Dead on the inside?

I have to get something off my chest. I’ve been feeling the tiniest bit like a hypocrite since my last post where I confessed to the fact that I don’t actually like to carve pumpkins. Mostly because for the past ten-ish years I’ve been giving my brother a hard time about this very thing. I often refer to my brother as “dead on the inside” (in the most loving way possible, I assure you. ) because he doesn’t like to decorate for the holidays, he hates to dye Easter Eggs, he doesn’t enjoy carving pumpkins, and then you add on things like he has never watched Dirty Dancing, and has somehow established himself as the Harry Potter expert in our family EVEN THOUGH HE HAS NOT READ ALL THE BOOKS!!! (ok this last one is maybe just a personal pet peeve of mine) All of these things contribute to the running joke of me telling him he is all dead on the inside.

Full disclosure, my brother is a wonderful human, AND an amazing public educator. I don’t think you can actually be successful or even drawn to public education and interacting with the youth of America if you are actually “dead on the inside” but I still like to give him a bad time, as is my right and my role as the pesky younger sister.

Of course, in my adulthood I have come to realize that maybe his adverseness to singing all the verses of the 12 days of Christmas while sitting in the hot tub, getting the perfect shade of neon pink onto hard-boiled egg shells, and reading scratch-n-sniff holiday books might have less to do with him being “dead on he inside” and more to do with the fact that the person initiating all of these projects was me, the pesky little sister… Le sigh. Perspective and all that jazz.

And here I am, 33 years young, realizing that I also don’t really enjoy carving pumpkins. Maybe I need to cool it on the “dead on the inside” comments, or at least acknowledge that there might be the tiniest part of my glittery, crafty, stylish and creative self that is also a little bit dead on the inside. At least I know I am in good company.

For your enjoyment: Here is a link to my brother’s podcast, in which he interviews Educators from McMinnville High School and offers insights into personalities, projects and methods of teachers in the public school system.   They are really worth a listen.

Hi there! I’m here.

Hi-ya! (insert waving emoji here) It’s me! I’m here! I could start off by apologizing for not posting on here in a year, but I’m not going to. Do I feel better when I’m writing? Yes. BUT I’m also highly aware that my creativity takes on many forms, and though I’m absolutely delighted when it manifests itself in the form of writing, I’m equally fulfilled when it take a jaunt in the form of planning out a garden, making pickles, trying new recipes, sequencing a new yoga class, cultivating a playlist for my yoga choreography, writing letters, dancing around the living room… My creativity isn’t limited to my writing, and thus, I tend to indulge the inevitable ebbs and flows.

It is very reassuring to know that when I’m in it, I have a supportive writing group and this outlet… and even when I’m not physically sitting down and typing things out there is a pretty constant narrative running in my head. I keep a notebook full of one-sentence antidotes and a list of topics I’m waiting to explore… Have I over-indulged in this particular blogging ebb? Perhaps. BUT I’m checking in now, and it feels like it is time to show up for my writing, and show up here. Hi! Thanks for being patient.

I’m feeling a rather tangible sprinkling of magic dust lately… (anyone else?) and I’m embracing it. And this magic dust is inspiring and invigorating and it’s lighting all sorts of creative sparks (yay!) So I just wanted to let you know, I have plans (writing plans, travel plans, yoga plans, life plans…) Firstly, the blog is getting a little makeover… because it is time! Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks and months. I’m also working on keeping myself accountable with my writing, which mean, posting at least twice a month through the end of 2018 (Maybe more, but no less!) and I plan on ramping up in January with a themed series I’ve got marinating.

As I’m here behind the scenes working on this transformation, I’m really trying to identify and nurture my goals as a writer and what I want Awkwardolive.com to be. I have some ideas I’m working on, but in the meantime I’d love some feedback from you. What would you like to hear more of? Is there a niche you’d like to see filled? What are your favorite types of posts? I know I can’t please everyone, but I’m embracing the collaborative spirit, and I’d like to know what sorts of things are resonating with you.

Okay, GTG, Today is my bestie’s 34th birthday, and I’m signed up to bring cupcakes to the party this weekend. Running out to the store to stock up on ingredients… (I might be baking a second cake for us to eat after the party because BROWN BUTTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING!)

Untitled Poem, Since it is #nationalpoetryday

Everyday we have a choice

To approach things with grace, understanding…

the expectation of hope…

I often invite my students to either rest their palms up

A sign of receptivity… of openness

(To what? That is up to them.)

or with their palms facing down,

a sign of letting go.

I ask them to focus

to breathe…

and then we move onto what is next.

 

I’m beginning to wonder

if perhaps,

it is time for me to look at our relationship

and let my palms rest downward

letting go of expectations

and settling into where we are now

(which is where exactly?

I can’t quite find it on a map,

but it is starting to feel like a place I know called contempt)

 

And how did we get here

This awkward unknown that is hovering

–palpable in the air like pollen or humidity–

Generic answers where there used to be genuine interest

Self-absorption where there used to be curiosity

 

I look over at you

standing next to me, and I realize

I’d rather be here with anyone else.

Resting my palms down

and wondering

​​what is next?

I’m not quite sure what to do, but I’m choosing to be a citizen of the world. 

