January 28, 2014

This is happening

We're going to Italy.

In June for 3weeks. Italy....with Austria and Switzerland thrown in.
Lake Como- Photo via Pinterest
When I think of it, it's like blinding sparks of excitement rise from my pelvis, up into my belly, heart, throat, hands...
"How can I wait 6 months for this to happen?! I've dreamt of this all of my adult life....travel abroad...and it's in our hands!"
Tickets are BOUGHT!   I have to remove myself from the anticipation...kind of like forcing time to stop so that I can step aside and collect myself, come to a calmness. Let it all sink in. All while urging time to just speed up and get us THERE.  And I want to scream this from the ROOFTOPS!  But I've found I actually feel kind of ...guilty... when I tell people about our trip.  Like the guilt that kept me from using my car seat warmers for the longest time even though I knew I should be enjoying them.  What's up with THAT?  I guess I am feeling incredibly humbled and VERY blessed...

I'm surrounded by maps, travel books, a Rosetta Stone Italian Language program my Bro-in-law gave me (Thanks Mark!!!), my laptop where the Google Gods are always waiting and my "ITALY Trip" Pinterest board already stocked with so many ideas and informative sites.  I'm overwhelmed, but gleefully so!  There's a dazzling amount of possibilities for us over there...I don't want to miss a thing but I know we can't cram it all into 3 weeks!  I'm so glad we decided on adding the 3rd.  Leaves us with more options.... We felt this was do-able since our annual Russian River trip fell through.  We just could not book a site for this summer.

We have a basic idea of what we'd like to do.  See Dylan first and foremost!  We're hoping by then she will be able to get a chunk of time off to spend with us.  We want to explore the area she lives in, road trip and hike in the Alps...South Tyrol...to Innsbruck or Salzburg?,
South Tyrol -Photo via Pinterest
We've gotta get Switzerland in there somehow...., dip in Lake Como, visit Milan's Duomo Cathedral, stay at a hippy/spiritual healing/artist commune in Piemonte, drink wine in Tuscany, the Italian Riviera-hike the coastal trails and pick olives in Cinque de Terre, the HISTORY in ROME! ....oh, my GOD, I'm going to explode!!!

I have a LOT of work to do to set this up.  B and B's, car rental and driving in Italy, finding a house sitter, itineraries.....  The only things etched in stone so far?  A Condor flight for 3 to Venice via Frankfurt.

Photo via Condor Airline
And!................wait for it.....ready?......clench your Kegels, Ladies...... 4 tickets in possession to MUTHER FUCKING PEARL JAM in MILAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Happy scattin' Jeezus jumpin' on a spire, we're going to see one of my top 5 fave bands in fucking ITALY!!!  The nose-bleed seats cost an arm and a leg but We.Are.Going.  I've currently enrolled Willa in a crash course of Pearl Jam 101 to prep her for the show.

Look!  They're in Italian!!!!
This is epic.  This is fucking stone cold  EPIC.  I have waited so long to travel overseas....We are making it happen........mind BLOWN.

EYE-Taly!!!!  FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!

January 12, 2014

Bringing In

These trees
-emissaries of the woods-
heavy with snow and frost
bend in gentle inclination toward protection...
an embracement
 and receiving of all
 who travel through

.....in beauty.

Willa so tiny
I'm helpless but to allow my soul to be split open wide and to drink of all that I see and feel in a place like this.  This beauty, varying and shifting in its sameness as we fly through it with hearts beating hard, breath coming cold, warm, cold, warm, bodies moving in power....     I can't get enough of this indigo world!  What an inebriant!

My writing sanctuary

Right here. Engulfed in this huge round-y chair made perfect with down filled pillows.  Feet propped up on the matching ottoman.    This is where I write.

In the winter, a warm glowing fire.  The soft teal blankie on my lap and over my toes feels just like rabbit fur.  A hot mug of cocoa, coffee, or mulled wine.  Celtic instrumentals or classical music surrounds me.

In the summer, I open the window behind me, the breezes caress the back of my neck and shoulders...the soft movement of my tendrils so soothing.  A glass of red wine, the robins' evening song or perhaps ambient music....
...and the sounds of my family.... completes.
 I feel little vulnerability here, surrounded by my paintings, plants, our family's treasures.   I can settle myself, calm and open my mind....and let words flow.
The warmth emanating from the wood floors bathes the room. The ever-changing view out these windows nourishes my soul. Always.  Even on the gloomiest days there is so much beauty here.

January 5, 2014


January 1, 2014

Happy New Year...2014!!!

This year, I made up my own damn meme!

