Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Focus Frenzy!!!!!


Life in the country! What’s it like? Simple. Great. This is definitely the lifestyle I’ll end up in.  Everywhere you look it’s pretty... and also a job that could be done :).  Everything you do takes effort. The chores, the garden, the transportation... a lazy person’s nightmare, a project lovers dream :).  I love having to trek up to the bathroom. I love dumping the compost scraps. I love that we have a compost. Mostly I love living with nature. I see deer almost daily. One day on the deck as they were trying to steal the apples!! :). This property is 35 acres, with a creek that runs right thru it, dropping 1300’ to the Yuba River a few miles down the hill. One day my run had me feeling super energized, so cruised all the way to the river. Hiked and climbed and jumped my way back up along the creek. Awesome :). 

My typical run... thru Yuba State Park. Sweet

The outdoor kitchen (closed for winter), the garden, and a sweet sunset

The creek!!! 

A deer!  I took this pic thru my front door

Ahhhh.... yess..  I love this :) 

The food is vegetarian, organic, and deeeeee-licious. I loooooooooooove eating healthy. It’s incredible how easy it is when there is no temptation around. I’ve undoubtedly dropped a few pounds, considering I run most days, and 6 days a week we do manual labor for 4 hrs/day.  In the summers this place gets lots of campers... so Jamie and I have been building an outhouse! Not just any outhouse... a double stall, pimped out, cantilever roof, architect designed outhouse :). Hhah.. It’s been really fun actually. I LOVE designing and building! Who’s a tomboy? This girl.. and proud of it :) 

Standing in 'position' ;) 

Not a bad spot to cut wood! We installed new flooring in Jamie's cabin this day


Starting to take shape! 

"Even Saints poop"  hahah



My little cabin, a 13’ yurt, is 101 paces down the hill from the main house (I count when it’s cold). I have my own little balcony that looks out over the hills and the peaceful sunsets. It’s got a twin bed, a propane heater and a little dresser. I’ve decorated with tree twigs and rocks from the creek. Not much more I could ask for :) 

My little cabin. Home sweet home :) 

Twice a day I hike up to the temple (the basement of Naomi’s house) where we meditate, around 6:30 in the morning, and then 9 at night.  It’s cold and dark on both ends, and 1/2 the time I forget my flashlight. When I first got here the moon was just a sliver.. and I’d crash and grope thru the dark, giggling at myself the whole time, almost falling over trying to tilt my head back and admire the zillions of stars in the sky :).  As of late, the moon is full and flashlights are unnecessary....just about the time I could remember the path ;).  The meditations are not mandatory... but I’ve made them so. Haven’t missed one... (except for the night we watched “Out of Africa” .... such a great movie!). Start the day and end the day with peace... at least that’s the idea. :)

So why meditate? What’s the pull you wonder? There are a MILLION reasons and there’s a whole wide WORLD that is this ‘yoga life.‘  It is SO smart and SO intriguing and SO enticing. It’s way too much to write about here... and there is WAY too much going on here for me to even try! You’d think I have tons of time to write... but funny enough between the work, the meals, and the meditations I have very little time to myself.  I’ll come back to that question. First, the company:

Jamie is delightfully different. The first impression I had of him was right on: He is the epitome of calm and flowing. He doesn’t speak much, but when he does, it’s incredibly eloquent, intelligent, insightful, clever. I find myself really looking forward to our ‘talks’, awed by his ability to be so solitary yet approachable. He’s definitely someone I’m drawn to, someone I see I can learn a lot from. On the other hand, in that very perfect balance of life way, I find myself a bit skirtish around Naomi! Not because our time together is unpleasant... she IS a very sweet, thoughtful woman, incredibly mobile, capable, sharp- not seeming her age of 82 at all.  It’s just... a bit too much! She is openly lonely...and passive aggressively insecure. The polite, correct, compassionate side of me feels this urging to just give her time, soak it her talks, do my best to be all ears. My old training as a Hospice Angel kicks in. Sitting, even legitimately enjoying time with the elderly, lapping up their wisdom and insights is not foreign to me. But alas, unfortunately I came here, (appropriately I should think to a retreat center!) with some pretty self-seeking intentions, so it’s a decent struggle between doing what I want vs what she solicits for. I was pre-alerted that the winter is a different scene here because of the cold and needing to use her house often, but I like the moral of the story: We are given what we need. 

