Friday, December 14, 2007

Conductor



The Winston-Salem symphony put on a performance of Handel’s Messiah last night. It was lovely. I enjoy symphony-type events but typically don’t go out of my way to attend performances. I was drawn to the Messiah partly out of nostalgia—my mother adores the Messiah and plays it basically the whole month of December, attends Messiah sing-alongs, concert performances, etc.
The caliber of performers, the musicians, the beautiful Gothic-style church setting, and the packed house added to the delight. I was particularly entranced watching the conductor. He’s quite handsome—and young, for a conductor. I was thinking about his profession: to be a conductor. What an amazing job and talent it takes: to assemble talented musicians, memorize the pieces, and make the performance flow. I sit in a desk, at a cube all day. My job is mildly satisfying—but there’s just no comparison to someone like him who coaxes music from his players and delivers the classics, re-packaged to his taste, for audiences thirsting to hear beauty.
Sometimes I fantasize about professions I would choose if I could pick any talent to be blessed with. A conductor is high on my list. To be surrounded by such quality, day-in and out; to be tasked with delivering performances that cause people to marvel at the human capacity to create; and to have the ability to move people emotionally—that is a profession. I’m sure the hours required are long and the expectations stressful, but the results—stunning performances, would be well worth the energy.
I think I’m going to make it a point to attend more performances in 2008. The Symphony is one of our clients, so I can get free tickets to performances. I realized after last night that it’s important to implant myself around the arts. I feel more entwined with the community here, and I enjoy being reminded of musical beauty.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Joe is a whiner

This blog is for Joe. Not me, Jo, but Joe, with an "e" at the end.
He just called me, whining (as usual). His complaint? I don't blog enough, and lately, when I do, I just whine.
Um, hello? Isn't that what blogs are for? To have your own little cyberspace corner to whine?
So, flipping back through my blogs, I see that, hmmmm, maybe Joe's got a point. Previous posts include such topics as homesickness, foot surgery and barfing, crying like a girl after I ran a marathon (wait, I AM a girl), break-up stuff, etc. I seem like a rather depressing person. Maybe that's why Joe keeps bailing on wine/board games.

So here's my happy space:
I have a great life. I like my job. I get to leave at 5:30 every day. I have the most awesome dog ever. I get to run again, in early January. I'm drinking much less soda than I used to. (But maybe slightly more beer.) I just bought some Christmas decorations for my house--even though it kind of goes against my low-consumerism philosophy. But my house is cherry and sleigh bells ring-ring-ringy right now.

There. Joe. Are you happy?

Monday, November 19, 2007

As Thanksgiving nears...

I’m going to be completely honest: sometimes I get homesick. Not really for any particular place—I don’t get homesick for my hometown, but I miss my parent’s house during the holidays. I miss San Luis sometimes, too. But not really San Luis, per say. I miss having fantastic mountain biking, right there. Out my back door. I miss the lifestyle. But because it’s almost the holidays, I’m missing my family, and living close to everyone—close enough to drive home, instead of flying. I’m not flying home for the holidays this year, and I didn’t last year, and I understand, that as long as I live across the country, flying home is not a fun activity, since it involves long airport lines, and a very good possibility of getting bumped off flights.
I sometimes (this is a recent thing) think about moving back closer to family. I’m not even sure where that is anymore. My parents are in California. My siblings are in Oregon. I have grandparents in Washington. Cousins and an uncle and an aunt in Nevada.
My parents are talking about moving to Mt. Hood, near my brother, in a few years. I kind of like the thought of being closer to all of them in the future. Seattle? Portland? Not bad cities. Close to good skiing. Mt. biking there is good, so is the running. I do know that wherever I live, the outdoor recreation is paramount. You’ll never find me in, say, Fresno.
I’m kind of at a loss to explain this sudden homesickness, or whatever it may be. Perhaps I’m just feeling a bit suffocated at the moment. I kind of see my life laid out if I stay here, and granted, I think I would have a very good life here. But then again, I’ve always been a bit transient, and I like tackling new adventures and places. I’m not ready to move, anytime soon, at all. I still love NC. I’m content here, and I want to stay in my current job for at least 2 more years. But sometimes, it’s a nice escape to think about possibilities. I guess we all need that.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Musings from a slow day at work

Hmmm, haven’t blogged in awhile. Here’s an update: still have walking cast on my foot. Still not running. Ughh. I keep having these dreams where I’m running, and I know I’m not supposed to be, but I keep going because it feels okay, and the whole time I’m thinking, this is totally going to screw my recovery. And I wake up wishing I could run.

But life’s not all about that. My parents were in town a few weeks ago, and we had a great visit. They very generously did some massive work on my house, which I’m quite grateful for. New paint in the guest bedroom and bathroom, new shelves, fixtures, pulls, gutters cleaned…the list goes on. We had a nice time, and I was sad to see them go.

I can’t believe the holidays are approaching so fast. Wasn’t it just summer, like yesterday? Suddenly, all of the buzz about turkey day approaching, which, BTW, is my least-favorite culinary holiday. I find it interesting that Americans, typically so adept at modifying and customizing EVERYTHING (I once worked at Starbucks; I know), will not get out of the eat-only-turkey-stuffing-pumpkin-pie rut. Really. I normally am not a picky eater, but I really find turkey to be always dry and tasteless, the stuffing to be only marginally okay—despite Martha Stewart’s attempts to improve the dish for her beloved readers—and cranberries? Why were they ever paired with turkey? Is it really appetizing to eat a fuchsia object that retains its cylindrical shape long after it’s been shaken from the tin? (Always accompanied by an odd slurping/sucking sound.) I think not. Desert isn’t even good. I don’t care for pumpkin pie—if it’s apple, fine, but if you’re going to eat pie, praise the Lord and throw some chocolate in. Or peeled fruit. But then, you would be veering from sacred tradition, and that would be sacrilegious.

For two blessed Thanksgivings, my family defied the crowd and we ate Paella for our Thanksgiving feast. The Spanish have much better culinary taste. Despite what the history books say, I'm willing to bet that those first pilgrims ate a dish as flavorful as Paella instead of celebrating around a dry, overstuffed gobbler. But I digress.

Since I’ve moved across the country, and because I refuse to fly home, or anywhere, during the busiest travel day of the year, I am now resigned to spending my Thanksgivings as a guest. Last year, I had a true-southern Thanksgiving in Virginia. This year I’ll be in Florida.