1.       2013… was your life a pond or a river?  At times, I felt like life was a rushing river of events.  Finally finishing our new addition, Dylan’s decision to enter the Air Force , graduating highschool and leaving home, a summer full of exploring new places, fun vacations….  And at other times it seemed quite like a still quiet pond.  My work environment stayed the same, my art is at a standstill because I have no place to paint freely(and when I had the chance to paint outside, I made the choice to play elsewhere), physically I did not experience reaching new goals like I had in 2012.   

2.      What was the impetus for growth this year- body, mind, and soul?  BODY:  Due to my illiotibial band injury and my sprained ankle at the beginning of the summer, no real physical changes were made.  That was hard to take-especially the fact that I couldn’t run over the summer.  I missed many of the summer races….but Miles and I where at least able to run two half marathons using a basic “run for one minute/walk for one minute” routine.  It was more of a restorative routine to protect our bodies that were not used to intense running at the time.  My gym routine is in maintenance mode and I am REALLY needing a change to switch things up and awaken my muscles and get ready for more intense building.  I DID nourish my body this year with all the amazing and HARD hikes we did!  MIND: I’ve made more time for reading this year to feed my mind.  I’m feeling the urge to go back to school…not because I don’t like my career…I just enjoy school and the idea of starting something new and different is very appealing….but in reality, not very likely any time soon.  I have started a Rosetta Stone course in Italian, though!  SOUL:  I would have to say our entire summer was balm and food for my soul.  See my “Something Special Every Day” posts.  What an incredible summer it was!  On the daily meditation that I talked about last New Years, I have failed.  I was SO revved up to make it the start of my day every day, even if for only 5 minutes.  Routine and distractions always get in the way though.  With ADD, quieting the mind is just.so.hard.  I think I’m the type of person who would benefit more from the structure of mediation on CD, or a group, or a mentor to check in with periodically.  I just can’t seem to make it happen on my own.  As for my hope to step up my writing, I’m pretty happy with how I have kept it up.  Not as often as I would like, but more then I had been doing.

3.      What freed your soul?   Themes of letting go presented themselves quite a bit this year.  In letting go of hurts, disappointments, not putting up with toxic people and situations, I was often reminded of these lines from the serenity prayer:  Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change……….. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.” (Just to clarify: I’m not an addict, but like many, I find comfort in those words)

4.      What bad habit did you discard?  Habit?  Well, it’s more like the addiction of screens.  I’ve talked about this before.  And I’m happy with the progress I’ve made in keeping my screens off way more often!  I have a way to go and I plan to continue to improve in the next year.  Using the internets for communication and personal edification is one thing…..loosing yourself-and time-in it is another.  Another ADD problem.

5.      What magic presented itself?  When I think of magic, I think of Willa.  More than ever, she is such a joyous child.  And so very loving…intensely as of late.  Her developing sense of gratitude in life, empathy toward people and creatures, wonder at the world around her, physical abilities and expanding mind are a wonder to see.  She really is coming into her own wonderful personality…not a carbon copy of us, but her own true self.  And her own brand of humor is a joy!   Holy jeezus, I hope this doesn’t disappear with adolescence.  I would have to be committed at that point…

6.      What 3 words embody this past year?  PEACE, above all……Change…..exploration….

7.      Who fed your soul?  My family, always….My wonderful husband. I am constantly moved by how we just become closer, our understanding of each other deepens, we simply love each other more and more with every passing year.  We are very much our own person and yet so wonderfully entwined in many ways….a perfect blend.  Deepening friendships with a handful of good people.  As always, getting outside and playing!

8.      What new skill will you master?  Italian!!!!  Master?  Not so much….I hope by the time we head to Italy I’ll be able to have a basic conversation.

9.      Is there someone out there you would like to strive to be more like in 2014?  I’m pretty happy with myself but realize there is always room for growth.  This past year, I’ve had to take a close look at my shyness-riding the cusp of social anxiety, actually- and how it has worsened over the years…how I have changed from who I was in my 20’s.  I have always been shy and tentative around new people.  But that seems to have morphed into being seen as “reserved” even when I think I’m being “myself”, sociable, open, lighthearted.  A friend pointed out over the summer that I seem so outrageous on Facebook but am pretty reserved in real life.  Yuk!  An eye opener.  While social media has been wonderful for staying in touch with some great people, and allowing me to have a voice in a way that I had never experienced when I was younger, it has also enabled me to be less apt to reach out to people in real life.  Socializing from the comfort of my living room is so EASY!  No real judgment, no awkward silences, no struggling to break the ice.  I have allowed it to really change me and I need to nip this shit in the bud, NOW!  I’m so grateful to have found some new friends this year that I feel comfortable being my true self around.  THEY might not see the full me yet, but I do, when I’m with them.  So, is there someone out there I would strive to be like?  My duty is to strive to be the highest form of myself, whatever that may be, but my friend Noel has always been the person that I have said I would like to be if I could reincarnate after death.  I met Noel when I lived in Montana and was instantly blown away.  She, in my eyes, lives life fearlessly, without a care for what people think, in whatever way feeds her soul.  The type of person who would break out in dance at work to some crazy tune, shave her head to see what it would be like, express herself with a wide open heart and mind experiencing whatever interested her in life.  GOING FOR IT.  She is an artist, a thinker, an explorer, a champion for women and girls entrenched in sex trafficking….and soon she will be a mama. 