Our lives are a mirror... the irony in this appeal/repel is that it looks a lot like the reflection of what I see and relate to in myself. I see aspects in Jamie that I strive for. Collected. Speaking wisely and with intention. It’s inspiring. He gaily reminds me of my  wise, amazing friend Kevin :).  Naomi (to unfairly point out her less than perfect qualities), is set in her ways (fittingly for 82), quick to point out when you do something ‘different’ than she would, and has a tireless love of talking... and ‘one-upping’.  Ackkkk! ...I think...sometimes... I do allllllll those too!!!  Haaaaaa! Oh the horrors of self-analyzation :) 
(I give myself a free-pass when it comes to writing... reading it is all up to you ;)!!! 

I’m setting my boundaries and it's all fine.. she so cute and endearing she grows on me every day :). For now, I’m totally enthralled by the opportunity to keep having talks with Jamie. The way he formulates his words and themes, makes every sentence SO understandable. I reaaaaallly wish I had recorded our conversations ... so good!!! One such talk, a discussion about my meditation troubles, ended with the recognition that I came here with two intentions that were completely counter-active of each other. Oopsy!  The main intention was to just be. To settle/chill/relax/clear my mind/be alone a while/be open to whatever answers or opportunities might come. The other, secondary, supposedly inferior, totally unscripted intention (to finish my mass to-do list, contemplate my future, write often, design the company I want to start) has completely eclipsed the first. Jamie points out how difficult it must to be to swim in millions of anarchic thoughts and plans every day, and then try to sit down and turn them all off like a light switch for meditation. DOH!

My mind is constantly analyzing, digging, searching, excited, interested, planning. I’m thinking so much, I’m not even aware of what my body is doing half the time (why I can’t remember where I set things down, like my keys or phone. Ugg Mindlessness). Yes yes.. it’s this proverbial double edged sword.  My thoughts give me soooo much elation and joy, yet soooo much unnecessary garbage at the same time. Rude!

We, speaking of a typical person, are captives of our own minds... Really, we are. Have you ever said any of these phrases to yourself?: 

“I wish I would just stop thinking about that”
“I’m driving myself crazy”
“My mind has a mind of it’s own”

Of course you have. We all have! We have about as much control over our minds as Kermit the Frog does of his ;).  Not convinced?  Stop reading right now, close your eyes and try to not think for 5 minutes.  Concentrate on your breathing to help you. 

....

Did it work? Of course not :). If it did you have a gift, you should explore this!!! Write me an email!  (actually all of us should explore this, especially if you couldn’t!!)

Our minds are constantly going going going. Some more than others, especially mine. 

“Keen Intelligence is two-edged. It can be constructive or destructive like a knife. You can cut off the boil of ignorance or decapitate one’s own head.” - Sri Yukteswar

True that!!!! What does one do then, about such a renegade mind?  Thus far in my life, I’ve subconsciously sought out situations that took me into ‘my zone’ you might say. When it’s intense, exciting, competitive, or sometimes just pure peace and beauty.... each one eliciting such a focus or awe that a distraction is the last thing I worry about.  It happens when I’m in a writing frenzy, a design frenzy, when I’m hiking, when I do yoga, even when I had a big deadline at work and 8 hrs would pass in an instant. When my attention is completely caught. Often for me, it’s highlighted in a precarious situation: hanging onto the side of rock, teetering across a log, leaping across the abyss.  Where if I get distracted even in the slightest little bit, I’m in trouble.  That’s why I find myself doing these things. It’s not the actual danger I’m addicted to, I’m addicted to being where I am. Exactly there. Focused. In the moment. Where? Here. When? Now. 

