Tag Archives: Oregon

#augustbreak2013 Day 13

Home

This concept is always a bit tricky for me, as there are two places I consider home: Colorado and Oregon.

homeI love our little house, our little life in Fort Collins, with the gardens in front and back, the lilacs along the fence and by the mailbox, the trees we’ve planted and the ones now gone that we still remember, the Rocky Mountain Bee Plants that surprised us one year and return each spring to feed the riot of bees, the hardwood floors and the patterned plaster ceilings, the elementary school around the corner and our favorite park so close. The layout of the house is almost exactly like the one I grew up in, and I love that, loved that house, that home too. One reason it will be difficult to let this one go now, if we ever do, is that two of my dogs died here, and as weird as it might sound, that is a precious thing.

oceanviewAnd yet, half my heart still lives in Oregon, splitting its time between the Willamette Valley and the Central Oregon Coast.

samonthecouchBut the truest home I have is this: home is where my dog is (dogs are), and wherever that is, he’s (they’re) probably with Eric, so even better.

Gratitude Friday

pdxsky
1. Visiting family in Oregon. It was a shorter trip this year, and having just lost Dexter I wasn’t necessarily at my best, but it was good to be there, with them. I went to my youngest niece’s softball tournament with my mom and dad, saw her pitch and my brother coach, watched movies with my mom (she made me a marionberry cobbler!), “met” the feral cat my dad has been taming (looked at it through a window because that’s as close as I could get), hung out a bit with my oldest niece, went to visit one aunt who lives on the coast with a few other aunts along for the ride, ate some seafood, played a new dice game, and walked on the beach. It’s nice to sink into the rhythms of their life, but it’s also good to get back to my own.

2. Walking on the beach. I was so happy to be there, but it was mixed with sadness because our trip last summer was our last before Dexter’s cancer diagnosis, the last time he’d be with us in that place, an innocent time before getting the worst news and I couldn’t help remembering, missing him.

3. Marionberries. You can only get them there, and I can’t eat enough to be satisfied — so good.

momscobbler4. Having a smart phone. I resisted it for so long, and still cringe each month when I have to pay the bill, but it sure is nice, especially when I am away from home and Eric can text me, send me pictures of my dog.

Bonus Joy: The way Sam squealed when he first saw me after I’d been away from him for six days.

Gratitude Friday

1. A short trip to visit family in Oregon. I only get to see them once a year, and miss them like crazy, so am glad to finally be able to go, even though I’m going to miss my boys.

2. Peach Pie Oatmeal.

3. Sleeping in, the double white noise of the sound machine and the whole house fan, Sam curled up next to me, no where I need to be, nothing I need to do.

4. Places that are old, but still vibrant, that remind me of good memories, places and times that no longer exist.

jbsphone5. Rain on a really muggy, hot day, the way a storm clears the air, waters the garden, and cools everything down.

Bonus Joy: Sweet Sam. I was depressed this week, lonely for Dexter, and Sam is really good at softening that hurt.

sweetsam

#Reverb12: Day 13

reverb12

Try

The full prompt: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2012? What happened when you did/didn’t go for it? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

Next year, I want to try:

  • Once and for all letting go of my food addiction, having a normal and healthy relationship with food, to eating
  • Keeping my heart open, staying awake no matter what
  • Teaching an ecourse
  • Submitting some things for publication (or rather as is more likely, for rejection)
  • A dance class, could be Nia or Zumba, or a “real” dance class
  • Running, again, beginning again
  • Art Journaling

What I wanted to try in 2012, what happened when I did/didn’t go for it:

  • Blogging, maintaining a regular writing practice: totally did it and it was awesome
  • Being more involved: did it, but had to accept and honor the limitations, the special needs of being a HSP and an introvert
  • Eating more mindfully, healthier: there were moments, long stretches of success, of ease, but the past month or so has been difficult, I’ve slipped back into old habits and ways of being, even though they so clearly no longer serve me
  • Life Rehab, retreats and classes and workshops and study and practice: so much transformation (as a caterpillar turns to a butterfly, still the same being but turned to mush and reconfigured, and in the end having grown wings), so much I still want to do, to learn, to be
  • Being myself, wholly and without apology: I still can be timid and unsure, but the realization here is that who I am already is of so much more value than who I was trying so hard to be. I thought if I was perfect, always giving more and doing more, that’s what would make people love me, get my needs met, but it turns out that the simpler option (just being myself) is more loveable than the plastic version. Easier for me + more love = no brainer

Love

The full prompt: What are the things (or people or animals) in this world that you love the most.