Which means? I’ll be eating turkey, and not delicious Paella.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Best Friend's Wedding



Kara, my dearest friend, got married last Friday in South Carolina. The wedding, the setting, the people, the atmosphere--everyhing was perfect, and it was a perfect representation of Kara and Jimmy.
They went for the non-traditional approach. No bridal party, no long, drawn-out ceremony, no fancy reception with special tables reserved for the bridal party--just Kara, Jimmy, and their closest friends and family. We gathered to celebrate them.
I have never met a better-matched couple. I'm lucky to have them as friends.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Foot Surgery

I went in for foot surgery a week and a half ago. It sucked, to be blunt. I had it done Friday morning, and filled up my Saturday with plans, thinking that I would bounce right back and be feeling great (albeit on crutches). Wrong. I won’t go into too many details, but I’ll just say that the pain meds took a long time to kick in and when they did, they made me nauseated, so I spent the day quite ill and feeling awful. I didn’t get back on my feet, so to speak, until Tuesday, when I ventured out into the world and back to work. Trying to do anything on crutches is highly inconvenient, and I don’t recommend it.
Cullen, bless his heart, was amazing all weekend, and I don’t know what I would have done without him. He took Friday off work, stayed up two nights with me rubbing my head as I moaned and cried, slept on a small armchair next to me downstairs, and carried me to the bathroom when I had to throw up. Definitely not a romantic weekend for us, but love is the good and the bad, and he got me through the bad.
Each day gets better. I got rid of the crutches (not exactly doctor’s orders, but, you know…) and even though I’m limping terribly and wearing a walking cast, I’m being very productive at work and in my social life.
I ache for running. I miss the trails, I miss just being able to go anywhere swiftly and not think about walking in a manner that doesn’t bend my broken foot.
But all in all, I can’t complain. I’m still a very healthy girl, and in a few months this will all be a memory that I probably won’t visit very often.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Trail Marathon


I have to be honest: going into the my first marathon, which was this past Saturday, I was excited, for sure, but I wasn’t feeling super, well, intimidated. I was feeling downright confident, actually. I had trained well. I had put in two 20 milers on the course and one 22 miler, done a few prep races, lots of speedwork and hill work—all of the stuff you’re supposed to do to ensure a good marathon. Now I understand the whole “aura” and “pinnacle” thing about the marathon.

I have done a lot of endurance races. When I was racing my bike, I did countless centuries, and one 130-miler for training. I was tired, for sure, at the end, but I was okay. I was still intact. The marathon is a whole different beast. I have never felt so spent and completely stripped after a race or endurance event. By stripped, I mean emotionally, physically--just raw. I had no control over my breathing, my tears—it just all came out that last mile. I knew I was in trouble when I started hyperventilating with 3 miles to go. Hyperventilating at the end of a race isn’t something new for me—I’ve done it a few times at the end of races, but I usually gain control pretty quickly, and I’m smiley by the time I cross the finish line. Not on Saturday.

What set me off was my knee: somewhere, early on in the course, I tweaked it, and throughout the race, I started getting sharp pains, but I ignored it, figuring that a surgeon is breaking my foot in a week, so if I hurt my knee, at least I’ll have plenty of time to heal up. All was well until the last six miles, and then the pain became a little more than I could ignore. By the last few miles, I was running on pure stubbornness. When I saw Cullen, at about mile 25, I just lost it. He rode next to me on the bike, encouraging me and reminding me to breathe (I sounded like a colicking horse by that point), but there was something about seeing the finish line, being pissed about my knee, feeling physically depleted, and—knowing that I was so close to the finish—that just left me completely defenseless. In a strange way, it felt fantastic.

I finished okay. I missed my goal time by 4 minutes, but I did well in the overall standings, so I guess it’s all relative. I know, that if all is well physically, I will absolutely do the same marathon next year. It feels strangely wonderful to have been beat down by something, yet not defeated. I have a new respect for the distance.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Marathon prayer

Please, dear God, do not let me get sick, twist my ankle, have insomnia, or in any way, shape or form, not feel 100% until after this Saturday has passed. Why? Because I have been training for this marathon, dutifully, through the humid summer months, suffered dehydration on 20 mile runs (twice—you think I would have learned), and am putting off foot surgery so I can run it. It really wouldn’t be fair if I came down with an ailment right now. I haven’t been sick at all this past year, so for something to happen, before this 1 day—1 out of 365, would just seem unfair.
And if something happens, it’s not like I can just find another marathon in a few weeks when I feel better. Explanation:
A. Trail marathons are hard to find. Because of my foot that needs surgery, I can’t run on the road. Hence, it would suck for something to happen to me before this Saturday.
B. My foot surgery is the following week. I could re-schedule, I suppose, but refer to A.
I feel like I should quarantine myself right now. I’ve never been so paranoid about my health. Usually, my philosophy is the more germ exposure, the stronger my immune system gets. Not so right now. Bring on the waterless hand sanitizer.
I’m feeling slightly tired right now and that seriously concerns me. Am I getting sick? Do I feel any signs of a sore throat? I think I’m going to go straight to bed when I leave work today. Seriously. Maybe I should call in preventative-sick to work tomorrow so I can stay in bed all day. Just in case.
My paranoia is completely justified. Cullen, who also trained through the humidity and suffered dehydration (twice) is sick. He probably (definitely shouldn’t) run the marathon on Saturday. He says he might race the first half to pace me, drop out, grab his bike, and meet me at the aid stations. I feel horrible for him. How crushing, to put in all this work, and then get sick, right before the race. But, if he does miss it, at least he can find a road one to race.
This will be my first marathon. I think I could run the course trails blindfolded—the race is on the trail system that backs up to Cullen’s house, and I’ve been running those trails weekly for the past year. I love them. I want to crush them in this race. I’ve completely prepared, and I’ve never felt so excited about a race. Usually I rather dread races, but I think a marathon will suite my endurance-style better than the shorter races, so I’m feeling confident.
This race will be my last run (sob) for a long time. The surgery will put me out for, optimistically, three months. No running for three months. I may, optimistically, be able to bike after one month, but considering that Dr. Sawbones is breaking my foot bone, I’m thinking that even if I’ll be able to bike, it will probably be the stationary variety, and not the ripping through the trees on my new kick-ass mt. bike variety. I really don’t know what I’m going to do with my spare time. Or how I’ll relieve my stress, have deep thoughts as I wind through singletrack, or get very familiar with my iTunes playlist. Running, riding--being in the woods—feel as important to me as the act of sleeping. So I’m absolutely dreading the surgery, and really, really, really hoping that I’ll have a good marathon on Saturday.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Girly weekend


