A little bit of vulnerable

Last week I had one of those lonely-hearted moments. You know the ones that totally sneak up on you in a kind of blind-sighting way and leave you feeling exposed and sad and a little bit ridiculous all at the same time?They don’t happen to me very often, and so when they do I tend to get a little overwhelmed… My entire adult life, I’ve been a fiercely independent, introverted soul, so when I occasionally have those vulnerable moments of lonely-heartedness it always takes me by surprise.

Let me just give you a little back-story.

I have never been one of those women whose soul mission in life is to settle down, get married and live happily ever after. The sticky sweet fairy tale ending has never really appealed to me (unless of course it’s the  Rodgers and Hammerstein version of Cinderella featuring Brandy… because that speaks to everyone.) Sure, I went through a phase somewhere in middle-teen-hood where I planned out my dream wedding (to Han Solo, duh.) But I’ve never really held onto any romantic notions of dating, marriage, relationships… Sure, I would like to be in one… I would maybe even like to be married someday, but I’ve never really understood the women who are clearly on that mission to find “the one.”   A few years ago I was taking a trip with some girlfriends, and I picked up a novel in the airport to read on the plane. One chapter in and my mind was totally blown, this book was on the best seller list, and one of the main characters was a high powered lawyer who quit her job so she could date full time. One of the other women was so terrified of being alone, that she agreed to marry a man she didn’t love and then was too chicken to cancel the wedding, so she decided they should get married in Iceland so no one she really cared about would see her marry this man she didn’t love. HOW IS THIS A REAL BOOK THAT REAL PEOPLE READ???? Ok, I did read the whole thing, because I was hoping that maybe eventually it would have some sort of ah-ha moment where the women realize that they are ridiculous, and then one of the married women sleeps with a male prostitute in South America, and I gave up all hope.  (I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about my outrage of this book before… ) But the whole book just left me feeling really dis-enchanted… And here is the truly terrifying thing… there are probably actually women out there who are like this!  Needless to say, my life is pretty much the antithesis of this. Call me crazy, but I’ve always lived with the belief that if you live your life authentically and passionately, everything else is just going to kind of fall into place. And so 99.9% of the time it doesn’t bother me that most of my college friends are married, that I am approaching 30 and chronically single… because I’m living a life that I love, and I fill it with things that I love.   When people read my tattoo that says “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and ask “well?” I usually say things like (and almost always get blank stares or awkward laughter)  “write, have a bulldog, garden, teach yoga…thrive…”

Last week I was feeling overstimulated… I had family in town visiting, was working a few extra shifts, and was eating out a lot, trying to catch up with friends, prepping my house for a new roommate… the anxiety was building, and all I wanted all week was a night in with a home-cooked meal. I wanted to dance around my kitchen, sit on the patio and eat by candle-light, and absolutely revel in my aloneness. I didn’t want any distractions or interruptions, I didn’t want conversations or company, I just wanted my solitude…. that is until about 10 minutes into cooking dinner, and that is when it just came welling over me. And in that moment, all I wanted was for another person to be there… not just any person but THE person… I wanted us to awkwardly be in each other’s way as we made dinner… to talk about our day, I wanted to sit on the porch listening to bluegrass music and talk about what to plant in the garden next year, wanted to exchange meaningful glances while having a glass of wine as he did the dishes… I wanted countless little insignificant moments. I wanted to have someone to share my life with and build a future with.  BAM. How’s that for blind-sighted?  Introverted re-charge turned hyper-sensitive heart ache in 2.5 seconds.  And I hate it when these moments sneak up on me, and it goes back to the whole “well you have your life together, and you shouldn’t feel this way! You can have it all” mentality. I keep thinking that I shouldn’t feel this way, that I shouldn’t be lonely, that I shouldn’t be filled with longing for a person to build my life with…It seems to go against the whole “I’ve got my life together and I’m fabulous” anthem that so many powerful and confident women have… but you know what? Even though I hate having these moments of heart-ache and fear and vulnerability… I also welcome them to some extent, because it means that I’m not afraid to be open.

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Dinner for one (well you know, dinner for one with some left-overs)

Sometimes I worry that I’ve spent so much time cultivating this life that I love, that I forgot to leave room for my future. Because when you are a young, single, independent woman, everyone tells you that you can do anything, that you should cherish these moments, that you are strong and beautiful, and charismatic and that the world is your oyster, and that you don’t need a man or anyone else to be complete. They tell you this over and over and over, and you being to cling to it like a mantra, like a beacon of all that is good, until one day you realize that  you were so busy thinking about what kind of independent life you wanted, how all you needed to be happy in life is a Bulldog and to write,  that somewhere along the line you forgot to think about things like “I want to be somebody’s wife someday.” And maybe it just goes without saying that this is what “normal” people think about… that there is this underlying unspoken expectation that you grow up, get educated, fall in love, and start your life with someone. Maybe at some point I just figured this was a given, and that I didn’t actually need to plan for it… and yet I am such a huge believer in Intention, it kind of baffles my mind that I haven’t spent the last several years putting this intention out into the Universe. Because realizing that you want to build a life with someone meaningful is not the same as quitting your job to date full time. Realizing what you want your future to look like is not being a ridiculous romanced crazed single…  And maybe I’m just a late bloomer (well ok, there are no maybe’s about it…) because I’ve known those people who instinctively have known their whole lives that they want to be mothers, or wives, or whatever… and that has never been me… I mean I’m not opposed to the idea of either (though I don’t think I will personally grow a human, I reserve the right to change my mind) but I haven’t spent the last 29 years knowing that that is what I was destined for. I HAVE known for that long that I wanted a bulldog named Toby, that I wanted to have a love-affair with writing, and that I wanted to get dirt under my fingernails.  And quite honestly, I am still years away from being ready to be married (at least in the conventional sense), but every now and then I have that twinge of wanting to share the everyday with someone.

And of course everyone (the proverbial everyone) says that it will happen when you least expect it, when you aren’t looking for it, and yet the “proverbial they” still think I need to try online dating… and maybe I am dead wrong, but I just don’t think I’m going to find MY person on the interwebs… There is still the tiny part of my soul that wants the meet cute scenario, and a real life story rather than “Well we were a 86% match.” Sure, I’m all about being with someone who shares my passions and interests… but I’m also holding out for that moment in a coffee shop/ famer’s market/ winebar where he sees me reading Steinbeck/ buying peppers/ being flippantly sarcastic and thinks “I’ve got to get to know her”   Because isn’t that a nice and wonderful idea?  That someone out there saw you and thought “hmmm my interest is piqued. I think she is worth the effort of getting to know”   And… really, I don’t know why I cling to this particular dream, since  literally every single guy who has piqued my personal interest in the last 15 years and who I’ve actually had enough courage and gumption to ask out has either said nothing at all (hello, this is a check yes or no situation, no response??? that is a thing? Oh it’s a thing…) , or said yes, but then canceled, or changed his mind, or never followed through… And most of the time I can cling to my self assured independent and confident self… but there are the occasional raw  moments when I’m taken aback by the loneliness and can’t help but think “but at what point  did I become un-datable?” I mean, I don’t really think that I’m un-datable… I can make pickles, and I like baseball, and I’m a yoga teacher… some guy, somewhere is going to be into that!  And I also have to quickly remind myself that  dating is actually THE worst, so there is that… but it’s a little hard to just fall into a relationship without the dating part. Which is really really unfortunate. Because I’m great at the relationship part. I love the comfortable everyday moments, the trips to the grocery store, the reminiscing, the meaningful conversations, time spend walking the dog and holding hands, and curled up next to each other reading, and staying up too late talking…the ins and outs of  living everyday life. That is what I’m good at. But what I’m not  so great at is everything preceding that. I’m absolutely terrible at the small talk and the weird obligatory getting to know you questions of first date land…  “what kind of music do you like?” and “how many siblings do you have?” and then I get awkward and nervous, and the once cool, confident and interesting person retreats behind this muttering, bumbling version of myself…
It get's awkward real fast

It get’s awkward real fast

Take Today, for example. I asked a guy out for drinks a few weeks ago, with no expectations, just getting to know each other… New Friendship? More than that? Who knows! I just had this inkling of “I think you are interesting and want to explore that.” So I asked him out for drinks.   He actually said yes, and asked what my schedule was like, and I told him… and then nothing. Which was fine, because he is busy, and I am busy… So I waited a few days, and followed up, and when I bumped into him last week he apologized for not getting back to me and said he would give me a call soon. Perfect, I’m not worried about it! So flash forward to today, when I ran into him I had every opportunity to be confident, to be direct to say “hey! I know you are really busy, BUT let’s make this happen. Are you free  to grab a drink tonight?”  and I had this whole cool and casual attitude happening, and what did I do? I saw him talking with another girl, so I  barely made eye contact, and ordered the usual, and ran away as fast as humanly possible… there was no mention of our future plans, of getting together, or really even that we knew each other… my mind ran wild with the assumptions about who she was, and what it meant, and I totally choked. Insert social awkwardness and anxiety…What is wrong with me? What happened to the confidence and the “you have nothing to lose” attitude?  (oh yeah… awkwardolive… comes with the territory.)  Because Dating makes me NERVOUS, it accentuates my awkwardness in a very specific and not always endearing way (because I will forever cling to the idea that a little bit of awkwardness is somewhat charming). And then I just get mad at myself… because even in this situation, I’m making assumptions. Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, Maybe he is interested and just busy… or maybe he isn’t but just want to be friends so obviously he isn’t in a hurry to call me back… maybe he isn’t actually available…Or maybe he is just weirded out because now I’m being weird. OR maybe nothing, and I’m overthinking everything.  (or maybe he will read this post and think I’m nuts… what can you do?) It’s unclear if there is any reciprocal interest other than friendship, and that could very well be OK with me, because I’m always wanting to expand my horizons, to meet new people, to make new friends.  But it seems like I am incapable of even getting to the point of figuring that out without totally tripping all over myself.

