this life

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Some photos we took on my birthday on the 27th. It was a lovely and sunny winter day and I got to do a few of my favorite things with two of my dear friends. A great breakfast and coffee by the sea, explored the backyard greenhouse and succulents at The General Store, cookies and tea at the Yerba Buena Gardens, a quick visit to St. Patrick's Church, made a wish over cupcakes inside a busy mall, and had a great laugh watching this movie.

In a lot of ways, 2012 brought some of the most difficult moments in my life. But there were also moments of beauty and gratitude, and more importantly, lessons learned along the way. Last night as I sat down to write, I came across this poem by the Scottish poet and novelist Andrew Greig and couldn't help but tear up. It reflects exactly how I feel about my life and where I am, right now. Especially these lines:

This is where I want to live,
close to where the heart gives out,
ruined, perfected, an empty arch against the sky...


*Have a listen to Andrew Greig read the entire poem here.

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Thank you all for coming and reading. This little blog also celebrated it's 7th anniversary on my birthday and I just want you all to know that I really appreciate all of you. I wish you lots of happiness and great adventures in the new year 2013. Cheers! Kanpai!

Love and blessings,
Odessa

raindrops on roses

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It's about 10 in the evening and I'm writing this from a small hotel along the Pacific Coast. What was supposedly a 5-hour trip took so much longer because of heavy rain and fog, with visibility so poor that my aunt almost had a panic attack while we drove along the winding coastal highway. It certainly wasn't your ideal way to start a Christmas vacation. But because of the rain, we found Cambria, a seaside village with quaint Victorian cottages straight out of a storybook. We even managed to take some grainy photos with our cellphones, ha!

And so it goes. Right now we are watching 'The Sound of Music' on t.v. Maria and the kids are singing in their pajamas and I can't help but feel touched. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...brown paper packages tied up with strings...these are a few of my favorite things.

This film was such a huge part of my growing up years that if I close my eyes I can still remember all of our family get-togethers, birthdays, and Christmases where we'd turn on the VHS player and sing along to their songs. And I'm reminded once again that this is what the holidays are all about. Creating traditions and memories with your loved ones.

I wish you all a very wonderful holiday filled with love, however you celebrate this season.

shining, shimmering, splendid

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I took this photo two weeks ago. Our kindergarteners made penguins out of torn colored paper and icebergs made out of chalk. One of the teachers bought a huge pack of crystal glitter. Pretty soon every 5-year old wanted to sprinkle these "shiny shimmering" (as they called them) all over. They made such a huge mess in the classroom but it was hard not to smile at their excitement.

I thought about our students today after the tragedy in Connecticut and can't help but cry again. I can't even begin to imagine what the victims' families and loves ones must be feeling right now.

I'd like to believe in love and resilience, in the human heart's capacity to heal. I'd like to believe that even in their short lives, those little children who died last Friday have brought so much joy and light in this world. I'd like to believe that they are now in a beautiful place somewhere -- shining, shimmering, splendid.

This might seem naive but I'd like to hold on to this belief for now. Otherwise my heart will break into pieces all over again, thinking about the senselessness of it all.