Dec 31, 2014

Into The Woods. To Visit Friends in Snohomish.

So what do you do when you need to make sense of the world?  About six weeks ago I decided that my life felt out of balance and that I needed some perspective. Where am I going? What am I doing? What matters? What does not? I always know exactly what that means so I turned on my computer and I booked a hotel room in Everett, Washington for December 29th. I love that I am close enough now to just shoot five hours up I-5 North to Seattle. It is a very straight shot and so uncomplicated...well until you get to Seattle traffic....but every journey must have it's traffic :)

After the booking of the hotel usually comes the friend contacting. I love to keep up my relationships. It brings me so much joy to reach into my past and have these connections. I learn so much from these people. Dear people who have been part of my life forever. People who know almost too much about me. But because they know all they do they have coveted perspective. I love the comfortable feeling that comes when you are sitting, or standing, or walking with these sorts of people. We all have these people like this in our lives. I love them. They make me smile so much. I need them. I am not sure if they need me. But I need them and I am so grateful for them. Time seems to stand still when I am with them. And I love thinking about how long I have known them. It is also fun to realize how we have changed and how we have stayed the same. There is a wide range of these friends. Some are my parents friends who knew me and had the inexplicable joy of observing me when I was a teenager :) Some are friends from high school. Some are favorite teachers.

Each trip to Washington is a little different depending on which friends are available. Sometimes I need alone time on these trips and I plan a hike or a ferry ride and only see one friend. Sometimes I need as many friends as I can cram into my time, it just depends. There truly is an art to figuring out what one needs :)

This visit my dear friend Shelley was back in Washington. I have missed seeing her terribly. She has been living in Florida for a few years. When she told me she was back in Washington I was thrilled. She lives on Camano Island. She and I decided to meet on Monday morning at her house. Our plans wavered a little, because of me, but thankfully it all worked out and I met her at about 10:00 am. It was a beautiful, clear morning. Tall, amazing mountains with snow on them in the distance and The Puget Sound all around us shimmering blue. It was cold and crisp so we got our hats, coats, gloves, and scarves and headed out. We walked, and walked, and talked, and talked. I love these moments with Shelley. We catch up on our kids. We catch up on our relationships. Our work. Our mutual friends. We don't talk about our longing to re-create Footloose scenes anymore like we did in high school. We did not make cinnamon toast like we used to do when we had sleep overs. But we did eat mushrooms, broccoli, and yummy dip. We always pick up where we left off and that is a great feeling. Shelley always know which questions to ask me to get me to think about my choices. She asks them in the nicest way because she knows of my bad choice tendencies :) She never judges me but as I talk to her I hear myself and know what I need to do :)

My next visit was unusual and spontaneous but I am a silly person and sometimes do silly things. I have been so curious and interested in Solon's store he bought in Seattle that I had to go. Solon is another friend from high school. I was a little bit proud of myself for getting to his shop and finding a parking place on Ballard Street in Seattle. The shop is in an area with lots of interesting and unique shops all around. And I was so happy to see lots of people in his store shopping for outdoor gear. I wish I skied but I don't. I wish I hard core hiked...but I don't. I bike, but not enough to buy serious bike accessories. I do not think any of the people who buy bike accessories at Solon's store have a woven basket on the front of their bike like I do :) No rock climbing for this girl either. But thankfully his store, Second Ascent, had hats. A lot of hats. And I happen to love knit hats and also happened to need some. So it was a win. It was fun to visit with Solon and hear how one decides to buy a store and what it involves. I did not bug him long but it was a fun adventure.

After all my Monday visiting I decided to go to the movie so I went and saw Into The Woods...again. I am saying that case you did not notice. It is rare that I spend money on a movie twice but I adore this movie and needed to see it again. I sat there and thought about all the times I had seen a movie in the old movie theaters at the Everett Mall with friends, old boyfriends, and family. I do love to torture myself with walks down memory lane.

After the movie I bugged my friend Erin. Erin always has time for me and is so generous and patient with me. She knows what I deserve and is good at reminding me and boosting my courage to do what I know I need to do. Erin and I were in choir together in high school and probably a few other classes too. She was ready to feed me some dinner at her house and very understanding when I just could not visit and had to go. This has been a hard few months for me as much as I like to pretend it has not been hard, it has been, and sometimes I just hit the wall at weird random moments and need to flee and regroup.

