wrestling with carrots

carrots - before beauty treatment

I volunteer for an organization that is part public/community garden, part harvest market, part nursery, and part educational resource.

I love it there.

In the beginning, all I did was weed. I didn’t mind. It’s quiet, peaceful work that requires patience and persistence, which it turns out I have when it comes to weeding. I’m the same with untying difficult knots. Can’t get your shoes off? Poor thing…come over here and let me take a look at the problem.

Certain activities bring out my perfectionism – without the Type A personality, of course. Uh, why do you still have your shoes on? I didn’t unknot your shoes for fun, you know. Next time, can you take them off before entering my blog? Here are some slippers you can wear (which I will burn immediately after you leave).

A weeder’s job is never done. Ever. I began to think that I would never graduate to doing anything else.

A few weeks ago, another fellow weeder and I were asked to help with some planting. We were so thrilled that our egos ballooned up over our heads.

We made it!! We’re too legit to quit!!

garden

A week later, the garden manager asked me to help harvest the broccoli:

“Get a clipper from the barn – ” He instructed.
My ego starting floating up into the air again. I quickly returned and started to cut some of the heads of broccoli, realizing that some of the stalks were way too thick for the clippers.
“How do I cut some of the bigger stalks? I don’t want to hack at them.” I said to the manager, holding up my narrow clippers.
“Well…first of all, those are wire cutters.”

Ego properly deflated.

I knew how ridiculous the situation was, so I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. He gave me his clippers and went off to get another pair. I put my head down and started working. I also harvested snap peas and then remembered the manager saying they needed carrots, too.

I couldn’t find him, so I asked someone else which carrots to harvest. I hadn’t a clue.

“Look at these tall greens,” She pointed to a large clump of carrot tops. “You could pull the more mature ones.”

Those were some stubborn carrots. I pulled, dug, and wrestled until I had sweat falling into my eyes (and everywhere else). Sometimes I was left with only the tops in my fist. If I had more time, I could have gotten more of them out, but everyone was beginning to leave and I still had to cut the tops and rinse them. As I was doing this, the garden manager showed up with another basket of carrots. He didn’t pick many mature ones – most of them were quite tiny.

Note to self: always find the manager and ask him how he wants things done.

carrots - after

My supervisors are loose and forgiving. They aren’t looking for perfection, which is perfect for an imperfect person who thinks she needs to be perfect. What they’re looking for is willingness, and  I am more than willing to learn and add to my growing base of knowledge (and superpowers). I predict all of this will come in very handy in the future…

 

dropping the stick

 

Things were going wonky.

a visual example of wonkiness

a visual example of wonkiness

I moved in February of this year.

The duplex I’m in hasn’t worked out.

I couldn’t keep biting on the stick that kept me from complaining about my neighbor (who is also the landlord’s son) and the paper-thin wall we share. Let me amend that: I didn’t complain much on my blog, but my friends heard plenty. (But it was difficult to understand me with a stick embedded between my teeth: “Dat pun ash bish iza poh-smokeen idit.”)

chewing the stick

I didn’t look this cute biting my stick. I slobbered a lot more.

I’m convinced that finding a place to live has a lot to do with timing and pure luck. The search can be intensified by a tight housing market in a very desirable area. Add to that my unwillingness to settle for just any old place.

A planner like me would be sweating bullets if she found herself without a place to live with seven days to go before her move date. Luckily, that sweaty girl has lovely friends who offered to let her housesit and also stay an extra week if she couldn’t find a place by June 30th.

I was feeling – I mean, SweatyGirl was starting to feel a strange mix of panic and calmness. Sometimes things don’t work out in your favor. Life is like that. Take what you’ve learned, pack it in your trunk and carry it away with you, wherever you may go.

ohmm…ohmmm…

On that seven-days-to-go day, SweatyGirl got a response from an ad she had answered days before. She spoke to the property owner of a small cottage in the country. He asked if she wanted to come by and see the place. SweatyGirl hightailed it over there, fell in love and activated all of her superpowers to try and convince the couple to rent their space to her. She left encouraged, yet she knew that several more people were scheduled to look at the place.

Later that evening, the husband called me. (By the way, I’m SweatyGirl.)

“We’re calling people to let them know that the cottage isn’t available.” He said.
“Oh, I see…” heart sinking…
“We canceled the other appointments because we’d like to offer it to you.”
“Reeeealllly??”

#happydance #sweatierthanever #lucktimingsuperpowers

the view out my window

the soon-to-be view out my window

What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice turned out to be a color of the sky.
 
~ Tony Hoagland, “A Color of the Sky”

it’s an ephemeral life

into the fog

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.”

~ Pema Chödrön

When I discovered that Friday’s WordPress photo challenge was the word ephemeral, I knew I wanted to post some cool photos I took one foggy day. Then I started to think about fleeting moments. Then impermanence. Which led to the pondering of Buddhist concepts. And finally, my head burst into flames.

(My head is always doing strange and unpredictable things, like the time it fell off and rolled around on the ground. Well, I don’t need my head to write this post. Truth be told, I was barely using it for my previous posts anyways.)

I don’t consider myself a Buddhist. I believe and don’t believe in a lot of things. I simply decide what feels right and then try to apply it to my life. Intellectually, I get the ideas within Buddhism, but they can be difficult to practice for someone who likes permanence. When Joy enters the room, I want her to stay awhile. I ply her with wine and chocolate and the gyoza she likes from Trader Joe’s. But she always has somewhere else to be. She has a very busy schedule, that Joy.

i heart fog

Enter, Gratitude.

