Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, green sunglasses, and blue shorts.
This post might not be a very good one; I’m writing it late at night, unable to sleep, after a day of flying across the country to visit my parents in Illinois. It’s such a long day of travel that always leaves me simultaneously buzzing and completely exhausted. I am not a good flier.
I was coming from Seattle, where Gabe and I were for a few days visiting friends. It was crazy to be in the city again after becoming such country bumpkins over the last year. Okay, Gabe was never really a city person to begin with, but it has been a big change for me, though a surprisingly easy one. It turns out I am a country person; I just never lived in the country before.
But as we drove into Seattle, I felt a sense of anxiety start to build, just looking at all the cars and buildings. I usually feel a little thrill when I get to the city, but not this time.
(Though I was still pretty jazzed to have not one, not two, but three grocery stores within walking distance of the apartment where we were staying [as opposed to having one tiny one that is a 15 minute drive down the highway away]. And I got to visit a fancy coffee shop and get served a great latte by a hipster instead of the hippies that I am used to.)
But my day of travel left my tired as always, even though I was actually able to work on the plane and not just spend the whole time trying to remind myself that thousands of flights happen every day and the pilot is very good at his or her job, etc etc.
It was pretty therapeutic to spend the time writing and planning instead of worrying.
These last few weeks have been really busy and crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime while I’m with my parents. Here are a couple of things that have gotten me through these busy weeks:
Romeo is my constant. On a particularly stressful day last week, he found our front door and let himself inside. Then he hopped into my bed and made like a rolly-polly.
Can you believe this place is real? Gabe and I stopped on our way to Seattle to visit friends who live on a farm outside Salem, OR. This is in their back yard. It is a lake with a dock with a picnic table on it. It was…perfect.
Oh yes, it’s on. The star of my blog and I are getting full-on married next year. So that is a pretty great thing that has happened in the last few weeks too. 🙂
Today Gabe is wearing a maroon shirt and blue shorts.
Since I started this blog, almost 3 years ago, I have almost never missed a post. I have skipped maybe 3 times on purpose and have outright just missed a week due to forgetfulness or confusion maybe twice.
Last week was one of those times.
Last Friday, when I normally would have been writing on this blog, I was packing everything I own into reusable grocery bags and suitcases, and stacking them high in the back of my station wagon, and driving up the coast to my new house in the woods.
All weekend, while listening to a nonstop stream of the Invisibilia podcast, I carried load after load into my new house and deposited it all on the floor. Then, over this week, the one main stack became several distinct piles, which then moved closer and closer to their room of choice.
Pots moved into cabinets. Clothes got hung on hangers. (Anxiety dreams were dreamt.)
And I am VERY tired.
To speak on my behalf in this week’s blog post, please accept the following photographs of things that have recently happened and my best attempts to capture the beauty of my new home in spite of its current pile-based state. (Hover over photos for captions.)
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.
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.
And 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.
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!
Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue shorts, brown flip flops, and green sunglasses.
To say that I was disengaged during high school would be an understatement.
And when I say “during high school”, I mean literally the time that I was inside my high school, from 7:55am to the time the final bell rang at 2:25pm. I wasn’t a super sulky teen who just didn’t care — I was an editor on the newspaper, I had friends and boyfriends, and I knew that continuing to be a very good student would mean going to a very good college, which was all I had cared about since I was about 12 — but by the time I was in high school I was so bored during school every day that I checked out mentally for huge blocks of time on an almost daily basis.
I would wander the halls every single day.
I would ask to go to the bathroom in a different class each day and, knowing I had some A-student credibility built up, I would just leave and go take a walk for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes. No one ever stopped me and I never got up to any trouble while I was on my walks; I just couldn’t stand to be in class anymore and so I would go take a walk, look at art projects hung on the walls or read student council campaign signs or look at old photos in the trophy cases, and just enjoy a break.
I bring this up because this week, I was re-introduced to my checked-out self — who I haven’t seen in years — and it brought memories of wandering the halls of high school and taking a mental vacation when you’re somewhere you just don’t care to be anymore.
It was Saturday morning, and I wanted to take a yoga class. Gabe was out of town and I was feeling antsy, having given no thought to what I wanted to do with a weekend on my own. This was my first mistake.
I don’t usually take yoga on Saturdays, and so I didn’t know any of the teachers who were teaching that day when I decided I needed to take a yoga class.
The one who happened to be teaching an “all levels” class closest to the time I wanted to go had the kind of “why yes, I AM a yoga teacher” name that tends to give me pause when selecting my teachers. I won’t re-print it here, but suffice to say, people who have self-given touchy feely names tend not to be a good fit for me.
But I decided to be cool and non-judgmental. I mean, I quit using shampoo! I can be very cool and into hippie culture, right?