So I headed to my hotel room and used that complimentary wifi to watch all of the second season of Master Chef Jr. I ate jelly bellies one by one and just tried to be one with my life. I am not so good at that.

I managed to hit two incredibly beautiful days in the Snohomish Valley. Sunrise was beautiful both mornings. I always forget how beautiful it is there. Mountains perfectly placed everywhere you look.

I drove into Snohomish to meet MaryAnn for breakfast at Jake's. MaryAnn is best friends with my mother. She threw my bridal shower for me when I got married a gazillion years ago. I love that she has known me and my family forever. I love that she has been through some of the things I have been through and knows how it feels. I just sit and soak up all the perspective and views she has and it strengthens me beyond belief. I did not realize how much I needed this until I was sitting there with an enormous pancake on my plate and a side of sausage paying close attention to everything she said having realization after realization. I left breakfast with firm resolve and determination to pull myself together :) And felt like there was hope for my future which is so unsure.

After breakfast I drove to Monroe. My next visit was Lorre/Loretta :) Lorre in high school....Loretta now. Add Lorre to the list of people who have seen me through all sorts of embarrassing things. She and I met at Lake Tye in Monroe at 11:30 and we walked, and walked, and talked, and talked. Do you see a pattern to my friendships? We both have seven kids and always have lots to catch up on. We ruefully discuss all the things we wish we had known before we acted. We lament about having no control over the choices of people around us. The day was so beautiful, cool, and clear. It was nice to connect and reminisce and attempt to figure things out. We reminded each other that life was about unconditionally loving and that in the end that was all we could really do.

I know it sounds cheesy and corny but these connections make my little heart swell and swell. People that I feel safe with. People I can be who I am with. People who do not care that I make the same mistakes over and over. People who see my flaws but are always there for me. I really needed to feel unconditionally loved on this trip and I am so grateful for these solid amazing people who know how to give me views of my life. Who do not judge me. I feel a little selfish because I always am mooching off these people's strengths.

After my walk I knew it was time to face life again. I wanted to stay and just keep visiting friends over and over. Gathering advice....getting views....commiserating about things....realizing. This is life. And I am so glad I have friends to reach out to who know how to reach back and add such richness to my life.

There were many more friends that I called and chatted with on my long road trip up and back....shhh do not tell the police in Washington :) Friends in Utah and Illinois and sisters in Michigan and Georgia. There were many more friends that I could just not meet with this time that also have spots in my life and I love that they are there. Somehow it always works out that I see who I need to see and hear what I need to hear at the right time.

I listened to the Into The Woods soundtrack most of the way home. The lyrics from many of these songs are so insightful and have so much to do with life. I have to share one of them with you because it fit so perfectly with my trip and life.

Though it's fearful
though its deep, though its dark
And though you may lose the path
Though you may encounter wolves,
You can't just act,
You have to listen,
You can't just act 
You have to think...

There are always wolves,
There are always spells
There are always beans,
Or a giant dwells
Into The Woods you go again
You have to every now and then
Into the woods, no telling when,
Be ready for the journey

Into the woods but not too fast
or what you wish you lose at last
into the woods but mind the past
into the woods but mind the future
into the woods but not to stay
or tempt the wolf
or steal from the giant

the way is dark
the light is dim
but now there's you
me, her, and him
The chances look small
The chances look grim
And everything you learn there
Will help you return there
The light is getting dimmer
I think I see a glimmer

Into the woods-you have to grope 
But that's the way you learn to cope
Into the woods to find there's hope
Of getting through the journey

Into the woods each time you go
There's more to learn of what you know
Into the woods but not to slow
Into the woods it's nearing midnight
Into the woods to mind the Wolf
To heed the witch
To honor the giant
To mind,
To heed
To find
To think
To teach
To join
To go to the festival

Into the woods
Into the woods
Into the woods
Then out of the woods
And happy ever after.

Yes, I listened to it over and over. It was the perfect way to wrap up my trip. I felt so empty and sad and unsure of where my life was going when I left Oregon and came home with confidence that I can do hard things and that I am not alone in the woods.

Dec 25, 2014

Christmas Past, Present, And Future.

Well here it is, December 24th morning. I have been awake since five, I can't sleep. Bummer, since I do not have to get up for anything but sometimes it just happens. I knew the holidays would be hard this year. I know that lots of other people feel dread around the holidays for various reasons. Compared to people who have lost a loved one I feel like I do not have much to complain about but nonetheless it is indeed hard. First Christmas divorced. Lots of people have been through it. Lots of people have an ache at the holidays. This is normal...I am sure of it. And everyone says time fixes these aches and I believe them. It is not regret because I know I did the right thing it is just an ache.

