Thursday, January 29, 2015

And the time has finally come...maybe

This month I have gone on and on about my New Year’s resolutions and how I’m going to stick with them.  This is the year!  Let’s do this!  And then I go an entire week without posting anything to my blog, and seemingly without writing.  I say seemingly because, in fact, I have been writing (wahoo!) but not for this blog.  I have been given the opportunity to write a few pieces for the O.A.R.S. Adventure blog, and that has therefore caused writing here to take a back seat.  But it’s exciting…getting some “published” pieces under my belt is a huge blessing.

I also received an encouraging compliment from our Marketing Director, who said the latest piece I submitted was the best writing of mine he has seen.  Proof that writing begets writing, and skills compile the more you use them.  I really, truly, deeply believe that writing here, expressing ideas without the pressure of deadlines or editors (which absolutely-without-a-doubt make me clam up), is making my writing better.  You may not agree…I still have a long way to go and will never stop developing or learning the craft of creative writing.  But it’s a start, and I am stoked.

So, in the interest of continuing to develop my own personal writing flare, I will keep posting here with the goal of something new two times a week.  So, onwards and upwards, my friends…

I’ve used the term whirlwind before to describe a weekend, and every single time I’ve used it, the experience falls short of the whirlwind that was January 16-18.  Friday night I picked up Natalie and we drove to Nevada City, danced through the night, watched films all day Saturday, drove back home to Murphys, loaded up an impressive truck and trailer load, drove down to San Luis Obispo, and by 9 a.m. on Monday I was back at my desk clocked in at O.A.R.S. here in Angels Camp.  I collected a total of 758 miles, not including the driving around that happened once we arrived in San Luis Obispo. Whew, it was quite the weekend. 

I was exhausted for most of the following week.  I have read that sleep is not like a bank— you can’t sleep 4 hours one night and then 12 hours the next night to “make-up” for “lost” sleep.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Your body needs a certain amount of sleep each night, and when you don’t get that, you have a deficit that can’t really be filled back up.   Not to say you can’t wake and feel rested ever again, it just doesn’t work like a piggy bank.  I may be 24 and mostly healthy, but my youth and vitality cannot withstand that kind of weekend and be functioning on full cylinders.  I was groggy all week. Lesson learned. 

That week and this week have been spent packing and going through all my stuff, deciding what to keep, what to leave and what to donate.  While I have to admit, I kind of love this process, it’s also been pretty stressful.  I have cleared out the Huggy Hut (for the most part), and have moved into Huck and I’s new trailer, which is parked at O.A.R.S.  I have a huge pile of stuff that is (hopefully) going to be packed in my car and moved to SLO with me after work on Friday. I can’t believe the time is here (again, hopefully.  I won’t know for sure until my work computer is in my hands!)  It’s been a long road (5 ½ years!) that Huck and have I moved about, sometimes together but mostly not.  This is a move that has no end date, and that is a first.  We’ve always moved about for school, work or family, but this time we get to start a life together.  And it’s pretty damn exciting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Challenges of Being Sentimental

If you have seen Into the Woods, you’ll understand why I can’t stop talking about it.  It was the best movie I’ve seen in a long time, hands down.  It was hilarious, and the singing wasn’t even annoying (until we walked out of the theater and every thought I had was to the tune of “I wish”).  Maybe it was because I was with my best friend, maybe it was the half bottle of wine, maybe it was the dinner with some awesome women that made the night so spectacular, but I loved that movie.   Okay, Johnny Depp was incredibly creepy and pedophilic, but other than that, the movie was great.   I guess I’m getting ahead of myself, though…

     (Wine and friends before the movie)

 With my move date fast approaching, I made a trip home (aka my mom and dad’s houses), and after enlisting the brute strength of Natalie (if you know her, you should have just laughed), we took to the task of loading up mattresses, box springs, and more books than she should have let sneak by.  She was my voice of reason saying “You are never going to/should never read this again,” and the force behind throwing old books into a big box labeled “Donate.”  Okay, the box actually wasn’t very big, because truth be told I have a hoarding problem that apparently applies only to books and family heirlooms that my grandma wishes to donate, but that I can’t seem to part with when I hear how old they are.  

My RV is now full of huge metal fans with butterflies, brightly-colored wooden Mexican masks, old and super breakable bowls from China (or perhaps an antique store in San Francisco?), tiny liquor glasses that were bought long ago (this one was actually Huck’s doing), and various other old-but-can’t-let-em-go items that should probably find a loving home with more space, but that I have to stare at for a while longer before being the one to cast them away.  It reminds me of the bridge in Florence that a Nazi general refused to bomb because he didn’t want to go down in history as the one who destroyed the historic landmark.   I don’t want to go down in history for giving away Grandma’s tiny liquor glasses.  And so be it.

I have tried to make a habit of only keeping things that I use (they can’t just be “functional,” such as a liquor glass is functional.  I have to actually use it), or that I think is beautiful and that makes me happy to look at.  Not stressed, which is what I feel each time I enter the Huggy Hut and see those fans in the back.  So this week, as I pack up my beloved tiny space and go through all things with this mantra in the back of my mind, I will try and let go.  I will remember that memories are kept upstairs in the head and heart, not in little fragile liquor glass or the massive metal butterfly fans.  That the people I love are immortalized in my memories of them and not in the bowls they once owned.  

Living simply is full of these challenges- letting go of stuff while grasping tighter to experiences, loved ones, memories.  It makes me really stop and think about sentiment, and whether a bowl is a reasonable stand in for a loved one.  I think the fans must go, but I am keeping that beautiful bowl.