My three boys, my little family. I love them with my whole heart.

threeboys

Do-Over

The full prompt: Of the things that happened this year, if you had the chance to do X all over again, what would it be?

This is difficult to answer. There was another prompt at some point that was similar, I think it asked about regrets. I couldn’t really answer that one either because everything that happens to me, everything I do, I see as one step forward, and looking back I can see how they string together to make a map from the place I was to where I am now. In this light, even the missteps, the things that hurt, that generated suffering, the places I stumbled or even fell down, the moments I resisted or wished away–all of them led to here, and how can I say that anything about here is wrong? I just can’t.

For example, Dexter was miserable on the drive to Oregon, really hating all that time in the car, would sometimes shake with it, was panting and unable to relax or rest most of the time. I could say I wish we’d found a sedative or something he could take that would calm him down, keep him comfortable, but what if that made him feel sick, had other side effects? And even if he relaxed or slept on the medication, how could I be sure that he actually felt better about it, had an easier experience?

So, I could say maybe we shouldn’t have even gone to Oregon, but that’s just silly because the month we had there, all the walking and running and playing and napping and hanging out with his people and having visitors, Dexter absolutely loved it. And it turned out to be his last chance to go, and I wouldn’t want to have taken that from him. So you see, even though I wish he hadn’t had such a rough trip there and back, I made the best choice I knew how for him, and to wish for a do-over, well I wouldn’t even know what to wish for exactly.

dexter on the beach, pure joy

dexter on the beach, pure joy

Or another example might be my participation at the World Domination Summit. I could say I wish I could go back and be more involved, more extroverted, attending more events, meeting more people, but would that have really made it a better experience for me? As it was, I took the time alone and apart that I felt I needed, and I did attend things, connected with some amazing people, introduced myself to almost all of the people on my “must meet someday and tell them to their face how much I adore them” list.

My final answer to this prompt would be something I saw posted on Facebook the other day, “With every rising of the sun, think of your life as just begun. The past has cancelled & buried deep all yesterdays. There let them sleep,” (author unknown).

Favorite Photo of You

The full prompt: “Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!” Besottment also included this prompt for Day 15 of Reverb: What was your favourite photo taken OF you and/or the photo you loved best that you took in 2012?

This one is a tie, but what I like about them is the same. They both show me content, somewhere that I love, confident in who I am, no mask. The first is me in Waldport, Oregon this summer, our first week of a month long stay, taken on a rainy morning while wearing my purple fleece robe, having just finished writing a blog post, an image I posted on Instagram.

purplefleecerobeThe second is me at Shambhala Mountain Center during the Fearless Creativity writing and meditation retreat with Susan Piver, the weekend I finally surrendered and claimed “I am a writer,” meant it, knew it was true, confident and content.

smcmecloseup

Leaving Home, Going Home

They say that home is where the heart is. I would agree with this, but the problem for me is half my heart lives in Oregon and the other in Colorado, with my body shuttling between the two. And yet, I don’t ever feel like I am living with half a heart, or carrying the ghost of another half, more like I have two full hearts residing in two different locations, but somehow still connected, like twins who can feel each others pain, sense what the other is experiencing.

This morning I discovered that other than the first day of July, when I correctly wrote “7-1-12″ in my journal, I’ve been dating every entry with a “6” and thus giving myself a whole extra month of June. With the weather here at the coast never getting much warmer than mid-60s, you could almost believe in two Junes.

Cape Foulweather

But now it’s time to go back, to temperatures in the high 90s, to a place that was on fire when we left and is now in the thick of sadness, confusion, and anger brought on by another kind of tragedy. Yesterday, all I wanted to do was watch HGTV and sleep, which is rare. I hardly ever watch that much TV anymore–when I am “sick” maybe (too depressed and tired to get dressed and leave the house, barely able to get out of bed), but I haven’t been that for a long time now. This post from Jennifer Louden helped yesterday, “Ways to Channel Fear and Sadness,” reminded me of what I already know to be true. She ends the post with this: “We are human and fragile and afraid – together.  Never alone, my friend, never alone.”

Later in the day, I even found myself smiling a little.