The World is on fire. Literally. The air is full of smoke and several devastating fires are ripping through some of the most beautiful parts of Oregon. Elsewhere in the Nation, hurricanes and tropical storms are flooding homes and destroying lives. And these devastating events just seem to be rising to the occasion of setting the ambiance for the rest of the Country in its current state.

I try not to get too political on here. (ok, yes, I haven’t posted anything on here in a RATHER long time) but lately my heart is feeling so heavy. I’ve always embraced the idea that being an American comes with a certain responsibility: First and foremost we must be Citizens of the World. Because we can be. We have that freedom. And because we can, we MUST. We need to ask BIG questions, we have to be curious, embrace new ideas, collaborate, explore, look at the big picture, create, be open to a new way of doing things, be respectful and learn as much as we can. We need to show up and be engaged in life every single day, and work hard and learn and grow. Because we can. It is our responsibility. 

And yet, I’m confronted daily by people, populations and “leaders” who seem to think that being American only comes with a sense of entitlement and with very little of that responsibility. Rather than embracing the idea of community and collaboration it is feeling more and more like putting a select group of our population first is way more important than anything else. Since when has an “America first” mentality gotten us anywhere? I can tell you this much, as things stand right now, I’m not exactly proud to be an American. Don’t get me wrong… I understand that I am privileged, and there are a lot of things I take for granted, but I also know that I’m extremely disappointed by a lot of the decisions being made by the leadership of our Country. 

It’s not the “Dreamers” and foreign militaries and extremists that worry me. It’s the idiot kids lighting off fireworks in the forest, and born and bred Americans driving trucks into crowds of peaceful protesters that keep me up at night. How can our political narrative be so focused on building a wall and keeping the “other” out, when we are doing nothing to address the issues of deep rooted hatred and ignorance that are just a part of our “good old American” ways?    
I know there is good in the world, that there are intelligent, gracious, determined leaders out there in our communities and on a larger scale. I know that there are many people out there who are just as confused and disheartened as I am. And I know that a lot of us are feeling hopeless. I don’t have solution… but I do know that I have hope. (just a tiny glimmer) Because I know in the following weeks and months I’m going to make a commitment to my community. I’m going to do what I can to support others with small gestures and acts of kindness. I’m going to write letters, and talk about what is frustrating, because I think it is so important to NAME the thing that is weighing you down and to vocalize it. I’m not going to dwell on it but I will talk about it and facilitate conversations about it, and be a sounding board for others. I’m going to find little joys in every day moments. I’m going to keep an open mind. I’m going to listen, and encourage and support people in the ways that I can. I’m going to focus more on sustainability, on supporting local economies, on being an advocate for people who need it. And I know that when I wake up in the morning I am by default an American, but each and every day, I’m going to choose to live up to my responsibility of being a Citizen of the World.  

I’m the girl in the dinosaur leggings

 

““Opening your heart and being courageous and telling people that you care about them or like them or that you think they’re special only makes you a better, bigger, kinder, softer, more loving person, and only attracts more love into your life.” Amy Poehler.

 

This afternoon I was running errands in these obnoxious bright green dinosaur print leggings. I’m actually a little bit obsessed with them (fun yoga tights in general) and I had just finished taking a killer barre class and was at Trader Joe’s stocking up on snacks and cheap wine. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make a statement, but as an introvert, I do find crazy pants are a sure fire way to get people to interact with you (for better or for worse.) No fewer than six people stopped me in the aisles to comment on the leggings, and as I was waiting in line one of the checker’s yelled “Hey Dinosaur, I can help you over here!”

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I wore these leggings on a first date once. We met up in a Portland coffee shop at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, me before heading to a barre class, him before heading to an all day seminar on Social Justice. Both of us yoga teachers… he ordered a macchiato, and we talked a bit about yoga and to make the date even more Portlandia, I discovered that he didn’t have a car, and though he did have a “Real” job he wasn’t that into it and would rather teach yoga and focus on his Social Justice book club. I wasn’t sure what his reaction to the dino leggings would be, but he didn’t even bat an eye at them. I subconsciously wore them, thinking at all else they would be a conversation starter. Lord knows meeting someone for the first time at 8:30 on a Sunday, before you’ve even consumed coffee is a risky first date scenario, so it couldn’t hurt to have a built in conversation buffer. The pants were never mentioned… he drank his tiny tiny coffee and we went our separate ways.

