Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown boots.
I bought new running shoes! And then I took them for a run.
After Gabe’s dad told me a year ago that I needed new running shoes, I finally decided that the foot and leg pain I’d been complaining about a year ago when he told me I needed new shoes was bad enough that maybe I actually would buy those new shoes.
I walked into the local running shoes store (yes, the, because there is only one) and asked, “My ankles are getting all wobbly when I run. What would you recommend?”
He told me his best seller, I tried it on, he showed me that it came in bright pink, and I walked out in under about 4 minutes.
Possibly one of the best transactions of my entire life.
In case it matters, he was un-ironically sporting a wonderful mustache. And we all know how I feel about a guy with an un-ironic mustache. So I guess he has my business for life now.
Because I love a mustache, and I absolutely don’t have the time or knowledge to buy a shoe online.
Earlier this week, I went over to Gabe’s parents’ house to celebrate his grandmother’s 94th birthday.
I brought over some work to do before dinner, but just as I was sitting down, the power went out. Which meant the internet went out. Which means no work.
And also meant a candlelit dinner, which was tres romantique for a 94th birthday party.
We ate enchiladas and delicious chocolate cake, while rain poured down outside. Since Gabe’s grandmother is French, we spoke French all through dinner, which meant I nodded along politely, reacted about a second too late to everything anyone said, and contributed a lot of “Oh!” and “Oui!” sounds to the conversation.
After hauling out several old candles to light the room, and after cutting off the lumpy, melted, knocking-this-candle-over-so-it-can’t-stand-up-straight wax off a couple of particularly old ones, Gabe got the brilliant idea to make a candle.
And so, because we had no electricity, we did.
It was beautiful, and difficult to photograph.
Also this week, Gabe finally completed the whole entire floor of our new apartment! Which he has been building for us, in the middle of the woods, and which we’ll be moving into together in like 2 weeks!
Here is Gabe midway through his work on the floor. (How about that stove, btw?? I can’t wait to crank it and make it so warm all the time forever in this new apartment.)
Other than these photos, nothing interesting has happened. I am still a Twitter robot and I spend my days either staring into the Internet or trying to chat people up at 94th birthday parties about WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON ON THE AMERICANS!
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 yellow t-shirt, blue shorts, and brown flip flops.
Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve exercised and I think my body is falling apart. Well, not falling apart. But feeling terrible? Feeling like all the exercise and vegan-eating I did this summer is being completely undone, slowly, day by day? Yes. That one. That’s the one that’s happening.
I woke up with the flu two Saturdays ago, and every day since then I’ve woken up expecting to finally be the day that I go back to yoga or take a run. And every day, until yesterday, it hasn’t been the day.
But yesterday, you guys, I went for a vigorous walk. A vigorous walk! Up a hill!
I am definitely going to yoga this weekend.
The only bad part about going to yoga this weekend is that in the weeks since I have been sick, my very favorite yoga teacher taught her final classes at my local studio. Which means that next time I go back, I’ll be diving back in and trying to find a teacher to fill her spot (until she opens her own studio in a few months, at which point I’ll transfer there and basically pay her any amount of money to teach me yoga for the rest of my life).
I have no idea how to find a good yoga teacher. I did it completely by accident the first time, since I didn’t even know what I was looking for back then, and now that I know what I like I’m afraid I’ll never find it again.
The yoga teacher who is taking over the class I usually take happened to sub for my class one time when my teacher was on vacation a few weeks ago, and I cried in my car after that class. So…I don’t think I want to try out any of her regular classes.
In my brief research so far, I’ve also read that some of the other teachers at this studio have candles and do head massages with essential oils in every class, which sounds like a little bit more than I can really handle twice a week. Plus, I mean, these ladies probably have no idea how sweaty I get in your average yoga class, and I would hate to subject anyone to touching my head at any point during or following that.
Basically I am worried that there won’t be anyone that I want to take direction from. That people will either be too pushy, too condescending, too serious, too hippie…
Ugh. Can I do a Kickstarter campaign to just hire my original yoga teacher and keep her on like, retainer?
Ever since I moved to Humboldt I’ve been on a mission to make new friends, which is not something that is easy for me, but it is slowly coming together. But now I have to add in a mission to find a new yoga teacher too??
