Maddy

trying to make sense of life, one mediocre blog post at a time.

  • “Why do I have so many thoughts, they are driving me crazy.”
    The latest in my series of “Little Things.” 1. I’m going to start this list with a big little thing (both physically and metaphorically) … WHALES! The most success I’ve had seeing whales was two years ago off the coast of Mendocino, and since then I’ve tried multiple times in various places but to no avail. (I think back to a few months ago when Maïté, Thomas, and I drove to Pacifica and sat staring out at the ocean until the sun’s reflection off the water made our eyes burn but we didn’t see a single whale. It was especially…More
  • thoughts & pictures from my morning commute
  • Working Forwards
    Yesterday I received an email reminder from my company that it was “time for Quarterly Check-Ins with your manager.” I let out an audible groan, despite being the only person in my house. Time to get asked, yet again, what my career goals are! (Spoiler alert for my manager: I don’t freaking know!!!!! I don’t even know where I see myself in two weeks (except hopefully alive and healthy?)!!!!) I have taken every online quiz and read every article meant to “identify your strengths” or “find jobs that match your lifestyle” or “find your purpose” and have Googled “what should…More
  • insignificant moments / dipping into the ~archives~
    “Life is a collection of moments.”– Someone’s Instagram caption, probably, paired with a picture of the back of their head as they look out onto a teal blue sea. Or, a message embroidered on a pillow in a suburban mom’s house that is being meme’d by their teenage daughter on TikTok à la this video. To be fair (and less cynical) it’s a true statement, and maybe a helpful mantra if you’re trying to practice mindfulness and live in the present. But as I reflect on the moments that comprised my past week, I frustrate myself with my tendency to…More
  • On Flying
    “I would never move to Denver because then I’d have to fly in and out of this airport every time,” declared Thomas last week as we taxied on the runway at Denver airport. He’s convinced that wind patterns over the mountains near Denver make every flight in or out of that airport extremely turbulent, and this flight had added an affirming data point. Thomas hates flying in a way that I didn’t understand until some time into our marriage. We had already done a lot of air travel together by that time but he’s never been one to let others…More
  • Thoughts from the BART on my way to a morning squash match
    It’s still dark outside and I’m walking the mile from my apartment to the Ashby BART station. I’m not in a rush – I woke up before my alarm and have plenty of time before I need to be in the city – but I check the transit app anyway to see when the next trains are arriving. My backpack is heavy with the weight of my laptop, notebook, chargers, squash shoes and racket, and two changes of clothes, but my steps are energetic in these blissful hours of the morning. I stand on the BART platform with a few…More
  • Musings on Multitudes
    “I contain multitudes,” I say to myself, as I sit at the kitchen table on a Saturday morning, painting a landscape while listening to Meek Mill. Sometimes I want to read a book on data analysis, sometimes I want to binge watch reality TV. Sometimes I want to go for a bike ride, sometimes I want to sit on the couch and read poetry. I should be able to do all of these things and not question what they say about ~who I am~. Why do I feel this need to label and categorize myself? I dislike social media for…More
  • The Best Books I Read in 2021
    It would be hyperbolic to say Goodreads has changed my life, but I do love the ability to easily keep track of the books I’ve read and the books I want to read. Before Goodreads, whenever I came across a book that looked interesting or was recommended by a friend, I would haphazardly type a note on my phone or scribble on a scrap of paper, both of which would inevitably be forgotten or lost when it came time for me to start a new book. My dad would argue that all the Goodreads functionality I enjoy could be accomplished…More
  • Progress, not perfection.
    Leslie got me a lil paint set from CVS and it’s been bringing me so much joy this week. It may have been designed for kids but that means it’s full of bright colors and doesn’t stain my clothes or the furniture when I make a mess! It’s also kind of crazy how a week of mental and physical rest (time off from work, time off from biking and/or running) leaves much more room for a different type of energy: the creative kind! Despite having done much more art in the past year than I ever have before, I’m still not…More
  • An accomplishment’s an accomplishment, no matter how small.