We all love being in this zone, it’s called having hobbies :).  Whether it’s cooking, riding horses, singing songs, sailing, swimming, running, sewing, dancing... it’s things we do that put us in that moment and only that moment. It seems so positive right??  It is, for sure, it’s great and dandy to love things. Let’s just recognize what it is though: We’re all trying to put ourselves in situations that can hold our minds. When we can say, “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”  Because it’s nice to just be content, happy. That’s why TV and internet are so dangerous. For some, this becomes the hobby. The trouble is the mind is really being held by an outside source, with a false sense of focus. It gives no real substantial happiness.

How awesome if we could get that focus, that feeling, that peace, whenever we called upon it. Ahhh.... yes, so it seems it’s possible :)

Last year I had a fabulous conversation with a fellow adventure seeking, adrenaline junkie type guy in India named Isham. He was fascinating to me. It seems he once was a pretty well known free-climber, but as he aged, he realized he couldn’t keep up with the physical demands. It’s “One mistake, pancake” in that sport! He needed another outlet. Another way to get in this zone. This focus zone. He found it thru meditation. Meditation is the art by which we learn to control our thoughts. “Freedom from thoughts is bliss.”  Less thinking. More being :). 

“Meditation is for your mind, what exercise is for your body.”

It appears effortless, but it’s much more than just sitting and being still (although that is still good). For sake of time and space, I’m going to boil down a huge lifestyle, into one sentence: What I gather, what rings true to me, is a three-part process: get rid of our ego, our attachment to things and desires, and gain control over our thoughts. Then there is pure, unadulterated Bliss! Simple right? hahhaha. HAHAHHAH. 

Ego is the hardest. Not just the cocky, overinflated type, but the type we all have type. The one that’s been instilled in us since we were toddlers. The kind that gets you all defensive if someone critiques you, or hurt if they don’t agree with or like you, or upset when you ‘can’t believe someone would do that to you.”   These are all emotions that don’t have to exist if you realize it’s your ego talking.

Attachment to things is also pretty tough.  Right now, I’m fanatically attached to my computer. If it died... I would actually cry. Cars, phones, food, tv, facebook... and non-physical things too.  Most people get attached to a feeling, myself included, like that sooo good feeling when someone tells you that you are beautiful or pats you on the back for a job well done.  Unfortunately with sensual pleasures like these, they leave you craving more and open opportunities for disappointment when you stop getting them, or even just get them less. Compliments are good, doing things to seek them out are not so much ;).

The idea of it is relatively simple to learn, but it’s incredibly hard to follow, enact. Like learning a few keys on a piano... then taking a lifetime (or 2 or 10) to play like Beethoven. It’s not easy at all. Not even always attainable.  It could be taken all the way to enlightenment but that’s not even on my radar. A few rungs up the totem pole would be good for me, even if it takes the next 70 yrs of my life. Everything that’s worth something deserves some effort, right? I think so :) I’m an effort whore. And even if I only ever learn to play ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ on this piano... it’s still a nice time to just be calm, to know the theories and keep them close, like sheet music for a euphoric life :).

For now, my plans and my actions seem perpendicular instead of running parallel. The attachment to my computer isn’t helping. The line between hobby and addiction is slim ;0). The baby-step advice,  perceptive suggestions from Jamie, is to make sure my ‘doing’ is purposeful. Pay attention to my thoughts. Be aware of all my actions. Recall what and why I am doing something. Even the simplest things, If I’m making scrambled eggs, be in the kitchen and scramble the eggs. Don’t be thinking of what I’m going to do after I eat.  If I’m going to write, write purposefully. If it’s not an inspired day, close up and just be, I don’t have ‘to do’ something else. My death-grip on productivity cringes ;).