When I was a Junior in college my roommate and I made up a song we would sing to each other as we were getting ready for bed/ hungover on the weekend mornings called “Wasteland of love.” Looking back on this, it might have been somewhat of a clue as to why we were both single at the time, but you cannot live in the past like that. I was coming off of this epic crush from the previous year, and making up a show tunes style ballad seemed like a pretty good life choice. I met the guy in a Religion class of all places, and the second he walked in the door it was one of those “I’ve got to get to know this guy” moments. He was ridiculously handsome (at least to me) and a complete nerd all wrapped into one, and by some miracle we ended up in the same small discussion group. The weeks went by, we talked about the Old Testament, and our friendship developed outside of class. We spent the weekends watching Raiders of the Lost Ark and eating pomegranate seeds, talking about Post Season Baseball, and chatting in dorm entryways until 2 in the morning. We nerded out about Star Wars, and went to a few parties, and talked politics, and finally towards the end of the school year I got the courage to send him a note through campus mail that told him how I felt about him. I mean, after two semesters of hanging out, of Instant Message conversations of constant weekend hang-outs he had to kind of already know, right? And he got the card… (which, I wish I still had it, because it was this perfectly witty thing, and I don’t entirely remember what it said on the front, but it was this whole monologue about ketchup and jiggling a toilet handle, and it was of course this really round about way of saying how much I liked him etc. etc.) So we decided we should talk in person to figure out what this all meant, and when we were finally sitting in my dorm room and I’m like trying to keep my shit together, he looks at me and says “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet.” And then kind of flopped over in this epic way like cats sometimes do , (and he had this amazing long-ish hair that that kind of flopped over this glasses) and that was basically our entire conversation about my year long crush on him… Twelve years later, and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it, but whenever I find myself in a state of dating confusion, I often flash back to that conversation. And honestly, when people ask me why I’m not dating anyone, this is often the answer that pops into my head. “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet. “

I’ve tried the whole swiping thing, and though a lot of my friends swear by it, I just cannot seem to get on board. My Freshman year of college I got a letter from my grandmother and at the end it said “look out for all the jerks and weirdos out there!” and my friends and I laughed about it at the time, but flash forward to the current dating scene, and let me tell you, there are a lot of jerks and weirdos out there! Yes, there are also nice ones, and funny ones, and I get that I should probably keep trying, but let me just set the scene of the last guy I met online. Picture it. Sicily, 1937… kidding…  We were out at a wine-bar and he spent a good seven minutes telling me this anecdotes about how he recently watched the best of Chris Farley episodes of SNL, and how funny they were, and how emotional he got because he grew up on that kind of comedy. I interjected how I could totally relate because I had recently listened to Amy Poehler’s book on a road trip, and started to get a little teary when she was talking about her last season and how it really resonated with me during that time since it was an election year and her portrayal of Katie Couric really resonated with me. And he turned to me and said “um… I don’t know who that is” and I said “Amy Poehler?!?!?!” and he got SUPER defensive and said “Hey I don’t really know authors that well ok!”

I’ve been on two “blind dates ” in my life.  Granted, this last one, the guy didn’t know it was supposed to be a set up, and I ended up spending the evening with my best friend and MY PARENTS at a dive bar in Salem, listening to a bunch of Doctors cover rock songs, and my BFF used the “countdown to St. Patrick’s Day” clock as a timer to when we could leave. The other guy got my name and phone number while he was under the influence of Anesthesia… (hashtag welcome to my life)

Then there was the guy I met speed dating. He was nice enough, well spoken, had two master’s degrees, super involved in his community, and seemed kind of like a catch. Then I get a 3 minute long voice mail at 2PM on a Friday, and he’s curious why I’m not answering my phone, and talking about how he’s going golfing but he just had some dental work done, and it had been about 10 years since he had a cavity, and how his mouth is numb and how weird it is, and he literally said “you know like when your foot goes to sleep, only its your mouth!!!” and I’m sitting there wondering why he thought I wouldn’t be at work at 2PM on a Friday, and who leaves 3 minute long voice mails rambling about dental work… and then the next day he told me he didn’t want to see me again because I was TOO rooted in my community and he thought we had different communication styles. Fact: we do.

And I get it, I think there are still some good eggs out there (which is in no way a veiled reference to my biological clock, because I do not want to have children…) and lord knows I keep putting myself out there, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening. Thankfully, people don’t seems to ask as much as they used to as to why I’m not dating anyone… When you are in your 20’s it seems as though people feel entitled to ask, and once you reach your 30s that line of questioning seems to mostly fizzle out, though occasionally it pops up, and once my brain stops screaming “Internet. Internet. Internet. Internet” my second impulse is to give out the phone numbers of all the men I’ve asked out who have said no, and say “ask these gentlemen, because I don’t know!” (disclaimer, if any of them are reading this… I’m not actually that crazy or that jaded, your numbers are safe) I live in a small town, I work in a women’s clothing boutique, so let’s be honest, most of the men I meet on a daily basis are shopping for their wives. I’m putting myself out there, I’m trying to stay open, but I honestly don’t have an answer to the question “Why aren’t you dating anyone?”

I did have a bit of a flirtation with one of the fill in UPS delivery men. It was always kind of exciting because I never knew when he would be on our route, and then randomly he would show up, all smiles and flirty banter, and it got to the point where my heart would kind of flutter anytime I heard a handtruck outside. My friend, who works at another boutique, started to text me when he was out on delivery so I could compose myself or put on lipstick before he arrived. Once I awkwardly dropped the signature thing and was thinking “pull it together Brisbin.” So finally, after a Summer of this, I get the text alert that he is out and about on delivery, and I calmly get a to-go cup, write my name and number on it, and make him a latte (of course it had a little foam heart on top, because that is the only latte art I can actually do, and also just because.) and I waited. I waited and waited and waited, and then I finally saw him walk by the shop, and realized that we didn’t have any deliveries that day, so he didn’t come in! Of course, I had a store full of customers so I couldn’t chase down hot UPS guy and give him the coffee/ my phone number, but had he actually come in that day, I still believe this would have been the COOLEST THING I’VE EVER DONE! But alas, I just had to sit there and somewhat pathetically drink the coffee with my own name and number on it.   (follow up… the next time he came in, I did give him my contact card, and he was totally sweet, and told me he just started seeing someone, and I said “can’t blame a girl for trying.” And then he was our UPS guy for the next 10 days in a row and I somehow managed to not be a spaz that entire time. And now he comes in sporadically and I’m mostly a spaz, but hey, at least he has my number.)