This past weekend I drove to Nashville for my dear friend Kara's bachelorette party. It wasn't the "typical" put-a-tiara-on-her-head-and-take-her-to-the-bars type of weekend. (Thank goodness.) Instead, 6 of us spent the weekend at her friend Ashley's house just being girls. Mojitos were involved. There was a lot of sex-talk and lingerie-giving. I haven't had an all-girls weekend in so long, and it was just fantastic. There's something irreplaceable about a bunch of girls spending that much time together that is just, well, irreplaceable.
Many of Kara's friends who were there she's known since elementary school. Their friendship runs deep. I was envious, slightly, because I realized that I don't have contact with girls I went through school with--mainly out of choice, but still, I don't have those unique friendships in my life. My best friend John and I still keep in contact with each other--we've known each other since third grade--but I didn't care to maintain friendships with many of the girls I grew up with. And now, living across the country, I'm struggling to maintain contact with my college friends, though I value their friendships very much.
Many of my closest friends through the years have been guys. In grad school, all of my friends were guys, and my memories of hanging out with them are fantastic. But guys aren't very good at keeping in touch. And you can't talk to guys the same as you can to girls. (Though I'm sure many of them would have loved to have overheard the sex talk.)
I've met some great girls since moving to NC, but I feel that I'm in this strange spot right now: I don't yet have substantial time with them, so I still feel a bit like a drifter, not really entrenched in any one place. It feels lonely at times. I know that if I stay here, for the long term, those friendships will deepen, but right now, I do miss the feeling of feeling rooted.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Autumn has hit

Wow. Overnight Autumn has hit. I'm still adjusting to this whole "season" thing. We went from humidity and 95 degree days to 70s, no humidity, and a delicious crispness in the air. In one day. The leaves even emanate a different smell. I cannot absorb the loveliness of the outside air enough. Being inside all day at the office right now is absolutely stifling, when there's so much beauty to absorb outside, just by breathing.
Soon the leaves will display their glorious palettes, in one last hurrah before dropping. I almost fear that stage: it's beautiful, the colors, but I don't like the bareness of winter here. The absense of foilage is startling, and I found it rather depressing last winter. Instead of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I seem to have Barren Tree Disorder.
So I love/dislike this whole fall thing. But I'll take it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Redfishing






During Labor Day weekend, Cullen and I went out to the NC coast for some redfishing. Cullen, I should explain, is the consummate fisherman, so going out fishing with him is like being out with a guide. He’s got the boat. He knows the spots. His garage is like walking into a Bass Pro Shop. (I’ve never actually stepped into one—yet, but I’m sure that’s coming.)
This was my first time fishing with him, and now I’m starting to see what it’s all about and understand his obsession. Being out on the water is fantastic, and there’s something so relaxing about casting and waiting. During the mornings/afternoons we fished for the smaller redfish. We had some luck on the first day, but the second day was hampered by the wind.
In the evenings we went out to Pamlico Sound for the big redfish. Apparently, these fish can only be caught in NC when they spawn. They’re protected, so it’s catch and release. The second night out we were able to bring in three. Big fish—the weights ranged from 40-70 lbs, so I got in my share of fish fighting trying to get them into the boat. (My forearms still ache a bit.) Catching those fish was such a thrill: they’re such a beautiful species, and it was amazing to think that they’re so old—50-60 years.
The picture with all of the small fish is our bait—pogies. Cullen caught them with a net, and they hang out in the live well until it’s their turn to be hooked.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Return to California




I got in yesterday from a week in California. My grandma rents a cabin in the high country for a few weeks, and the family traditionally convenes for a week of swimming, hiking, and enjoying the cool mountain air. I haven’t been back to California for almost a year, and it was strange to be back. At first, I felt a jolt as I drove from the Sacramento airport to my parent’s house. I had forgotten that air can be so dry and land so parched. North Carolina is like the tropics, in comparison. After arriving home, it almost seemed like my year in NC had never happened; I guess the familiarity of home, and the contrast between California and NC, made my year away seem like a dream sequence in a movie.

The time at the cabin was lovely. I did my typical running and mt. biking escapes, struggling in the thin air. My good friends Cheri and Dylan drove down from Oregon with their new baby, Ritter, so I spent more time actually around people than I typically do when at the cabin. My protocol in the previous years has been to grab my bike and hit the mountain trails for the majority of the day. It was nice to see everyone.

Flying back was, well, it sucked. I had a red eye, which I booked thinking it would be nice to sleep the whole flight and wake up in Raleigh. My flight was supposed to go from Sacramento to LA, then LA to Raleigh. My Sacramento flight was late leaving, and when we landed in LA, we taxied to, what felt like the next county, only to have to catch a bus in the reverse direction back to the terminal. I missed my Sacramento connection. No problem, the ticket lady told me. We got you booked for the next Atlanta flight. Well, to make a long story short, I got bumped off that flight, and the next, until finally, at 2 a.m, I was able to catch a flight to Atlanta. Anybody who has been around me when I’m tired knows that it’s not a pretty scene. I’m not a night person, and being bumped off multiple flights makes a monster out of me, to put it mildly. Anyways, finally, I made it to Raleigh, at 11 a.m., where I was left with a 2 hr. drive to Winston-Salem. Lesson from the trip: I’m going to limit my West Coast journeys to Seattle, and I think I’ll avoid red eyes.

I’m so glad to be home. Driving on the freeway back to WS yesterday I had a whole new appreciation for damp air, green foliage, clean roads, guys that dress in polo shirts and argyle, and the southern drawl. I even did a true native North Carolinan move: I stopped for food at Bojangles. For those of you from the West, Bojangles is southern fast food. No "I'm Lovin' It!" healthy yogurt parfait options at Bojangles: just fried chicken, sweet tea, and really good biscuits. I'm typically anti-fast food, and true to my California roots, I regularly consume soy milk and tempeh, but I was so relieved to be back in NC that I was like, bring on those biscuits!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mae



I’ve been negligent in my blogging as of late. Here’s my excuse: I started a new job at work, which I’m very excited about, but it’s also very time consuming at the moment because I’m still editing. I’ve switched to account services with Wachovia, so basically, I’m working as the go-between between Wachovia and our agency. They threw me in with two huge projects, and in the same week, two of the other editors were out, so it was just a crazy work week.