I’m going back to bed.
(Just kidding. Kind of.)
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, red shorts, grey socks, and black shoes.
You guys, a wonderful amazing thing happened to me this week.
First, in case it wasn’t yet clear from all the cat news (and before that, snail news) and work-related slides with bunnies talking on the telephone on this blog, I love animals. I think they’re funny. I think they’re cute. I could watch basically any animal do anything for any amount of time.
And ever since I can remember, I have wanted to touch a cow’s nose. I’m not sure when I noticed this longing, but whenever I see a cow (in real life or in photos) all I can imagine is pressing my palm up against their nose and how oddly satisfying I think it would feel.
Slightly firm, but a little leathery and soft. A little wet, but slightly textured.
And I didn’t just want to touch it, but I also wanted to push on it a little bit. To palm it. To put just a little bit of pressure on their weird, soft, funny nose.
I don’t know why. But people have these tactile things, right? Some people have to stick their fingers on a sticker; some people just go bananas for the feel of certain fabrics. I don’t know how I came to know that touching and ever so slightly pressing on a cow’s nose would be, just, a wonderful feeling, but I knew it.
But I also knew that, like, when am I going to get that opportunity?
Sure, Gabe wants to get goats, and probably chickens, and maaaaybe a cow, but that’s several years away at least.
So it’s one of those things I knew would be great, but that just wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon, if ever. I wasn’t going to actively pursue it, because I didn’t even know how to actively pursue it. So I put it out of my mind (except, of course, when I was driving past a field full of cows — which, by the way, are almost always standing in a herd several yards out of reach of some non-farm lady to stick her hand over the fence and push on a nose).
Which is what made what happened this Monday so amazing.
Let me refer you to an email sent this Monday, July 21, 2014.
Subj: THE BEST RUN EVER
the greatest thing just happened.
this afternoon i went running and before i was starting my run i saw a field with a few cows in it, so i walked up to the fence to look at them and then one of them walked towards me and then it put its head through the fence and i let it smell my hand and then i realized i could totally touch its nose and so i did and i finally got to touch a cow’s nose!!!!!!!
and it was the greatest. it was just like i hoped it would be.
and then i had an amazing run. yay!!
And you guys, it was just like I imagined it would be.
No, it was better! Because I was actually doing it! I couldn’t believe it. I laughed out loud. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, and when I saw that no one was there, I did it again.
It was just great. A day-changer. The realization of a totally inconsequential yet deeply satisfying dream, completely unexpected and out of nowhere. What a simple pleasure. Just one of the best feelings in the world.
I may have to quit blogging or maybe even going out of the house, because it’s simply not going to get better than this.
But rather than quitting everything because I’ve peaked, I’m going to take the opposite tack. I’m going to go through life with my chin a little higher because I know tiny, amazing moments are possible and even if I never get to press another cow nose again in my life (but OH I hope I do) that I did it and it was just as wonderful as I knew it would be.
And that is pretty good.
Today Gabe is wearing a blue jacket, a tan fleece, khaki pants, and brown shoes.
This week I won a tulip and it made friends with my new palm plant. I put my tulip in a vase and put the vase on the table where my palm plant Nina lives, and slowly, slowly, day by day, the tulip leaned over and entwined itself with my little palm plant.
On Sunday, I ran a Mother’s Day race called the Atalanta Run, which is an 8K for ladies only that winds through the baby-cow-laden farmland outside the town I live in.
I have been training for weeks and just as I suspected I would, I ended up completing the race around the same time as all the grandmothers and young moms pushing strollers, aka at the back of the pack.
I felt like in a way I kind of won, though, because it was really hot and sunny that day and I got a great tan because of all the extra time spent in the sun. I also got to take extra long looks at the baby goats and cows lying down in the tall grass.
But as I rounded the corners away from the fields of baby goats and cows and back into downtown, I was happy just to be finishing with the race and to have been so slow that there probably wouldn’t still be a big crowd of people surrounding the finish line.