Fast Forward to now. (sitting at my kitchen table, drinking wine, still rocking the dino leggings, listening to jazz) This month for Bookclub we are reading Quiet by Susan Cain… and I’m not going to lie, I’m having a little bit of a hard time getting into it. And though we haven’t discussed the book yet, I’m kind of thinking that most of us in the group are going to say “It was interesting… but I already identify as an introvert, It was basically like reading a book about myself… and I already know that I’m like this. “ At least this has been my response to the book. There is part of me that feels like it should be required reading for extroverts, or maybe for anyone that I date (doesn’t dating me sound fun?!? I have hand outs and recommended reading about how to best get to know me and deal with my quirks… LOL) But honestly, I don’t need a book to tell me that I’m a careful thinker, that I think before I act, that I take longer to digest information and that if left to my own devices I “tend to sit around wondering about things, imaging things, recalling events from my past, and making plans for the future.” ( Quiet, pg 168)

Granted, I haven’t finished reading the book yet, but thus far the part that has resonated the most with me is a section that is talking about small talk “ In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into a new relationship, and only once they’re comfortable, do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They “enjoy” small talk only after they’ve gone deep”… When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else. “ (Quiet, pg 152.)   This I get, this is my jam, this is the section that I’m going to highlight and put on my nametag at speed dating. This is the flyer that I’m going to hand out to all my potential suitors, this is my new mantra, This is the key to the decoder ring of my life.

I recently got blindsided by having feelings for someone… and though I’m totally in life recovery mode right now, because things didn’t work out the way I hoped they would, I have to say, that the things you don’t see coming are often times the most exciting. Anyway, I’m still kind of in the middle of it, and figuring out the day to day, but basically the blindsiding thing happened, and I decided to act on it, even though I knew it was complicated, because in this day and age, dating is complicated (per an e-mail I recently received from a dating site, the Dating Apocalypse is here… just so you know… ) life is complicated, so why not just go for it and see what happens, and pick up the pieces of your ego and self esteem later? (kidding) But really, I’m a firm believer in embracing vulnerability, and most of the time it’s scary and kind of sucky, but also awesome, and so, once again, I found myself dropping a note in the mail saying, “I’m interested” (side note… I didn’t really realize until just now that this is apparently my MO. I’m boycotting technology based dating, but damn it, Jane Austen would be proud of my snail mail declarations of love… at least I’m consistent?) and maybe putting a letter in the post wasn’t quite as cool as writing my number on a cup of coffee, but it still felt like this amazing force of forward motion.

And here is one other observation I have about being an introvert… you have to be your own advocate.I feel a little conflicted with this one, because generally speaking, as a woman, as a human, as a person, looking for love, you shouldn’t have to convince the other person that they should have feelings for you, am I right? If they don’t get why you are the cat’s pajamas (where are these antiquated sayings even coming from? I’m just rolling with is) then they are NOT your person. You shouldn’t have to explain why your quirks are charming, why your awkwardness is endearing, if they don’t get you, then onward and upward…. ONLY! I’m an introvert. And I’m slow to warm up, and it takes me a long time to process things, and establish this comfort zone, so mostly I listen and observe and think, and process, and then I end up totally surprising everyone when I just put it all out there. And then everyone is like “Her?” (Oh my God, am I Anne Veal?) because it goes against everyone’s preconceived ideas of me. I think I would have thrived at the Milford School where Children should neither be seen nor heard. ( if you aren’t getting the Arrested Development references, I can’t really help you.) And so, yes, I shouldn’t have to advocate for myself as to why I’m awesome… but sometimes it feels like maybe I actually need to. And it goes kind of goes back to that big talk vs. small talk thing… It seems so much more natural to just tell someone you have feelings for them and approach things from a larger angle before getting into the smaller and more trivial things. At least it does for me… then again, I’m kind of realizing I’m in the minority here, and basically it feels like maybe my approach to dating is kind of like living in The Upside Down. Everything is vaguely familiar, but it’s different, and you can’t get through to the people on the other side, and its maybe slightly scary. But why bother with the small stuff when the big stuff is so much more interesting?

Anyway… its been a challenging few weeks to be a single gal in McMinnville. Then, add in the fact that I had a huge fight with my father over politics, and I’m basically feeling a little lost as a single.   I mean, I should have known better than to ask him point blank if he was voting for Trump, and when his answer was “probably” I literally burst into tears. My mom immediately asked me if there was anything else going on in my life… and well yes, I’m feeling a little vulnerable, and not necessarily trusting my gut right now, but also his answer really devastated me. As a little girl you are supposed to look up to your father as this ideal, this larger than life representation of how all the men in your life should treat you. And I realize that I’m exceptionally lucky, because my dad is, without a doubt, a keeper. But finding out that he was most likely supporting a candidate that boasts about sexual assault, who degrades women, and who I view as an all around terrible human kind of destroyed me. What is that supposed to say to me as a single woman, that my father is willing to support that sort of behavior from the man who could run the country? What is that supposed to say to me, that my father is willing to support someone who could speak that way to his daughter, to his granddaughter? And how can I look at him the same way? (and then, as I was having this meltdown, my mom backed her car into my car… I can’t even make this up.)

