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.

Bounce house.

hey hey hey!   model interrupted

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

On Wednesday this week, I was having a little bit of a bad day. I decided around noon to exercise my work-from-home right to work-from-bed, and so I turned on my heated mattress pad, changed into comfy pants, and crawled under the covers with my laptop.

I was only under there for a few minutes when the bed started to shake.

I’ve lived in California for (cumulatively) about 4 years now, and I have never felt an earthquake. Once, when I lived in San Francisco, I heard a rumble that I thought was a big truck but turned out to be a minor earthquake — but I didn’t actually feel anything.

So it was strange to realize a few days ago that yes, my bed was actually shaking and no, there was no explanation for why I was suddenly bouncing left to right.

It went on for longer than I would have expected. I actually had time to think, “Is my bed shaking? Are they doing some work upstairs? Is this a big truck rumbling down my street? Oh wait, no, I think this is an earthquake. Am I in an earthquake? Lucky I’m in bed. I hope nothing falls down! Is this still happening?”

It really dragged on.

And luckily, I was in bed and nothing did fall down.

Scrambled eggs.

can you believe he's still posing for me?   he can't either

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

This week I’m writing my post in advance because at the time my post usually goes live, I am going to be working in a sweatshop of my own creation, hand-packing and shipping Spark Notebooks to everyone who ordered one during our Kickstarter.

So I’m writing this on Sunday night, while trying to pack a full week of work into 1 weekend day and 2 weekdays before I leave for Seattle on Wednesday.

I’m driving up — it’s a 10 hour trip that I kind of love to do — and I’m staying with my Popforms cofounder from that night until whenever we get the last notebook mailed out.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We had originally set up production so that the notebooks, once printed, would be sent to a fulfillment center that would ship them out for us. But then they delayed the project. And then they delayed it again. And again.

So that suddenly, the notebooks we had promised by early January weren’t going to go out until maybe February.

And that’s when we decided: we’ll just do it ourselves. And in a way, it feels kind of right that it happened this way. Not that we wanted to spend several full days assembling boxes, printing labels, and hand-packing thousands of notebooks from Kate’s living room during the middle of a work week, but it actually kind of matches our history and who we are as a company. We have always been bootstrapped, doing things manually and keeping our hands on as much of the finished product as possible so we could make sure it was exactly what we wanted to deliver.

So I’m driving up to Seattle to pack a couple thousand notebooks into boxes.

And I don’t know when I’ll be back.

But it will be a good trip. I hope I’ll get to see some friends, but a change of scenery is always nice for me, regardless of what actually happens while I’m away.

I just hope my plants don’t die while I’m gone. Someone who I won’t name, but I bet you know who I’m talking about, didn’t water my plants while I was gone for two weeks for Christmas (his defense: “I forgot.”) and now one of them is in very rough shape. I’m hoping for a miracle while I’m away.

What should you do when every leaf on a plant has wilty brown edges? It’s very sad.

For now I’m trimming the obviously dead leaves off, giving it good light, and trying really hard to resist the urge to overwater it.

Send positive vibes our way and maybe, just maybe, when I come back from Seattle I will be a few thousand notebooks lighter and in possession of one beautiful, healthy Dieffenbachia Compacta.

Double agent.

out of focus   the model is not feeling it today

Today Gabe is wearing a tan fleece, a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown boots.

This week I got my rhythm back (a little bit more than last week) but I’ve still been figuring out how to spend my time.

I realized I think I’m having such a hard time, partially, because right before I left for vacation, we were in a mad sprint at work with our Kickstarter, so I actually haven’t been living my normal schedule since the beginning of November. I went from working wake-up-to-bedtime for 30 days, to barely working at all.

And now things are back to normal, only I don’t remember what normal feels like.

I keep sleeping through my most productive hours; I normally do amazing things in between 8-10am, after waking up around 6-7. But now I sleep until 8:30 or almost 9, and from there I just seem to lose the day.

(Is it embarrassing that I just had the thought, “I guess I could start setting an alarm for 6:30 or 7 to reset my schedule”? I honestly just thought of it. I haven’t woken up to an alarm regularly for like 2 years…so I guess I forgot it was an option? Oof.)

It’s been hard getting back into yoga too. When I was on vacation, I got a little — let’s call it “soft”.

I was feeling so strong before I left and over the summer I had lost 8 pounds and to be honest, this fall I was feeling pretty good about things.

Then Christmas vacation happened. And the softness rolled in.

Christmas wasn’t all bad for my yoga lifestyle. I got some beautiful new yoga clothes as Christmas gifts (shout out AG!) that I desperately needed, and which gave me a *huge* boost of confidence in my first class back.

But then in my second class back, after the thrill of amazing new clothes had worn off a little, I realized how much of my yoga powers I had lost. I started having trouble clicking in mentally, and I definitely had trouble aligning all my poses and having super strong arms.

(Ha ha just kidding I have never had, and probably never will have, strong arms.)

It’s slowly coming back. Just like my work routine is slowly coming together, so is my yoga. Slowly.

One thing I’ve been enjoying a lot since being back is the weather. It’s sunny here! It’s warm! Not shorts-weather-warm, but great weather for taking a hike by the beach.

Gabe and I headed to an unexplored trail by the beach this weekend, where we found ourselves out of the sun and under the canopy of many a redwood tree. We had a weird conversation about nothing, where I told him really interesting stories like how I had recently purchased some pre-shelled pistachios and wasn’t sure how I felt about them, and he told me about dubious plans to create an all-rope tree fort one day.

It’s fun to have conversations about nothing with people sometimes.

I used to be a terrible conversationalist, and after many years of working really hard at it, I think I’m actually pretty good at it now. It takes a lot of effort (as an introvert, every bone in my body usually wants to run away from the idea of most conversations) but it’s a skill I’m really proud of.

But sometimes it’s nice to just say boring, weird stuff to someone you love. Under a canopy of redwoods. Knowing that when you come out it will be a bright sunny day, and one of you has a coupon for ice cream that you’re about to go use.

pine scented skylight peekaboo