We know this advice. It’s good advice. We hear it from many different angles, from many different people and sources. In essense: Relax :). I’m glad I’m here, where I can submerge in the practice of it, and have reminders all day. This place, although great in it’s own right, is not the perfect fit for me (no place has been really... that’s why I’m still wanderlust!). It’s a bit more spiritual than resonates comfortably within me, and I'm purposely cutting out a huge "God" element that is essential to this place's teaching.  It probably helps.. but for now I'm seeking out the more "Universe" sense of it than the "God" sense.  I fully admit that’s because it’s out of my comfort zone. We all know I like to push those limits though, so we’ll see if I have some metamorphosis ;). Don’t worry it’s not a cult!   I’m happy and I definitely feel it is good for me. I’ve grown indubitably conscious of an impending/in progress change. Not sure what the change is or when or what it will result in... but I’m enamored by, and excited by, this realization that I’m going thru a major transitional period of my life right now. Not just where I’ll be, but where I’ll be.  Get it??? hahah. Whatever manifests will be correct, of that I’m 100% sure. I love the journey.

I’m planning to stay here and seep out all the knowledge and practice and guidance I can thru mid-March... BUT....

My first and foremost Love has called: Adventure. And when adventure calls, I answer :) Bwahahha.  In an absurdly short span of time, starting less than 48 hours ago, I’ve seized an opportunity. I’m driving down to meet my good pal Kevin to hike the Grand Canyon!!!!! I leave this afternoon!!! HAAA!  I’m ridiculous, I know.... but it’s a fuuuuuun roller coaster life I lead!!!!!! 

I certainly still plan to meditate, and although I’m enthusiastic about this ‘yoga life’ immersion I’ve been indulging in, this is a good chance to test my resilience in the ‘real world’.  Might as well make it a road trip on the way back up, sooo...... if you’re in Phoeniz, LA, or along the coast of Cali and want to do some yoga, go on a hike, or most especially if you want to meditate next week, gimme a call!  Let’s get our focus frenzy on ;).


Adventures, I love you :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where am I? I am here :)

Ahhhhhh there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being where you are supposed to be. Like I’m on the verge of something really great.

The morning after posting my last blog, I awoke planning to drive all the way here (to Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, henchforth known as PVS) but had an email that their generator had broken, and it would be better if I could wait a few days.  Right from the get-go, I was optimistic about the news...knowing I could take the opportunity to have a spontaneous adventure and scope out the region I’ve been so enamored by, despite really not having spent any time here.  The verdict is out already... it’s all it’s cracked up to be!!

Ashland gets an A for Awesome! The town itself is just quaint. A real cozy, comfy atmosphere, with barely any chain stores (of course Starbucks has infiltrated!).  Over the next day and a half, I checked out all the little cafes (got a ton of my continuing education credits done for renewing my Architecture license), and spent probably close to two hours just driving around, completely enthralled with the residential architecture. This town is pretty much my ideal. The homes are diverse, charming, well-maintained, and pretty obviously loved. Everywhere I turned there was a house I would live in (which is saying a lot... I’m picky about such things you know;)!!   They have this great innercity park and the entire town is surrounded by mountains, half of the homes build into the side of them (thankfully the old truck was able to chug it’s way up ;). I went to my favorite last minute website, meetup.com (which is where I discovered Dragon Boating btw) and found a group run to join.  There were around 13 of us, we met at ms. gung-ho's house, and proceeded to run an ‘only a local would know’ route through the woods for an amazing trail run! Over little streams, past a waterfall, along a private dike... and up and down big ol’ hills! A small group of us couldn’t keep up with the hardcore-ers, but we still ended up doing a not-so-shabby 6 miles! It was wonderful!  Also found on meetup.com, I joined a group hike of 27 nice folks (plus 5-6 dogs!) for an afternoon hike in the nearby historic gold miner town of Jacksonville.  That too was just wonderful. Friendly, kind people :).  I give a serious A grade to this place... the ONLY thing holding it from an A+ is the cloud cover.  If I find someplace like this with a sunnier disposition, I’ll be hooked :) 