I’ve also adopted a dog. Mae. She’s completely taken over my heart. I never thought I had a maternal instinct, and I’m still very much on the fence about ever wanting children, but some sort of maternal-thing has overcome me with Mae. I miss her when I’m at work, and I rush home at lunch for a visit. She sleeps on the floor near my bed each night, and I’ve been waking up at 6 every morning to take her for her walk/run (early mornings at the office lately—but normally, I don’t have to be at work until 9). She’s reportedly a Boxer/Lab mix, but I’m a little doubtful about the Lab part; the Boxer side definitely dominates. Cullen thinks she’s the result of some back-alley loving, which is probably accurate.
She turned one in July. I adopted her from a foster/dog rescue group in town. I can’t say enough about her temperament: she’s just a complete doll. Cullen’s quite taken with her, too. Mae and I spent our weekend at Cullen’s house, and she behaved very well while we were out on our long run, doing errands, and having dinner with friends.
I’m slightly worried that I’m becoming one of those over-doting (annoying) dog owners who sends pictures of the dog for Christmas cards and reports on the dog’s growth in terms of percentiles. So I apologize in advance if I get carried away…I’m just completely taken by my new girl.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Southern Summer

Last year, at about this time, when I was telling my friends and family that I was planning on moving to North Carolina, the most common retort was, “The summers there are stifling. Humid, miserable. Why would you want to move there?” Funny. Summer here, now that we’re in the throes of it, is turning out to be my favorite NC season. I say that with perfect legitimacy, since I’ve been here for a complete fall, winter, and spring. It is hot, but not stifling, and certainly not as hot as California—well, not as hot as Sonora, my hometown. And the humidity? Not bad at all. I do need more “frizz serum” for my curly hair, but after spending a summer in Costa Rica, this place is not that humid. I like the sultriness, the warm nights, and best of all, the lightning storms. Almost daily, late afternoon, the skies darken, thunder rumbles, and the skies let forth a deluge of Biblical proportions—but only briefly, typically. The warm air remains, resulting in steamy streets, dripping leaves that dry suddenly, and the most beautiful display of clouds as they travel onward. The weather here is dynamic.
This may sound odd, or, well, gross, but I love how much I sweat during my runs. I’ll go out for an evening run and return home completely drenched—like, wringing out my shorts drenched. But it’s cleansing, sort of like sitting in a sauna for twenty minutes. I feel cleaner, released. The long trail runs are the best. C and I are training for a trail marathon, so we increase our mileage every weekend. Three hours on those trails absolutely defeats me, but I mean that in the most positive sense. I hit the trails in planning mode: How C and I are going to coordinate picking up my latest purchase off of Craigslist, or figuring out my next house project, but after zigzagging through the trails, I forget it all, sweat profusely, and just run. Cicadas hum in the trees, the nearby lake swirls with colorful birds and insects, and I feel so good.
Best of all, these southerners know how to make good iced tea, though I take mine “unsweet.”

Settling in


After spending the past week cleaning, shopping, unpacking, and organizing, my house is starting to feel like home. Every night I go home from work with a list of projects to tackle: dressers that need new pulls, chairs that I’m re-upholstering, a coffee table to paint, a garden that needs mulching…but I love it. I love being a home owner and having innumerable projects to occupy my time. My next big projects: painting the bathroom and guest bedroom and re-landscaping the front yard. Once I finish those projects, I will mostly likely tackle the kitchen. I think new countertops would be nice, and maybe new hardware for the cabinets. It’s amazing how many “home improvement” projects I find as I become more settled.
Last week, in the midst of my moving frenzy, for once, I had no desire to stop and go out for a run. I was so consumed by the moving process, that I forgot to eat, and finally, in the early morning hours, I forced myself to get into bed. I’m feeling better this week—I’ve set time limits on how long I’ll work on something, and I make sure I get my run in right after work.
Home ownership really does change you. I can vouch for it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A little neurotic

I’m gearing up. I can feel my neurosis hitting. Moving always sets me into a wild-eyed panic, as in, I have to have everything unpacked, decorated, and shiny the same day I move in. So, being that my house closes at 9 a.m. tomorrow, I’m getting prepared for a full day of marathon unpacking craziness.
I don’t know why I turn into such a, well, fill in the blank as you choose, but my normally calm, easygoing self is possessed by something quite other when it comes to moving and unpacking. I took tomorrow and Wednesday off of work to facilitate my moving rush. (It’s always a competition, right?) I know that I could, like a normal person, wait until this weekend to do my miscellaneous house shopping and tie-up loose ends, but I can’t wait that long. By Wednesday night, the place will be home. Or else.
I’m agitated by a few hang-ups, that right now, are hindering the “completion” process: I ordered a new mattress through Sealy, one of our clients, so I received a discount, but because the mattress is coming directly from the factory, it’s not here yet. My room won’t be complete until it comes in, and that disturbs me. Also, I haven’t yet bought a washer and dryer. They’re plentiful on Craigslist, but I’m (deep breaths) trying to wait until this weekend, mostly to spare my boyfriend the moving hassle.
It will be a miracle if Cullen and I survive this week. He’s the type who still has boxes unpacked and rooms unfurnished, three years after being in his house. But, to his credit, he’s being tremendously accommodating of my craziness, and we’ve had the “okay, so I’m going to be a little neurotic this week…” talk. He’s handling it well.
I’ll post pictures soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Houses teach you a lot

I’ve been meaning to write about this for a few weeks now, but I had to let things settle. Be prepared for a long blog.

Sometimes, to really understand yourself, you have to look at your actions and patterns, and not your own thought processes. In our minds, we like to think of ourselves in a more “ideal” state. Ego protection, and all. So in my mind, I like to believe that I’m malleable and okay with flux and novelty. I also believe that I’m rational and patient. But, when I look at the wake of my choices, I see a different me.
Here’s how I’m figuring out the obvious.
Buying a house has made me realize how impetuous I am. I cannot tolerate the feeling of indecisiveness, or idleness, or waiting and comparing before deciding. Once I make my mind up to do something, I get into “efficiency mode,” and I have to do it right then. I don’t want to keep decisions lingering, or options pending. Unfinished business causes me great discomfort.
Sometimes, this quality is a good thing: I’m not a procrastinator. I’m reliable. I’m quick, and I know what I want. But other times (many times) I rely too much on emotion, and not on rationality when deciding.
Being with Cullen, my polar opposite in this regard, clearly reveals our personality differences. Cullen takes his time when making decisions. He ponders. He compares. He waits. I get anxious just at the thought of putting something off, when it could easily be handled right then. I didn’t realize how strong this trait is in my behavior until I had him to compare myself against.
Sample illustration: The first house that I made an offer on occurred, well, hastily. I went through the house, loved it, and wanted to make an offer, but I knew that I should wait until Cullen had a chance to see it. (He has much more experience with real estate than myself, and a second opinion is always good.) We had made an appt. with the realtor to see the house together, but the night before our appt. the realtor called and said that someone had just put in an offer. Cullen couldn’t come that night to see it, so I wrote up an offer. (By that point, an additional offer had come in, so I was competing against two.) I found out the next day that my offer had won, so I was in contract.
A few nights later, Cullen came out to see the house. He did a thorough inspection. He talked to the neighbors, and we walked around the area. We determined that the neighbor next door was a druggie living in his deceased grandfather’s house—the house looked unkempt and dark, but we pieced it together.
After a long, long conversation, Cullen convinced me to pull out of the deal. He asked me to take my time, look around, and spend more time on the process. (Very anxiety provoking for me, which he realized.) But, he was right, of course: a single woman shouldn’t live next to a drug dealer, even if it was a decent area.
Pulling out of that house was one of the hardest things that I’ve done in a long time. I had my emotions completely wrapped up in it already. I knew how I was going to decorate and paint it, and I could picture myself living there, and being happy that it was my home. Perhaps my emotions were compounded by the fact that living 3000 miles away from “home,” I was now finally going to have a home of my own.
I lost half of my earnest money on the deal, and for the first time since moving to NC, I had a genuine cry. I felt like I had lost something that I, alone, had accomplished. With a realtor, I had looked at over a dozen properties, found a house I liked, made an offer, and had begun the process—only to have it abruptly end when my boyfriend stepped in. I felt like I had lost. I hated the thought of again going through the searching, the waiting, the comparing—inherent processes in house shopping that are an anathema for my personality type.
I put my emotions back together and began again. In a few days, I found another house, in a great neighborhood, that I liked. (Cullen went around with me that time.) I put in an offer and waited. The seller, it turns out, wasn’t ready to sell. She refused to negotiate on anything, and kept moving the closing date up, so I pulled out—this time, it was easier, and I hadn’t involved my emotions.
Soon after, I found house # 3. By this time, writing up the offer was easy, and I signed my third earnest money check in two weeks. So far, everything’s a go: home inspection went great, and now I’m just waiting until July 10th, when I close. (My birthday, by the way. This year, I’m buying myself a house.)
I really like the house, and the neighborhood, and the lack of drug-dealing neighbors. The house is priced less than the first house, so I’m pleased to have a lower mortgage. I can now honestly say that I’m glad I pulled out of house #1, and that waiting and looking and comparing are all good things—anxiety provoking, but good.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Home Owner