There are a lot of lasts today: last full day at the beach, last sleep in this house, last farmer’s market, last serving of marionberry cobbler (*sob*). Walking on the beach this morning, talking about how this last month went by so fast (the kind of talk that always reminds me of this post on A Design So Vast, where Lindsey’s daughter says to her “When you’re in them, days take a long time.  But then when you look back they went really fast”–brilliant, and exactly…), I asked Eric “how do you get your life to slow down?”

Farmer’s Market this morning in Newport, our last one

Eric answered: less internet, less tv, less feeling like you have to be “on,” checking in and connected. I know from practice that slowing down is about relaxing into the moment, remaining present, surrendering, no judgement or rejection, no plans or control or even hope. Let go. Give up your agenda. Pay attention. Breathe. It’s simple, but we make it so hard.

South Beach, south of Newport, where we walked/ran this morning while being chased by 100 mosquitoes trying to eat us

Much love to you, kind and gentle reader. I have a post for tomorrow, but won’t be doing a Something Good list this week, as we’ll be on the road to Colorado, moving from this home to that one.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Spending time with family. Movie day with Mom (and Dad, although he usually doesn’t watch the movies with us), lunch and walking on the beach and ice cream with my brother and niece, and dinner with aunts and uncles.

2. Farmer’s Market produce and Depoe Baykery baked goods. Oh how I am going to miss them, but there’s word that my garden in Colorado is producing cucumbers and the tomatoes are starting, and it’s probably time to lay off the sweet, sweet carbs for a bit as well.

3. My purple fleece robe. This item has wrapped me in warmth and comfort through some really hard times of grief and sadness and depression, as well as being useful during better times. Eric bought it for me for Christmas many, many years ago. It is simple, functional, clearly durable, and a long time favorite, and was a good thing to have with me this summer, where the temperature never got much above the mid 60s and I was trying to learn to rest and take better care of myself.

4. Naps, sinking in and relaxing. The boys and I have shared many a nap during this vacation, pure bliss when you get up early and take long walks and have no plans, no work, no where you need to go. I need this kind of rest, and my only worry is how I will manage it when I am back at my paid job. But for now, no worries. The boys are napping as I write this post, and I soon as I finish, I’ll probably join them.

5. HGTV. This is the only thing I miss about not having cable TV. I’ve been able to watch it this whole month, since the house we are staying in has access. I am especially loving International House Hunters. I barely even bother with the other channels.

6. Hiking yesterday, and then the long shower I took after.

7. This vacation, this month at the beach in Waldport, but also going home to Colorado. This place is home too and I have loved being here so much and as it does every time, my heart will break a little when we have to go, but I’m also missing my little house, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine there, and my friends. I am looking forward to returning, to catching up and reconnecting with that space and those people.

Bonus Joy: Laughing with Eric. Sometimes he makes me almost hurt from it and I have to beg him to stop, but sometimes he’s the one who can’t stop.

Things I Forgot about Hiking on the Oregon Coast

This morning, Eric and the dogs and I hiked the Cummins Creek Trail near Cape Perpetua. Hiking is for me what church is for other people, a sacred space where I can actively connect with that which is larger than myself, a way to worship and celebrate and surrender, to give thanks for the wonderful life I get to live and the amazing beauty in which I get to live it.

Eric doing an impression of Tron

Our hike this morning reminded me a few things I’d forgotten about hiking on the Oregon Coast.

  • I forgot: The way the wind contorts the trees at the very edge of the forest, where it meets the sea, permanently shaping and bending them.
  • I forgot: Slugs and spit bugs, (those last ones are every bit as gross as they sound).
  • I forgot: How much I love Hemlock and Maple trees.
  • I forgot: How up in the big Hemlocks and Firs and Redwoods and Maples, the ground beneath your feet is nothing but tree roots and decayed plant matter, moss and fungi, and that all makes it super springy, spongy, soft.
  • I forgot: That it’s w a y more humid than in Colorado. At one point on our hike today, I was completely wet, body and clothes, covered in a thick layer of sweat and water, dripping and soggy. I had to finally give up and put my sunglasses in my pocket because they kept fogging up, making me blind.
  • I forgot: As in Colorado, you have to hike hard and far to get to the real sweet spot.

    Today’s sweet spot, about half way into the loop, four miles in and 1200 feet up.

    The view from today’s sweet spot.

  • I forgot: While in Colorado on a hike you might see up to 40 different plant species, on the Oregon Coast you see at least 400.
  • I forgot: Sometimes, it’s so beautiful that you can’t hardly believe it’s real, and you love it so much it hurts.