Long time, no see

It has been a while; I have so much to share and so much for which to be grateful. But as of late, it has been difficult to move the clouds from my mind to focus on that which I know makes me such a lucky woman. Life lately has seemed like a series of time-lapse videos moving rapidly without sound, nothing but blurred images quickly passing by. It is of course beautiful, it always is. It's my lack of connection to it that poses the issue. It's hard to come here and make little curated photo albums when it doesn't feel true or relevant. I can feel an immense sadness building which I run from each day with longer work hours than are necessary, books, and scrolling mindlessly through everyone else's happy photo albums. If I stop to breathe it will catch up with me, I just know it.  

I'll dig myself out of it - I always do. It will probably be helpful to re-live the happier moments of this past summer by documenting our weekend getaways, settling into our home, and our first trip to Hawaii. Just need to wake up every morning and focus. Easier said than done for me, usually... but I'll do my best.

Life Lately, according to my iPhone

As several people have pointed out to me recently, I have neglected this little online journal of mine. Please accept this shameless cute photo of Rudybega in a field of daisies in exchange for my lack of communication.

The last few months have flown by in a blur of settling into our home, hosting one visitor after another, and taking little weekend trips together. 

See below for photographic evidence:

Not pictured: Dad & Kim have visited twice, but you'll see them working hard in the upcoming posts about what we've been doing around the house.  Cheryl visited as well, and I somehow managed to take NO photos. Luckily, she documented her trip here

  • Photos 1-2: a work conference in Pacific Grove gave me an excuse to pay a visit to Carmel and Point Lobos. Shame on me for only taking my iPhone to capture its magnificence!
  • 3: Leslie and I took an overnight trip to Sonoma and it was exactly the girls getaway we needed! Not pictured: we found a tequila bar in Guerneville that was basically my personal version of heaven. In addition to a million different types of tequila, they serve most amazing oaxacan cheese dip EVER.  
  • 4: Mom spent almost a whole week staying in our little guest house, and although I felt bad I couldn't get the time off work, I think she enjoyed herself relaxing in the redwoods :)
  • 5, 6, 7: Just little bits of life; a sunset view on West Cliff, running with Rudybega, and a cozy night at home
  • 8, 9: Our next visitor, Brent's sister Lauren. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have Lauren as my sister now - what a great bonus to marrying Brent!  We have grown incredibly close and I was so grateful to have a few days of quality time together. Seen here on National Strawberry Picking Day, at Swanton Berry Farm.
  • 10 - 13: Brent and I went camping near Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and hiked 15 miles down to the ocean. That gorgeous waterfall is Berry Creek Falls, which is about the half-way point and alone makes the hike worthwhile, not to mention the widely varied forest terrains we traversed.  
  • 14 - 16: A few more random snapshots; the view from our front porch looking up (we have the best neighbors!), a visit to Wilder Ranch, and a Wilder kitty.

30 things I learned before turning 30

I turn 30 today. I can hardly believe it, but not for the reasons you probably imagine. Thirty still feels really young considering I've always felt like a 65+ old lady in spirit.  Maybe my age will finally start to catch up with how I feel on the inside. Or maybe I'll switch around and when I'm 65 I'll finally start to feel like a kid. Who knows...

I certainly don't have everything all figured out, and I hope I never do, but here is a list of things I have gathered along the way in my 30 years.