Oh, my gosh. I bought a house yesterday. Well, I've started the process. Earnest money is down, offer to purchase is signed, now I await home inspections. So, like a woman who's just found out she's pregnant, I don't want to shout from the rooftops just yet, because it's not a 100% victory, but the ball is rolling.
I changed my mind on a townhome/condo, and decided that I can live with having a lawn to mow and flowers to tend to. I realized that re-sell and overall value is much better with a house, and the added bonus is that I won't have shared walls with neighbors.
Here's the best part (I almost hesitate to get too excited, in case the house falls through, but I'll say it anyway), I LOVE the house. I love the neighborhood, the location, and the fact that I have a little front porch. The house is old, built in 1947, which adds to its charm. Instead of a plastic-y interior, I have curved archways, a coal-burning fireplace, and a cozy attic that has been converted to a bedroom. I will adorn the porch with red and yellow Adirondack chairs, and my front windows will have flower boxes bearing geraniums.
There are so many things that I'm excited about that I've forfeited sleep this past week. Instead, I lay in bed thinking about decorating and painting and hosting dinner parties. I never thought I'd be so domestic. But, I guess when it's yours, really yours, the perspective changes.
I'm planning on getting a roommate, in the form of a dog. I've wanted a dog for so long, but because I've been renting and moving so frequently since, well, college, I haven't been able to have one. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I've picked out potential boy and girl dog names. That's how excited I am.
I'll post more pictures as the process unfolds.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Trails

Since moving to NC I have fallen in love with trail running. Cullen’s house backs up to about 30 miles of fantastic singletrack, nonpareil, that follows the lakes. The trails are a perfect mix of hills and roots to be challenging, but on those runs where I want to just cruise, I can take less taxing routes. We spent the winter running through the muted landscape, but now that spring has fully come, the trails are a new experience. Barren trees have been replaced by bursting foliage and a rich, palatial canopy. What, during the winter, was a place of sleeping branches and dormant grasses, now feels like a rainforest. Running through the zigzagging trails, you can almost feel the explosion of growth as the new tendrils fight for sunlight.
Last night, I headed to the trails straight from work. It was warm—in the 80s, but we were having one of those fantastic drizzles that precedes a thunderstorm. My day had been stressful—actually, it’s been a stressful few weeks, and I’ve found that being on the trails is the best way to shut off the incessant thread of worries. Getting out there, pounding up the hills, breathing in the rich wet air, is pure release.
I usually listen to music when running. I like that it distracts me from thinking too much. But with trail running, I don’t go out of my mind with boredom if it is silent. Last night, sans music, I shut off my brain as I concentrated on foot placement and avoiding large roots and low branches. Trail running is similar to mt. biking in that regard: you almost get into this zen state of mind as you concentrate on where you’re going and what’s around you instead of what’s pestering you from the outside world. I find that road biking and running, unless I’m with someone and chatting, are a conduit for mulling over things—which has a time and place, certainly, but it is very refreshing to leave everything behind and in the trees.

Monday, May 14, 2007

House Hunting

I have begun the process. Honestly, I never thought that I would be doing this solita—I guess I had bought into the girl fantasy of home shopping with the betrothed. And, being raised in California, I had assumed that home ownership was the elusive dream—reserved for the rich; certainly not for those in the editing/writing profession. But, that is yet another beauty about living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina: I, a 26-year-old, by- no-means- rich, single female, can afford a home.
When I first visited NC last spring, Kara and I stayed with quite a few of her friends as we did our whirlwind state tour. Her friends, all our age, owned their own homes. I was astounded. Rightly so, considering West Coast mentality and specifically, central coast California mentality, where the average home costs 500,000—and that buys you a pile of s*&#. So to come to NC, and see 25 year olds in their own homes, absolutely astounded me. I became even more determined to move here.
And here I am, searching for my own place, exactly a year later. It’s a cool world when your plans actually work out.
Right now I am looking primarily at townhomes/condos. For one, I am a minimalist, and I don’t particularly want yard maintenance or overall house concerns, such as roof/paint type things. I’ll let my HOA fees take care of that. Also, for my price range, I can buy a much nicer condo or townhome than a house, and in a better area. So I’m starting small.
I had no idea how cool the actual process would be. I had never given much thought to the mortgage process, negotiating prices, and weighing whether the property will be a good re-sell/rental. I am now fully immersed in educating myself on the ins and outs: earnest money, home inspections, PMI, and balancing listening to the realtor and using my own judgment. I feel, well, rather grown-up.
My favorite part is figuring out how I am going to decorate and paint the place. I have lived on my own, but I’ve always been a renter, so decorations weren’t so high on my priority list. In college, decorating consisted of scoring the best used couch from family members. Moving across the country meant that I have had to start clean: furniture didn’t fit in my car, therefore, only my clothes and some kitchen goods made the trek. I am beginning from scratch.
Thank God for Craigslist. I love bargain hunting, and Craigslist is a 24/7 yardsale. I’ve already purchased a full bedroom set, but I am waiting until I actually get the digs to finish furniture acquiring. Whenever I look at a place I like, I visualize how I would paint the walls and weigh whether I can picture decorating that space to my specifications. I’ve been gathering home decorating catalogs, Pottery Barn, Southern Living—whatever I can glean ideas from. I love it, and I find that often I have a hard time falling asleep because I am imagining how this is all going to come together. (God willing). I’ll keep posting about this topic, especially as I start to narrow down “the one.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Famous Amos