Anyway… round back to the story at hand… it didn’t work out. (Lol, you know that scene in Dirty Dancing Havana Nights? No? Just me? “I liked this guy once… it didn’t work out. He didn’t even know I existed.” Go watch that movie immediately, if not sooner). My dad might vote for Donald Trump, and I’m just trying to wrap my head around it all.

But here is what I know for sure. I’m an introvert. And I’m witty. I’m well read, and I’m a little awkward at times. I drink Whiskey. I like to listen to jazz when I make dinner. I sing Sinatra songs to my dog a lot. I’m quirky, I probably know more about Star Wars than you do, I teach yoga, I love to hike, I don’t like IPA, but I understand if you do. When I’m stressed out I like to watch The Golden Girls, my books are color coordinated, and I hate folding laundry. I’m not a morning person, but I’m really trying to be, I don’t like mustard, but I do like pickled mustard seeds. I like to cook, I love The Red Sox, but I tolerate most sports pretty well. My idea of the perfect first date is going to the batting cages. I like action movies, and I tell it like it is. I’m a good listener and I’ll probably remember random little details about the first time we met. I’m sentimental, I hate drama, and I value authenticity. I love gardening, and pickling, and my favorite place on the planet is Tintern Abbey (Fenway Park is a close second) I like real conversations, and binge watching things on Netflix. I’m snarky and cynical and also a hopeless romantic. I hate sappy novels, I love to cook, and being creative. I quote Arrested Development at least 3 times a day, and a good Meme makes me surprisingly happy. I’m quiet, and reflective, and dorky and driven. I like to dance in kitchen, and I can’t do a cartwheel, but I do make a damn good Manhattan. And I’m in the girl in the dinosaur leggings.

 

 

The return of salad season: white beans and tuna over greens.

Hello salad season, so glad you are back with us. My garden is literally exploding with lettuce and kale at the moment, so I’m trying my best to find creative ways to incorporate more greens into every meal. I love … Continue reading

because it’s April, and springtime, and a Wednesday… and don’t we all just need a poem today?

I got a text message from a good friend yesterday asking me about my blog… Every excuse about why I’m not writing more sounds a little contrived, a bit shallow… because everyone is busy, everyone has meetings and book clubs, and piles of laundry, gardens to tend, plans to make, people to see. And the only real answer I can give is that sometimes, when you are out living life, it’s challenging to slow down enough to write about it. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it… there is pretty much a constant dialog in my head, ideas, recipes, snippets of life, anecdotes about the dog, photos from countless restaurants. This, like everything else, is a work in progress.

And because it is Poetry Month, and because it is yoga day, and just because… here is this.
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This morning as I was heading to the shower I started to think about what sort of conversation I wanted to have today in my yoga class. I like to think of my classes as conversations more than anything else… because no matter what I plan in advance, I always come in and ask my students how they are feeling, what they want to work on, and we start the conversation there, and what develops each week is a little different. As I spent the first few moments in the shower trying to wake up and embrace the day, I was thinking a lot about feeling grounded, and as I let the ideas of balance and rootedness marinate in my pre-coffee brain I couldn’t help but think about Vrksasana. (tree pose)  In that moment I started mentally reciting a few lines from a poem I wrote several years ago when I was applying to graduate school, and then re-wrote a few years later when I re-applied to graduate school… And there is was, my class, my conversation.

Of course, I was almost late to class, because when I went to find the poem I realized it was saved on my external hard drive, and as I pulled up to the studio there was a gathering of students waiting outside the door.  And these amazing students of mine, were chatting in the sunshine, waiting patiently as I frantically waved at them as I circled the block trying to find a parking spot, and as I ran up to the door I told them this was all part of my class plan, spending a little time in nature, embracing the springtime, finding our breath. They all laughed as we filed into the studio, and I made a full confession… “I’m running late because of a poem… but it’s for you, because it’s April, and springtime, and a Wednesday… and don’t we all just need a poem today?” and really, I think all of them did.

And so we settled into class, talking about being grounded, about finding balance in our lives, in our bodies. We talked of trees and how their toes dig deep into the earth, how they stay grounded through so much change, season after season. We laid on our backs and felt the support of the mat beneath our spines and we visited our first tree pose of the day. I watched as they firmly flexed their feet, pressing them into nothingness, watched as their shoulders slid into alignment, encouraged them to engage every muscle, activate their core strength, and from this very supported place, to create a muscle memory. To feel the length in the spine, the support, and to grow from there.

We moved towards standing, played with balance, played with strength… then we warmed up our feet, talked about our roots and tried it all again… this time with a little more confidence, a little more stability, feet feeling alive, bodies feeling warm… I asked them to turn to face the wall, so they could shut out distractions, and we settled back into tree. “Listen to your bodies here” I said, “remember how this felt  when we were on the mat, engage that muscle memory.”.  And then I had them turn around, because in life there are always going to be distractions dancing in your peripheral vision. Because that is how life works, and the challenge is being able to stay rooted enough through it all. And you know what? We wobbled a little bit more this way… but we were just being authentic… because even the tallest and strongest trees sway in the breeze. And what more can we ask from ourselves than to be authentic?