And every single person I know says “well you just need more practice.” and then I look at them somewhat blankly, and somewhat with a “really? is that what I need?” look, because here is the thing, YOU CANNOT PRACTICE DATING IF NO ONE WILL AGREE TO GO OUT WITH YOU. I’m just saying, that seems like, pretty obvious right?  This is my plight… but I’m working on it.

And in-spite of my track record, my ever awkward encounters, and my complete lack of successful dating stories… I’m still optimistic enough to think that any minute now, my “meet cute” is going to happen.  And maybe it’s naive, and I’m sure as a result I’m going to have many more moments where the loneliness sneaks up on me, where the heartache creeps in, moment’s where I’m going to long to share the everyday encounters with a non-existent partner… but I’ll also have those wildly authentic moments where I”m not worried about impressing anyone, or rejection or really anything besides living a life that I love… and hopefully one day I’ll be able to share it with someone else. In the meantime I’m going to have many more dinner’s for one and glasses of wine shared with a bulldog, and I’m going to be open.

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Let’s just take a moment to talk about body image…

 

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Lets just take a moment to talk about body image… Because it’s something that resonates with everyone… Even if it’s not something that you personally struggle with, you probably know someone who does… These days there are movements and initiatives, foundations and the works all about building self-esteem in young girls and empowering the next generation. There is constant controversy about how the media is portraying  beauty ideals and promoting a warped view to young girls… And whether we went through a chubby stage in middle school (check), gained the freshman 15 (check), or have watched our bodies change with age (check) its a topic that dances in and out of conversation, and has lingering effects.  Full disclosure, I gained about 12 pounds last year, and I could write several excuses about how I was working in a restaurant, how a broken toe f’ed up my running routine, how I have no self control when it comes to things like Chantilly cream and full fat dairy, but the truth of the matter is, I made the choices that I made, and I’m in the body that I’m in, and I’m totally ok with that. Was I more comfortable in my body 12 pounds ago? Probably. Am I spending countless moments throughout my day fretting about my size and how my clothes fit and how I look? No.  Because 12 pounds isn’t worth the negativity. I simply think “this is where I am today, and I’m going to make choices accordingly.” When I look in the mirror every morning I see myself, just the way I am, and sure, I have those fleeting thoughts of  “I should go for a run” or “I need to move my person a little bit more” because everyone has those thoughts from time to time, but I think the important thing is to recognize them without dwelling on them.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that having a positive body image is something that I’ve struggled with for years and years, because really, I haven’t. I’ve always been comfortable with who I am, and how I look… and yes I have fat days, and bad hair days just like everyone else. I have days where I wish I had less cellulite and better abs. I have moments of being unhappy with my body, but they are just that, moments.  They aren’t something that hinder my self-esteem, they don’t affect how I live my life, how I see myself… and I realize that I am incredibly lucky in this regard. ( I have other hang ups, its ok).

I DID go through a pudgy phase when I was younger… (didn’t everyone?) I don’t remember ever feeling like a fat kid, though I do remember my mother encouraging me to go outside more and maybe jump on the trampoline… And I vividly remember a few years later when  my pediatrician came up to my mom and said “wow, Tayler was so beautiful in the recital! I remember her being kind of chunky!”  I of course also gained some weight when I went to college, and have this somewhat horrific memory of coming home for Christmas and one of my “friends” actually pinched my cheeks and loudly announced “Look at these! I’m so glad you are getting fat like the rest of us!” Can I just say that sometimes girls are the worst? I mean the worst.   And the older I’m getting the more I’m realizing that there seem to be two types of insecure women… the type that put others down because they are insecure, or the type that put themselves down. And really, both make me so sad.  Now that I’m in my late 20’s I can look back on adolescence and of course recognize the mean girl mentality, the bullies who were constantly spewing negativity about other people  because they were struggling to feel good about themselves… But when you are in the thick of it, when the negativity is coming your way, and you are 14 its almost impossible to be objective and say “well really, she is just insecure, so she is trying to make me feel bad.”

But, what I have discovered recently, is that women of a certain age are almost as bad as middle-schoolers, only they take all that negativity and insecurity and turn it right back on themselves. I can’t even tell you how many women I come across who are a size 4 and have hangups about their arms, or think they look too fat in something and then turn to me and say “you don’t have these problems, you are tiny.” and I’m thinking “Well thank you, but I’m actually 3 sizes larger than you, and my arms are like 6 of yours put together…”  And then you have the mothers who are looking in the mirror who are verbally berating themselves, saying how fat they look, how they hate their legs or whatever, as their daughters sit there observing their behavior. And it’s interesting because it seems like these days there are so many movement about building self esteem in young girls, programs that are trying to teach you that uniqueness is beautiful, that individuality should be celebrated, that curves are ok, and I think that these programs are great, but there is a part of me that wonders if maybe we also need these types of programs for our Mother’s generation. Maybe we need to be helping the women who have been dealing with years and years of negative body image see themselves in a different light.

So now I have to tell a story that is going to horrify my mother… (its ok, she has been warned… Also, she is my mom, and we love each other, so there is that. )  Last week she was in shopping at the boutique and one of my bosses was there, as was my best friend.  My mom was asking an opinion about a shirt she was trying on, and we started to tell her how we had just been talking about body image, and how we really thought that women should be celebrating their curves and dressing the bodies that they have, and not the bodies that they wish they had, or the bodies that they think they have… working in a clothing boutique this is something that we see everyday… and my mom was like “Really?” and we told her “Well, we want you to be wearing something that you feel good in, and that also looks good on you, so if it’s something that just doesn’t work, we will tell you.”  And then we were talking about curves and body shapes and dressing them, and I said in passing “yes, I have curves, and I’m not self-conscious about them, I kind of have a belly and its fine! ” and then I stuck out my stomach for full emphasis… and without missing a beat my mother was like “Yeah I KNOW you do, I see it all over the place.” … OK MOM!

The moment was a little shocking, my boss was totally taken aback, and my mom did follow up with something about how I think she doesn’t have a filter… (case in point… I’m at a fairly new job, and she just made a comment about my belly fat in front of my boss and my best friend while I’m working… yeah, there is NO filter) And the thing is, I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t embarrassed… I was sad. Not because of the offhanded comment,  but because I was sitting there witnessing my mother subconsciously succumb to the mean girl mentality. I could feel her trying on this top and not feeling 100% great in her body and there was a group of us, and without meaning to and without being aware of it she took all that insecurity and directed it at me. She put me down around my peers. We talked about it later and I totally called her out on it, and we had a good conversation, she felt terrible, she wasn’t trying to be mean, and legitimately we are fine… I’m not telling this story to embarrass my mom, or to make her out to be a bad mother, she isn’t. She is human, and she has her hang ups just like everyone else. And though it would be nice if those hang-ups didn’t manifest at my place of work, I did also realize that, as a mother, she was feeling insecure and in an back-handed way she was trying to be helpful. Like when she corrects my posture… because she wants me to learn from her mistakes… She sees things in herself that she doesn’t like, and so she points them out in me, not to be hurtful or a pain in the ass, but because she wants what is best for me. She wants  me to happy and healthy… and sometimes it comes out completely wrong. Sometimes it drives me absolutely crazy, but I do know that it comes from a place of love… And at the end of the day, I’m very familiar with intentions being lost in translation…

If anything, the whole situation made me appreciate my mom, and my upbringing. I can only imagine how her life was 60 years ago.. growing up I was told I could be whatever I wanted to be (ok, ok I was told once that I probably shouldn’t be an artist… in retrospect, that was probably very good advice.) I was allowed to do activities that I liked, I was allowed to develop my own interests, I was uplifted and supported and loved… not to say that my mother wasn’t, but our upbringings were VERY different. Being in Generation Y my entire childhood  was pretty much a self-esteem building exercise, I was allowed to make my own choices, make my own mistakes, and become my own person without any preconceived notions. And as a result, I don’t seem to have any of my mother’s hang-ups  (as I said, I have plenty of my own!)

I guess in a way, this blog post is a Thank You to my Mom.  She has her moments, for sure, but overall, I think I turned out the way that I did because of her, and not despite of her… Thank you for raising me to be comfortable in my own skin. Thank you for not passing along any of your hang ups, and for wanting what is best for me always, and Thank you for putting up with me and letting me tell stories about you on my blog.

And to all you ladies out there who ARE struggling with body image, I hope you can take a moment to just settle into your own skin, even if it’s just a moment.  Celebrate your curves (or lack of them) appreciate where you are right now, and give yourself permission to not dwell on your flaws.

Some epiphanies. Life, Love, and dressing for the part.

I’ve been mentally blogging a lot over the past few weeks… so much so that I kind of almost forgot that I haven’t actually typed anything out and sent it into the world… As a result, I’m ending up with one giant blog post, that really could be multiple little nuggets of bloggity goodness, but instead I’m going to do my best to roll them all into one epic post… the topics are varied, new jobs, dressing for success, body image, dating… But I’m pretty sure my brain has tied them all together in a fairly cohesive way… either that or I’m fooling myself and am desperately in need of an editor… I’m going to go with cohesive.

Whoever coined the idea of dressing for the job that you want vs. the job that you have clearly never worked in a restaurant… For the past year my daily work wardrobe has consisted of jeans, basic tees and kind of grungy Danskos that I’ve been rocking since high school. I tried to make it a point of wearing my “real person clothes” on my days off, but after a while my days off started filling up with yoga classes and exercise and eventually the idea of doing 3 costumes changes in a day just so I wasn’t caught wearing yoga pants to the grocery store seemed a little excessive. Plus, I’ve never really been that self-conscious. I absolutely believe in taking pride in how you present yourself, but I also believe that your confidence and self work shouldn’t come from how you look…..