Photography is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If you’re like me (oh, lucky you! the sweet realization!), you capture these moments in time and then – everything changes. You feel gratitude because what you saw and experienced will likely never happen the same way again. And if you’re like me (oh, dear. poor you.), you get secretly giddy over the fact that while you were living in the moment, you captured it and made it permanent. Take that, Buddhism!

In case you’re wondering, Buddhism can take this kind of ironic taunting.

Joy, pain, gratitude, disappointment…they flow in and out, in constant motion, and sometimes they are tangled up together. I suppose that’s what happens when you stay open – you allow more of everything to enter. It definitely helps to keep your sense of humor and perspective intact. So that’s why I’m going to end with the photo below, because photography also causes you to notice things in a different way, which is, like, totally awesome, Dude.

If you’re like me – twisted, easy (…careful…), head falling off all of the time but knowing how to play it off, and willing to laugh at yourself, then…Joy!! I proclaim that we can be friends!! Because honestly, this has all been a test of our potential friendship. Okay, okay…here’s the photo:

when trees photobomb each other

when trees photobomb each other

 

real {tiny} estate

"oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person. act now!"

“oceanfront property with plenty of great light. perfect for one very, very, very, very small person.”

Friend: “How big is your new place?”
Me: “Um, the size of a hotel room?”
Friend: “So it’s about 300sq feet?”
Me: “…”
Me: “…smaller.”
Friend (politely): “Oh.”

Tiny houses are the new rage right now, so people who live in these small spaces (and even smaller) might call my 250sq foot studio a luxury.

I’m not complaining. I do have to share a wall with a 25 year-old who is going on 15, so if I sound muffled, it’s because I’m biting down on a stick right now to keep from bursting out in language that I only use when I’m alone in my car.

But I have the space all to myself. Hallelujah.

I am incredibly lucky to be able to live in a city I’ve been wanting to live in, be in my own place and have the opportunity to transform it into a nest, a place that represents me and the peace that I crave. It’s been a long time coming.

For years, I shoved my needs into the shadows and misguidedly threw them under the bus in my personal relationship.

The Dark: It’s pain I can never forget.

The Light: It’s made me strong and soft at the same time.

I am part of that population for whom trust and faith in oneself takes time to revive, renew, and restore. And our work is never done. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be done. I don’t want to stop learning from, growing up in, and experiencing the billions of moments in this dazzling, unpredictable life.

For now, I’m home.

I can’t say it any better than the incomparable Joseph Campbell:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

 

love, naturally

attraction in action

Couples fascinate me. If it weren’t for the possibility of life behind bars, I would make it my mission to capture, tag, and study them as they moved about in the wild.

How did you meet? Was there an immediate attraction? How did you ask him/her out? Wait!! Where are you going? Tell me your special tale of love!!! Remember, you’re tagged – I will always find you!!!

When it comes to love, I don’t think logic and science have anything to do with it. Have you noticed the variety of couples out there?? What you see in each other simultaneously baffles and delights me. If you have luck, timing, and mutual juju, the two of you are off and running into the sunset. Or the car wash. Maybe a Star Trek the Next Generation convention. Listen, I don’t presume to know what you like to do. It’s all good. It’s about togetherness, right?

valentine's sunset

I haven’t come across mutual juju in a long time. I’m not sure why. I’m relatively normal (don’t read my About page) and…well, that’s all I got. Oh, I’m not high drama (don’t read my other posts) and I get easily lost, which means I won’t crowd you. Because I’m lost. And I have no idea when I’ll return, so stop asking. Geez!! Get off my back!! Leave me alone!!!!

See? Plenty of space.

Anyways, my history of attraction has always been off-kilter:

I’m attracted to them > They don’t know I exist
I want to run away < They are attracted to me
I’m attracted (but he’s wrong for me) <> They’re attracted (but I’m wrong for him)

My future is a mystery. I don’t know if there will be several people over time or just one. I don’t know if I will ever meet them. Perhaps they exist but our paths may never cross. However, if our paths do cross, I’m sure I’ll recognize them. Until then (or never), I will go my merry way.

hearts

And while I was on my aforementioned merry way, I happened to speak to someone whom I failed miserably at recognizing. Not only did he feel familiar, he was kind, funny and warm. No warning bells went off like they usually do. We connected in a very easy way, had a lovely conversation, and then we went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until later that I thought: Oh…that’s the type of guy I should date! If he had asked me out, I would have said yes without hesitation. Not that he would have (see history of attraction above). I honestly don’t know much about anything anymore.

I had preconceived notions about attraction: !sparks! *fluttering* Mr. Darcy walking across a dewy field of grass at sunrise with the intention of proclaiming his love for me. While I was keeping my eye out for all of that, I didn’t see what was in front of me.

That's either Mr. Darcy or someone coming to kill me. Well, let's let him come a little closer before jumping to any totally logical conclusions.

That’s either Mr. Darcy or someone coming to kill me. Well, let’s let him come a little closer before jumping to any totally logical conclusions.

That guy gave me a gift. He showed me that connection can float in with an easy grace that is so organic, you don’t know anything is happening. It’s synergy in motion: click click with that person, click click click click with another person. If you’re lucky, your inner self aligns with another’s inner self with more clicks that you’ve ever experienced before. You get them and they get you. It’s real and heartfelt as opposed to thrilling, yet fleeting. Thrilling and fleeting are overrated. I’d rather have the fullness of the real thing.

So I’m on my merry way again: schooled once more, with Darcy on the shelf, and my heart click clacking as I go. With it being Valentine’s Day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.