From here, we gathered in the center of the room, for the pose we had been building towards… standing in a circle, touching hands, relying on our neighbors for strength and for support we traveled through our final version of tree pose. Allowing our arms to reach up over head, hands pressed into our neighbors, branches growing toward the sky, our own little oak grove.  And I loved standing in that circle, watching the students laugh, watching them come out of their comfort zones, leaving behind fear, and blossoming into a cohesive group. Supporting each other, growing together… And they all got it… THIS is what our conversation is about today. This right here…

And as they settled into Savasana, as they began to embrace a different kind of groundedness, as they surrendered all of their thoughts and hang ups, as they gave themselves a few precious moments to let it all go, and to absorb all the benefits of our class, as they let our conversation resonate, I finally read for them my poem. The poem that started our conversation.
~~~~~~~~

 

I knew that I liked the earth–dark brown and rich with life–

but I didn’t know that I loved it

until I bit into a carrot, freshly harvested,

the taste of soil still lingering

This is the flavor of life.

 

I knew that I liked falling asleep next to you

feeling your chest rise and fall with the rhythm of your breath

listening to your heart as I drifted off…

But I didn’t know I loved waking up in your arms

until our first night apart… the bitter sweetness of solitude.

 

I used to be impartial to the wind,

until I heard it whispering through the aspen trees

and suddenly I was home.

 

I always knew I loved trees and their quiet strength,

but I didn’t understand it until I started practicing Vrksasana,

and the strength of the tree, the rootedness,

became my own.

 

I just remembered the rain

walking with you, hand in hand down the busy street

the darkened asphalt peaking out beneath the bright

fallen leaves. Flashes of crimson and saffron, the wildest orange

the wet slick grey… we were happiest then,

in the autumn, falling in love on our way to the grocery store.

 

I knew I loved the sun, being solstice born,

we are kindred, forever…

but I forgot I loved the moon,

I didn’t appreciate its constant pull on my heartstrings

until the first night in the new house, I saw the moon rise over the garden,

her beams reaching around my curtains

and flooding into my bedroom in translucent waves…

how can anyone not be inspired by a moonrise over the garden?

My nocturnal muse.

 

I knew I liked the color red

and then I saw the wild bergamot

reaching its crimson petaled fingers towards the blue sky

and I fell in love

with the color

and the moment…

sitting under the olive tree sucking the nectar from the flowery digits.

 

And stillness… how could I not love it?

though I never gave it much thought

the utter content in the quiet

being left alone with nothing but breath

the inhales and the exhales.

 

I knew that I loved lists

tangible or mental

a glimpse of organization

in my ever-chaotic existence.

Perhaps –if I sit here with my thoughts–

this list of loves will become the world.

 

 

 

Bergamot

An Oregon Gal’s guide to Palm Springs: AKA Snowbirding

 

photo cred: Amber Nobe

photo cred: Amber Nobe

A few weeks before Christmas I randomly texted two of my college roommates and said “Do you want to go to Palm Springs in January?”  The answer was an overwhelming yes. Though we all adore living in the Pacific Northwest (yes, we are the crazies who actually kind of like the rain) we were all ready for a little burst of sunshine and a break from reality. So we searched for some flights, booked ourselves a condo and headed south for a Vitamin D infused weekend.

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Obligatory PDX Carpet shot

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

Reading and Tomato Juice on the flight

 

Amber ready to take CA by storm

Amber ready to take CA by storm

After waiting in the worlds slowest rental car line, we were ready to take California by storm. We drove around for a few minutes getting the lay of the land ( Palm Springs is ridiculously easy to navigate, FYI) and after getting a feel for where we were staying and what was in our neighborhood we ventured out for food. My only real requirement of the weekend was that we stop at In-N-Out burger… I had never been before, and getting a “double double animal style” seemed like the perfect way to kick off a girls weekend.  There isn’t actually an In-N-Out in Palm Springs Proper, so we did have to drive about 20 minutes… (we later discovered that there is an In-N-Out right next to our destination for the next day… oh well.) It was everything I dreamed it would be.
My first ever "Double Double Animal Style"

My first ever “Double Double Animal Style”

Since we still had a few hours to kill before checking into our condo, we decided to ride the Aerial Tramway, which was awesome/ terrifying.  We stopped at the Visitors center first (because it’s a cool building, and also we wanted commemorative shot glasses) and then headed towards the Mountain (or as I referred to it all weekend “Mordor” I know I know, technically it should’ve been Mount Doom.. but it’s way more fun to say “On to Mordor!” as you thrust your fist into the air… ) At first you sort of see something that looks like power lines and you think to yourself “definitely power lines, because they go straight up the mountain” and then you realize, that no, this is in-fact, the tram and you may or may not be riding to your death. (I mean you know in the back of your mind that it is safe, BUT….) We did survive the ascent to the top of the mountain, but were very ready for cocktails upon our arrival. Thankfully there is a restaurant and full bar at the top, so we were in luck. Moscow Mules, and a little girl time at the top of the mountain were just what we needed. (FYI, the tram, well it swings… fairly aggressively… and for someone who grew up suffering from motion sickness, I had a few fleeting thoughts of  “should I have grabbed the puke bag from the seat pocket on the airplane?”) This being a warm winter getaway, we were not equipped to go hiking (and it was only 38 degrees at the top.) but there were lots of great trails we most definetly would have explored had it been warmer and earlier in the day. The views are incredible, and we had a great time bopping around the top of the mountain for an hour or so.

