Category Archives: Vacation

Gratitude Friday

frozenmarshThis post started as 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. Friends who will gently and lovingly tell you the truth about yourself. And who are willing to be vulnerable and share their own truth, and stick around for long, heartfelt conversations about what’s working and what isn’t, and to brainstorm what might ease some of the suffering, but also to remind me that it’s not that bad, that in fact it’s all pretty workable and some of it is even great.

2. Light. People may be taking down their holiday twinkly lights, but the candles on my meditation shrine make me feel that same quiet anticipation of good things.

shrinenewyears3. Time away from my paid work. Some emails are starting to trickle in this week, but I’m mostly staying away. I need the break, the rest, to reset and restore, contemplate and plan. I feel much clearer about a lot of things and am grateful.

4. My Soul Mantra One Word necklace from Liz Lamoreux. I chose to use “free” instead of my full word for 2013, freedom, because I wanted the necklace to communicate the way I want to feel. I chose the open circle washer because, well, it’s open. And I went with a light green aventurine because I like the color, it reminds me of beach glass, and because this gemstone represents opportunity and luck. It is said to increase perception and creative insight, and it is a heart chakra stone.

freenecklace5. This idea, #15 on the list, “Turn Your Hangers to Find Out What You Really Wear.” I am totally doing it. I’ve heard of a similar idea before (put all your stuff on black hangers, and after you wear something, put it back in the closet on a white hanger, and anything still on a black hanger after six months, get rid of because you aren’t wearing it), but had never done it because it was a tad more complicated and sort of wasteful (I’d have to buy a whole new set of hangers)–but this version is SO simple. I want clothes that look and feel good, are functional and high quality and beautiful, and that’s not at all what is in my closet right now. Let the great purge begin!

Bonus Joy: While a tiny part of it was a bit rough, we had another week with Dexter. Here’s a picture of him this morning. I was at my desk writing and he was underneath chewing on his Little D, his favorite toy. Little D has beans in his feet, and Dexter likes to crunch them (I think some ancient and wild part of him thinks they are real bones).


August Break: Day Three

Time to make the donuts.

Even though my contract for my nine months of paid work with Colorado State University doesn’t officially begin until August 15th, summer vacation is over. I went in for a half a day last week, and yesterday for a meeting. Today is the Administrative Professional Council’s annual retreat, and yesterday I got word that the thing that typically starts my year, my first official project, is being sent to me on Monday (and it’s the kind of thing that needs done asap). I also need to put together my syllabus for my Writing for the Web class, and the week after next is our Graduate Teaching Assistantship training, various other meetings, and another training workshop I’m helping to facilitate, so time to make the donuts.

This is what my writing desk looks like this morning. It’s strange, this constant moving between my creative self-directed work and my paid work. I have to admit, I would have loved to stay in summer a little bit longer, and I should warn anyone I encounter at work in the next few weeks: I still have summer brain.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Vacation gives you an important break from your regular life. Especially if you go somewhere, anywhere. You don’t have to mow the lawn or go to work. You can ignore your email and the phone. You can get up when you want, take a nap when you want, eat when and what you want. Spend all day in your pajamas reading a book, or go for the longest walk, find someplace beautiful and quiet and stay there. You can relax and slow down, rest or play.

2. Truth: Taking a break will give you new perspective on your regular life. If you take a long enough break, everything will feel new and strange upon return. Has the trash always been on the left side? How long has it been since I really saw that picture? You might find yourself wandering the aisle of your favorite grocery store in amazement. You realize how fast your internet truly is, how comfortable your bed, how lucky you are to be able to recycle and compost. You remember what’s important, and know for sure that if that specific chore doesn’t get finished today, no one is going to die, and that you can get by and be happy with so much less.

3. Truth: In the first moments, those initial days after your return, there is a magic opportunity for transformation. You have remembered that you can be or do anything you want, remembered who you truly are without all the trying and obligation, and that you are already fundamentally f r e e. Your regular life will stretch out before you like the gift it is, and you’ll barely be able to contain your joy because you know that anything is possible.

One Wish: That you give yourself this gift of vacation, retreat, reflection and rest, even if you can only manage it for a single day. That through this you remember that you are basically good, fundamentally wise and kind, and that you have the power to change things.

