Sunshine coast.

let's go surfing now everybody's learning how   wait, are you going on a safari without me?

Today Gabe is wearing…

Well, today Gabe is actually wearing something different than these pictures. But in honor of my Southern California vacation, which starts tomorrow, I’m throwing this week’s photos back to a warmer, sunnier time in Humboldt County. One where Gabe was wearing green sunglasses, a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.

Tomorrow morning I’m flying out of foggy Humboldt and down to sunny Southern California and I can’t wait. I have a full day of work between now and then, but basically all I can do is write packing to-do lists and try to remember things like watering my plants and sending out important mail before I leave.

I’m getting all my anxiety and worry in now, since I’m planning to completely unplug on this vacation. I probably won’t stop checking email because, I mean, I’m just really important and people are always trying to get in touch with me, but I’ve worked really hard this week to make sure there’s no work stuff I have to do next week at all.

Because I’m going to be busy. Being on the beach. Eating great food. And hiking through the sunny, majestic hills of San Diego.

It’s going to be great.

Little friend.

"are you stealing my thunder, romeo?"   which one of us is cuter?

Today  Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops. Romeo is wearing white fur.

Last week, on a run I had a cow encounter. An en-cow-nter? Nevermind.

I was on a run, in the same place where last summer I TOUCHED A COW’S NOSE FOR THE FIRST TIME, and this time I saw something amazing. It was better than one cow. It was, like, 20 cows.

cow news is good newsAnd you guys, I touched ALL of their noses.

They were all standing in a line at the fence, just looking at me as I ran past. And what was I supposed to do? Not touch their noses?

So I went one by one, greeted the cows, and then pushed my fist slowly into each one of their noses.

It was just as satisfying as the first time. And even better because I was going to be able to do it a seemingly endless number of times.

And then something amazing? weird? gross? happened.

One of them, while I had my hand on her nose, opened her mouth. And out came her tongue. And it went all over my hand. Like, a lot.

It was warm, and weird, and like, very very soft. I guess this is the price you pay for touching a cow nose. Sometimes they are going to touch your hand back, by any means necessary.

I ran on.

This morning, I am painting the bedroom in the new apartment Gabe has been building for us in the middle of the forest in Humboldt County. The former art studio at his parents’ house has become, over the last few months, a brand new adorable living space.

Gabe has delegated paint to me (since he is literally designing and building everything else — it only seems fair), and it has been a really daunting task. So far I’ve painted the bathroom, some main living spaces, and yesterday afternoon I did the light green kitchen.

The bedroom has by far been the most challenging color to pick, because that’s the one room of the house that isn’t lined with windows. Everywhere else is so bright and light that it hardly matters what color you make it. But this bedroom…it’s dark.

I finally figured out what Pinterest is for and how to use it, and I started researching how to paint darker bedrooms. At first I chose a grey that everyone thought was too dark; then a blue that everyone thought was insane.

Today, though, I think I have the color. It’s called “Regal”, so it can’t be wrong, right?

Plus, it’s only going on two walls. (I learned from Pinterest that if you have a dark room, painting two walls a darker color can trick the eye into thinking the room goes back farther and is bigger.) So it can’t be that bad, right?

Can you tell I’ve gotten kind of insecure about my paint choices?

Well, I can’t wait any longer. It’s time to go paint. Fingers crossed.

PS. Here’s another cow I saw on my run that day, just standing in a big puddle. Cows are weird.

nothing to see here

Sweet heart.

you spin my head right round right round   everything's fine!

Today Gabe is wearing a grey fleece, a brown t-shirt, and blue jeans covered in joint compound.

This week I made a few impulse purchases, and for once in my life, I don’t feel guilty at all about them.

Last week, J. Crew had a sale where everything that was already on sale was another 40% off, and while I’m not usually a sucker for sales like this, I went a little bit wild last weekend shopping for weird silk shirts with tiny zebras on them and fancy bird sweaters. And by “a little bit wild”, I mean I literally looked at every single page of sale items on the J. Crew website. There were 36 pages. I looked at every single one.