Tangent alert! Once a few years ago, one of my acquaintances went off about how she thinks that women need to wear “real” clothes all the time and take pride in how they look because if we don’t we are communicating to men that we don’t value ourselves and therefore they shouldn’t value us either. I’m of course paraphrasing here, but this is something that has really stuck with me over the years… mostly because it irritated the hell out of me, and also I think she had a point. (to some degree) It goes with the whole dress for success mantra. In theory you take pride in how you look, you make an effort and along with that comes poise and confidence and professionalism etc etc…. But I just keep thinking that if my poise and charisma and overall energy doesn’t translate to a stranger in a grocery store because I’m wearing yoga pants and a hoodie… then I’m pretty sure he wasn’t my soul mate anyway. Am I right? Someone who isn’t willing to look past the superficial shell is probably not someone who is worth my time in the first place. But I get it, first impressions, snap judgments, we all do it. But my self worth isn’t tied up in what I’m wearing or how much makeup I have on, and just because I occasionally run errands or maybe even grab brunch with my girlfriends after a barre class when I’m sweaty and wearing workout gear doesn’t mean that I don’t value myself.

I’ve never been the woman who puts on mascara before going to the gym, or eyeliner before a yoga class. That just isn’t the authentic me, and as a yoga teacher I feel like authenticity is extremely important. Of course I have the students who always feel the need to comment about how tired I look, or how large the bags under my eyes are, or make a huge deal on the day I actually come to class with my hair somewhat styled… and each and every time a comment is made it totally boggles my mind. Maybe I am just wired differently, but when did it become the social norm to tell someone how terrible they look, even if it is in an offhand way? I would never in a million years tell one of my students that they were looking ragged or worn down, or tired, or out of it, nor would I ever call them out on days when they are wearing more makeup than normal… But customers at the restaurant would do this to me all the time as well… I think people are searching for ways to make conversation and so they say asinine things like “gosh you look exhausted today!” Since when is this an acceptable conversation starter for anyone, let alone people you barely know? Anyway, I’m getting off track… but overall I understand the importance of poise, of grace, and of somehow conveying to the world that you value yourself… and yes, this can be done with how you style your person, but overall I think it more has to do with how you carry yourself and your confidence.

Anyway, all this to say that I firmly believe your overall essence shouldn’t be tied up in material things like how you dress and how much makeup you wear. I like getting dressed up, and I like looking nice, but I’m not going to be  hung up on how I look every moment of the day.

That being said… after years and years of buying outfits with no real place to wear them to, this week I started a job in fashion. Before your imagination gets rolling I’m not working for a designer or magazine or anything like that, I’m working for a small locally owned boutique that I’ve been shopping at for about 10 years… and it is absolutely lovely. It is owned by two lovely sisters, it is in a lovely part of the town that I live in, and it has lovely things. And though I still advocate for not letting your appearance dictate your confidence, I am definitely a little more concerned with how I look when I walk out the door in the morning (at least when I’m heading to work.) a big part of my job is helping people pick out clothing for specific occasions, and just like wearing a ball gown to the restaurant would have been highly inappropriate, showing up for work looking like a disheveled yoga clown is not going to fly… I still maintain that I’m not going to wear makeup to the gym, and I’ll probably still run to the grocery store in yoga pants when its convenient, but I am much more aware of how in this particular setting my appearance and what I’m wearing matters.

Thankfully I’ve been stockpiling some classic pieces from this shop for years, and opening up my closet I would say at least 1/3rd of my wardrobe is probably from this boutique… I have always been able to justify purchases from there saying “well this is a timeless piece, its high quality, I’ll have it forever.” And its mostly true! Granted, after a year of working a few feet away from a deli case full of coconut macaroons, Chantilly cream, daily access to full fat dairy hot chocolate/chai/lattes, and all the gluten free pizza of my dreams, I’m a little bit rounder than I used to be. Not everything I’ve stockpiled fits me quite as well as I’d like, but what can you do? (go running… that’s what, and not dwell on it. Cause I’m 28, and my metabolism is slowing down, and I really like to eat, and I really like gumdrops and I really really like full fat dairy… but I’m not going to let body image and vanity get in my way, I’m going to work hard, and hope that eventually my pencil skirts aren’t quite as tight… I digress.) Literally my first purchase out of college was a black tulle Nicole Miller dress I saw in the shop window. Looking at that dress I just knew that in it I would feel put together, I would feel polished, and accomplished. (looking back, of course I still feel all of those things when I’m not in the dress… but sometimes you just need a little black dress.)

So I guess after all of that, I have actually been dressing for the job I wanted and not the job I had… I just didn’t realize it, and it was of course in my down time… Though I know there are going to be days when I really miss easiness of jeans and clogs, I’m really excited to be able to dig into my wardrobe and finally be able to wear some of the pieces I’ve been holding onto.

I’m also quite excited about this job because I will be working “normal” hours. I guess normal is a relative term, but I’m thrilled to be able to spend at least one weekend day with my friends, and I will be home in time to feed the dog every night. Ya and hoo. My somewhat normal retail hours will also mean that I’ll have more time to have a life. IE evenings free. Lord only knows if that will actually translate into things like dating, but one can only hope. I’m realizing that for the last one million years or so (ok, for the last 6 years) I have been married to my job. And now suddenly having a little bit more freedom, and less stress is a little bit terrifying. I’m not going to be working until 11PM every Saturday night… and at long last, I’m out of excuses. It was pretty easy to hide behind things like “well I work 70 hours a week, and mostly evenings, I don’t really have time to date anyone.” And it was true… but it was also a really really convenient excuse for anytime anyone would look at me with his/her head a little tilted to the side and ask “well why aren’t you dating anyone?” (Again, how is this really an appropriate conversation starter? Its not like there is really a good answer… the only thing I can really say is “because everyone I ask says no, and no one asks me” But the way in which people ask it with this befuddled and somewhat offended tone with that underlying hint of “what is wrong with you?” Um… I don’t know, do you know any single guys? No? Well then why is it so dumbfounding that I don’t’ really either? The end. I think everyone is hoping for something more dramatic. People want me to secretly be a lesbian or something… but really its just that I live in a town with not a lot of dateable people, and for reals, no one is asking me out, and everyone I’ve asked has said no… what more can I say?)

Anyway… flashback to two weeks ago, I’m out car shopping because my vehicle was totaled, and I get this amazing job offer. I take it , and as I’m trying to wrap my head around giving two weeks notice, life transitions, and am living through the ever trying debate of Mini-Cooper vs. Honda Civic, and trying to figure out buying my own health insurance. My mother turns to me literally 30 minutes after accepting the job and says “This is great. Now you will have time to do on-line dating!” Me “um…. No thank you?” Her “I swear, every other day I hear about another great couple who has met online… you just need to do it, its how everyone dates now. You will never meet someone in real life.”… yes, this was a real life conversation.  (side note. My mom is going to read this, and probably freak out, and get mad that I take her comments/ conversations out of context and then write about them, and then everyone thinks she is weird. She isn’t weird, she is my mom, and I think we have a pretty typical mother daughter relationship. But she does actually say these things to me, and I do actually roll my eyes and sometimes get really mad, but mostly I know that she is acting out of love, and she just wants me to be happy, and sometimes rather than just saying that directly it comes out as “you should join an online dating site, you will never meet someone in real life”  Its fine, I understand her motives.. but in the meantime, I continue to operate on the premise of “I blog about my life, and sometimes you say things to me that are awkward and therefore I will blog about them… if you don’t want me to blog about them maybe think it through before you say it out loud.”   I think it’s learning and growing experience for us both. P.S. I love you Claudia Jean.)

Anyway, needless to say, with everything else that was going on, dating in general was pretty much the last thing I was thinking about. (I mean I was secretly a little worried that she had already set up a profile for me somewhere because suddenly she seemed to know A LOT about online dating,… ) And the week goes on, I buy a car, I give notice, I try to get my immediate future somewhat organized, and as I’m driving to work one day last week I heard an interview with Judy Greer on Q with Jian Ghomeshi. I’m always pretty captivated by the interviews on the show, and I really like Judy Greer anyway, but something that she said really resonated with me. She was talking about how she put things out there with intention, and how one day she decided that she was ready to be married, so she started acting like a wife. This kind of stopped me in my tracks, because I realized that as much as I was mentally saying “I’m ready to build a life with someone” my actions were pretty much sending the opposite message. Pretty much my house is in a constant state of functioning chaos. Which works for me… really. I live alone, I’m young, and its not like my house is dirty, I’m good a keeping up with the physical cleanliness of things (thank you disinfecting wipes and my fancy vacuum) but really my house is a bit cluttered. I’m not awesome about picking up after myself, putting away my laundry, and organizing my office. And I’m terrible about getting rid of things… And I know that I make a lot of excuses for this… It is what it is, but as I was sitting there driving to work, listening to this radio program it started to sink in that no matter how emotionally ready I think I am for a relationship, I am certainly not acting like a wife. And let me just clarify… I’m not actually looking to get married anytime soon, I actually don’t know if I want to be married ever, at least maybe not in the conventional sense of the word, and I certainly don’t have any preconceived ideas about how wives should act, or certain things that wives should be doing. But I do want to be someone’s person, and I do want to start building a meaningful life with someone other than my dog.  And do to that, maybe I need to start taking a little more responsibility for my home life. Maybe I need to start making an effort to keep things a little more orderly. Maybe I need to start making my home a place that feels a little less chaotic, and a little more inviting. Maybe I need to make some more room in my life for the unexpected, and maybe need to start building a home and not just filling the space up. Maybe I need to start spending a little more time outfitting my day to day for the life that I want, and not the life that I have.

Maybe I need to start approaching my life like I have my wardrobe… I’ve been stockpiling some key pieces for a while, maybe its time to dust them off and start putting things together. I need to start “dressing” for the life I want, and not for the life I have.

 

 

Words and Intentions for 2014

Three weeks into January and my resolutions are still going strong (I know, I know, anyone can do anything for three weeks) I will admit, I have yet to see a nutria, and I’m taking some creative licensing with what defines a salad…

While I was sitting down typing out my resolutions it seems like everyone else was out there picking a few key words and intentions they wanted to focus on in 2014. Resolutions are out, intentions are in, and though I try not to be a jump-on-the-bandwagon type of person,  I do kind of like this idea.

As a writer, words are a pretty big part of my life, and I like the idea of choosing a few words help to define my intentions for this year. This also got me thinking about words I might use to describe myself, and words that people I know might use to describe me… its funny how you can have what you think is a 100% clear view of yourself, and then you ask others to describe you and they see something completely different.