Amos Lee played in Winston last night. I get chills just thinking about the show. I love his music, so I was expecting a good performance, but he blew me away. His voice is powerful live—more powerful than what comes through on his recordings, and the man can play a guitar and jam with the band. I love watching good musicians get together and practice their craft. They let it flow, pure ecstasy on their faces as they become absorbed in the jam. How do they know? Being that I am not musically inclined, it always baffles me to watch musicians take a tune they are familiar with and transform it into a cascade of beats totally new. I am envious of that connection, that language musicians have. I love being in the audience when an artist coaxes sound from guitar strings or piano keys and transmits the message to his fellow players on a stage, resulting in melodies never before played.
Look him up, his live show is well, well worth it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Art urges


At the moment, I have this unmistakable feeling to be artistic, to create something; to express through other ways than writing. It began when I watched Frida last week. Though the movie has been out for a few years, I hadn’t seen it until now. Frida’s artwork is completely gripping, and her story is strikingly painful. But she dealt with it—life gave her blows, and she translated her emotions very realistically on the canvas. Her art is not subtle or wrought with impressionistic imagery. Her husband was repeatedly unfaithful to her, and she depicted her pain through brushstrokes. She miscarried—she painted it, in all its graphic detail.Her imagination is partly what makes her paintings so salient: she was a genius at taking emotion, in all its nuances and impreciseness, and turning it into an image that is easily recognizable: you see it, and you think, yes! that’s what if feels like to be lied to, to feel frustrated, etc. I can’t relate to many of the tragedies that struck her, but I still get it. I see her art, and I recognize a woman who understood how healing it is to take the mashings and confusions of heartache and turn it into a colorful motif.
I am not by any means artistic. My attempts at drawing human images are simply stick figure-ish, and I don’t understand how to use and mix colors. My mother is an artist, but her spatial genes, unfortunately, didn’t get passed on to me. When I was younger, I would make cards for people out of ripped construction paper. I found the whole process rejuvenating, and it served as my small way to show people that I cared. So, in all honesty, I don’t know quite what to make of these sudden “art urges.” Should I buy construction paper and make collages? Should I try writing poetry? How do I translate my pliable emotions into a tangible presentation? Would I feel some release if I could harness feelings that I haven’t expressed in my relationship and turn them into a graphic? Would creating art bridge the interstice between my emotions and my rational thought?
People express their emotions through different outlets. Frida’s outlet was painting. I am still trying to figure mine out. Many people, in my observation, don’t like the transparency of art or expression—in whatever form it may take. They prefer to hide their feelings behind opaqueness. I, on the other hand, don’t do that so well. If I am feeling something, I have to express it, in some form. I think that finding the right form is as meaningful as the art that comes to fruition.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cabin-tastic




For the Easter weekend, Cullen and I flew to Seattle to rendezvous with my family at our cabin. That was my first trip to the West Coast since moving to NC, and my first time seeing my siblings since August. We had such a fabulous weekend. I was giddy the whole trip. The cabin is one of my favorite spots, and seeing everyone again after so long—esp. with Cullen in tow, made it extra lovely. We had great weather on Friday, so Cullen and I explored the island with our running shoes. At the island’s tip, great trails abound, so when it was all said and done, we spent two hours running the island. To replenish our glycogen stores (or something like that) we, and the family, feasted on fresh oysters, clams, and mussels—right off the beach. Probably my second favorite thing about the cabin is the food gorging that goes on up there—we are so spoiled living on a beach replete with shellfish and waters teeming with crab and fishies. The beer and wine flowed and we were loud and maybe a bit crass, and the twins engaged in their never-ending wrestling matches with their uncle. The rest of the weekend followed pretty much the same course—family runs, frisbee, trips to town, more shellfish consumption, and a marathon game of Hearts that lasted well past my body’s (still on East Coast time) bedtime.
It was tough to say goodbye, and I left wishing that we could have a few more days before returning to reality. This trip, for me, was markedly different than previous cabin gatherings. For one, living so far away incites a new appreciation for the family. Also, I am in a really good place in my life right now. I think that my newfound independence has contributed to an overall deeper appreciation for what I have. I was thinking back to my last cabin trip last Easter, when I was still finishing school, and had great daydreams about moving to NC. At that point I had high hopes, but I wasn’t sure about the feasibility of my musings. I think that I was in a bit of a funk at that point—the reality of everything coming together just didn’t seem so possible. So to look back and compare, now a year later, is quite fantastic. Not only am I living in NC, but my job is great, and the transition has been so easy. Things have come together better than I had hoped, and being there this weekend gave me new insight into just how happy I am right now.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yay spring!

Hallelujah, spring is here. It is so beautiful out--pink and white and green everywhere. In celebration, I did what anyone should do on a beautiful spring evening: made myself a strong margarita and washed my car. (It was, after all, coated in yellow, sticky pollen.)
The margarita led to another (or so) and because I had my momentum going, I decided to pack for my trip for Seattle. We leave tomorrow. (Is this really just pre-family drinking and not, uh, spring?) Anyways, the chore is done and tomorrow we depart. I am sure that I will post a long one after the trip. I am looking forward to the getaway. I do love the cabin. I think I'll go pour another.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easy Listening



This morning, in lieu of listening to the NPR station beg for money and tout the latest “challenge pledge” during pledge drive week, I flipped channels and settled for the Easy Listening station. I was transported back to my dentist’s office in Sonora—they always play those kinds of stations in that setting. I caught myself singing along to old Whitney Houston songs. I was kind of into it. I went to a Gutser concert last night, and I woke up with my ears still ringing a bit, so the easy listening was a welcome change.
I don’t know what direction I am really heading with this…I guess I didn’t get enough sleep last night and my morning radio fix was the only thing worth writing about.