We arrived in Palm Springs on a Thursday, and we were delighted to discover that the Palm Springs Art Museum offers complimentary admission on Thursday nights! Yay! So after we checked into our condo and changed our clothes we ventured out into the evening for a little culture. We browsed the museum for about an hour and a half, and the i-phone photo shoot that took place was pretty epic. It was fun to see some art and be a little silly. Also there was an amazing glass exhibit happening, and though we weren’t allowed to take pictures, the work was really stunning.
At this point we decided to venture out in search of food, and though some of us were really on the hunt for a “Crisp salad” we ended up wandering into this outdoor Greek restaurant. After being seated for about 30 seconds, we discovered that the waiter was actually our kindred spirit, because he took one look at us, and suggested we order a pitcher of sangria, a platter of various dips, a tray of flaming cheese, and kebabs with lemon potatoes. ITS LIKE HE WAS INSIDE OUR HEADS! What more could we ever want in a meal? It was late, and outside, so there are sadly no real photos of this meal, but the flaming cheese will live on forever in our memories and in our hearts.
These two, being all cute

these two, being all cute

Me, Being all Awkward

me, being all awkward

Our condo was a little quirky, but overall it was pretty perfect for us. (our only real complaint was that the only mirror was in the bathroom… which is a challenge for 3 ladies who like to be fancy.) Originally we thought we would eat in a lot more, however once we arrived we decided to splurge, and our only real “cooking” involved mixing cocktails. The condo itself was in an ideal location, walking distance to all the restaurants we were interested in, had some great local shops close by, and the best part was that it was right above a coffee shop that served Stumptown! It was the perfect level of hipster, and all felt right at home having bearded tattooed men make us coffee every morning. The best part was that at 4PM the coffee shop turns into a wine/cheese/ charcuterie bar… oh yeah, and did I mention it’s also connected to a Tiki bar? Location Jackpot. It was great to wander downstairs to grab coffee before heading pool-side, and was a great place to spend happy hour in the evening.
We had a private patio, and there weren’t tons of other people staying on site, so we basically had the pool to ourselves most of the time. Overall, I would recommend staying at The Twist… though it had its own quirks and charms, it was kind of ideal for our girls getaway.
Friday morning we decided to sleep in and then head to Brunch at Cheeky’s. Everyone we had talked to/ all the blogs we had read said this was a must stop, and we figured the brunch lines would be shorter on Friday morning. We didn’t have to wait at all, and our biggest problem was trying to decide what to order! We of course shared the bacon flight (why don’t more restaurants do this?) and after much deliberation we each ended up deciding on an amazing brunch option. My only minor disappointment was that the blood orange mimosa was a bit on the small side… but lets be honest, I’m a sucker for mimosas of all varieties, and I’m also a sucker for blood oranges, and overall it was delicious.  (though those of us who ordered mimosas were jealous that the Bloody Mary’s were served in this awesome giant boot)
coco with her bloody mary boot

coco with her bloody mary boot

Bacon Flight

bacon flight

decisions decisions

decisions decisions

breakfast

breakfast

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

tiny mimosas giant bloody mary

After brunch we meandered the streets, stopping in at a few of the vintage shops and lusting over all the Mid-century Modern inspired furniture. We each found some amazing vintage necklaces at a cool little boutique called Bon Vivant and we also admired their amazing collection of Vases and interesting MCM pieces.  The two men who owned the store were so sweet, and very helpful, and also very tolerant of us trying to decide which necklaces to get as we “ooohed” and “ahhhhhhed” and tried on countless pieces. I found this amazing brass cuff necklace that I was instantly drawn to, and upon polling my friends it was decided that “yes it was in fact SO my style!”
bon vivant

bon vivant

Next up we mosied back towards our place ( stopped back at Ernest for iced coffee) and then headed out towards Cabazon to see the Dinos. It seemed a little too weird and kitschy to pass up, plus several years ago on one of our last girls weekends we ended up taking a series of epic photo-booth photos that clearly state “We Dig Dinos”  So it seemed like a must stop. We didn’t actually go into the museum, but we did take quite a few pictures, and had a pretty awesome time.
We (ok, mostly I) wanted to stop at Hadley’s Fruit Stand to get a date milkshake, and also stock up on tourist souvenirs for my almost 3 year old niece, who just happens to be named Hadley.  I’d always heard stories about my parents stopping at Hadley’s to get date milkshakes before my brother and I were born, so it was a little nostalgia pit stop.  But it was only about a 15 minute drive, and we got to drive out past the iconic windmills.  And lets just take a moment to talk about the windmills. I know we have them in the PNW as well, but there is something so graceful about seeing all the windmills out in the dessert against the backdrop of the mountain. They really were beautiful.  (I have no photos besides a few snapped from the back seat of a moving car…)
date shakes at hadley's

date shakes at hadley’s