Sometimes it is fun to try on other people’s view of you, to try and see what they see, and it can be really empowering and uplifting… other times it just makes you feel  totally mis-understood, and like you have failed at building  your own brand (or at least failed at  communicating it…) but a lot of that depends on how well people know you, and the context of relationships.  I know that I am an introvert, and at times I can be quiet and reserved… but I also know that my inner dialog is pretty quick witted, very sarcastic, and sometimes snarky… Therefore, I perceive myself as vibrant, confident, and secure person… but I’m pretty sure a lot of people view me as this quiet, demure, ball of awkwardness….  In reality, I’m probably somewhere in-between.  (and I’m pretty ok with that.)

As I began to make a short list of words I wanted to focus on this year, I started to think a little bit about my own personal brand.  What are some key words that I want people to use to describe me? What are some of my assets that go un-noticed? How can I adjust my focus this year to  help myself stand out for the right reasons? How can I start to  “re-brand “myself so that what I see, and what other people see are the same thing?  I’m not trying to be self-involved here… I’m a little nervous is it going to come off that way… I’m 100% confident with who I am, and I am not the type of person who goes around fretting about what other people think of me… truly.  This is not me saying that I’m trying to change for other people, or that I want to change who I am… more so just that I’m figuring out some characteristics that I already have that I’m ready to take off the back burner.  I think a little energy, and a little intention can go a long way, and when you are taking the time and investing in yourself, its only a matter of time before other people notice that shift in energy.  I like to call it the “je ne sais quoi” factor… and I’m excited to head into the next 11 months with an open mind and a whole lot of intention.

 

Words for 2014

Words for 2014

 

My words for 2014

 

Welcoming 2014 with open arms and a few goals

Happy New Year from Us to You.

Happy New Year from Us to You.

Le sigh…. I spent a good 90 minutes typing up a blog post two days ago with the intention of having time to edit it and post it fresh for the new year…. Turns out my computer hates me and randomly closed the window without saving it…. Grumble grumble piece of turd computer.

The gist of it was this: I usually kinda sorta hate the idea of New Years Resolutions, and yet seem to always make them anyway. Sometimes they stick, sometimes they don’t, but mostly that is ok, because sometimes you just need a moment to re-focus your energy, even if it is only for the first month and a half of the year. This year, I have every intention of sticking with my resolutions, but if for some reason, life happens, and things get in the way, I’m not going to let myself feel bad about it.

Basically I’ve been feeling a little stagnant over the past few months… my motivation seems to be shot, and I’ve been letting myself just sort of glide by… no real projects, no real goals… which is fine for a brief  time, but I’m finally getting restless and feeling like I’m ready to head into 2014 with a super charged sense of motivation. In short, I’m not 100% fulfilled by my job, but on the bright side I am 110% passionate about where I work, so even though my hours have been cut back, and my day to day isn’t as meaningful as it could be, I’m perfectly content to stay where I am, at a place that I love, and am planning on filling the extra hours of my day with more meaningful projects. If I’m not working full time there is no reason why my free time shouldn’t be filled with things that make me tick…. Of course, I’ve crossed paths with that feeling of utter panic when people start to ask you where you see yourself in five years.  If you say you don’t know, it makes you sound totally unmotivated, but then you start to think about where you are and what you are doing and realize that this isn’t going to cut it five years from now, and you are trapped somewhere in between knowing you want more, but not having a clue about what to do about it, and instead of actually addressing these angst producing issues, you just repress everything, and ignore your future , and try to make the stress go away by curling up in a corner and chewing on your hair…. (side note: I don’t actually chew on my hair… but I think the image conjures up the correct amount of anxiety.)   Anyway… I’m not ready to quit my job and do something drastic in the pursuit of passion… I’m much to practical, and my credit card bill is too high. But I am indeed ready to buckle down, find my motivation and utilize my free time to it’s fullest potential. I’m vowing that 2014 will be the year that I spend trying to figure out exactly what my passion is, and hopefully a few other fun things along the way. For example, I’m going to start teaching barre classes this year. I don’t exactly know when, or where for that matter (I’ve been promised there is a studio on its way!) I’ve never really thought that being a fitness instructor was in my future/ even something that I was passionate about, but as it turns out, I really really love taking barre classes, and I think that teaching them will actually be a lot of fun… here is to 2014 and trying new things…

As far as resolutions go, I think its best to put them out there in the open. I know some people write them down, stick them in a safe place, and then return to them a year later, half forgetting what was written down… I’m all for tradition, but for me, Resolutions are a little bit about intention, and a lot about accountability. Putting something out into the universe is swell, but putting something out into the universe and then asking people to keep you on track is even better.

 2014 “projects”/ “Resolutions”/ “goals”/ whatever you want to call them.

—     Putting myself out there.  This is something I majorly need to work on. The fact of the matter is that I’m an introvert. Classic IMFJ personality here, and though I really like being social, I’m not always the best at meeting new people.  There was an article this year in the Huffington Post that was all about introverts, and as I was reading it all I could think was “I need to keep a copy of this to give to future employers and suitors” because I often worry that my introverted personality is misunderstood… I tend to just sit on the sidelines and watch people interact, and to be perfectly honest, I find it so informative. I know some people probably think that I’m totally uninterested, and socially awkward (which sometimes I might be) but mostly, I’m observing relationships, watching interactions, forming opinions etc. etc… also, I work in a fast paced, customer service driven job, and so most of my work day is spend being “on”. At the end of the day all I want is to be home, glass of wine in hand re-charging…. I think this is one of the reasons why the idea of dating is so daunting. I like meeting new people, I really do… but really, I’d much rather just skip all the small talk and be in a comfortable relationship where we can curl up in our sweats and watch Mad Men and eat take out. I realize this is kind of putting the cart before the horse, and also this is not how the world works.  I know that I have to suck it up, put on my happy face, and get to know new people. I need to actually work at it, and get out of my comfort zone. I need to put myself out there in 2014. Wish me luck (I’m totally going speed dating.)

—     Blogging once a week. This is going to be tough, I know it already. I can feel the excuses starting to creep up (was this one of my resolutions last year? It feels familiar, but I’m too scared/ lazy to look up posts from last year… perhaps I failed…)  But, the bottom line is that I have the time, I just have to actually make the time… and ask any writer ever, and they pretty much all say that if you are going to write, you need to be writing often and much, even if it is terrible. Sometimes you just have to keep writing, and keep writing, and keep writing through the bad stuff until a little tiny nugget of something that doesn’t suck comes out, and then you hold onto that, and nurture it, and tweak it, and maybe, just maybe it turns into an idea, a train of thought, a glimmering of something… so really, the least I can do is make myself sit down, and write/ put something out there once a week. I don’t have a writing group, so you all get to be my peers. It might be jumbled some days, and others it might just be pictures of my bulldog… but I’m going to try, and see what comes of it.

—      Writing more letters/ keeping an address book. I absolutely suck at keeping track of addresses. Every time I send out a holiday card, or need to send someone a birthday card or invitation, I have to send out massive text messages, or chain emails, begging and pleading for people to send me their addresses.  I can practically feel the eye rolls that are accompanied by the “I STILL live at…”  Don’t get me wrong, I could drive to most of these houses blindfolded, but when it comes to addressing an envelope… I’m half tempted to just write things like “Abe & Jason, the apartment above the Starbucks on 23rd & Overton, the one with the mint on the balcony.” (I think it would totally get there…)  Anyway, I actually purchased an address book (ok its just a notebook that I’m going to keep addresses in, because all the address books at my local book store were sort of dull) and I have collected everyone from my Christmas card list, and am vowing here and now to keep track of addresses, and also send more notes in the mail.

The Art Deco notebook on top is my new address book.

The Art Deco notebook on top is my new address book.

—     Eat a salad every day. I am pretty good at this normally… but also I work at a restaurant where sometimes all I want to eat is gluten free cheese pizza with duck confit and peach chutney.  And gluten free pizza with duck confit and peach chutney almost always sounds better than a salad…. But I’m pretty good with tangible goals… and I’m also pretty excited to see how many different salad combinations I can come up with. I of course reserve the right to not eat salads on days that I’m doing a juice cleanse (and I also reserve the right to maybe sometimes eat salads on the days that I’m doing a juice cleanse).

—     Speaking of Juice… Use my juicer so many times! I actually already use it quite a bit, but I want to make sure I use it enough to justify the investment. Viva la juice. The next cleanse starts on January 6th. Be on the lookout for lots and lots of juice photos.

Juicing my way into 2014

Juicing my way into 2014

—     Paint my fingernails more often (ok wait… I know this was actually a resolution from last year, spoken or not… (I did ok, but I could have done better) Mostly, I’m a jeans and tee shirts kind of gal, but there is just something about having my nails painted that makes me feel like I absolutely have my life together and am a fancy lady. It’s complete bullshit, but sometimes you just need that little extra boost of fancy! Of course with my job, one hour in the dish pit, and any manicure will be totally ruined, but a girl can still attempt to be polished every now and then!

—     See a Nutria in real life: Remember in 2009 when there was that story on Wait Wait Don’t Tell me about a woman suing Walmart because she was attacked by a Nutria? (if you don’t, you should listen to it now… it was clearly quite memorable. Its on May 16th, 2009 in the “Bluff the Listener” section. Also,  you should just Google Norman the Nutria, you know, for fun.) Ever since then, I’ve had a mild fascination with them… and have yet to see one in real life! My parents see them all the time on their morning walks…(do you know how many early morning texts I’ve gotten with pictures of baby Nutria? At least two…) I was discussing this very thing with my friend Janet the other day, and she decided that I should make 2014 the year I see a Nutria. The good news is that I know where to find some real life Nutria in their wild habitat, so if I don’t happen to stumble across one on my morning run, or while shopping for toilet paper at some big box store, I will know where to go looking for them next December when my deadline is approaching, and I’m starting to think of new resolutions.