P.S.  If there are any takers on the above mentioned items, let me know and I’d love to pass them along!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Flexing My Mental Muscles

It’s hard to see December folded away (I literally fold and keep my calendars, seems silly but they make awesome wrapping paper!), but I do love January.  I once lived with a girl who hated January, and I think most of February.  After the turn of the year and the holidays would pass, she knowingly would anticipate depression setting in and would bear down for the next few months until the sun brought out the wildflowers again.  It’s called SAD (seasonal depression disorder), and I felt for her while I soaked in the cold weather, jogged in the crisp mornings, and sipped my hot tea under loads of blankets.  I love being bundled up, and I love the renewal that comes with January. 

I realize it’s a mental thing.  What, really, is different today than was yesterday?  Um, my new and beautiful calendar is different, and my drive to make changes in my life is on fire! Sometimes people need an excuse or a kick in the butt to get motivated, and I am your lab rat case of New Year fever.   But nevertheless, I realize this enthusiasm will fade.

Articles about habits, how to make them stick, and how to make small but powerful steps to a simpler and healthier lifestyle are what has comprised most of my reading subscriptions this last year, which unearthed a fact that is semi-terrifying— my attention span has dwindled.   I was an English major at UC Berkeley for one reason- I prefer to spend my time reading.  I love books, I love to read, I love the smell of paper and if it was up to me and if someone would pay me for my efforts, I would read all day long.  Since my days in school though, the bulk of the reading material I have consumed has been digital and has been short form.  I consciously seek out shorter articles, and if something interesting is long, I skim.  Obviously, I am not the first person to point out that attention spans are shrinking with the rise of the internet and the sharing of information in quick, small little bites.  But I have noticed the effects of this truth in my daily life, and it’s time to change that. 

This blog is one way I am working on elongating my attention span and increasing my brain power.   With that in mind, while I will try my damnest to not waste words, I will not censor myself here in the interest of short and sweet.  No one may be reading this to begin with, and it’s likely that means no one new will start reading this (see short attention spans epidemic), but even with those projections I think long form of quality instead of short form with none will ultimately prevail, and will certainly be better for me and my attention span.   I also believe a shorter attention span feeds directly into the inability to stick with plans formulated in the hopeful wee hours of the year.  Elongating my attention span, therefore, will hopefully help me stick to the tougher, more time consuming and patience demanding goals I have set for myself, such as: learning Spanish, reading 12 books (one per month), learning to meditate, and exercising.   Oh, and blogging!

I usually write these posts on Mondays and let them marinate for a day before posting. In the interim, I read this article.  I found myself almost closing the article three different times, not because it wasn't interesting, but because it felt long.  I started to think of other things I could be doing, even though I was interested. I started to think I knew where she was going, so didn't need to read anymore.  While that last one might be true (the article is pretty clear from the beginning), I made myself finish the article. I consciously realized where my mind was going and recognized my short attention span kicking in, and I read to the end of the short article that felt long.  So here's to small victories on the road to change...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Central Coast Cheer

The New Year (I semi-promise this will be my last post about the New Year) is off and rolling and we beckoned the new calendar page in the best way I can think of.  I have talked quite a bit about Jake, Roxy and Kyleigh in the last few months, and we got to spend another glorious weekend in their presence.  Roxy’s parents recently bought a house in Cambria (one of my favorite places in the world), and that is where we welcomed in 2015.

(I took this one in Cambria a few years ago)

Between delicious home cooked meals, buying produce at a farmers market, exploring trails and new terrain along the coast, zebras and elephant seal encounters, and all-around awesome time spent outdoors in beautiful weather with beautiful people, we also managed to rest, relax and recharge.

        (Lost my head at Moonstone Beach, Cambria)

For those who haven’t been to Cambria, or to the Central Coast of California (that’s a lot of Cs), it’s breathtakingly beautiful and it’s peaceful.  Sure, there are lots of people and lots of tourists, but there is this year around festive feel and the locals are lovely and welcoming.  It’s like Tahoe on the coast.  Instead of skis bring your bike and you’ll have the coast as your oyster (there are lots of those, too).

We got into Cambria after midnight on New Year’s Eve, but were welcomed to a beautiful home and caught up with Jake and Roxy into the wee hours.  As you know if you’ve read anything about this family, Huck and Kyleigh are besties, and the next few days we couldn’t pry her off his shoulders, back, lap, etc.

(Watching Box Trolls- such a good movie)

On New Years day we drove up the coast a bit and introduced Kyleigh to Huck’s siblings.

They fought and made weird gross sounds, and slept a lot.

We explored San Simeon, and had lunch at a pub in town.  Kyleigh and I realized we were sitting in the same places as a year ago when we came, so had to snap a pic...

(November 2013, January 2015)

We walked around and explored.  Cambria has lots of local shops and lots of local art, and just walking around is almost calming.  I wish I took more photos of town, but I will be back there very soon!

Each night Jake and I cooked dinner, and we relaxed with cocktails, played card games with Kyleigh, and enjoyed the beautiful place.

One morning we hiked along a trail in San Simeon that takes you out to the bluffs, and here we met another elephant seal!
(San Simeon!)
(This big guys was just hanging out all lonesome)

(The walk from the beach)

(The solo black thing poking up a bit from the water is another elephant seal!)

(My new home)

(Olive, Jake and Roxy's pup) 

  We had lunch in San Simeon at a little spot, then explored the Hearst Castle Visitors Center and it’s Zebras (it’s pretty expensive to actually go, so we passed), and hiked some more closer to town.

  We watched the sun set, and I was so grateful that very soon this coast would be my home. 

(Man I love Cambria)

And last but not least, Huck and Kyleigh (again)

About Me

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I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, ventured south along the California coast for a while, sailed through San Francisco Bay, and have landed back on the Central Coast.  This time I'm a little closer to our rivers and our summits, and a little farther from where I started.