10.   What was the most important lesson learned this past year that you will take into the next?  Number 9 segues nicely into this one.  Because of my shyness, I missed out on knowing a wonderful person…perhaps making a family friend.  Our neighbor, Stephen, lived a couple miles down the road.  I’m sure we had all often been at the same events in the past, but I had never officially met him.  He was very active in and an integral part of the LGBT community as well as Progressive political groups.  We ran in the same political circles and struck up a “friendship” on Facebook over the last couple of years.  Stephen was known as a quiet but very kind, gentle and giving person, an avid outdoorsman and a brilliant mind.  He was always making political signs for use to use at sign wavings, marches and to stake in our yard.  We always seemed to have trouble crossing paths when he came over to drop them off.  But Stephen often invited me and my family to go hiking with him, he gave us permission to hike on his property up the side of a mountain to a saddle between 2 ridges.  He offered to share some of his many flower and native plant starts for my yard and deck.  Because of my shyness, I never made it a priority.  There always seemed to be something else going on. I always thought there would plenty of time to get together with Stephen…  You NEVER know when a person will be lost forever.  Stephen went missing in October.  His neighbor was alarmed when he hadn’t seen him for 2 weeks.  There was an investigation and search of his home and property.  Nothing was found, no foul play suspected.  His phone was charging, his wallet on the counter, radio on playing NPR, a half eaten bowl of popcorn by his chair…it was as if he simply vanished in thin air.  People wondered if he had had a mental breakdown and just….left.  Some thought he dropped everything to go on an adventure.  He may have attacked by a bear while working on his property…….gotten hurt on a hike and succumbed to the below zero temperatures……I joined a group helping to alert the public about Stephen’s disappearance…to get his face and info known….I stapled his “missing person” poster on all the mailbox fences up and down Hiland road….I prayed that he would be found safe and that we could finally hike together, talk politics over dinner at our house, visit his gardens in the summer…. 

Stephen was found a month later, dead deep in his basement, by his brother who had flown out to help.  He had been crushed by a slab of concrete he was digging under to expand his basement shop.  I postponed our meeting too long.  I will never meet Stephen, have the chance to get to know him or make him a friend.  I missed out on knowing a wonderful person.  I won’t let this happen again.  Off with the computer…hand outstretched IN THE REAL WORLD.

11.   What good deed will you do this year?  I have always wanted to print out kind thoughts, inspiring sayings and pictures of beauty on cards to distribute with Willa around town.  On gas pumps, ATM machines, tables at coffee shops, random mailboxes…just to give people a surprise pick-me-up!

12.   Where will wanderlust take you this year?  Italy, Austria and Switzerland!!!!  We’ll be visiting Dylan at Aviano Air Base and traveling around from there.  I.Can.Not.Wait!!!!

13.   What new music, books, foods would you like to explore this year?  I will take the time to further explore my father’s massive collection of classical music as well as getting more acquainted with the latest Indian influenced ambient dubstep.   I’ve also taken a step back in time and have been enjoying a lot of the metal bands of my “youth”!  Books!  Not enough time! I’m working on finishing the Fire and Ice series.  I’m really in a medieval fantasy mode right now.  Foods….going with the Fire and Ice theme, Santa brought me the Feast of Fire and Ice cookbook.  I’ve been drooling over George R. R. Martin’s descriptions of decadent medieval meals since I started the series!  I would love to host a medieval themed party with foods from the books!

14.   What will you make happen in 2014?  Connection with REAL people, physical goals-weightlifting gains, skiing/running race personal bests, finding the time and place to paint again, exploring new territories of all kinds, continuing to find something wonderful in every day…
Our New Years...
Lunch at Humpy's, a fantastic skate ski on the Hillside trails-Willa did great keeping up!, home to warm showers, hot mulled wine and an evening of games we got for Christmas.  Various firework displays lit up our valley at midnight....Today we gobbled Mile's sticky buns for breakfast, went for a mellow 3.5 mile run with Willa, and spent the rest of the day lazing and watching an LOTR marathon!

Remember Chinese jacks??!

"Would You Rather..." THIS game is right up a 9 year old's alley!