—     No beer in January:  Full disclosure, I’ve gained a little weight over the past month. It doesn’t bother me, but it also doesn’t delight me. And I like beer, but I don’t LOVE beer, and I think that If I’m going to be pumping my body full of empty calories, I would rather pump it full of wine or hot chocolate, or gumdrops. So I’m cutting out beer for a bit, and seeing what happens. I blame the 24 year old boys that I work with who drink beer after beer every night, and who subconsciously peer pressure me into drinking with them… like I said, beer is ok, but its not something that I ever really crave, so this month I’m going to do without it.

I’m also going to work on keeping my house clean and organized, spending more time reading, and work on seeing the glass as half full.   (ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME….. I just found the blog post I thought was lost forever… it essentially says all the same things I say here… maybe I will just post them both and you can judge for yourself.)  Of course there are other things I plan on doing this year… but as we head into 2014, I think its good to start with a small list (and I think these are all totally attainable and maintainable things) and go from there. Wishing all of you a marvelous year, and the best of luck with your intentions, goals, resolutions etc.

At least I will be a good tipper.

Sitting here tonight I realized today was my last full day off before Christmas. It’s not a huge deal, all my holiday shopping is completed, everything is in the mail, the laundry is folded all the major priorities are taken care of… But I’m sitting here, feeling a little restless, so rather than getting sucked into Mad Men on Netflix, I’m here, blogging.  I can’t help the cliché, but this time of year I always start to reflect. What did I do this year? What did I learn? How did I grow? How am I different?

So there is this woman who comes into work all the time who drives me absolutely insane. I have a little bit of guilt about this actually for multiple reasons, and every time I contemplate how irritated she makes me, I feel like the biggest bitch in the universe… because really, she is lonely. I know this, I know this is why she comes in every day, why she talks everyone’s ear off about her work projects, how the lasagna in our deli case is just too rich for her, how she has tried to make replicate our quinoa salad a million times, how she used to sleep with her bike next to her bed so she could sleep with her hand clutched around it, about how impressive the symposium she just hosted was. Once she asked me what shade of lipstick I was wearing, and then literally came in a few hours later wearing the exact same shade and then started to refer to is as “our lipstick” And it shouldn’t bother me. I should be a bigger person. I should just embrace the fact that it makes her day when she comes in, when one of us asks about her day. And most of the time I do, but there are some moments when I see her walk through the door, and the other employees and I glance at each other, and we silently and quickly figure out who has has the most coffee, who is the least irritable, and who will be the one to interact with her that that particular moment. But really, the icing on the cake is in the ten months I’ve been working there and in her almost daily visits she has never tipped once. Not once. Ok, its bitchy of me… but you go to a place, every day, sometimes multiple times a day, you get all the free refills, you make sure you include us personally in your life, that we know every detail, that you share every story, and we smile and we listen (ok, some of us go home and write about it on our blogs) but for the love… throw in your change every now and then.

I get the being lonely part… mostly.  I’m a total introvert, so I don’t always understand the whole forcing of small talk thing… I love interacting with people, but only to a certain point. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you, I’m quiet, guarded even, and sure, I’ve got a blog, and I’m rambling on about my personal life, but that is not something that I tend to do face to face. I would never stroll into my neighborhood coffee shop and unload on the barista about how rough of a day I was having. I might think it, I might sit quietly in the corner sipping my Americano, and would probably divulge a little information, a brief insight to a passerby who might ask how I was doing… but I would never come in with a sense of entitlement and just completely unload… but give me twenty years and we’ll see where I am… I know one of the reasons why I’m so annoyed with her is because deep down, I have this fear that someday that is going to be me.

About six months ago,  I jokingly told my brother that his first born was going to end up taking care of me. Naturally in my mind, its more like the situation from Little Women… without me being old and kinda crazy. I will be the fun aunt, and we will run off to Europe, and we will read, and eat and drink and live, and I will not be the annoying woman with the tendency to undert-tip and over-share. I will be the mysterious American woman who keeps to her self, I will have a certain je nais se quoi about me. Done and done. Contingency plan, check.  But one thing I’ve realized is that over this past year, my fear of being alone has started to dwindle…

Looking back on this year, its been a little rough in patches. I lost one job, I lost someone close to me, I’ve struggled trying to find what I’m passionate about, I’ve lost motivation, but one insight that I’ve gained is that heart gripping fear of spending my life alone is not quite as scary as it used to be.

In 2013 I went on approximately 1 date. It was actually a pretty decent date, as far as first dates go, but it was with a person who was just so incredibly wrong for me. He was 24, and here is the thing about 24 year old men… rather, 24 year old boys. The age difference is too much. I say this to my friends in relationships, and they all vehemently insist that I’m full of it (its because they aren’t out there dating 24 year olds, so they will never really understand.)  I just finished reading Wild a few days ago, and I felt so vindicated, because there is a part of the book where Cheryl Strayed is talking about being a 27 year old women and how at that age , age really does matter. “It was an absurd crush, I knew. He was four years younger than me, and we were at an age when those nearly four years mattered, the gap between what he had done and what I had done was large enough that I was more like a big sister than I was someone who should be thinking about being alone with him in his tent—so I didn’t think about it” Yes, vindication. Thank you Cheryl for getting it, and for writing about it in your best selling book.

Sure, I feel a little hypocritical talking about age being an issue, since I am in fact 15 years younger than my ex boyfriend. Here I am saying that 4 years younger than me is too young, and yet sitting there at the table across from the one date of 2013, I was looking at where I had been, and not where I was heading… I suppose then I have to let go of all resentment being told on one occasion or another that I was too young for someone  (though I still maintain that I am an old soul, and will probably end up with a man who is older than me…  its just a gut feeling… if you have been on a date, or even in the same room with a 24 year old man/boy lately you will understand where I’m coming from.) The guy really was very sweet, and he actually came into work the other day with a very young looking hipster girl on his arm… because at the end of the day if it isn’t right it isn’t right. Which is the main thing I’m taking about of 2013. Though I certainly don’t have a full repertoire of dating experience from this year, I have gained a lot of insight from watching other people in relationships. And I won’t pretend to be an expert, and I certainly won’t be the one to judge, because I know that all relationships are hard at times, and require a lot of work , commitment and compromise. But this year as I have embraced my choice of not settling, of not choosing to be with the wrong person, I’ve become acutely aware of all the people around me who have settled in relationships, who have jumped in an compromised maybe too much, and my heart goes out to those people. I’m not sure I’m able to convey this properly, because again, I’m not coming from a place of judgment, and really as an outsider I know I don’t always see the whole picture, or know the full context of situations. Love is a complex thing, and I admire the people who are stumbling through it on a daily basis.  For me being single isn’t necessarily a choice, but I do feel empowered knowing that by being alone I am choosing to not be with a person who isn’t right for me. (is that a double negative? It doesn’t sound quite right, but its late…)

But going back to my reflection, I’m still figuring out how this year has shaped me, and what sort of path that will lead me on in 2014. But mostly I have realized that I’m no longer afraid of being lonely. I still have a lot of fears (hello I practically have a nervous breakdown every time I get a paycheck, and then look at my credit card bill) I still have a lot of uncertainty… and there are nights when the loneliness still haunts me. When it’s actually a physical ache in my person… but it is also somehow remarkably ok. Over the past year I have been able to branch out and cultivate some new friendships that I’m forever grateful for.  Hello, I actually sent out all of the holiday cards that I ordered, a first for me.  And it might not be much, but its nice to know that even if I spend the rest of my life deciding not to settle, I’m still going to have some of these amazing people to go through life with. These amazing people who embrace my neurosis (or at least tolerate them quite well) call my bulldog nephew. And at the end of the day, at the end of this year, I can at least take a little comfort knowing that if I do end up becoming an entitled single women who comes into coffee shops and lipstick stalks the employees, at least I will be a really good tipper.

Gardening instincts, SAD, and finding my motivation.

These last few days have been beautiful in Oregon. I typically don’t miss the Montana weather (its currently blizzarding and 2 degrees in my home town. No joke. There is a live webcam…) But these last two days the sun has been shining, the sky is blue, and I keep having a twinge of nostalgia for the clear crisp winter days… the blizzards not so much. I crave snow about once a year… one weekend is the perfect amount. Preferably around Christmas, anything over that just seems excessive.

 So yeah, I don’t miss the snow, but I would definitely take a few more crisp sunny days. Don’t get me wrong. I adore the dreariness of Oregon winters. I crave it a little bit, actually. The cozy foggy mornings that just beg you to snuggle in with a good book and a cup of tea. The bright green grass contrasting the dark charcoal sky. The drizzling rain… It soothes my soul, which is probably why I moved to Oregon in the first place. But every now and again, a little bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder sneaks its way in, and I’m left feeling a little blasé this time of year.  Thankfully, I have a happy lamp, which typically does the trick, even though it is a little ridiculous.

When my parents first made the move to Oregon the weather transition was a little rough on them. My mom’s doctor suggested a light supplement, and as it turns out they were selling them at Costco. Score. After about two weeks though, my dad had deemed the Happy Lamp the “unhappy lamp” because its actually a bit abrasive. After a bit of complaining, the light made its way over to my place, and mostly I used it for my house plants, but every so often I pull it out for personal use. I usually just place it in the bathroom, getting my extra dose of light as I get ready for the day, which is a win-win, as it turns out my bathroom doesn’t have the best lighting.  

 Anyway, the last few weeks I’ve been feeling rather unmotivated. I’m not depressed per say, I’m exercising, eating well, getting myself out there, and even meditating… but all that aside, I just haven’t been terribly motivated to work on the things that make me, me. I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t really been working on anything creative, my house is a bit of a disaster, I haven’t been cooking… I’ve kind of just been coasting aimlessly, not feeling passionate about anything.  And overall, I think that is allowed, and I haven’t even been overly concerned about it… until Today I realized how elated I was that the sun was shining. Hello productiveness! Hello  goals. Hello achievements (mental note: add vitamin D to my vitamin regimen stat. This sun can’t last forever) 

Thankfully, this motivation came on my day off (isn’t it the worst when you get super motivated, and you realize that if you actually stop to clean the bathroom you will be 20 minutes late to work? This happens to me often).  So I took the motivation, I took the sense of purpose, I took the energy from the sun, and put on some garden gloves. I’ve pretty much been avoiding putting my garden to bed for the winter like the plague.  I do this every year, and then make it so much harder for myself each spring… Mostly I got a little too excited about my garden this year, and then didn’t have a ton of time to do anything with it, so the idea of cleaning it out was a little daunting. I started the project a few weeks ago, but still had some beds that needed clearing.  Today was the perfect day…. And then I kept going. I clean out the tomato beds, I pruned the raspberries, I did a little weeding, trimmed back the mint, and even swept my patio. I would have gone so far as to pick up dog poop, only my super duper pooper scooper broke into a million pieces after 1 scoop. Tragedy. I’ll deal with that later.