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 Oregon in the Summer

  • I forgot: The utter glory, the sheer magic of berry season. The full measure of deliciousness and wonder to be found in Marionberries, farm fresh blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, as well as farmer’s market cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes, real maple bars, and seafood fresh from the Pacific.
  • I forgot: That giant, lush roses and daisies and sweet peas and hollyhocks grow wild in the ditches along the side of the road, and in some places, the trees are so thick you can’t see through them.
  • I forgot: There are some trees that are so green they are almost black.
  • I forgot: That nothing here ever dries completely, that it’s either soaked, soggy, wet, or damp. I forgot mud and mold and moss.
  • I forgot: Every summer has its very own soundtrack. This summer it’s Beach House Radio on the TuneIn Radio app. It’s perfect, “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air,” (Groove Armada, At The River).
  • I forgot: Even when you have tons of good food available, you don’t have to eat it all at once, don’t have to eat until or unless you are hungry. There is enough, enough time, enough goodness. You can wait, or you can eat–either way you can relax into the sweetness of enough.
  • I forgot: If you drive HWY 22, you will get stuck in traffic caused by massive farm equipment driving slowly down the road towards the next field.
  • I forgot: The gray sky and rain will make me feel terrible, down and depressed and tired, even this near the beach.
  • I forgot: This close to the ocean, it’s like there is a giant white noise machine running 24 hours a day, and it’s wonderful.
  • I forgot: I never tire of walking on the beach, the smell and the sound and the shape of it. This space, this place is precious.
  • I forgot: On some days, it’s so foggy that you can’t see the ocean, even if you are right next to it.
  • I forgot: In Waldport, owning a weed-eater is more important than owning a lawn mower.
  • I forgot: Sometimes driving to the store to buy groceries or taking a shower is the only time you’ll have alone, so take advantage of it.
  • I forgot: How much I like the people I love, how much I enjoy their company, and how much I miss them when we are apart. It is absolutely a survival technique to forget this, because if I felt the entire measure of how sad I was to be separated from them, I’d fall down and never want to get back up.

    Me and my brother (who I adore).

  • I forgot: It’s more fun to remember stuff with other people who remember the same things, even if your memory of it isn’t exactly the same.
  • I forgot: No matter how long or how well you know someone, you still don’t know everything.
  • I forgot: That I am never really ready to go home, because this is home too.

Gratitude Friday

baby blackberries

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. Depoe Baykery. I love baked things: bread, donuts, cake, pie, cookies. In fact, I kind of wish I didn’t love them quite so much. I think it has something to with my German DNA, because I love all things potato as well. White, doughy and starchy, chewy and a little sweet makes my mouth happy. And here on the coast, I have discovered the most wonderful little bakery.

First contact was a maple bar bought from their stall at the Waldport Wednesday Market, (second to baked things and fresh produce, my favorite is maple: maple bars, maple nut ice cream, maple syrup). I fell instantly in love. And then the next week, I had one of their coconut macaroons, and it was over. They are made out of coconut, butter and sugar, with a splash of heaven or pure evil, I haven’t made up my mind which, and each one is as big as your face. And if that weren’t already enough to kill me, they fill their bear claws with Marionberry! I haven’t decided if it’s good or bad that you can order their cookies online and have them shipped to you.

I wish you could somehow smell them: a chocolate chew and coconut macaroons

2. Fresh produce. I am still obsessed, hitting three farmer’s markets per week. My current obsessions are raspberries and cucumbers.

3. Coming home after being away. I had a great time at the World Domination Summit, but I sure missed my boys. In those first moments back, I remember how lucky I am and I feel so grateful for all the love and comfort that is mine, to be missed and loved as much right back. My dogs spent the whole rest of that first day following me everywhere, sticking with me like two Velcro dogs, and I loved it.

4. Long walks on the beach. This morning, we were out for three hours: walking, playing, chasing birds (that was Sam, not the rest of us, the Lab/Border Collie mix just can’t help herding the birds), collecting shells and rocks, taking pictures, listening to the rhythm of the waves. I am trying to enjoy this time, rather than think about how much I am going to miss it, but as our vacation winds down, it’s hard not to feel a little sadness.

the view this morning

5. Reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. There are people in this world who have their hearts wide open, who are kind and generous and amazing, who see you, really get you, make you laugh, comfort you, encourage you, whose bravery makes you feel safe and braver yourself. I got to hang out with a lot of them this week, and it was bliss. I also am aware that “the rest” have the same potential, even if they haven’t quite got it together just yet.

Bonus Joy: Routine. I like having the comfort, the certainty of a routine, even when I’m on vacation. We realized the other night that after coming to Waldport for the past ten years, we have that here: we walk and hike the same places, have a set schedule, go to the same markets and shops, eat at the same restaurants. I am very much a person who would rather sink deeper into a place, into a practice, into a relationship, into myself, than seek out something new or different. I know that for some of you, that would seem like some kind of torture, too boring for life, but for me it’s complete happiness.