disbelieving. More is healed by allowing the experience in than in shutting it out because it can’t be proven.

And it reminds me that love always comes through, even if circumstances and choices block love or the ability to give what we all want to give our families. That love is always held in trust for us, to be delivered when the time is right, even if it takes lifetimes. 

We are all bigger and brighter than we know.

Amber Adrian

We are all built for more than we can currently envision. We are all reaching for the place where what we can't yet imagine has popped like magic into our lived reality. 

We're all just looking for magic. For love. For truth. For peace. For what we feel - down to our bones, down to our souls - we're truly meant for. The irony, of course, is that magic exists inside of us, fully formed, just waiting for us to dig deep enough to see it. We already have more access to more love than any human can hold. We have access to truth and peace in every moment.

I believe this more than I've ever believed anything. 

But I am also just a person in my own body and my own experience and my own brain and sometimes what I know to be true gets clouded in a haze of humanity. We're all in a haze of humanity. Those who blast through the haze create genius. Those who peel away the wispy layers of fog reveal brilliance. Those who make it their sole mission to know who they are realize that they're already everything they ever hoped or dreamed. 

So here's a toast. To blasting, to peeling, to lurching and soaring our way through this human experience. To becoming so fully human that we feel the divine and lifting so high into the divine that we realize how deeply lucky we are to be human. 

Whatever's holding you back, blast through it. Whatever's asking for your courage, show up as the mighty being you are. Whatever wants to be expressed so strongly that it burns you up if you don't let it out, commit yourself completely and fully to that creation. Commit yourself, know yourself, be yourself. For you are mighty and brilliant and strong and a blazing star through this human plane. 

 

Daily Dance

Amber

photo-7.jpg

If you've been working too hard and vehemently not practicing what you preach - "take care of yourself! take naps!" she croons blithely while waking up at o'dark thirty, reaching for her laptop, and going under for ten hours -  a face swollen with poison oak and an optometrist who says "how did your eyes get that much worse in a month?" is a bitch slap to wake up. We teach what we most need to learn. It's why I'm always on about self-care and self-love and connecting with yourself. Because I will actively and insistently not take care of myself - I don't have time! I need to attack my to-do list! I need to make money!* - until my body is required to battle with a vicious plant and basically blind me to make me stop.

* fear, fear, fear - something I remember when I'm taking care of myself

I can't do the work I do - write and create and channel - without taking care of myself. First. Not as an after-thought. Not after my body wrestles me to the floor and makes me beg for mercy.

Every morning is for me, not for work. I need to run or dance daily. Every breakfast is to be eaten on the deck in the sun, with no devices and no distractions. Every meditation is to find out if my heart has something to say or if it's just my head hosting a gremlin party, cackling and poking my fear-centers with their pitchforks. I need to plop down in front of my altar and re-find the peace. If the day goes south at any point, I need to haul my butt right back there and remind myself of what is true. Pull my thoughts into the center of my head and drop them into the calm well of my heart. Peace, not noise.

Because writing from my head doesn't do anything for anyone. Thoughts, old voices, static. But when I'm taking care of myself, I get pulled. Pulled into something that needs to be said, something that comes from a place of love and occasional near-tears.  That's when it connects and resonates and the magic happens.

Bonus: More naps and less worrying.

From My Seat Today

Amber

Life stretches out, empty. But maybe life’s not a forever silent house and a perpetually pristine rug. Maybe it’s a bucket waiting to be filled. Joy bursts with noise. Resounds in silence. Echoes color refracted from light. It’s always there, for it relies on nothing.

Leaves tap the window in a boundless cycle of growth, death, renewal. Hard to despair, if your eyes remember to seek out the green.

Releasing the illusion of control isn’t giving up so much as abandoning the fraught tension of worry that felt ever-present.

Purple blooms in a white enamel pot. The pot is labeled “Flowers.” A declaration, without irony, of what is and what will be. If given proper care.

Storytime. This one tugs on an ear, that one flops over in rapture. Another tries to climb inside the book, as if he could live inside what’s being told.

A stack of books tells me I eat too much meat and my sugar intake is questionable. I weigh it down with calendars and lists and a dish of rosy paper hearts.

Rocks glow near iron birds eternally perched. Shades of crimson because feng shui says that red near the bed invites love. It worked.