I have had 46 Christmas's in my life. Isn't that weird to say out loud and comprehend? Each one so different from the last. Nineteen of them were with my parents and siblings in either California or Washington depending on where we lived at the time. I do not remember ever feeling like I was going to die if I did not get a certain item. No, "need a BB gun" or going to die story in my life :) I do not remember ever making a list. Which is so not like who I think I am. Some Christmases had snow, some did not. Most of them were with just our immediate family. When we lived in California I remember driving to my dad's families gatherings to exchange gifts and race around with cousins. I remember the excited, not able to sleep, feeling on Christmas Eve. I remember conning my dad into letting us open a present on Christmas eve.....that was my job. One year I even outdid myself and nagged and bothered until I got the siblings and I the privilege of opening two. I still have a perfect image in my mind of my moms fudge all neatly wrapped in tinfoil stacked in the fridge. I remember being frustrated that her holiday baking was going to other people....yeah, selfish much? :) I am a little disturbed that I do not have any memories of going to get a Christmas tree but I know we had one every year.

When I was twenty years old that was my first Christmas married. That started the 25 years of Christmas with my own family. I am not a huge tradition kind of girl. I have a secret suppressed longing to be the tradition kind of girl but for some reason I am not one. No fond memories of leaving food for reindeer for the Baird children. As I sit here on the eve of the weirdest Christmas I have faced yet I wonder what my kids will remember about Christmas as they grow up. And if they will forgive me for making the holidays challenging and different for everyone this year :) Although maybe because I did not have many traditions they are all doing fine this year :)

This year I am back home with my parents for Christmas. My Christmas decorations are sitting in boxes in my storage unit. My mom had final say on the Christmas Tree we cut down...not me. No more annual ornament exchange at my house. I only have two of my seven kids with me. Life has moved on. Two kids are married and are starting their own traditions. One is on a mission in California and two are in Massachusetts. I sent boxes to everyone. It was a, "support the United States Postal Service Christmas" for me. Rick at the post office...he is my friend for life. We saw each other way too much these past six weeks. I think he fought the urge to give me a free stamp a few times....I could see the pity in his eyes as I swiped that debit card. And I could quote the "is there anything liquid, perishable, fragile or potentially hazardous" question with him.

So I had a momentary wallow about my situation but I am over it. Everything morphs whether you help it morph or not. We all do the best we can. Here is to 46 more Christmases....whew, that will make me old :) And may all my Christmases be different :)

Dec 24, 2014

The Day In Newport, Oregon.

I am not sure what the rest of you do when you you have a free weekend or a day off but I always want to go somewhere or do something...well not always but it is fair to say that 95 percent of the time that is what I want to do. As long as I can remember this has always been me. Why I am so determined to see places and things I hear about and read about, I do not know. I may never know what compels me to Google, "things to do"... "places to see"... and "top ten things to do" but I guess I
better start embracing the fact that this is me. You might want to do the same :)

Monday was the first day of winter break in Oregon. The girls and I have ten school days off and that is not even counting weekends. We were never treated so well in Massachusetts for Christmas break. We have some goals in mind for this break and I have been trying to work around weather, my trip to Seattle, and the holidays to figure out when we could accomplish our goals.

One of our goals was to see the Zoo lights at the Portland Zoo. The other was to go to the Aquarium in Newport. Fish and chips in Bandon is a must. And the christmas lights at Shore Acres was the last. If you happened to look at a map and found where all these goals I have were you would most likely shake your head. Just like my parents do every time I have a plan. Because technically all of this in one day is really not very do-able. I seem to never see that part. But it does no good to tell me. I am a little bit stubborn when it comes to making my trips work. No, I have no plans to work on this personality quirk I have. It is me.

The first thing I did was to make sure our Monday stayed free. Then I had to decide which trip was first and how much I could fit into one day which meant figuring out the times places were open and the driving times. In my head where all things work out perfectly, I wanted to drive up to Newport via I-5 and Route 20 and be there when the Aquarium opened at ten and then drive down the Oregon coast highway on our way back home stopping in Shore Acres to see the Christmas Light display and making it to Bandon before six to get the best fish and chips in the land.