On another note, this past weekend we went to Nantahala for a trail run race. I have never done a race quite like it: 5 miles up (like, steep up), and 3 miles down a narrow singletrack. It was the first race where I have felt really good at the end—because I was running downhill. Nantahala is a beautiful spot, and I would love to return when the leaves all bloom out. It made me realize, on the drive there, how cool this state is, and how little I have explored since moving here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Infatuations at the moment

Yesterday, at work, a new iTunes office network playlist popped up; I decided to browse. Over 3000 songs! Golden. I love perusing people’s playlists because it’s a great way to discover new artists. I tend to live in a hole, without TV, and my only radio exposure is NPR, so basically, I am ignorant of anything pop culture. Case in point: On the new playlist, I discovered Amos Lee, who is on Norah Jones’ record label. Wow, I’m in love. He has these two songs, “Arms of a Woman,” and “I’m Not Myself,” that I am now completely obsessed with—read, listening to over and over again, all day long. I know that I am walking a fine line between loving these songs and killing them to the point that at the mere mention of Amos’ name I will shudder, but right now, I’m in kill mode. (Note: for some reason, “I’m Not Myself” is not on either of Amos’ CDs. I had to track down the owner of the playlist to download the song onto my computer.)
Another cool find: (The geek in me likes this.) RunningAHEAD.com, which is a website that lets you track all of your workouts. It graphs them, calculates your run pace, keeps track of your shoe mileage, and provides weekly, monthly, and yearly mileage and time totals. Every morning, I faithfully log on to input my previous evening’s run. So fun.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Order and messiness

As a youngest child, the terms “neat,” “orderly,” and “organized” don’t quite apply to my personality. Any structured activity or sense of order in my life comes as a result of discipline and a lot of self-talk; it doesn’t come naturally. Being organized, meticulous, and finicky are traits that I struggle to incorporate into my routine. However, I appreciate these traits and try really, really hard to be more exact in my life. I am learning, and truly attempting to be a more systematic, and dare I say it, anal person—and here’s the shocker—I am enjoying myself.
My mom took a picture of my bedroom when I was seven—that picture pretty much sums up how I spent my childhood: dolls and doll paraphernalia strewn everywhere (I was a girlie tomboy); clothes scattered about; dresser drawers left open; and my bed unkempt. I preferred to live in a space where I couldn’t see the floor. That lifestyle pretty much continued until I hit college, and then, some strange thing clicked when I moved out and had my own space: I became a neat freak. It took discipline, but I found that I enjoyed living in an orderly space, and, having a roommate who wasn’t family and obligated to love me unconditionally, made me more aware of my cleaning habits. Keeping my space clean is now no longer a struggle; my bathroom undergoes a weekly bleaching (and believe you me, I have the stained clothes to prove it), and I feel that my day will fall apart if I don’t make my bed. I find that I need the order, and I like it. The older I get, the more disciplined and detailed I am becoming. Sometimes I feel that someone else has taken over my body--because the fact that I get flustered if I don’t balance my checkbook every day—slightly worries me. I used to be a “rounder” when it came to such activities. I now daily pour over my online banking charges to ensure that they match my records. I shudder to think of the kind of uptight person that I am morphing into.
Another irony—I work as an editor, perhaps the height of pickiness and, truth be told, arrogance. Editors love to gloat and hold it over the non-editing, normal types, that they, the mighty editors, understand the distinction between an em dash and en dash, or when to use “whom.” But it doesn't come naturally. I have to consciously slow myself down when I edit, because I tend to glance over things quickly. I edit, mainly, by feel—how it sounds, what it conveys. A lifelong addiction to books has helped me in that regard—rarely will I parse a sentence properly. But it’s working out okay—I like my job, and I am good at what I do, even if it does take a lot of conscious effort to make myself be precise.

Right now, I am training for a half-marathon trail run, and in a few weeks, a monster uphill trail run (still haven’t decided what distance I am doing for that one). Cullen crafted up a very detailed training plan for us, which I have dutifully stuck to for the past month. I used to cringe from structure in my running or cycling—to me, it took away the pure joy (subjective, I realize) of strapping on my running shoes or grabbing my bike and just going because I could. Now, I find myself at the track doing 800s, or counting the hill repeats I do. But I like it. Odd. I am now being more disciplined about my eating, too—because when you run, you realize how an extra five pounds slows you down and puts extra stress on your joints. My jeans still fit fine (even my “skinny jeans”), but I am finally conceding that just because I do 15-mile weekend runs doesn’t give me license to grab chocolate every time I walk by the candy jar. Discipline.
Despite my attempts at being a neat, responsible person (sometimes it feels like a fa├žade—esp. when the inner youngest child in me screams out “just let loose! Don’t make the bed! Eat the cookie! Spend your money!”) my efforts at type-A living crumble when I go home or am in new space, e.g., my boyfriend’s house. I get very defensive if my family, or Cullen, accuse me of being a slob. I go through gallons of bleach, and I change my sheets on a weekly basis. I am not a slob. And I have worked very hard to remove that nomenclature from my identity. However, I find myself reassuring myself that I am not indeed, the messy youngest one, as I leave a trail of clothes in my wake, or carelessly wash the pots and pans, leaving streaks of soap behind—yet this only happens at their house, never mine. I don’t know why I revert to a piggy when I am away from home, but there it is. I need to work on it.
I will still insist on keeping my hair curly and messy, because deep down, that’s the real me.

Monday, February 26, 2007

James Bond party



Well, we're not exactly Bond girls, but we drank lots of martinis and had a good time at a themed party honoring the flicks and the characters.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

tour nostalgia

I am suffering from a bit of cycling/San Luis Obispo/ bike racing nostalgia at the moment. The Tour of California is on this week, and I have been watching it nightly on TV with a bit of envy/twinges of “wish I was there.” I was, last year. Last year was the first year of the tour, and my fellow cycling-junkie friends and I eagerly followed each stage, boasting that we had ridden on the roads that the pros were careening through. One of the stage stops was in San Luis Obispo, so naturally, we were in full force on the streets as the peloton overtook our sleepy downtown. We watched every stage, got real-life race reports from our buddies who were racing it, and felt slightly famous that such a coterie of world-class riders were gracing the roads that we had ridden.
I had slight (only slight) twangs of missing California last night as I watched the stage from Santa Rosa to Sacramento. The stage passed through Napa, and I recognized roads that I had trained on when I lived there. The pros conquered Trinity Grade as if it were a mere bump. I couldn’t help but notice that the hills are already green and that the cherry blossoms and mustard seed are blooming. It must be a good year for rain back home. Seeing backroads and familiar landmarks is a bittersweet sting--a bit like accidentally stumbling into your ex—you want to know how they are, you want a glimpse into that life, but you know that what you have now is better. I am so glad, relieved, that I am not living in California anymore, but I have many good memories of my life there, and seeing it on the screen again brings a surprising longing.
Perhaps because my life is so completely different than how it was last year at this time, seeing the tour is like a jolt; mostly, I don’t reflect or think much about life in San Luis Obispo, or bike racing, or my wacky guy buddies—wonderful years of my life. I am content and consumed by my day-to-day editing job, my friends here, and the new southern environment that I live in—but seeing images of my home state is almost startling; oh yeah, I think, that used to be my life there. And it was completely different, and I was different, in that environment. For a brief second, the amnesia is pulled back. Maybe, too, because I haven’t been riding my bike anymore, I feel completely disconnected from my San Luis years. Biking has a way of tying everything together, and it reminds you that no matter where you go, cyclists everywhere are the same.
So I have the rest of this week to watch the tour on TV, and to try and glimpse staccato camera shots of my friends in the peloton or lining the streets, and the memories will continue to flood back.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Freezing my hiney off

