The past three weeks have been Christmas Break for my family and I. Since my mom is a teacher and gets the break, my dad's job is flexible, and my sister has Christmas Break, too these few weeks all line up nicely for us all to be off. This is my last year before college so I really wanted travel with the family to be a big focus. It always is, but I want to pick the destinations. We have already traveled a lot and as usually we were going to travel over this past break. But, my dad's work schedule turned out to be pretty crazy and we all got sick at one point or another, so it just didn't work out.

Instead of going on a vacation somewhere else, we kind of had a vacation right here in Los Angeles. It has been raining a ton in LA, more than ever in the past few years, and so it almost seems like we are somewhere else. Over the break we have gone all over the city, experiencing a bunch of new things. It has been fun to enjoy the city and just stay at home instead of having any pressure to go anywhere. We have simply took it easy. Of course it wasn't the break that we expected, but it turned out even better.

A long time ago my dad used to be an artist and recently he has gotten into it again. My sister is also artistic and so she has found that love also. They have both been excited to draw and that really manifested over our break. We went out to a ton of art stores to get supplies and look around. Now I am not artistic in the way they are. They can draw and paint. It's really hard for me to create something on a 2D space using a pencil, pen, or brush. In fact each person in my family is good at a different type of art. My dad is a great illustrator and sketcher, my sister is a great figure drawer, my mom is great at scrapbooking and layout, and I am into the 3D arts. The physical arts. What I mean is that I am good at the 3D representation of my ideas. So woodworking, metalworking, and clay work comes easily to me. When we go to those art stores I head straight to the clay section. Looking for new tools. My dad already had a ton of clay tools and I have really only needed to buy more eclectic ones that he did not have.

Working on eyes.  

Working on eyes.  

I have really enjoyed going down into my basement and pulling out my Trader Joe's paper bag that I use as a clay mat. Pulling out the tools. A bowl of water. Some paper towels. And of course the clay. Getting my hands dirty and literally making something. I have always been fascinated by creatures and figures, so I have been practicing my ability in clay faces, eyes, ears, and noses. It's hard for sure, but it's a pure mindfulness process. You can't really be anywhere else, but the present when you are working with clay.

Not only has my winter break been artistic, but it has also been productive. I have made great strides in coming closer to launching Target Release. For Christmas I got a lot of tools that will better aid me in building what I want. More emails have been sent, of course. Christmas Break isn't just a time for me to rest, but to also get things done. I enjoy that, too.

When we were at one of the art stores, out in LA, we saw Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath. I have loved Black Sabbath my entire life, but I didn't go all fanboy on Ozzy. I don't like when people do that. I didn't even say hi, because after years of heavy metal and hard drugs Ozzy is messed up. He even had an assistant, buying all of the stuff he wanted. So I gave him his space, but it was still really cool to see him. So LA.

Bradbury Building

Bradbury Building

Walking around the Downtown area of Los Angeles is a very different experience from my little coastal, working class town down here on the coast. Now I'm not saying it's like going to the big city and I'm impressed by the big buildings or big money. No. LA's gross. As any big city is, really. The streets of Downtown aren't glamorous in any stretch of the imagination. I wouldn't call buildings covered in graffiti, pee in every nook and cranny, and homeless people yelling at you glamorous. It's most definitely an "experience" when you go there. In both negative and positive ways. Of course all of the hipster areas are gentrified, but they are only pockets amongst the greater grossness. It's fun for a few hours once every few weeks, but I could never live in the middle of a big city. It's just not appealing to me. Big buildings and grossness have nothing on wide open spaces and good trails. That's where I want to live for sure.

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In one of our trips we went to a fully vegan ramen house. It was one of those Asian restaurants that has a lot of decorum and such. They placed your napkin on your lap for you and came by every few minutes to ask how you were doing. As most high class restaurants do, the lights in the place were very dim and candles were the prime source of illumination. The whole experience was something that I hadn't done before, I've never been to a restaurant that is fancy in that sense. The ramen turned out to be quite good and the entire atmosphere of the place was interesting. The rest of my family, other than I, do not like nori (seaweed). I used to not like it either, but now I do for some reason. In fact I used to not like Asian food at all. Now I love noodles, ramen, sushi, and everything else of that type of food. The restaurant was a quite scene and seemed to pride itself on it's decorum, but there existed a major juxtaposition. While the restaurant itself was very nice, the mall it was in was disgusting. Again this is another example of that classic LA juxtaposition. The restaurant's immediate atmosphere might have been nice, but the surrounding atmosphere of the larger mall was run down, creepy, and unnerving. There were people at the mall, but somehow it still felt oddly empty.

Anyways, after a great Christmas Break I am ready to go back to school. Last semester was great and so now I want to make second semester even better. Since it is my very last semester of high school I must focus on staying present and enjoying the beautiful campus that I attend, the friends I have, and the learning experience. Of course it's always nice to have a long break, it's also nice to have order. I like when I am going to school, because it gives a schedule to the day and to the week. Some thing to hold onto and focus on. So I am glad I'm going back, my family and I still do stuff together even when we are in school so there is nothing really lost on that front.

Last day of Tower of Terror in Disney's California Adventure

Last day of Tower of Terror in Disney's California Adventure

Wish me luck this semester! Let's all stay present, push hard, and of course strive for our better in these coming months, because everyday is special, we must realize that.

Thank you and I hope you're break was great to and these next few months are even better!

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