But, when I got online Sunday night to check road conditions, for some reason, 12 miles north of Florence the Oregon Coast Highway was closed....probably because of all the rain. UGH that effectively cut me off from the fish and chips and the christmas lights. There are only a few roads that come from I-5 across to the you have to think carefully about your shore plans. Only two roads run straight north and south across the state...I-5 and the coast highway. And there are maybe four good roads that connect these two know like ladder rungs.

For two days it had been raining and raining and raining. Whenever I looked at there were always little warning flags on the places I really needed to go on the coast. The warnings were all about flooding. And a lot of the cross roads were flooding or acquiring sink holes from the rain,

Even when I woke up Monday morning I was not sure what to do, But when I saw it was not raining I decided we needed to go no matter what. My other option had been to let everyone to sleep in and head to Portland to see the zoo and the zoo lights. But the coast is constantly calling our name. So it was a no brainer.

I am so glad we went. The sun broke through and it was so pretty. My girls and I loaded the car with our music and food and things to do and we drove. It honestly is therapy.

We got to the Oregon Coast Aquarium at about 11. My girls and I LOVE aquariums. With all of our hearts. But I discovered today that I have inadvertantly ruined visiting aquariums for all of us. My sister Sarah lives in Atlanta by the worlds largest aquarium and we have been and were duly wowed. A touch tank with sharks and rays. Huge shark whales in the most enormous tank ever.And then we have also been to the Omaha Zoo and their aquarium is amazing also. Throw in Chicago Aquarium and Boston Aquarium and.....yeah. I really thought these other visits would in no way affect our visit to the aquarium today but they did. The aquarium had no chance to meet our expectations in any way and it made me so sad. We still had fun and we still saw some cool things but it was depressing to spend $70.00 for what we saw. The seals were cool. The giant octopus was strangely active and mesmerizing. And who could not resist the shock value of the Japanese spider crabs? They are so gosh darn huge and creepy. The aquarium has some tunnels you can walk through with sharks and rays and various fish but the tanks look so stark and empty and sad. But we decided to not complain and feel sad. It is so good to know these things and you would not know if you had not tried :)

After the aquarium we were hungry. A few years ago my dad took me to this fish and chip restaurant in a town on the Oregon coast called Bandon. It was amazing. But I had no idea how hard it would be to duplicate this fish and chip amazingness. My dad served a mission for our church in England and has always been talking about proper fish and chips...the english way. With the perfect malt vinegar. These fish and chips in Bandon come the closest he says. The fact of the matter was I could talk about them all day today but they could not happen because of the road closure so we headed to downtown Newport to a place called Mo's. There were all sorts of claims written on the outside of Mo's so we thought we could not go wrong. But again our previous experiences have ruined our later experiences. Once you have had perfection in something how do you go backwards? I am doing some serious thinking about this subject. But we ate and survived. But the knowledge we have about the place in Bandon made it hard to swallow Mo's heavy fish and chips. Sorry Mo.

I took lots of pictures but this one is from google images.
When we came out of the restaurant we could hear the sound of sea lions....lots of sea lions. We decided to find where the sound was coming from. So we walked down the street stopping to listen and look and finally we found the sea lions and how much fun was this. There were at least thirty of them. They were all fairly large. They were sitting in the water on these old broken docks. They were so close to us. They were sinking these docks with their enormous bodies. Some of them were laying on top of each other. Others were very territorial of their dock spot.They would all be quiet for a minute and then someone would move or change positions and they would all start to bark in protest. They would all tilt their necks back like they were trying to catch some sun. We had the best time watching these sea lions. Apparently they are all male and they come up the coast from California every winter leaving the females behind in California. Which explained a lot of their behaviors :) This was surely the highlight of our day. The sea lions were so close and so entertaining :)

After the sea lions we needed to go to a beach. So we headed north on highway 101. The first beach we stopped at was Cobble Beach by Yaquina Head Lighthouse. It is fascinating to me how different all the beaches are here in Oregon. One could be all sand. One could have cliffs. One could be all rocks. One could be rocks that were all the same. It just so happened this particular one was called cobble beach because the rocks were all like cobble stones. All the same And all about the same shape. When you walked on them they rolled and when the waves rolled back out it made the best sound ever as all those rocks rolled with the water. The cliffs around this beach had lots of pelicans resting on top of them. And there were a few daring sea lions playing in the rough surf. Tatiana and I walked a ways on these rolling rocks and stared at the rough winter waves.