 BUT one thing I did observe in this midst of this yard project was how happy it made me. Working in my garden, and growing my own food brings me epic amounts of joy, and even though this is the not fun part of gardening, I still found myself getting excited by the pruning. Mostly I have no idea what I’m doing… last year was a huge pruning experiment, and it seemed to mostly work, and so I decided to forge ahead with false confidence… only once I got going I realized that it was all pretty instinctual. I imagine this is sort of how first time parents feel. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but this feels like the right thing.” Granted, I am not a parent, and don’t have plans to become a parent, but it seems like its kind of the same thing.  There I was, in the raspberry patch, and I could just look at the branches and say “this one won’t produce next year, it’s a goner!” and I really did have every confidence that I was right (talk to me next June, and lets see if I have any raspberries). Once I cut about five branches, I started to notice that each of the branches I was eliminating was tied to the trellis with a green twist tie. I haven’t had time to confer with my father (who tamed the raspberries this spring) but it almost felt like a road map. “These are the ones that are producing now, and won’t do anything next year”  at least that is what I kept telling myself. It might just be a grand coincidence that every branch that was tied up was one I was getting rid of…. I’ll have to confer with Mike.

Who knows how long it will last, and what the rest of the winter will bring, but two days of sunshine, and I’m feeling more like myself. I’m feeling like I’m ready to tackle more projects, and ready to get more back into the things that make me feel like me.  We will see how long it lasts… Hopefully a while!

 

Le Sigh

Generally speaking, I’m not really into disclaimers.  As a writer it has always been my biggest pet peeve in workshops or critique groups when people start out with “well its just a rough draft” or “ Its still a work in progress” already offering some excuse as to why you might read it the way you do. I tend just to throw things out there and hope for the best.   My last blog post has ended up causing a bit of an up roaring in my personal life, and I’m trying my best not to over-think it, but I would like to clarify a few things, and then forever and always I’m going back to writing about things like baby goats, my garden, amazing food and wine, and the everyday awkwardness that is my life.

Le Sigh.

My blog is generally about my personal life. It’s a way for me to stay connected with the people that I know, some of whom I’ve met, some of whom I haven’t.  Occasionally it is an observation of things or people or situations, but I tend to write about what I know, what is in my head, and leave it at that.  Writing helps me process a lot of things, and sometimes that comes out in a bit of a mess, but it has never been my intention to purposely slander/ throw someone under the bus/ or be catty/ manipulative or judgmental.  I’m not really an “air everyone’s dirty laundry” kind of girl. That being said,  If you don’t like what I say on my blog, you don’t have to read it. Period. If you don’t want to know what I’m thinking and feeling, what my opinion or point of view is… you are in the wrong place. I’m not going to apologize for my writing, nor am I going to sugar coat or tiptoe around things because I’m worried about what other people might think. What I write about is deeply personal to me, and if you choose to be a part of that and get some insights into my life, then that is great. I appreciate that. If you don’t… well then no one is forcing you to read it. I’m sure there are a lot of other ways you could be spending your time, and I’m not going to be offended. I also welcome differing ideas and opinions.. if you want to start a dialog with me, I’m absolutely all about it.

For the record: The purpose of my last post was not to slander my ex boyfriend, nor was it expose his personal life, or to vindicate myself. Even now looking at it, I view it as a “these are some things I’m going through, this is how I’m dealing with them, these are ways in which I’m trying to better my life, an make better choices.”  I wasn’t trying to name names or point fingers, or go all woe is me… It wasn’t supposed to be a “hey world my ex boyfriend is a giant ass” and that wasn’t in my head when I wrote it. Here is what it was… a way for my to officially be able to move on.  I think that he is an amazing parent, and an immensely talented person, and at the end of the day I really truly wish him the best.  But right now, what is best for me, is to not have him in my life.  At All.  And its really hard for me, and it makes me sad… but it is what is best for both of us. End of Story…. Mostly.

He is rather upset with me, and has repeatedly asked me to take down the post, asked me to re-write it, said some choice things etc. .  ( Maybe I am crazy, but if you don’t want me to be in your life in any way shape or form, and have asked that I remove you from all social media, maybe pay me the same courtesy and don’t read my blog? That sounds reasonable, right? If you feel compelled to read it fine, but maybe don’t go so far as to threaten to sue me for for slandering you… )  Re-writing my blog, elaborating on the situation, or making amendments is not something that I feel like I need to do, but I do welcome any comments or edits that he would like to make to fill in a bigger picture, and I’ve told him this repeatedly. He has assured me that he doesn’t need to because all of our mutual acquaintances know his side of the story, and they all know I’m the fucked up one… and no one would ever read this garbage anyway… (well he did, clearly… and it apparently struck a nerve… again, not my intent)  To the handful of you who actually know us both, and do actually read this… Thanks for  being in both of or lives…  I really do  wish him nothing but good things… This was not an attempt to show the world another side of him, this was not an attempt to get his friends and colleagues to see my point of view and turn against him, this was not me drawing a line in the sand asking people to choose sides. I assumed that our mutual acquaintances and colleagues would stay mutual acquaintances and colleagues, and would not be sucked into the drama… perhaps that was naïve, as I’ve been informed that everyone in the Portland food scene knows that I crazy manipulative bitch I am, and everyone that I respect and admire professionally and personally knows the “truth about me” and is under the impression that I need to seek professional help, or am just some deranged   manipulative woman.   And to that I say, Bummer.  I am trying to branch out and make a name for myself, and over the past year, I have met a lot of interesting and amazing people that I would like to keep in my life… and because I’ve had a falling out with this person, those relationships might not be possible. But at the end of the day, I can’t control how people view me, and what they choose to believe about me… and I’m remarkably OK with that.  I’m not going to let myself get caught up in insecurities, misunderstanding, and skewed views… I know what I wrote, I know how I meant it, I know where my heart was and  If people want to judge me without really knowing me, let them. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt, it is my fatal flaw… but sometimes I find it really empowering to hold onto the optimistic view of people. I want to believe the best in everyone, I want to see the best side of people… and sometimes that bites me in the ass… and by all means I don’t expect everyone to afford me the same grace. I stand by what I wrote, I don’t feel like I need to apologize for my writing and for my point of view… and I cannot fault my ex for his point of view, he is entitled to it… we clearly see the situation very differently…and at the end of the day, I have no control over how people are going to view me. Sure, I could publish all the text messages back and forth between us, I could sit here make comments about his past relationships and issues as I see them, but I’m not. That isn’t my place, nor was it ever the intention of my last post. Truth be told, I wrote it because I needed some accountability.  I needed some closure.

This is not the first end all, get out of my life fight that my ex and I have had… and yet in the past we have somehow ended up back in each other’s lives, but it will be the last. For the record, I think he is immensely talented, and a great dad, and he is so charismatic, and easy to be around… and I keep getting sucked back in. And I wanted to get sucked back in… I wanted to be in his life, and I thought that I could do it. I thought we could just be friends, and I could be ok with it… but that wasn’t being fair to myself, or honest… yes, he was always clear that what we had was just a friendship, but at the end of the day he was still the man I fell in love with, and I didn’t want to not have him in my life, but I also never really let go of the idea in the back of my mind of “well maybe some day the timing will be right.”  It will never be right, I know that with 110% certainty, but when you give that part of your heart to someone, its not always easy to take back.   And yes, I was deeply hurt by some of the things he said, by the way he treated me, how he spoke to me, and how he chose to interpret my actions… not hurt enough to write a vindictive blog post, but hurt enough to share with the people that I care about what was happening in my life.

So thanks in advance to those of you who are keeping me accountable, to those of you who know me well enough to know my intentions (or at least give me the benefit of the doubt) and a special thanks to the people in my life who love and tolerate me all of the time.  You are good people and I like you a lot.

Mini-life detox.

Here is the thing about blogging: Its so much easier to write things in your head. I might be slightly biased, but I write some amazing mental drafts of things. I then finally find a few hours to sit down at my computer, and what comes out on the screen is usually a little bit more like verbal diarrhea. Sometimes I edit it, sometimes I delete it, but mostly I just post it, hope for the best, and move on to the next thing.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m wordy. I go where my mind takes me, and I realize for other’s it might not be the easiest to follow… But at the end of the day this is an exercise. It is getting thoughts into words, and it is exposing my jugular by putting them out there for other people to read. You might relate, you might not, you might think its funny, or terrible, you might only read it because you feel slightly obligated, or like my parents, you are looking for some more insights into my life. (love you guys). Whatever your reasons, thanks for reading.

 

I had a doozy of a weekend. The kind that makes you take a step back and decide I need a mini-life detox.  Which is exactly what I’ve done this week.