Old train trestle in the forest on our hike

Next it was on to Redding, but I can’t skip over this drive! Normally I like to use travel time as my phone time, killing two birds with one stone you know.  In this case, I made one birthday call and that was it... I couldn’t be distracted from this great beauty!!!!! From Ashland just over the border is amazing. It was all snow dusted, evergreen immersion. Love. The next 30 or so miles of Cali is pretty, not really my thing though, more desert like, with low bushes and vast views. BUT then... there is Shasta. Ahhhhh Shasta, I must come back and see you ;o). It had been cloudy, but right as I was passing by (and singing happy 30th birthday to ms. Kim) the sky opened, the blue came, and the mountain appeared!!!!  Waaa LLLaaaa!!!! Wow! I’ve heard so many things about this town, a spiritual mecca it is, which I def want to check out..... but that mountain is what calls me. I must climb it! 

The last bit of Oregon

Just entering California!

From there on is the Mt. Shasta National park... back to my happy realm. Incredible greens and hills and rivers and valleys! SOOO great!   I pulled into Redding, and was greeting by freshly baked cookies and 3 adorable children :).  An old friend from high school hooked me up with her friends for a place to stay, and it ended up being someone who has been in a band with my cousin! Small world!  Not so surprisingly, their kids (9,7, and 3) and I got along juuuuusstt fine :).  Cats cradle, duct tape jewelry, an intro to parkour, flying helicopter toys, and a few flips got us aquainted real quick:). In the morning, after a ballerina story reading, we said our goodbyes, and I was off again.  I checked out the Sundial bridge by famous architect Calatrava... It's pretty neat. Then off to Shasta Dam/Shaska Lake.  That was pretty sweet :).  From there I drove to Chico, a city that I’d been told is worth a visit.  That drive was neat. A small, almost country road highway FULL of orchards, barns, tractors and fruit stand signs. I’d love to bike this road, stop when they are in season and try everything!  

Mt. Shasta National park

Shasta Lake

Cuties :) 


Sundial bridge, Redding, CA

Love that I caught the birds :)

View from Shasta Dam.  <3

Shasta Dam

I think tractors are sexy ;)

Must come back in Spring!

Saying Chico is worth a visit was an understatement. I had a FABULOUS time there!  First off, went to a cute cafe for lunch. Guy next to me immediately starts chatting it up, gets us a teapot to share. We decide to roam the town. I got an odd feeling then, so those of you who think I never take any precaution, I made a clean exit!  Decided to try my luck at selling my hats, so settled in on the main strip with my freshly made cardboard signs.  I’ve realized that selling these hats for me is more about the social experiment then it is about actually selling them.  It’s very interesting to be behind a cardboard sign on the street.  There are those who avoid eye contact at all costs, and won’t even look at what you are doing/selling. Those who look but quickly glance away and are pretty uncomfortable. Then those who smile. Who say, ‘cute’ or some other token of acknowledgment. Those who stop for a chat or exchange of words, say thank you. :).  There are also those that have zero intention of buying but want to chat it up with someone for 30 minutes ;0).  The adage “I’ll come back later and buy one”... sureeee :).  THEN, you have the people that makes the whole thing worth it. The reason I’ll keep selling hats in random places, for the intriguing psychological study that it is.  There came Courtney. She rides up on her bike and wants to know if I have gloves. We start chatting. Few minutes later she sits, within ten minutes, we’ve got a dinner date!  She goes to return her bike and Chris comes by. We chat (actually, WHILE we chat, a car with 2 ladies pulls up honking, passes him a slip of paper with a phone number!!! Hilarious!!!! I love that I got to witness that!!!).  He’s going to get ice cream with his girlfriend and I’m invited to that too :). I have to wait for Courtney though, but thanks.  Few minutes later, I’m eating tacos with Courtney, her bf, and a guy named Cornelius who was an extra in a Christopher Walken movie back in ’85. He was an interesting fellow ;).   The dinner was nice, turns out Courtney is studying to be a doula (a midwife like) and she and her bf also want to start/work/live in a commune! Ahhh, maybe Barefoot Village just got a labor division ;)!  Then it’s off to Ben’s place.  Ben is a couchsurfer who messaged me in perfect timing that I could stay oveer. He wasn’t home yet, but I could go on ahead. I was greeted by roomies Lindsay and Jeremy, with who I chatted up a storm. Ben and JP get home, and the 5 of us stay up a few hours and bs. Good people!!! I surf that couch, get fed breakfast, and then it’s a Chico adventure! Ben is succccch an interesting person! He’s a pedicab driver (bike taxi) who is really interested in reviving farming in America. He gives me a free ride around the block on his cab, where he posts his own really impressive “poem of the day”. An artist too!  It’s a perfectly cool, clear day, so  after that we take regular bikes and ride thru Bidwell Park (the 3rd largest municipal park in Cali), tour the downtown, and stop for hot drinks at an old train car turned coffee house! Neat!  We’re two birds of a feather, similar thoughts about sooo many things, so conversations just flowwww.  This is what I love about couchsurfing!! There are so many interesting people out there to meet!!! We ride back thru a cork forest! WOW! Chico is FULL of WAY friendly people!!! Chico gets an A for people! 