(I hate getting attention when I am running races. When I ran my half marathon, I discovered at the end of the race that my name was printed in big bold letters on my bib and the people lining the final mile were cheering for ME specifically, and I was mortified. I know they were trying to be supportive but…I don’t like attention? Especially when it feels like it might be sarcastic/condescending because I am running so slow? I just want to “run” in peace.)
But back to Mother’s Day: as I trotted down the final stretch I could see that there were officials at the end and as I got closer and closer, what were they doing there but handing out tulips!
I grabbed a red tulip as I crossed the finish line, which is how there came to be a tulip in a vase on my table where my palm plant lives. And over the course of the week, they drew closer together until they were nestled together for the last three days.
This week has been hot. I spent lots of time outside, taking walks, and looking at all the weird things in this weird landscape.
I have also been getting into hobbies. Yoga twice a week, running, and taking my first printmaking class today. I’m getting *big* into work-life balance and it’s just great.
I am also getting ready for another talk I have coming up — I’ll be at WordCamp Seattle in a month! I will also find out today if I got accepted for a real-life big-time conference…
Lots going on. Lots of sun. It is going to be a good summer.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown sweatshirt, a teal jacket, khaki pants, and brown shoes.
This summer, I have a couple of goals. I am not really a goal-oriented person; I don’t set specifics like “I want to have this job title” or “I want to lose this many pounds”. But I do like resolutions, which for me are more about adopting a way of living. A general mindset to have for the coming year or season.
My new year’s resolution this year was a variation on last year’s theme, and my summer resolution is a variation on this year’s theme.
Last year, my new year’s resolution was: “GET IT.”
This means, my goal was to get after “it”, whatever “it” happened to be in any given context. It was about stepping out of your comfort zone as often as possible, doing hard work, doing boring work, doing the thing everybody knew needed to get done but no one wanted to do, and doing it to the absolute best level possible every time.
This year is different, because more than one year of GETTING IT is basically only good if your goal is to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.
This year is all about owning it. This year’s resolution is in lower case, because it’s about calmly appreciating the hard work you’ve done and feeling good about what lies ahead. Moving away from the nervous breakdown, and toward the light.
Of course, sometimes this fails (case in point, last week’s post about burnout and depressing work days) but in general, it’s about pursuing the positive and doing the things that really matter and feeling great about making the right choices.
And to that end, this summer’s resolution is “it’s good for you!” which is all about going on weekly short runs, doing yoga twice a week, and going (nearly) vegan.
(I don’t know what to do about yogurt, when it comes to being a vegan, because I just got into yogurt this year and…I just don’t want to give it up.)
The best part is, I’m already doing all of these things. This summer it’s just about remembering to continue to do these things that are good for me (enthusiastically!) and taking care of my body. Part of owning it in 2014 means not filling my free time with work, and instead spending times on things that make me feel just great.
Like short runs. And like yoga. And like not eating cheese.
And possibly even taking an art class!
If my old art professors knew how little art I did these days, they would probably be really disappointed.
It’s kind of funny, though, because the two art classes I have available to me are drawing and printmaking, both of which were the only two classes I did NOT receive A’s in when I was an art major in college. Which, if you think about it, is kind of funny. Like, you have to be pretty bad at drawing and printmaking not to get an A.
But that is the fun part about “it’s good for you!”. It’s not about being the best or even necessarily being good. It’s about fun! It’s about seeing a nude model and drawing some weird misshapen charcoal lines that cause the teacher to hover over your shoulder, hesitating just long enough before offering some question-mark-laden advice to let you know they were thinking, “Gosh…where do I even begin?”
And don’t even get me started about printmaking which, spoiler alert, is really just DRAWING plus another element of adding ink and using heavy machinery.
But who knows, maybe now without the pressure of being the only art major in classes usually full of science majors taking their one creative class credit, I will be able to thrive. There is a certain level of embarrassment that comes from a chemistry major who doesn’t even want to be there making some art that makes your art just look like crazy outsider art, aka the kind done by homeless, the insane, etc.
If you could make a print of any simple drawing — like, of a houseplant or a car or a bird, or like, something easily drawn with lines (ie. no shading, contouring, etc), what would you do? I could use some inspiration for my first few projects.
Now I have to get to yoga class. I had a huge breakthrough last week where I figured out what color my aura is, but I guess that will have to wait for a future post.