Then, over the weekend, I started researching this site called Stitch Fix (ps. that’s a referral link – if you try out Stitch Fix, click that and I can get some $$) where you fill out a style profile and then they send you 5 pieces in the mail that they think will fit your style. Then you try everything on at home, keep and pay for what you like, and send everything else back for free.

Living in the fashion and beauty wasteland that is Humboldt County, I think I’ve started getting really into fashion and beauty in a reactionary way.

The more I can’t access these things, the more I want them. The more I look at blogs about what ladies are wearing. The more I find myself googling “what do you do with bronzer” and then placing large orders to get bronzer, plus “just a few other things” that I assume I’ll be needing sometime soon.

None of it is here in person. It all has to be delivered in.I mean, I don’t even know where I would go here to buy new jeans or some blush. Like, there is nowhere. So now I am getting really into seeking out and delivering it all in, to myself, as often as possible.

So I scheduled a Stitch Fix delivery for next week. And then I made a triple-digit order on Sephora yesterday, to get some soaps, and serums, and moisturizers, and several other items delivered in.

I am in consumer mode, and it is pretty fun.

I’m not normally a big spender; in fact, I think this is probably the end of my spending for a while now that I’ve gotten it out of my system this last week or so.

But a couple weeks ago I did some freelance work that paid shockingly well. It was a last minute offer, and I took it, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I made enough to bump my saving account across the goal line I’ve been working towards for months.

And after I crossed that line, I had a little left over. And I thought, “Why not?”

So, hippies and communists of Humboldt County, look out. If you see a woman in fancy shorts and a silk zebra shirt coming towards you wearing bronzer, don’t be afraid. I still respect your right to smoke pot on the sidewalk and to talk to me about your hemp clothing and what the government doesn’t want me to know. I’m just acting out.

Inner beauty.

well howdy there ma'am   did that sound like a cowboy?

Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, khaki pants, and brown boots.

This week, in yoga class, a fly dropped dead on my yoga mat.

I was just pulling myself into plank position, when I saw a little black spot appear right underneath where my knees were hovering. Then I saw it move. “Oh, a fly,” I thought to myself.

So I spread my knees apart and lowered down onto the mat, so that I wouldn’t squish it with my legs on my way down into cobra. I expected that it would fly away as I moved my body down basically on top of it, but nothing happened. I lowered all the way down with my legs on either side of it, and when it still didn’t move, I sat up and tried to swat it away.

Nothing.

So I grabbed my towel and flicked it at it.

Nothing.

That’s when I realized that this fly came to its final resting place right on my yoga mat.

It felt like a sign. Of what, I don’t know. But when something lays down and dies on your yoga mat right in front of you, it feels kind of significant.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive to signs lately. Someone told me recently that I should start writing down my dreams every morning, so that I can pick up clues about what’s going on in my mind. In fact, they said I should set an intention for my dreams every night (like, “tonight I’m going to dream about what I want to do next in life” or “tonight I’m going to dream about my family”) and then in the morning, put together the clues and themes from the dream to inform how I’m feeling deep down about things.

So I have been starting the last few days by, as soon as I wake up, trying to decode the clues from my dreams from the night before.

One morning this week I woke up and tried to figure out what it meant that I was in a busy city street and kept trying to leave to go to the beach, but every time I would step away, I would realize that I had left my computer or something else valuable up in the city that I had to go back for. My intention that night had been, “I’m going to dream about who I really am.”

It sets a weird tone for your day when the first thing you do is try to quickly scribble down the weird things that made sense when you were dreaming but are quickly slipping through your mental fingertips now that you’re awake, and then start decoding. What does the computer symbolize? Where is this city? What does this have to do with who I really am?

It makes you look at everything you do for the rest of the morning in a really weird light.

So maybe the fly who decided to die on my yoga mat wasn’t trying to tell me something. But it felt like it.

Maybe tonight I’ll set my dream intention: “I’m going to dream about what that fly was trying to tell me” or “I’m going to dream about what that fly knows that I don’t know”.

I hope it’s a good one.