Backstory: Saturday night I had a fight with my ex-boyfriend. Mostly I was calmly saying “can we just talk about this like rational human beings?” as he yelled obscenity’s over the phone about how crazy and unstable I was, that I was too immature and that I needed to seek professional help for all of my issues etc.  (all I’m going to say about that, is that I was not the one yelling at my ex over the phone at 2AM… but I’m the immature unstable one, right?)  The fight was probably a good thing, it really helped me process some things, and see the situation a little more clearly, and overall I walked away feeling like “well, I sure dodged a bullet”. But it also left me feeling really sad.  I know that everyone has baggage and issues, and life is never simple, but arguing with him made my heart hurt, just seeing the reality that he lives in thinking that everyone and everything is against him. I know we all have defensive mechanisms, it’s a form of self preservation, but its really hard knowing that he decided a very long time ago that his life was too messy for anyone else to handle (which isn’t true, but he thinks its true) and so he just pushes people past their breaking point each and every time they get close.  It’s a self fulfilling circle… It’s hard to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, especially when you know that your heart and your intentions are come from this genuine and true place, and that someone else has twisted them into something completely malicious and negative.  Knowing that there is this version of you out there somewhere, even if it only exists in someone else’s mind is a little unsettling.  But overall, I’m just trying to let that go. As I writer this is something that I deal with a lot as well. Putting things out there and not having any control about how people interpret them is a really scary, and sometimes frustrating thing.  (I am constantly thinking, “But that’s not how I meant it! If someone took it that way does it mean that I’m not being very clear? Am I not able to get my point across? Do I basically suck at this?”) And then I let it go, because at some point you just can’t worry about it any more.

 

And at some point on Saturday I decided that I just can’t worry about him anymore. And it’s hard, because there are his kids to consider, and though I do worry about them every day, I have finally come to terms with the fact that he can no longer be in my life in any way shape or form. (12 hours after I decided this he was still texting me verbally abusive things about how what a crazy bitch I was… and saying that I was the one who kept bugging him etc… No communication seems like a no brainer).  I’m not trying to bad-mouth him, and I do really want what is best for him and his family. He is damaged and I knew that going in, and I hope he finds what he is looking for, but I also know that it doesn’t involve me in anyway, and that I need to focus on my own happiness.

 

I’m also going through a transition at my job right now. Over all it’s a really good thing, but I’m no longer Managing, and I went through a few days of mental battles with this. I love having more free time, and it’s a bit of a relief to not be in charge of people, to be able to clock in and out and leave things at the door.  I’m not exactly passionate about washing dishes, waiting tables etc. but I am passionate about the place that I work, which is at least something. I had a few fleeting moments of  “I have a liberal arts degree, I’m 28. All of my friends have careers and THIS is my life?”  but I have let go of that thinking. I’m thrilled to have a job that pays the rent and puts food on the table, and for the first time since I’ve been out of school I’m not married to my job. This is wonderful and also terrifying. I’ve been able to hide behind my job for so long… (I am fine being single 100%. However when every other person on the planet tends to repeatedly ask you a million times why you aren’t dating someone, its nice to be able to say things like “well I work  a lot, and not a lot of available men are frequenting the lavender farm these days” or “I barely have time to walk the dog most days, do you think I have time to go out and meet men?”) But all this to say, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my life, I don’t have a 5 year plan, and every time someone brings this up, I get a little panicky. Had you asked me this a year ago, I could have told you with unwavering certainty exactly what I wanted with my life.  (move to Portland, Marry this guy, go to graduate school, be a part time step mom, teach yoga. Things change. It happens. I haven’t picked a new dream yet… but I’m giving myself some time to work on that… and hopefully now that I do have more free time I’ll be able to follow some more passions. )

 

ANYWAY, long backstory per usual, but Sunday morning left me feeling like I was kind of hit by a bus… well actually more like my face was stung by like 10 bees. I was sad, and puffy, and emotionally belittled and I decided right then and there I was going to do a 5 day mini-life detox.

 

Mostly this just consisted of a few key things. 1) exercise daily. 2) make healthy choices. 3) surround myself with positive and uplifting people. 4) drink a whole lot of juice. 5) be joyful.  Mission accomplished.

True, I’ve eaten some junk food, and rolled my eyes a few times this week.  But I’ve also gotten up every day and made the decision to be happy. I’ve frolicked in the amazing fall weather, I’ve seen and talked to some great friends, I’ve been moving my person, and focusing on the good things. And you know what? Life is pretty delightful.

 

Here are some other things I’ve done recently to detox my life and work towards being a better me.

 

3 day Juice Cleanse from Portland Juice Press:

AKA the best thing ever. I had such a great time doing this juice cleanse, and Portland Juice Press was amazing to work with. They offered us a group rate, even delivered it all the way out to wine country, the juices were interesting and delicious, and it was such a great way to jump start some healthy habits. I cannot recommend it enough.

Post Juice cleanse I kind of jumped on the juicing wagon. I got a hand me down juicer from a good friend, and started juicing up a storm. After juicing at least once a day for a month, I thought it was time to invest, so this week when I was feeling a little down, and maybe a little impulsive (though if I was really feeling impulsive I would have bought the $300 Frye boots… instead I got a juicer… which is really just investing in my life) The new juicer is amazing, and I’m juicing just about everything in sight. Yesterday I put fennel bulb in there! And you know what, it was delicious.  Some of my other favorite things to add to juice, Cilantro, Collard Greens,  and red peppers.  But the fennel was like blow your mind good.

Starting tomorrow I’m doing a 21 day “Get Your Juice on” challenge. Its free, and simple. 1 juice a day for 21 days. It’s not a cleanse, its not a diet plan, its just “add this juice to whatever you are already doing, and see what happens” experiment. Last time I checked there were over 150 people signed up for it, and it should hopefully be a fun way to share recipes and stories. It starts tomorrow, so its not to late to join! http://getyourjuiceonchallenge.com

 

I also signed up for this 10 day whole life cleanse. My Good Friend Amanda over at The Savoury Soul is putting it together, and I’m looking forward to not only supporting her as she launches her first program, but also digging in and finding some ways to let go of some of my own baggage.

 

And I’m also listening to more Country Music. Um what? Since when did my Montanian roots catch up with me? Its not for everyone, and some songs are way too redneck, my cheated heart, or my mama taught me themed for my liking. But a lot of it is just happy… and lately it kind of makes me happy. Go figure. (Maybe its a phase?)  Feel free to groan and eye roll, and then listen to some Keith Urban or Darius Rucker.

 

 

 Some Pictures from this week.

Frolicking in the Fall Leaves

Frolicking in the Fall Leaves

Arebequina Olives. Its almost Olive Harvest time in Oregon!

Arebequina Olives. Its almost Olive Harvest time in Oregon!

 

My trusted steed.

My trusted steed.

 

 

 

A Truly Magical evening at Jacobsen Salt Co.

Before I even get started, let me just say that I kinda have a crush on Ben Jacobsen. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can get on to the really important things, like how magical* my Wednesday evening was.

 

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racks and racks of salt

 

(* I’m realizing right here and now as I compose this in my head that I’m probably going to say magical and amazing a whole lot in this post.  I looked up all the synonyms for magical, and it really doesn’t feel authentic for me to say things like fairylike, mystic, or paranormal… stupid thesaurus. I apologize in advance if you want to punch me in the face because I’m gushing about my magical evening. )

 

I woke up on Wednesday morning to sunlight streaming in my window. Both my cell phone and computer had died in the middle of the night so I had no idea what time it was (yes they were both situated in bed next to me, its fine I sleep alone, there is plenty of room) but I laid there for a while just basking in the fact that I had the day off, and I figured I probably couldn’t sleep through my morning yoga class even if I tried (well, ok I could, but I was pretty confident that even if I didn’t know what time it was, I hadn’t yet missed my class. I was correct).  I started to think about what I was going to do that day, and as I laid there looking at what was potentially the last really perfect Indian Summer day, I decided to drop everything and spontaneously head to the coast for a dinner at Jacobsen Salt Company.

 

I had been toying around with the idea for a little while, and I knew I would be going to at least one of the dinners there this fall, I just hadn’t decided which one. I had a million reasons why I hadn’t signed up for this dinner, but on Wednesday morning, none of them actually seemed legitimate (ok, maybe the budget reason was legit… I’m choosing to ignore that)  I was bummed I wasn’t going to any of the Feast Portland events over the weekend, and was craving a foodie adventure. So I rolled out of bed, found my computer cord, waited for baby-mac to charge, and promptly bought a ticket. Gotta love the power of the interwebs.

 

Over the past few weeks a few things have changed  a bit in my life. The largest thing  being my job (more about this at another time) but I’ve suddenly found myself working a lot less (hilarious that full time seems leisurely these days) and have been trying to focus on filling my free time with things that make me happy. Exercise, socializing, fun experiences… and lets face it. Amazing food and wine make me really, really happy. Throw in fun people, and pushing out of my comfort zone a little bit, with the spontaneity factor, and I’m pretty much blissed out.  So getting a ticket for a dinner with Chris Cosentino at a enchanting salt factory on the Oregon coast was really a no brainer.  (seriously, why did I wait until that morning? I have no idea… going to this dinner was perhaps one of the best decisions I’ve ever made… at least one of the most fun things I’ve done for myself in a long time)

 

Fall time always makes me feel a little introspective. With the afore mentioned free time, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, evaluating, and self analysis. (sometimes this is good. Other times not so much, but at the moment, I think it is good to take a step back, and realize ways in which I want to grow) One thing I’ve really been sensitive to is trying to make a name for myself. Maybe not even really that… it’s more like I want to be memorable. At my former job I really struggled with this, partially because as an event planner it is pretty much your job to blend in and be behind the scenes. This was all good and fine at weddings, and private functions, but it got really frustrating at industry events and wine club pick ups, because I felt like I was meeting the same people over and over and over again, and each time they had no clue that we had met dozens of times before. A lot of that is just the industry, and some of it was me being a wall flower, but regardless, it started to wear on me a little bit. Not that I want to be the center of attention, but I think every person at least hopes to be memorable in some way.

 

I went through a lot of the same thing last year when I started dating my ex. He is a chef, and kind of a famous one, and once again, I would go out with him, and I would “meet” people whom I’ve met before, and now suddenly that we were together I was standing out.  At least at the time… flash forward to now, and I run into people that I met when we were together all over the place. They usually just look at me with no recognition, all the while I’m replaying conversations I had with them in my head. I’m trying not to take it personally… I have a really hard time with names, and I know that I meet a lot of people at the market, and I can’t always place where I know them from…  But at the end of the day, I don’t want to be forgettable, but I also want to stand out for who I am, and not for who I am with or where I work.