The weather here right now is quite cold—20s-30s. It is not comfortable to be outside, and the thought of my evening run in the frigid air makes me scowl and concede that I might have to do my workout on the torture device known as the treadmill. But at least I will be able to feel my hands and feet, and I am sure that my muscles, as they churn out lactic acid, will be grateful for the warmth of the indoors.
I have been told that February can be a capricious month in this part of NC—some days might spike into the 70s, or we could enjoy lows of 15—as we are currently. Supposedly, I have a good deal of Swedish blood, but clearly, I have not adapted to thrive in cold environments. To be honest, I downright hate it, and I have been having moving-to-a-tropical island fantasies as of late.
I was raised in the mountains/foothills, and we got snow blanketings and frequent cold weather, but spending six years living in a beach town ruined me; I am now a total wimp when it comes to the cold. Okay—being honest, I do like the fact that NC has actual seasons—the only way to differentiate winter from summer in San Luis was by the foggy summer mornings. The fall here was fantastic—the leaves changing colors, the days turning crisp—so that I do enjoy, and I am sure that all of this foul-cold-weather-bitchiness will give way to sheer bliss as soon as spring hits us. So I am trying to look on the bright side. I just wish that I didn’t have to run on the treadmill tonight.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Breckenridge!





Whoa, today is a tough day to be at work. Returning from vacation is never easy, and today is no exception. Last night, we got back from an awesome, perfect--actually-- ski vacation in Breckenridge. Restful vacation it was not. For four days, we trashed our bodies on the slopes. We ripped through trees, giggling and following each other, navigated moguls, and hiked up to the very top—13, 000 feet of scarce oxygen and breathtaking Colorado-views. We skied down steep, 40 degree bowls, found countless trails through the woods, and got very familiar with the mountain. We had amazing, clear weather the whole time (it was a bit chilly at times, I’m not going to lie), almost no crowds to contend with, and stayed in a cozy condo that was in proximity to the chairlift.
We laughed, a lot, and acted goofy and carefree. It was exactly what a vacation, in my mind, should be—physically demanding, yet completely relaxing—because when you are following two brothers through low-slung branches and off-cambered bumps of snow, you don’t think about work, what bills you have to pay, or how many e-mails you have to respond to. You just ski.
The biggest adventure was the lift to the top, and the ensuing hike up a precipitous trail that led to some steep, double diamond skiing. The air made it difficult to breathe, and the added weight of carrying skis and poles, plus hiking in ski boots, added to the overall thrill/fear/challenge. Once on top, though, the view was beyond spectacular, and the skiing was fantastic. The snow was unblemished, and the challenge was navigating through rocky patches and across a frozen pond littered with snowballs the size of basketballs.

So today, I am stifling yawns and grumpy about sitting in a desk chair instead of a chairlift. My legs and back have a pleasant ache—they are reminding me of the work I made them do during the last week. I am making a mental list of the returning-from-vacation chores that I have before me: grocery shopping, laundry, bills, etc. Oh, and I am already plotting next year’s trip.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Bunny

This weather here is crazy and unpredictable. Last week, we enjoyed days in the 70s; today the city is blanketed in softly falling snow. I love the variety, and because it snows so infrequently here, it is a pleasant surprise.
I am not a fan of cold weather, and I wouldn’t willingly live in a place that received a lot of snowfall, but infrequent blanketings are simply lovely. I feel so cozy right now. It is warm inside, and the view outside the window is white and sparkling. I am, unfortunately, at work, and not at home in front of a fire with a book, but all the same, I feel warm and secure.
Next week Cullen and I are headed to Colorado for some skiing. Very excited. East Coast skiing just isn’t going to cut it, so we made plans to fly out west. I am hoping that we will have good ski conditions—I am not used to having to book a vacation to ski. I used to just drive home to my parent’s, and if it was good snow at the mountain, I would ski. But here—it is a bit more of an ordeal to seek out good skiing—and even that is a gamble.

I wish that I had more to write about. I have felt very un-inspired lately in my blogging. Life is rolling along in an undulating sea of contentment, but nothing has stood out so much that I feel this compulsion to articulate it to cyberworld. I feel happier right now than I can ever recall feeling—shouldn’t that inspire me to write something? My life, though, right now, is just peaceful and good, but not surging and inspiring—hence my writer’s block. I am still very happy with my job—minus some snafoos with a co-worker; I love living at my new place; my friendships here are solid and I still get in some good girl-time; I have been baking and reading again; and Cullen—things with him are just so lovely and easy and safe. He brings such joy into my life, and we fit together so well that it sometimes seems like he has always been a part of my life; I have not had to adjust or shift in any way to accommodate him into my heart. This is the first relationship for me where I have not had to deal with dissonance or justification for why I want to be with someone. Everything about him works for me, and I don’t have to explain or deal with doubt. When you know, it is just so easy that it is almost disappointing in the lack of tangibility. Lighting doesn’t flash across the sky, and I sense no physical changes in my universe. I just feel full and good. It is a feeling akin to eating a terrific meal and drinking lots of wine—my body and mind are satisfied and crave nothing; I don’t want to disrupt this state I am in.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year




Happy New Years!
I rang in the New Year rockin’ to an 80s cover band. I don’t know if that indicates an auspicious start, but I was having a great time dancing to keyboards and synthesizers, so 2007 won't be all that bad, right?
I am not big on making resolutions, but Cullen and I did decide that we are going to find an organization to volunteer for. Other than that, I am hoping that 2007 will be calm—not as many huge life changes as 2006 had. Reflecting back, I think that 2006 was probably the biggest life-change year that I have had in my 26 years. Quick re-cap:
Finished school, spent two fantastic weeks skiing in Mammoth, moved out of San Luis Obispo (my home for six great years), said goodbye to many friends there, went to Europe 2x, spent two great weeks with my sister and her family in Eugene, found a job in NC, drove across the country, started new job, met many new friends, met mi gran amor, moved after 3 months of living with sloppy roommate, and now, here I am—2007 has begun.
2006 was a fantastic year, and I am so grateful, every day, for the friendships and love that have drifted in and out. My family is healthy, I am healthy, and we are blessed. Here’s hoping for an equally rockin’ (minus the synthesizers) 2007!