When we got back to the condo we decided to host our own happy hour down by the pool. We mixed cocktails in plastic water bottles, rolled up our pants and sat with our feet in the hot tub. This was maybe the most perfect part about our vacation, 3 girlfriends sitting around chatting and laughing. I know it feels really cliche to say something like “we picked up right where we left of” or “it felt like no time had passed” but it was just so refreshing to laugh at inside jokes, to be completely unfiltered, to share stories and spastically dance around.  These are the women I shared my first apartment with, the women who bribed me to clean up my office space by buying me an R2D2 glue stick. These are the women would read Harry Potter out loud to me on Sunday mornings when we were hungover (because I hadn’t read them, which was a requirement for living in the apartment… a technicality which I avoided since I was the first one to move in.)
This is the part of the trip when we realized that we should’ve hired a photographer, or brought one of the significant others along… because its really really hard to take good group selfies, and all three of us are infamous for making “puppycat” faces… what is a puppycat face you might ask? well just look through most of our photos… We did ask a few random strangers/ waiters/ passerbyers to take out picture, however, you don’t want to be the annoying group who hands a stranger 3 cell phones and makes them take nine billion photos… So its still undetermined if we got a really good group shot… but we tried our hardest.
For Dinner on Friday night we went to Workshop: Kitchen + Bar.   we were drawn in by the industrial look and also by a cocktail called “The Palm Springer” which promised to be tangy and sweet like an ex-lover’s kiss without all the residual awkwardness.  My new life goal is officially to write awesome cocktail descriptions for cool restaurants (I know, dream big!) (also, side note… the only picture that my father liked on instagram from my entire trip, was the picture I posted of the description of this cocktail. Dad obviously gets bonus creeper points. It’s ok, because he is really awesome.) We shared these amazing vegetable filled enchiladas with green sauce and an egg on top, Duck confit pizza,  fries (cooked in duck fat, duh) , and some sort of delicious salad. I really cannot say enough good things about the enchiliadas and the pizza (for weeks now my girlfriends and I have been texting “remember that duck pizza?” YUM!) But for me, the real star of the meal was the butter. I know! I mean, I’ve always loved butter, but sort of went through this conversion to olive oil snobbery, so I didn’t use butter for a really long time, and at home almost always use olive oil even though I really do love butter, but THIS BUTTER! It was filled with toasted cumin and paprika, and all of these wonderful warm earthy spices, and I literally considered just eating the butter after all the bread was gone, but was worried my friends would yell at me (though by now, they understand that this is not atypical behavior for me, so they probably would have just rolled their eyes and started telling stories about one of my weird/ embarrassing food moments) Anyway… the duck pizza was amazing… but seriously, the butter, you want to go to there.
palm springer

palm springer

these two at dinner

these two at dinner

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

duck confit pizza and veggie enchiladas

drinks

drinks

for reals, this butter

for reals, this butter

puppycat face

puppycat face

Next we walked down the street to Birba for a nightcap. At this point, I got completely distracted by this rather handsome French Bulldog who was sitting at the bar (no its not a metaphor… there really was dog at the bar) and after about 45 minutes of me making intense and very creepy eye contact with dog the owner finally brought him over and was like “oh I think Frankie wants to meet you!” In reality he was probably thinking “who is this psycho lady who is staring down my dog and kinda making buggy eyes?” My one pet hating friend was not amused by this entire experience, but I was missing #trollbaby just a little bit, and this weird little bat dog at the bar was a perfect distraction.
scoundrel... like han solo

scoundrel… like han solo

Saturday was mostly spent lounging by the pool, trying to take group selfies, and refusing to acknowledge that it was the last day of vacation. We had a late lunch at the Colony Palms, which included the best Old Fashioned I’ve ever had (it had smoked rosemary!) , an amazing shrimp cocktail, and the most perfect “Salad” that has ever existed called “Skirts on Fire” (Its a steak salad… but it comes with a quesadilla covered in bbq sauce… WHAT???? I Know. Its genius. Because its called a salad, but really its the quesadilla of your dreams with an awesome salad next to it… still kicking myself for not ordering this… I ordered the Southwestern Green salad, and it was good… but it was not the Skirts on Fire.)
We also spent about 30 seconds in the parking lot of The Ace... I mean, we hail from the land of Hipsters, BUT this was  a little too much. We snapped a quick photo and ran away pretty quickly. Hipster overload… (who knew it was even possible? It is.)
a for amber

a for amber

 IMG_0372
The evening was spent back at Ernest and Bootlegger Tiki.… Hipster music, charcuterie, sparkling wine, and tiki drinks for all!  (I would highly reccomend the Pod Thai, or of course the dangerously delicious cocktail for two that comes in a giant skull mug, and is, in fact, on fire.)
And that mostly concludes our 3 day antics in Palm Springs. Sadly we ran out of time/ motivation to see the giant Marilyn Monroe statue, and we didn’t get to see much of the famous architecture…but now that we know our way around, I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before we all head back to sunny Palm Springs for another winter getaway.
all packed up and ready to head home

all packed up and ready to head home

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

last attempt at a group selfie before hitting the road

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks

adding essential oils to our pre-flight drinks, you know for health and things

Where to Stay: The Twist