Coffee cart.

winter in california   yeah it's that nice out, no big deal

Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, green t-shirt, blue shorts, grey socks, and brown shoes.

Sometimes I have a really hard time feeding myself. This summer, I went on a diet and lost 8 pounds pretty easily, just by running, doing yoga, and changing from eating 3 meals a day to eating lots of small snacks throughout the day. It was awesome, because it was easy, and I loved being in great shape.

Then the holidays happened and I’m back where I started, only this time I’m having trouble getting back into my great old routine.

See, it’s easy to go on a weird diet when you’re living in a new town where you have no friends and your boyfriend is gone in France for a lot of the summer. When you don’t have anyone offering to take you out for a burrito, they’re surprisingly easy to avoid. When you have nothing but free time, going for a long run sounds like a great way to kill a sunny afternoon hour.

But now I have friends, and a boyfriend in town, and a boyfriend’s family, and while in general that’s a good thing for my life, it’s really hard to get in a routine of eating 6-8 little snack-meals every day when people are cooking you delicious dinners or asking you to go out to lunch or looking at you oddly when you have the over and have nothing but almonds and apples and cereal to offer them.

As for the running, I have no excuse for not running besides getting out of the habit. I’ll get over it.

Anyways, I’ve been in a food rut lately. Many days, I’ll stand in my kitchen, staring blankly, and kind of slowly spinning around between the fridge and the cabinets and back to the fridge.

“Quinoa. That’s something people eat.”

“What do people put on quinoa?”

Once I finally google some kind of answer to my question, cook a big batch of some quinoa mixture with veggies and tofu and a sauce, and then I’ll eat that for a whole week.

Then I get bored of it, and it starts all over again.

Luckily, I’m easing back into my small snack routine. I’m remembering what I liked to have around, and how I structured my days, and I’m slowly trying to figure out how to balance a world that wants me to eat three big meals a day with a life of solitary small snacking.

Thanks in part to this blog post on how to make the perfect sandwich, I’m restocking my kitchen with fresh things that can easily be combined into any number of snacks. Cucumber and sprouts on toast; avocado with some falafel; whatever-you’ve-got-thrown-in-a-bowl-and-call-it-salad.

I’ve been eating some variation on this sandwich for lunch every day for over a week, and it might be a game changer. Slowly I’m remembering how to mix and match things. Slowly I’m getting back into opting for a vegetable over something fatty-but-delicious.

Eating is hard, you guys.

Is this one of the most boring posts ever on this blog? Sorry. It’s been a stressful few weeks and this is honestly just what’s on my mind this morning.

In other news, after biting off all of my fingernails from weeks of stress, I’ve finally grown them out long enough to cash in the manicure-pedicure gift certificate Gabe’s parents got me for Christmas, which will be my FIRST manicure-pedicure since moving away from Seattle and I CAN’T WAIT. Apparently hippies don’t care about nice fingernails because there is only one real place in town to get it done, but let me tell you this — as a once and future nail-biter, having beautiful fingernails is basically my ultimate luxury.

Okay time to go spin around my kitchen and think about lunch. Bye!

Ten count.

i just sneezed!   i'm a new man!

Today Gabe is wearing a red raincoat, a grey fleece, blue jeans, and brown boots.

Did you know you can get a headache from a massage?

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling tense and headache-y all on my own, so I decided on a whim to cash in the massage gift certificate that my parents got me for my birthday earlier this week.

I called and got a last-minute appointment, and had a truly amazing massage. I was like, in the zone for the whole thing. It was so relaxing, and although I normally try to avoid ever speaking during a massage because it will take me out of the zone, I actually had a nice (albeit mumbled and brief) conversation with my masseuse about my weird body tension.

When I started doing yoga, the only adjustment I ever got was my teachers walking by a shoving my shoulders down away from my ears. Apparently, my shoulders are always hovering just millimeters below my ears, which is not where they belong.

And apparently, holding your shoulders up and forward is not very conducive to relaxed muscles or open chakras.

(I already knew this. I just didn’t know I personally was guilty of doing it basically 24 hours a day for my whole life.)