But the girls felt like they needed a sand beach so we drove to the next beach option and it was sandy. So strange that just five miles down the road was a perfectly sandy beach with not a trace of cobblestone rocks anywhere. This beach had tons of things washed up on it from all the rainy windy stormy weather we had had. We had to walk down a steep clay mountain to get to the beach. We all slipped on the slippery clay. This beach felt dirty to me so we did not stay long. I can not even remember the name of it.

When we were all done we stopped at Wal Mart to grab some candy for our journey home. It is very important to have a bag of jelly belly's in your car when you have a long drive. They are small. They have lots of flavors. I grab a handful and, without looking, since I am driving I slowly eat one at a time. Trying to guess which flavor I got. It keeps me awake.

Dec 22, 2014

All Things Alice.

Remember way back in September when I spent a few days in Port Townsend, Washington ? Well every time I go there a big part of my trip is spent exploring every single store in Port Townsend's quaint downtown. I rarely buy anything but I love to look at everything in each store. This year something caught my eye. I did not buy it but I looked at it for a long time in the store and it stayed in my mind long after I was back home in Oregon. "They" say when this happens it means it was meant
to be and you should buy it immediately. So when October rolled around and my birthday was nearing I decided I would just look and see if I could find this item on Amazon and just see how much it was. It took me awhile to figure out the proper title of the book...yeah, I loved it so much I could not remember the name of the book :) But finally I found it and it is called "All Things Alice" by Linda Sunshine. I put the book in my shopping cart on Amazon and left it there for a few days. Don't you love doing that? Finally, in a moment of whim I decided I deserved it. Yes, deserved was the exact word. I felt guilty about the $25.00. But I knew I would never get this book unless I just did it myself.

I am not sure when my obsession with Alice in Wonderland began. I also am not sure where it ranks next to my Narnia and Lord of the Rings/Hobbit obsessions. But no matter, I definitely have a small obsession with Alice and her adventures......or maybe the obsession is with Lewis Carroll himself and the way he writes.

Um yeah I definitely did not stage this picture for you :)
Excuse me for a moment while I gush about how beautiful this book is. The pages are printed on thick paper. Each page is a different color. There is a pink ribbon book mark!! There are quotes from the book and quotes from people who have found wisdom in the books and a lush illustration on each page. (yeah, I think the word lush is grossly underused :) Inside the front cover the book is described as a, "collection of artwork, quotations, recipes and all sorts of things that were inspired by the works of Lewis Carroll."

I imagine none of us really understood what Alice in Wonderland really was the first time we read it or saw the movie. But I find the more I read about it and watch the movie the more I am delighted with it. Quotes that have so much meaning if you think for a moment.

I am trying to choose a few quotes to share with you but it is so hard. I love them all.

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the cat,"or you wouldn't have come here."

"How puzzling all these changes are! I'm never sure what I'm going to be, from one minute to another!"

" I beg your pardon?" said Alice. "It isn't respectable to beg," said the King.

The caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence. "Who are you?" said the caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I-I hardly know, sir just at present-at least I know who i was when i got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." 

"What do you mean by that?" said the Caterpillar sternly. "Explain yourself!" 

"I can't explain myself I'm afraid, sir, said Alice, "because I'm not myself, you see."

I could go on and on and on. I am thrilled with the discoveries I make when I read books like this and how I can take those discoveries and fit them into my life and make some sense of things.
One of my favorite blogs I ever blogged was in February of 2012 and it was about the Alice in Wonderland movie... here is the link if you are in the mood Muchness and jabberwockies.

Dec 17, 2014

Where I Live.

The town that I moved to four months ago has a sign on either end of it declaring it's population as 9,749 people. I have no idea how accurate these sorts of signs are. How often do they change that number? I would like to think there is a special person who has this little job but I have a feeling it is not that way. Regardless, there is no question that this is a town where everyone knows everyone else and most likely everyone is related in some you should be picturing small and throw in some rural too.