Pumpkin Pilgrimage

Amber

Pumpkin family. 

Pumpkin family. 

As your eyes pass over the line of Pinterest-perfect pumpkins - toothy smiles and hipster owls and even the Golden Gate Bridge carved into squash - you might notice a cluster of pumpkins at the end, pumpkins that aren't like the others. Slightly dim but full of personality. The sort of pumpkins that would pull the station wagon to a screeching, smoky halt by the side of the road because a freshly-killed squirrel was spotted, a squirrel that would do well in a bowl of chili or maybe cured into jerky. Obviously a family. Not the brightest, maybe a little physically impaired, but happy, secure in their tribe.

After an afternoon of mulled wine, lizard staring contests, and scooping pumpkin guts, we loaded our pumpkin family into the back of my car. They rode around for a few days, windows rolled down to disperse the pumpkin smell, until we finally had to decide what to do with them. When I proposed taking one or two home and leaving him with the rest for his apartment building, he looked at me in shock. "We can't split them up! They need each other!"

I collected myself, horrified by my insensitivity. Of course they need to stick together. They would be lonely. No one else would understand them. The round little mother would be devastated without her crooked-grinned husband. The adopted sibling, a bug-eyed genius who needs to carve carrots into perfect replicas of Bic pens before eating them, wouldn't mesh well with normal society. The cyclops would smash into walls and knock over tables without her buck-toothed brother to lead her around random bits of furniture. (Her peripheral vision isn't all that great.) 

So we scoured the streets until we found a good spot under a tree near Dolores Park. As we tucked our pumpkin family into their new home, a herd of schoolchildren passed, yelling out Happy Halloween!s and complimenting our jack-o-lanterns.

They had found their place, and they were happy.

What Dreams May Come

Amber

I've been thinking about dreams lately. Where they come from, how we interact with them, how we can allow or block them, depending on what we need at the time. Even the grandest of dreams are simple at their core, stemming from a desire for connection, creation, love, healing, impact. Most dreams, when you tunnel down to their essence, land on this Venn diagram.

Dreams can get blocked. For a long time, I thought I could wrench myself into productivity. But I'm learning that when things aren't flowing or my energy is low - that's a message. I can try to blast through the message, placate my brain's need to make things happen with new systems or schedules. But that never works for long - a few days, or a few weeks at the most. In the end, if I want to get where I'm going, I have to listen to what's coming to me.

My body gives me information. It's a brilliant tuning fork for my emotional and spiritual state. If there's some feeling I'm trying to repress, my body won't let me go anywhere until I figure it out and process it. If there's a lesson I need, everything will conspire to take me down until I learn it. It's a marvelous and deeply annoying system. It's marvelous how profound it is, when you peer into it. Marvelous that doing what my body and spirit needs has been prioritized over impressive achievements or success or any of the other things my ego finds desperately important.

But when I look at it from a larger perspective - one that doesn't pay any mind to my own admittedly arbitrary goals or schedules - it's a beautiful, shifting network guiding me where I ultimately want to go, passing up things I thought I needed or wanted so it can take me toward what will truly fill me up. The world is a brilliant system of information and if you trust the random influx of messages that come to you, they can lead you like fireflies in the dark toward what you most want. But you have to trust what comes and, most of all, you have to trust yourself.

voice of a wild thing
voice of a wild thing

Last week, a woman on Twitter wanted a book. I read her tweet and thought, "I can afford that. Should I do it? I should." So I did. I got this in the mail from the author of the book a few days later. Twitter is its own brand of magic.

Dreams will reshuffle and reform. My dreams center most around love and creation. If I try to force those dreams, they skitter away.  But if I sink into the messages that my body and my soul and the world around me send, I am pulled onto a path I didn't expect but feels bigger and lighter than any path I could have dreamed on my own.

Making Myself a Wizard Hat Out of Felt and Rhetorical Questions

Amber

Crushing, soul-grinding doubt seems to be the legacy of humanity. We doubt our worth, our contribution, our ability to meet the standards that society or we ourselves have set. I spend a reasonable chunk of every day convinced that I’m not doing enough, feeling enough, living enough, earning enough, being enough. Why on earth would I do that? Why on earth would I pour so much of my finite energy into a sticky black pit of doubt?