    Does anyone remember the line from Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person, no matter how small”? For whatever reason that line often pops into my head (probably because I’ve watched the movie more than a few times). Today, after a difficult week, I found myself thinking, “An accomplishment’s an accomplishment, no matter how small.” As in: what feels like an accomplishment to me might not seem like one to others, but that doesn’t make it any less of an accomplishment. Which then lead me to list out everything I’ve accomplished (by my own standards) this week:…More
  • Sometimes life surprises you [a poem]
    Sometimes life surprises you Like on Saturdays when you’re sadand the sun is nowhere to be found, So you ride your bike down to the shoreline where– growing from the sand – are signs that say, “Jazz Quartet; Follow the signs or sounds.” So you follow the sign along the trails through the waterfront park that juts out into the bayand you stumble upon a makeshift amphitheater where four men dressed in suits and shiny shoes have set up a little stage by the sea And they’re playing their drums and trumpet and cello and trombone as the audience sits…More
  • “Introduction To Poetry”
    On Saturday afternoon I head out for a walk under the guise of needing to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy. I do, in fact, need to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, but Thomas and I both know that when I say I’m “going to walk to the pharmacy” that’s code for “I’m going out for a walk and there’s no knowing when I’ll be back.” Needless to say, I take a slight detour at Pegasus Books on Shattuck. In my defense, it’s the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that Pegasus has been open…More
  • Plum Tree Ponderings
    When I was younger I thought of gifts only as things that were exchanged on holidays and birthdays: toys, money, anything that could be bought or sold but that I received “for free.” Now, when I think of gifts, what comes to mind are the less tangible things: time, thought, effort. The things that can’t be purchased in a store, or that can’t be quantified, or that people might not even know they’re giving to you. I have also come to think of gifts not as things that you receive on Christmas – or other times when people might expect…More
  • Thoughts, 6/18/21
  • My “chill out maddy” Spotify playlist didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.
    I spent the weekend trying to relax. I didn’t go for any long bike rides or runs; instead, I went for short walks and took naps. I read an entire book. No, wait – two books. I made a playlist called “chill out maddy” and listened to it for a few hours. I meditated. I painted: Suffice it to say I was disappointed when I woke up at 4:13am this Monday morning with painful stomach cramps (diagnosed thus far as anxiety-related). I’m not here to complain, though. I did have a relaxing weekend. I basked in the hot sun (but…More
  • A short note
    I was drafting a new post this morning (related to mental health, actually) but I will save that for another time as I want to share this short note instead: I heard earlier today of another death of someone I knew by suicide. I hope it goes without saying at this point, but if anyone ever wants to talk or needs help getting help I’m always around. I have been open about my struggles in the past in the hope that it makes others more comfortable in coming to me if they need someone safe and non-judgmental to talk to.…More
  • little things, april 2021
    I. blooming flowers and a friend, reminding me: you have to start somewhere. not all things are beautiful when they first begin. II. a morning walk on a summer dayin northern californiawhich means I am wearing two jackets and a hatbut you can hear the rising sun saying to the world “watch out for me today.” III. collage (n): an assemblage of different forms…thus creating a whole.when I pick up these camellias (that have fallen onto the sidewalk – once beautiful on their bushes, now browning and alone) and press them underneath a heavy book, I like the idea that…More
  • A Garbage Post [Happy Earth Day]
    Each year I celebrate Earth Day by going on a plog. For those unfamiliar with the term, know that Thomas was as well until his edification three years ago: In previous years I visited some combination of my favorite parks nearby our house in San Francisco: Buena Vista, Twin Peaks, Mount Davidson, Sutro, Glen Canyon, Billy Goat Hill, Kite Hill, Corona Heights, and/or Bernal Heights (there were so many amazing parks in walking distance! I love you, San Francisco!). Today, on my first Berkeley/East Bay plog, I jogged with my bag of accumulating trash through Strawberry Canyon and Claremont Canyon.…More