(As it turns out: no, not in all cases.)
When I got to class everything seemed fine at first. Nice music, good vibes, and poses I could handle. But I noticed she had a very distinct way of talking. And by distinct, I mean impossible.
She would whisper, inaudibly, “now just roll ontoyourback..spreadyourfingers…putyourkneesup..”
“AND RISE!!!!” she would shout.
11 heads pop up, having missed the previously whispered string of instructions, quickly eyeball the pose the teacher is in, and scramble to mimic it.
“Okay. Now…whileonyourback…lift your hips and your arms over your head.”
11 heads pop up, wondering how to get your hips and your arms over your head at the same time.
This, on top of a lot of talk about love and those annoying reversing platitudes that fold in on themselves (“what is inside you is outside you, etc”), and by about 45 minutes in, I was out.
I was not engaged, to the point where I didn’t care if she thought I was doing a good job (which, you should know by now, is generally my only motivator in yoga: pleasing my teacher). I was bored. I wanted to leave.
And so I did something I’ve never done in a yoga class before. I left.
Not for good, but I just stood up, walked to the door, and went for a wander around the halls.
I looked at a clock I’d never noticed before. I got a glass of water. I read the rules for the sauna, which it turns out, have some pretty funny jokes in them.
It was delightful. I stayed out there for maybe 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes made it possible for me to come back to class and actually do some yoga that pleased me — rather than just running out the clock and waiting for it to be over.
And my walk did what my teacher could not — it brought me into the present moment; it relaxed me; it tuned me into the world around me that I see all the time, but fail to notice. I stopped thinking about how bored I was, and found something to appreciate and enjoy.
Gabe doesn’t like going on my daily long walks with me (though he humors me more and more every year by coming along) but I wonder if my need to go walk around, even on the same route every day like I used to do in Seattle, comes from those days back in high school where a little walk was a special, just-for-me time I was completely present during the day, and appreciating a place I normally couldn’t stand to be.
I don’t know.
After yoga, I did a shopping trip to see about making my own homemade deodorant but ended up buying a pre-made hippie version when I couldn’t find one of the key ingredients for my recipe. Sigh.
Today Gabe is wearing a yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
It’s been 6 days, 1 hour, and 15 minutes since the last time I washed my hair. And by washed, I mean the last time I scrubbed baking soda into my scalp and then conditioned the ends of my hair with apple cider vinegar.
And you guys, things are exactly how you’d expect them to be.
On Tuesday, I had to admit that my hair smelled weird. On Wednesday, I bought some essential oils (lavender and grapefruit, in case you were wondering) to make my hair and general environment smell better. On Thursday, I had that terrifying thought that people sometimes have when they are on drugs, which is, “Is it going to be this way forever?”.
I didn’t wash my hair for a week because the internet told me to.
Apparently, when you quit shampoo, you’re supposed to wash with baking soda and vinegar a few times, and then go cold turkey for a week. No shampoo, no baking soda, no nothing. Nothing but hot water, a new commitment to high-and-tight ponytails, and, ideally, a work-at-home environment where you can live your normal life without coworkers noticing your new weird appearance and odor, which they might feel compelled to ask you about every day.
“You look…different. Wait, no, that’s not really what I mean. What I mean is: you look worse.”
Since the last time I “washed” my hair I’ve also gone on two runs, done two very sweaty yoga classes, and realized the power of just letting it go and giving in completely to your weird new project.
My yoga teacher gives everyone a little head massage during savasana at the end of class, and this week I’ve been trying to send her empathetic, “I know this is difficult” mind messages during my head massages.
Because just giving me a head massage after a yoga class is already a testament to your commitment as a yoga teacher. For those keeping track, I am still, all these months later, still getting ridiculously, unbelievably sweaty in every yoga class I do. To be fair, I like classes that really challenge me, but even so — my sweat game is basically off the charts. No one in my class can match me. It is the one thing I have over all of them.
(I have to count this as a victory, since in the new class I joined, I am the worst person there. This is just a statement of fact. I am getting over it. Slowly.)
So with the sweat situation I am working with by the end of every class, it is already a real commitment to her craft that my yoga teacher deigns to rub my temples with her fingernails and give me a cute little tap on my third eye every time.
But now with the sweat and a new hair texture that could only be described as…hmm..eerie? — well, let’s just say I am now also the worst person in my class in the “heads I have to touch” category for my teacher as well.
But see, this is what yoga — and also giving up shampoo — is all about. Getting into your body (or your hair) and letting go. Letting go of hangups. Letting go of insecurities and self-doubt. Letting go of conventional notions about what clean hair looks like.
Embracing this weird thing you’re doing. Completely. And spraying your hair with lavender essential oil spray, because seriously, we are trying to live in a society here and there is a line.