Why isn’t it enough to be breathing every day? Why isn’t it enough to wake up, put your feet on the ground and think, “How can I help today?” Or wake up, put your feet on the ground and think, “How can I have fun today?” Why do most of our early morning thoughts begin with, “How can I survive today?”

My tiny-fist-shaken-at-the-sky rhetorical questions crop up whenever I find myself in the unconscious loop of work and budgets and doing all the things I don't particularly want to do in hopes of one day being able to do what I really want to do. I have a bad habit of feeling like a victim of my own life rather than its creator. But work and budgets and doing things you don't particularly want to do right this very minute aren't bad. Sometimes work and budgets and things you don't want to do right this very minute really are a good idea. It's not so important what you do, as long as you're being conscious

I don't believe we're here to eke out whatever small life we can manage. I prefer to think of us as wizards of our environment, whisking what we most want out of the ether the way Dumbledore presents hundreds of thirsty adolescents with jugs of pumpkin juice. We're here to make what we want to make and do what brings us joy and spend as much time as we can in the midst of things that light us up - whether that's music or writing or knitting or running through dewy grass or eating that expensive granola that you feel bad for buying. (STOP FEELING BAD FOR BUYING THE GRANOLA YOU ACTUALLY ENJOY.)

Creation beats sacrifice. Joy beats doubt. Picking up a stick on your morning walk to wave like a found magic wand while pretending to be Dumbledore and yelling, "I shall conjure up time for more writing and plane trips to visit friends and also better breakfast cereal!" beats just about everything.

Fairies Welcome

Amber

If your life needs some magic, may I recommend a five-year-old? You don't necessarily need to birth and raise this five-year-old. You can simply invite one over for an afternoon. Cheaper, faster, and far less mess.

Wombat  and his father.

Wombat and his father.

Take a five-year-old to a redwood grove near your house and he will discover a gate in a chain link fence, a gate you never saw, despite multiple trips to this exact spot. Walk through the gate and you'll find a path under ancient trees. Follow the path and you'll find a hobbit door.

Walk through the hobbit door and you'll find a place you thought only existed in Victorian children's literature. A secret garden. A Narnia, once summer beats back the ice. A babbling brook winds under the redwoods, with bridges leading to giant mushrooms and dinosaur ferns and wooden benches surrounded by riots of violets. Sun filters through the leaves to hit the flowers and warm the water. It's perfect.

Knowing it exists in the world means you can walk there almost every day - and I do.

Once you return home from your adventure to feast on potato chips, you realize how small your house is, when filled with a family of four. One room, with a bed under the eaves, a tiny kitchen at the back and enough seating for three people, if you pull the chair off the deck. So the children will occupy themselves by jumping merrily on the bed, tiny faces smashing themselves into your pillows as they hurtle themselves through a profound experimentation in the rules of gravity.

Soon the eldest will notice a small pink and green bowl on a stack of books. In the bowl are two tiny pink silk pillows, one labeled "create" and the other "joy." He'll arrange the pillows, find a cloth your mother used to wear around her hair in the '70s, and tuck it in with the pillows. He'll add a sparkly multifaceted ring from the cup of jewelry in the bathroom and, as the crowning touch, a potato chip. This, he tells you, is a fairy bed. The sparkles to attract and the potato chip to entice closer.

The next morning, after they're gone, when you're prosaically clearing away the potato chip because ants, you'll look up. Etched into the window, above this tiny bed, is a fairy wing.

Magic.

My Hobbit Hole

Amber

I've become the Goldilocks of trashcans. Two weeks ago, I moved into my new home. It's a little cottage in Mill Valley, just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. After years of being in and out of cities and in and out of storage units, finally settling down means everything must be perfect, including the garbage cans. It's strangely hard to find just the right trash receptacle - you want it to do its job and fit in its corner. But I don't want to buy something just to fill the space. I'm willing to wait for the right one. The right garbage can is important, you know.

When I first signed the lease and posted a picture on Facebook, Zach said, "I didn't know they were still selling real estate in heaven." Tracking down your own spot of heaven is a bit of a holy calling for most of us. My heaven apparently comes with skunks plotting on the deck and squirrels tap-dancing on the roof. The floor tilts a bit to the left. Spiders fall from the ceiling. Sun lights the deck in the afternoon. When I open the sliding glass doors, I can hear water rushing past rocks in the creek bed. My storage space rests under a treehouse. It's like camping, but with my own mattress and internet access. It doesn't have everything I was looking for - there's no laundry or bath tub - but I'm learning to accept gifts as they come, without being too persnickety about checking off every box I concocted while dreaming of what I want next. So far, I've learned that I own too many books and that it is possible to coexist peacefully with many-legged insects. I see animals loving my home as much as I do as a good sign, even as I lose any and all remorse over killing ants.*

* All god's creatures, my ass. Get out of my sink, ants.