  1. A cast iron skillet is a kitchen staple.
  2. It is possible to live without a lot of common modern conveniences, like a dishwasher or large refrigerator.
  3. Try not to be so uptight... YOU are the reason why you're not having any fun.
  4. Never stop learning new things. Crafts, information, religion, whatever. Just keep using your mind and stretching it in new directions.
  5. Live in a place that your makes your heart feel like it's on vacation 365 days a year, even if it is expensive. Prioritize, live minimally, and make it happen.
  6. Not everyone is going to like you, and that's OK.  
  7. Take yourself out for dinner and/or a movie alone at least once a month. It is important to do some things in this world on your own.
  8. Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Just drink straight tequila.
  9. No one cares about your opinion. Most of the time it's better to keep it to yourself.
  10. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary for long term relationships. Let that shit go.
  11. Your metabolism slows down very quickly before you realize it... try to stay ahead of it.
  12. Naps are not just for toddlers.
  13. Exercise both sides of the brain regularly. 
  14. Endorphins = happy feelings. 
  15. Some things really are worth spending a little more $$ on. Tequila is one of them. Did I really bring up tequila again?
  16. Don't let one crazy person at work (or in life) frustrate you. Focus on all the other people you genuinely enjoy being around.
  17. Never commute more than 1 hour each way to work... that is too much time in the car that you should be enjoying your life outside of work.
  18. There is a happy spot somewhere between not being stressed about bills every month, and having too much money.
  19. Don't wear your slip-ons barefoot... I know you think your feet don't stink, but they do. Your nose has just acclimated. 
  20. It's OK to be an introvert. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for not being a super-social, outgoing person.
  21. Don't bring up politics at a dinner party. Seriously.
  22. It is important to learn to negotiate for more money at work (especially true for women!), and make sure you remember you have to earn it, you are not innately entitled to it.
  23. Delete your Facebook. You'll feel liberated.
  24. Don't forget to put sunscreen on your ears. 
  25. Always focus on being selfless, never focus on your expectations in return. You will be a happier person for it.
  26. Learn to have that uncomfortable conversation sooner rather than later. Avoiding it will only drag on your unhappiness.
  27. Men aren't mind readers, and some aren't even all that good at remembering things you've told them. Learn to live with it and stop getting pissed.
  28. Living alone for at least a year is an important experience to have at some point in your life.
  29. You are not going to be good at everything. Don't hate yourself for it, move on and try something else.
  30. Stop seeking approval from others for your life and live it the way you want to, even if no one understands your choices.

I'm still not perfect at remembering all of these, but it helps to document them as a good reminder. Here's to the next 30!


One Year Ago | A Journal Entry from Occidental, CA

I still keep a written journal that I write in fairly often, and sometimes I like to go back a year to the day and read where I was and what I was doing. I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of my past journal entries here, especially since a lot of what I don't blog about is usually recorded by hand in my journals.

Last year on June 7th, Brent and I took a quick overnight trip up the coast to the Bodega Bay area for one of his crazy-long bike races.  I of course did not participate in the race, but I did my part to explore the surroundings, supporting local businesses by shopping, eating, and wine tasting.  Not a bad gig.

There was a small breakfast spot in the little town of Occidental, just inland from Bodega Bay that I absolutely fell in love with, and recorded the experience in my journal...

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Brent is on his long bike ride until this afternoon. I have a few hours to myself to explore this little town. First stop - Howard's Cafe for a good, hot meal. We camped overnight in Bodega Bay and my skin is pungent with the scent of last night's campfire. Breakfast, home cooked, will be the ticket. An old Victorian style home sits cramped in this semi-modernized shopping center parking lot. It only makes its charm more evident - a perfect gem among the clutter of the buildings developed around it. Brent brings me my book and kisses me goodbye to leave for his adventure, and I am left with my own company. I only get 3 pages read in my book before a lonely accordion player takes a seat outside the cafe & starts to play show tunes on his miniaturized instrument. I sit on the porch outside, my reflection distorted and wavy in the old, original glass window next to me. Every detail of this place is thought through, but not overdone. Bright, floral-patterned table clothes line each table,  topped with glass water bottles that have been etched with little train illustrations.  I like a cafe with mis-matched dishes... the food is what matters, not fancy serving ware. I feel at home. I order corned beef hash, suspecting this won't be the type of place that serves it over-salted from a can, and I am right. Even the biscuit that comes with my meal is perfection. I imagine someone coming in every morning while darkness still envelopes the building, briskly cutting the dough into heart shapes with well-floured hands,  and makes sure to pull them out of the oven just as they are kissed with a golden crisp but still have a moist center. I slather it in the fresh strawberry jam and enjoy the music coming from the accordion player, whose friend the fiddler has joined him in his melodies. I can recognize every tune, although I cannot place where they come from. I love the feeling of being at home wherever I go - I can always find a little place to call my own, even just for an hour. 

Nostalgic Moment

It's a music related one again. Seems like I tie a lot of emotions and memories to music.

Anyway, this one popped into my head today... in my opinion, the best Ben Folds album ever created (they are all genius, really). Listening to this reminds me of when Cheryl and I worked in the drive thru at a credit union together (where we met!) and used to listen to this on repeat all day via my very first iPod, which I earned from getting people to apply for credit cards.  It was pink (seriously), and it was my most treasured possession! 

This album makes my heart swell.