So while I was getting my massage yesterday, she was working on my head and upper neck and she asked, “Do you get a lot of headaches?”

And I said, “Kind of.”

And she said, “I can tell. You have SO much tension here. It’s like a brick.”

I’m not a doctor, but I know that in general your body is not supposed to have brick-like qualities.

So she worked on my scalp and my neck and I had the realization for the first time ever that those muscles *are* always tense, and that having someone rub them felt really, really good.

It was pretty incredible (though I don’t think those muscles ever even got fully relaxed, but that will probably take another 28 years to un-do) and after the massage she even taught me some qi-related body shakes I could do to transfer my energy back into the earth rather than up into my head.

(I live in Humboldt County, where these kinds of lessons are inevitable. I just accept them now.)

I went home blissful. And sleepy. And hungry. And thirsty.

I ate ice cream and drank lots of water. And then I got a raging, get-in-bed-and-don’t-get-out headache that lasted until I went to sleep at 9pm.

Apparently, as I learned from the internet, feeling sick and getting a headache after a massage is actually a sign that it went well. Something about your lymphatic system and toxins and your internal water balance all getting massaged and released can really throw off the rest of your day.

And apparently, I had a really good massage. Because oh boy, this headache was no joke.

Luckily, it was bedtime by the time it really hit in full force. So I went to sleep and woke up without a headache and with a light, somewhat-flexible neck.

I can still feel my shoulders creeping up to their usual hiding spot, even as I type this, but I’m working hard to keep them down. I’m just trying not to feel tense about what failures my shoulders are. I don’t think my masseuse would appreciate me giving myself tension about feeling guilty about my tension.

So maybe I’ll just shake these bad vibes down into the earth. I hope my neighbors can’t see me.

Birthday cake.

like a bridge over confused waters   my name is mike i like to hike - just kidding! my name is gabe.

Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, blue jeans, and brown boots.

All week it’s been raining in Humboldt County. As I write this, I’m sipping a latte and debating whether or not I can realistically leave this coffee shop and weather the rain that is pouring down. I know it’s just a short run to the car, but it’s so warm and cozy in here that, even though I don’t have any more work I can work on here, I don’t really want to leave.

And I like it that way.

When I moved to Seattle, I was disappointed by how much this supposedly rainy city didn’t live up to its reputation.

Everyone told me when I got there, “See! Everyone says it rains a lot here, but it’s actually really sunny! And in the winter, it’s just grey, not rainy.”

And I was like, “We are not on the same page about this.”

I was hoping it would rain a lot there. I considered that a perk. I didn’t want it to be sunny. I like the rain. I feel like if I’m going to have a grey winter day, I better at least get some good rain out of it so that I can cozy up to a latte and snuggle under a blanket at home. I want to fall asleep to the sound of raindrops and wind chimes blowing around. I want to wake up to a wet driveway and a sleepy town.

I like the feeling of having to stay inside and burrow down. Maybe it comes from growing up in the Midwest where sometimes it’s so cold in the winter that you just can’t go outside, and sometimes it’s so stormy in the summer that you have to huddle in the basement playing board games all night.

It’s nice to be safe and cozy inside when it’s less-than-nice outside. And maybe I like it to be gross outside so I can burrow down and feel like I have a good reason for it.

A few weeks ago I tried to figure out what my spirit animal was, and I decided it was probably a deer. But maybe I need to be some kind of burrowing creature? A tiny, hide-y, dig-me-a-tunnel-and-I’ll-see-you-next-spring animal? Not that I know what any of those are. (Taking suggestions in the comments.)

And if you’re wondering, Gabe’s spirit animal is probably a pelican.

Every spring, I visit my aunt in southern California, and I always fantasize about living there while we are there. I love being by the beach, and the palm trees, and the every-single-day sunshine, and the bathing suits, and the burritos…

But I think I’d miss the gloom and rain of northern California. We get enough sun to feel like we still live in California (I mean, it was 75 and sunny just a week or two ago), but every once in a while we get to snuggle down and pretend we’re having a cozy winter at home too.