I've always treated my apartments like way stations between me and whatever was next. For the first time, I want to build a home. A home with a trashcan that suits me perfectly, yellow rugs and mugs, a home with the few pieces of furniture I've collected and the books I love. I don't know what my future looks like. Any wisdom I've gained over the years falls smack into the "give up on knowing what's coming because life will surprise the hell out of you" category. I don't know if I'll be here for five months or five years. I do want to get married and have kids and, since I'm turning 36 in a few months, it would be nice if that was sooner rather than later. But I want to build my home as though I'll be here for years - choosing things carefully, creating a space for myself, the kind of space that nurtures who I am and who I want to be, and looks pretty doing it. If I do up and move again soon, it will still be time well spent. Because this is a way of taking care of myself, of reminding myself that I'm worth the effort, even if it is just me. Especially if it's just me.

Maybe this will be the last time I can create a home that's all my own. If you have a family, apparently you sometimes have to let them choose things and, I don't know, take their needs into account on occasion. So maybe this is the last time I get to enjoy being psycho perfectionist about trashcans and having everything precisely the way I want it. Maybe this is practice for building a beautiful, useful space for me and my family. Maybe this is creating the space that will nurture and support me for years to come. I just don't know. So I will build it and trust that things will work out exactly as they should.

For now, home is a hobbit hole surrounded by redwoods and tucked into the curve of a babbling creek. Maybe it will be mine for mere months, maybe for years. But now is all we ever know for sure. So I will love it and care for it until it's time to love and care for something else.

How I Accidentally Ended Up in Amsterdam

Amber

If you're wondering about the likelihood of ending up in Amsterdam by accident, let me say that if it was possible to take a wrong turn somewhere in Northern California and end up in the Netherlands, I would've done it. I wasn't planning to go to Amsterdam. Yet here I am. Because life enjoys veering seven degrees to the left and often the thing you didn't plan turns out much better than anything you would've planned and that's saying something because you consider yourself a rather impeccable planner, even though it sounds suspiciously like boasting when typed out like this. YES, I'M A TOTAL BRAGGART. IT'S FINE.

Before I left for Costa Rica, I mentioned Amsterdam in a post. Because it was the first city that occurred to me when I needed a random location to end a sentence. Ten minutes later, I got an email from Nicolien saying that she had an apartment in Amsterdam and she was going to Serbia for a month and would I like to come to Holland and watch her cats while she was gone? WHY, YES. YES, I WOULD LIKE TO LIVE IN YOUR AMSTERDAM APARTMENT WITH YOUR CATS.

If you've ever wondered if a blog can wield some serious juju, let me assure you that it can. Make a joke about Amsterdam, end up living there for a month. I think we should all try to maximize whatever wordpress magic lives here. Ahem.

I WOULD LIKE AN APARTMENT IN NEW YORK THIS FALL, TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, AND A STUFFED PANDA. I MEAN, A REAL PANDA WOULD BE AWESOME BUT I BET THOSE THINGS EAT A LOT AND FEEDING BAMBOO TO A GIANT BEAR EVERY DAY SOUNDS LIKE A HASSLE.

Now it's your turn! What would you like the blog genie to bring you? Leave it in the comments. May I suggest using the caps lock key? Everything works better in caps lock.

(I'll keep you posted on whether or not the universe coughs up any pandas or New York apartments.)

So I'm in Amsterdam for a month, staying in a lovely little apartment with two cats.

photo (50)
photo (50)

Amstercat

My first full day here, Nicolien and her husband took me around the city. We walked past canals and wolfed down a huge pot of cheese fondue and I drank more beer in a day than I've had in the past year. It's a beautiful city, especially in the rare July sun. Every so often, we'd pass a building that pitched forward, as if it was straining to catch up with time. But they never fall, the houses just hover a few feet in front of their neighbors, like they can't wait to find out what's next. I know how they feel.