Dinner with Courtney and Michael!

Ben had me do a Mad Libs, that ended up being this awesome message left for the roomies :) 

Bike ride and train car cafe!

Perfect Pedicab message :) 
The drive from there to PSV was more orchard lined roads. Another thing I should mention about this ENTIRE drive from Kelso, the whole 600+ miles of it... it was almost perfectly devoid of road rage!! On my part certainly, but more impressively on others too!!! I set the cruise control to the speed limit (a true feat for me, I must be feeling zen, that never happens) and couldn’t believe how many cars actually drive under the speed limit!!!! There was no tailgating, no cut offs, no traffic jams. Pretty freakin’ chill!!!!  Pretty much just all-around wonderful journey this whole way. 

Back to the drive, about the last 10 miles, it became the mountains and 15mph winding roads. I pass a fabulous covered bridge, the sun starts setting and the rolling hills are lit with that wonderful dusk light. I reach the driveway and there is a creek on the property!!!! A wonderful surprise! Jamie (who I’ve been coordinating with) greets me, he just oozes of peace and calm and quiet! He walks me to my adorable yurt, a simple 13’ octagon room, complete with my own balcony and spectacular view of the sunset!!! Yes, yes, yes.  It’s just perfect :).  He walks me thru the gardens, shows me the money creek-view, and that’s it for today, we’ll talk more at dinner :).  I unpack, make my room my own. There is cell and internet reception on the property, but not in my cabin- exactly what I was hoping for!  It’s just me, my books, my writing, my art, and a perfect view of the landscape. 


My new drive 'home'  :) 

Perfectly timed arrival. A good sign and sign I'd say :)  

My balcony. Yay :)

I go up for dinner and meet Naomi.  As described by Jamie, she’s a “feisty 82 year old”.  My first impression is of shock... I would never guess 82. Another benefit a lifetime of yoga no doubt :). She’s impressively mobile and with a head of jet black hair. I haven’t sensed the feisty yet, but she certainly has led an life I’m dying to hear all about. We chat as dinner is finished. It’s just the three of us for January. In February another girl will come. We dine on baked yams, avocado salad and broccoli carrot soup. It’s delicious. Conversation is easy. It feels nice. I do feel much louder than either of them. Both are softspoken. We’ll see if it rubs off on me ;).