 

And I feel like in the last year I’ve finally gotten a handle on this. I know that most people actually associate me with where I work… but I’m pretty ok with that.  Red Hills Market is kind of the epicenter of wine country, and if people know who I am because I make their latte’s every day, or because I cater at their winery, I’m ok with that. Because for the first time since I joined this crazy/fun/unpredictable industry I feel like I’m actually a part of the community, and not just orbiting outside of it. And it feels nice to be making connections, and mostly making them on my own. (of course, I get home on Wednesday evening, and my ex, who is friends with Chris Cosentino calls me to ask about the dinner, and immediately says “well did you talk to Chris? Did you tell him that we know each other? Did he give you the time of day because you know me?”  Le sigh.  No, I did not name drop, and I knew that I  totally could have, and perhaps would have had a magical celebrity chef moment… but for me Wednesday night wasn’t about name dropping. It was about amazing food at an amazing place, and putting myself out there for who I was.)

 

Anyway, long tangent coming back around…  I had been at Jacobsen Salt Co. all of two seconds, and I step out of my car and the first thing I hear is “Oh hi Awkward Olive!”  And there is Jami Curl of St. Cupcake and Quinn  aka “sprinklefingers” greeting me with a smile and a hug. We had never actually met before, and up until that moment had only known each other through Instagram, so the whole thing was a little surreal.  I know lots of people have twitter meet ups (is there like a catchy term for that? I don’t tweet really, so I have no idea) Anyway, I always had a sneaking suspicion that if we ever met, we would be friends in real life. I should probably be more creeped out that I already felt like I had a connection and a real life relationship with this person whom I have only ever communicated with via photo comments (the fact that she isn’t creeped out that I’m a little bit obsessed with her son,  in a totally not creepy way, makes me think that we really actually get each other pretty well).  I find her to be really entertaining (follow her on instragram, for reals, you won’t regret it) and very relatable.  I knew within moments of stepping out of my car that I was among friends, and that the evening was going to be amazing, and it just kept getting better.  I met a bunch of fun new people, re-connected with some people I already knew, and had a blast putting myself out there.  At one point we were on a tour of the salt facility Jami turned to me and said “When we go into the room with the large pool, I want you to imagine that I have given Ben the gift of an otter, and its in the pool swimming on its back with a little shell clutched to its chest. It will make the tour a lot better.”  Yup I knew she was my kind of person.

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As we waited for the tour to commence, and dinner to be served we lingered by the water, sipped on pink bubbles (the wine kind, not the blowing kind) from Soter Vineyards… It was all pretty much heaven. I’ve been a fan of Soter for quite some time, and my old roommate used to work there, so last winter I became quite familiar with their wine. I also became much more familiar with the people working there, and find them all to be quite delightful. Hallie Whyte and I actually went to college together, but our paths never crossed very much, so its fun to have that Linfield connection with someone now. It’s kind of amazing to me how a school can be so small, and yet I’m still meeting people that I didn’t really know when we were engrossed in academia.  Anyway, I’m getting super off track… the wine, the bay, the facility, the people… to say it was anything less than magical would be a complete understatement.

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Starting off the tour

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Ben and Chris hanging out before dinner

Jacobsen Salt Co. is hands down one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. It is this tiny oyster farm converted into a salt factory, and it isn’t fancy, and yet it is the type of place that makes you want to drop everything, quit your life and somehow be a part of it.  (I love finding those types of places… don’t you?) My words aren’t really doing it justice right now, really you just have to go and experience it for yourself, preferably on a sunny day with pink bubbles… but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a pretty magical place any day of the week under any conditions with or without wine.  It also help that there are good people there.

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I met Ben a few years ago when he was just getting things started. He was making a delivery to Red Ridge Farms, and he had giant Rubbermade tubs full of lemon zest salt in the back of his car (before it was even available, back when he was schlepping sea water all the way to Portland to make his salt… it sounds hard.)  He was so charismatic, and so passionate about what he was doing… again, My type of people. How can you not be just drawn to people like that who are so passionate about what they do? (Le sigh, again. On the bright side, I am absolutely 100% passionate about where I work, just not what I do… I’m fine with this for now… I’m only 28, I think I have some time to figure things out, and my job does allow me to teach yoga, which is indeed a passion…) But Passionate people are where it’s at in my book.  Anyway, long story short, Ben is kind of adorable, and maybe the nicest person you will ever meet, and when I started working at RHM, I knew that I wanted him to come and do a salt tasting for the staff. Pretty much my first act as Front of House Manager, was to re-order salt, and get him on the books for our next staff meeting.  (It was SO fun!) I’m pretty sure just about everyone has the same thought/ reaction after hearing his story. Why aren’t more people making salt in Oregon/ Why wasn’t this my ingenious idea?  Regardless, the product is amazing, like truly truly amazing, and it only makes it that much better that the person behind the product with the vision is a cool person.

 

Ok, onto the food portion of the evening. DE-LISH.  I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have, or notes for that matter… Part of me wishes that I had notes about each bite, that I had written snippets about each course, and had squirreled away descriptors… I might kick myself for it later… How often do you get a meal prepared for you by Chris Cosentino? But to be perfectly honest, I was too busy basking in the whole experience. Yes, the food was a major part of that… but it was the evening overall that was so memorable, and for me the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. The wine, the food, the setting, the company…

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Le Menu

When my ex called to ask me about name dropping he also was grilling me for details on the food. Apparently Chris told him he was one-upping one of his dishes, so naturally he wanted the scoop. I couldn’t tell you if the blood sausage on the oyster was hot or cold, or what it was served with… I could tell you that I would have probably eaten 15 more of them if given the chance.

 

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I don’t have a picture of the oysters, but I do have a picture of these oysters doubling as salt cellars.

 

 

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The Radish and sea urchin salad was everything I wanted it to be. Light, crisp, simple, yet rich. There was color, and texture, and complexity, and just overall yumminess.

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Probably my favorite dish of the night was the Heirloom tomato and Nduja bruschetta. Come on, you had me at spreadable sausage. Hello. Plus tomato season is just on its way out, and nothing tastes as much like summer as beautiful garden fresh tomatoes.

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Heriloom tomatoes and Nduja Bruschetta

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The next course was  a truly breathtaking assortment of surf-n-turf.  As Jami so perfectly put it “we are going to have the meat sweats after this” Indeed we did. I had 2-3 servings of steak, perfectly cooked scallops, and an assortment of pickled veg. Yes, pickled veg, AKA the way to my heart. I do love a good pickle.

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Smoked Meats, diver Scallops and Incanto Gardineria

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We finished up the food portion of the night with a salt roasted pear. I saw a sneak peek of this on instagram earlier in the day, and had therefore been thinking about it/ looking forward to it pretty much all day. It didn’t disappoint. It was perfectly balanced, not too sweet… oh and did I mention that there was foie gras? It was amazing. Like the last meal you might ever want to eat in your life amazing.

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Salt Roasted Pear, hazelnuts and Foie Gras

 

I failed to take any pictures of the flower arrangements, but they were breathtakingly put together by Field Works Flowers. Meg was lovely to sit across from, and I’m totally enthralled by her work.

 

After dinner, I lingered a bit longer, not willing to end the night with dessert. It’s almost like the whole night was out of  an enchanted fairy tale, because after dinner we strolled back down to the bay, and drank more wine, and listened to the ocean in the light from the full moon. Real life Oregon, sometimes it’s a f*ing fairy tale.  And sometimes in this fairy tale you can’t stop gigging because Jon Valls says things like “It’s the big F*ing dipper, yo!”  Eventually we made our way up to the house, and sat around the fire pit for a while. Everyone else was mostly talking about all the upcoming events/ work to be done for Feast Portland, major upcoming projects etc. This is the part of the evening, where I most likely put on my introverted hat and just sat back and observed everyone’s interactions. I know it makes me seem socially awkward/ uninterested but really its just how I process. I love observing people and how they interact, and I’m just a really good listener, so its easier for me to sit back and hear and see people interacting with each other, and just soak in all the goodness. I know this backfires on me all the time, because I tend not to ask a lot of engaging questions, or any questions for that matter because I feel like I’m getting to know people just by observing. And as a result it feels really un-genuine  for me to ask questions that I already know the answer to. (for example, its kind of impossible for me to make small talk with this incredibly gorgeous wine guy who comes into the market all the time, because I already know where he works, and what he does, and that they are harvesting. I also know that when he comes in 95% of the time he is going to get a breakfast sandwich and salt and vinegar chips… and because I know all of this is makes it really hard for me to ask things like “Oh have you started harvest yet?” because I already know the answer. This is a really really dumb hang up, because obviously if I’m asking the question he doesn’t know that I know the answer… same goes for every other situation in my life… This is why small talk is THE WORST. But also this is maybe why Speed Dating would be amazing, because I wouldn’t know anything about anyone, and would only have a few moments to interact and no time to get all observy of people. Yes, I said observy. Longest tangent of all time. To sum up, why won’t the sexy wine guy just ask me some random small talky question? And more importantly, why won’t the speed dating company get back to me? For reals, apparently no one in the Porland area between the ages of 28-40 is interested in speed dating, because I’ve been waiting for them to schedule an event for 3 months…) Jesus, I should probably stop writing while I’m maybe a head?  Ha, realistically I should just edit this down, but what fun would that be?

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The fire pit/ after party

I left reluctantly, not wanting the evening to end, but knowing that I had an hour and half drive a head of me, and a sassy bulldog awaiting me at home.  I also knew that I had committed to meet a friend at Pilaties class the next morning (like I said, dinner involved meat sweats. Exercise the next day was not optional).  I tore myself away from the fire, gave Ben a hug goodbye, and settled into my drive home, with pretty much a perma-smile on my face.  Good food, good wine, good people. = an absolutely perfect night.  A magical setting, some amazing new friends… I think I’m going to let myself be spontaneous a little more often. I’m also going to eat more spreadable salami. And maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get to spend some more incredible moments at Jacobsen Salt Co. AKA one of the most amazing places on earth.

 

 

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Lemon Zest Salt

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Freshly harvested salt

*I just re-read this, and the use of magical, enchanting etc is a little gross… but I can’t help it. I wrote this somewhat late at night, and really those are the words that best describe the evening.