 There are two lakes on either side of the town. Both are about 15 minutes out of town. These lakes keep the town of Cottage Grove from flooding. Before these dams were built the rumor is that the town of Cottage Grove flooded ALL the time. One of the lakes is Dorena Lake. And one is Cottage Grove Lake. My parents live right next to Cottage Grove Lake and I love this location. It is so beautiful. I love driving up and around the twisty road over the dam everyday on my way home from work and to work. Best. Views. Ever. One thing that causes me a little bit of consternation is that they have to drain both of these lakes every fall. They have to. So that all the rain that comes all winter has a place to collect and not flood the town. I hate seeing the bottom of the lake all empty and is just too much information about the lake for me. I know it will fill back up again by summer but I am a little dramatic about it and may be doing a small amount of mourning for the nice, pretty, fully clothed lake. Yeah I know that probably tells you what a surface-y kind of girl I am, but seeing all the tree stumps and odd formations that are under all the water just creeps me out a little. Although if I ever happen to loose a swimsuit in the summer in the lake I will feel better knowing I could possibly retrieve it when the lake is drained in the Fall.....yeah, that will never happen....but it is comforting to know....just in case :)

This little town has railroad tracks right down the middle of it. And these railroad tracks are very used railroad tracks. There is a huge Weyerhauser mill in town and trains are constantly stopping to get loaded with 2 x 4 "s and other assorted wood items. I am very aware of these train tracks because I am constantly driving my school bus back and forth over them..... opening my doors and stopping to listen for trains as I cross. One time I even have had to sit in my school bus and wait for a train that was completely stopped at a crossing thus blocking it for 30 minutes.

I have not had a single person honk at me or flip me off or swear at me on the roads here. Every single minute of every single day there was some disgruntled East coast driver doing one of those three things at me or at someone else. I didn't really notice it when I lived there because it was part of every day life but now that I am away from it I really notice. Don't worry east coast I still really like you.  It is just the way it is.

this is the covered area for rain recess.
All the elementary schools here have a huge covered area on the playground and recess goes on rain or not. I really love that. And when I drive the bus into the school parking lot and see classrooms sitting out in the pouring rain under these covered structures doing something as a class it makes me smile.

Speaking of rural Natalie goes to a little country school about 6 miles from my parents house. It has 94 kids in it and it covers Kindergarten to 8th grade. The 6th-8th graders all have the same teacher. The school is nestled (yep, I said nestled) between two mountains and all around the school is all the land Territorial seed company uses to grow their seeds. The kids get to do all sorts of fun, extra things that bigger schools simply could not do. They have a dome shaped art and cooking building....yes, the kids have cooking class as part of their day. The gym that has old, very dark hardwood floors. A library with huge tall windows. It is old, it is quaint, and I love it. It has been the best thing for my Natalie and her confidence to be at this small school. There happens to be two other rural schools in this school district so that gives you some idea of what the area is like.

Everywhere I have lived people have always declared "if you don't like the weather here just wait a few minutes and it will change." They said it in Kansas, Indiana, and Massachusetts. But I have to tell you that in Oregon that saying is really honestly true and those of you who live in those other places where I have lived it turns out we really did not know what PMS weather really meant. It may just be where Cottage Grove is in relation to mountains and the ocean and the equator and the sun and the moon. I am not sure if weather is this way all over Oregon or not but literally one minute it is sunny...the next raining...the next windy....back and forth all day long. I have learned to be prepared and I have umbrella, boots, gloves, hats, scarves, and a change of clothes in my trunk....always. One day the weather was so silly I saw 6 rainbows in one day.

There is so much rain here that a lot of the trees have moss growing on their branches and trunks. Lots of moss. Once all the leaves fell off the trees we could really see it. I feel like the trees look a little unkempt and messy and basically they just need to shave :) I am trying to appreciate the moss but it is hard to get used to. I prefer less hairy trees. It is an odd sight to get used to.

This town is so small that when I went to the DMV and forgot my checkbook they let me take the test anyway and bring my check back later. That never happened in Massachusetts. It stunned me that the lady suggested it. But I did not complain.

I love different views. And knowing different things and each time I have moved I have seen a new view and learned new things. There are pros and cons to everywhere you live. My kids are going to miss having lots of snow. But I am glad they got to experience lots of snow. Getting to the beach is much easier here than it was in Massachusetts. I miss being close to NYC and Boston and history but I have been furiously googling and learning about equally cool stuff here.

Dec 7, 2014

The Hundred Foot Journey....And Some Feelings :)

There is this feeling... I wonder if you know about it? It happens in your heart. It happens when you connect with someone. It happens when you remember something. It happens when you smell a smell. It happens when you hear something you have not heard in a long time. It can happen in a certain place. On a certain day. It is sight, sound, and sometimes even taste and touch all mixed together. Only you know when it happens. Only you feel it. No one else can really see it. You can try to explain it to others. But it is pretty hard to explain...I know because I am trying to explain it right now....but I am pretty confident that others have felt it too. I think two or more people can have this feeling at the same time but I wonder if that is rare? Maybe that is what causes a standing ovation? I am pretty sure it is a combination of peace, swelling, wistfulness, sometimes a small ache, a smile, a tear and almost a welling all mixed together.....oh and throw in some longing.