Back to my room. It’s going to be fascinating to see how our relationship grows. What my chores will be. How my own energy morphs. If I can transform and find the balance I so seek. I love right now :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Today was awesome :)


Today was just fabulous. For starters, my nephew gave me his awesome, “That’s How I Roll shirt”. My new go-to shirt for sure :) 


My auntie Cindy has super graciously allowed me to borrow their truck, which used to be my Grandpa’s!!!! Sooo, I’m sure I have a bit of him with me as my guardian angel on this trip... AND I have his tapes! Yep, the truck has only a tape deck...  Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash were two of my favs today :).   

I stopped and picked up a nice guy walking along the side of the road. His name was Pat, he was trying to get down to see his daughter. Aww :).  Guess where he needed dropped off?  In Lebanon... which is where my cousin and his brand new baby live!! With only 10 minutes notice I was holding 3 month old Lucy! ahhh so cute and so great to see fam :).  Picked up another guy, Robert, he was going to drop off a job application. I'm feeling like I’ve done good deeds today!

It was unbelievable clear and blue sky (super far from common in the NW in the winter), so I got to marvel at the sensational scenery, especially the famous evergreen trees! This area is def an option for my future commune!!!! I LOVE NATURE!!!!  Got to Ashland happy as a clam, found a hostel just as sunset was backlighting up the mountains all around :).  Made pals w/ my new roomie, we went to the co-op for dinner where people were friendly and unique and SO many smile at you!! YES!! Hostel lady informed me it was “First Friday”... so all the galleries stay open and serve wine ;). One of the galleries had this quote on their wall, "It's better to be absolutely ridiculous, than to be absolutely boring."  Can I get an amen? ;).  Come to find out this town is chalk full of galleries and artists! YES, more please!!! Now I’m back in my room and I’ve been writing and I loveeee it!!!!

From the car and still awesome :) 

Love me some mountains... and gramps truck!

I have got my mojo back :)... I’m thrilled that it feels like I finally shed the last of my bumming month.  Not having the answers is sometimes the answer :).  I have no doubt I’m on the path I’m supposed to be. Tomorrow I cross the border to Cali and to my new home for the next three months. Not sure what kind of internet connection I’ll have there... In fact, Im planning to limit my internet to once/week even if it’s full reception so don’t get all antsy-pants if it takes me a while to reply to you;).  

Becky is attempting quiet time!!! Whoaaa Nelly! :) 

How good is this??! 







hmm... well it almost was a short blog but I want to share some other amazing signs from the last few days that prove it's going to be a good year:

New Years Day, driving the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway with my oldest/longest friend Serena (since we were 5!), on another unusually clear day! The mountain (Mt. Hood) was out in full view, in all it’s amazing glory. Hilarious chats w/ Sereen... good for the soul :).  Shouting out how it was going to be a great year JUST as we drove past a billboard that said “New Beginnings”! 

Going on an unplanned, spontaneous hike, and discovered my new FAVORITE waterfall!!!!! You can walk behind it!!!!! Did some off trailing, some trail running, found a bone, and a brownie that my fab friend Christopher gave me when I left!!! The hiking was fantastic. The weather cleared up. There was icicles and moss and ferns and more waterfalls and a cute bridge and views of the mighty Columbia.  I’m reminded again and again that I need to be in the woods. That was bliss :)

Columbia River, looking at Washington's shore :)

Oregon forest :) 

I took this picture! Looks like a postcard! This is Horsetail falls of I-84 in Oregon.

See the icicles???!!

Amazing

Oneonta Gorge tunnel

A random shelter... I want to make one!


And not one, but two incredible reunions with old friends that have amazing energy and positivity and filled me up with happiness and joy and enthusiasm. Puzzle night with sis and mom and gram, dad's b-day with family who came also on short notice, and with two new babies in tow! And talks with mom... those are always my fav :). 

I hope you are recognizing your signs for a good year :)  My definition of a sign:  Anything at all that can be viewed in any possible way as positive. Sooo, pretty much you can find them as soon as you are ready to look for them :)