I feel it when I watch certain movies with the perfect blend of characters and views and music. I feel it when I accomplish something I thought I could not. I feel it when the lines meet and match. I have felt it when I show my kids something amazing. I feel it when I say the Pledge of Allegiance and then hear the Star Spangled banner. I have felt it when I have had a realization. Fireworks. Riding in the car with the perfect song playing on the perfect road. Making someone happy. Giving someone something they did not know you knew they wanted or liked but it shows them that without a doubt you noticed them. Receiving something from someone that shows they noticed you. Watching two people laugh over a shared memory. Celebrating a hard worked for accomplishment. Sun shining through clouds.

The feeling often results in tears for me. I do not know about you. I wish I could capture this feeling. It is so elusive. You can not seem to predict when it will come. It does not stay long. I know because....gulp.... I have tried to hold still when I feel it and trick it to stay but it never does. It moves on. It makes me long. Do you know what longing is? Yeah, a strong, persistent desire or craving especially for something unattainable or distant. What about swelling? Swelling means to affect with strong, expansive emotion. Expansive emotion. I love thinking about that word expansive put together with the word emotion.

So what has brought all this weird musing up? Well I watched the movie The Hundred Foot Journey the other night. It was a magical movie. The deliberateness and thoughtfulness of the words. The development of the characters. The visual feast. I wanted to open a restaurant, live in the country, savor food, cook....oh, okay and fall in love....why not live large :) It was a beautiful movie and I have no idea why it made my heart swell. If I had to guess I think I would say that it was the simpleness of the life in the movie mixed with the complex-ness of the humans that were in the simple life. Regardless of what it was I realized I have not felt that feeling in a long time. It is a simple yet very profound feeling. I cried and cried after the movie was over and could not for the life of me figure out why.

Oprah Winfrey and Steven Speilberg produced the movie and it did pretty well at the box office when it was released in August. I vaguely remembered hearing about it but not really knowing what it was about. But I am so glad this little gem spoke to me when I was staring at that darn Redbox screen wondering if there was anything rated PG that I could watch that did not involve animation :)

The bummer will always be that the movie may not feel the same to you when you watch it as it did to me......but it will not hurt you to try.....just saying :)  It is possible that this feeling may have been only for me. Which makes me SO sad because I seem to have some silly notion that there is some way to share feelings. Would it not be cool if when you felt this heart, swelling awesome feeling you could choose just one person to share it a Vulcan mind meld :) But just one person.....there has to be rules :)

Dec 5, 2014

Two Roads Diverged.

I got to teach a lesson in church a few weeks ago about how to make decisions. I thought it sounded like a pretty harmless topic but the more I read and studied for this lesson the more I swung between resolve and discouragement. How did I manage to miss the instructions on how to make good decisions? It would have made my life so different if I understood how to make a good decision. Not necessarily a better life just a different one.

How many times have you heard that Robert Frost poem about two roads diverging in the yellow woods and how taking the one less traveled, how that made all the difference? Yeah, almost every time I have found myself standing in that darn yellow woods I have chosen the wrong road. As I made pages of notes for this lesson on how to teach these darling 14-18 year old kids in my class how to make good decisions I have been squirming with the realization that I have rarely followed these steps.

From ninth grade to about 30 years old we are making some of the most important decisions of our lives. Who we are going to marry. What career we want. What school to go to. Whether to get good grades or not. Who to date. Decisions that seriously determine our lives. I was so young when I made all these decisions. So not aware of who I was.

You can't go back ....duh....I know this. So I am trying not to bellyache too much over what is done and gone. And I have this very rare opportunity to make some decisions again and the part that is killing me is that I am not totally sure I am yet capable of making good decisions. I know me a lot better. I know the best way to make decisions but can I put it all into action? Do I have the discipline? The self control? The focus? And most important the perspective? Oh and what about that constant struggle between what your heart wants and what your head knows? Sometimes I want to give up. The struggle does not appear on my outside unless you pay close attention to me but I am just going to be dramatic and say it is epic and the ending....yeah, who knows :)