it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn

 

“Goodbye, Hell Hole!!!!!!!”

That’s what I shouted – because I’m mature and grown-up – as I drove away from my tiny, sweltering ex-studio. I was putting it behind me. Literally.

it's a new day

I’ve been living in my new place for three weeks now. I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I can hear sheep, cows, horses and chickens out in the distance. The most consistent sound I hear is of leaves rustling in the wind.

It’s all music to me.

blackberriescherry plums

I’m currently visiting my folks and packing my car with all of the things that wouldn’t fit in my old place. [I just checked the manual and yes, your parents’ house is supposed to act as a storage unit. Thought so.]

I’m excited to be bringing more personal items and much more kitchenware. My new place is inspiring and full of promise, and I am motivated to step up my game to expand into and embody the possibilities.

The past six months have been a mixture of stress and joy, of limitations and discovery. I still haven’t been sleeping well; I wake up at 4am, 5am, 6am and my mind starts whirring, but this time in a good way. There is so much to do, so much to make happen.

strength

I’ve always had difficulty figuring out where I was going: Where do I belong? What am I doing? Am I making the right decisions? But I think I understand The Force now. You can’t always use your eyes to see. If you know yourself, trust and have faith in yourself, you do your best to feel your way through while remembering to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself. You recognize rightness in your bones and you go where they lead you. Dem bones be smart.

I’ll continue to stumble, to doubt, to hope, to practice gratitude. And I’ll try and hold it together if I need to juggle all of those things at the same time, but I make no promises. If you go to your local grocery store and happen to witness a small Asian woman sitting down in the middle of the potato chip aisle, alternately laughing and crying, please don’t disturb me. I mean her. She’ll be fine. It’ll pass.

It’s a grand ride, this life. Full of unruliness, stillness, sudden twists and turns, and the potential for laughter in the face of fear and joy. Better hold on tight. Or loosen your grip. You know what to do for you: The Force awaits.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~ Pema Chödrön

home

 

 

 

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”

re(fresh)ed


wisteria

Spring is springing.

My WordPress friend Lola Jane encouraged me to participate in this week’s WP photo challenge for the word fresh. I haven’t taken part in a WP weekly photo challenge in a while, using the excuse of “I’m still settling from my move (whine, whine).” My poor boyfriend, Camera, is a little peeved at me because I haven’t taken him out. Instead, I’ve been using my iPhone to capture the amazing flowers I’ve come across in the past few weeks.

The warm weather in Sonoma County has caused an explosion of flowers and colors. I’m mesmerized. Beauty is everywhere.

nature's bouquet

Because I’m new to all of these different pollens, I’m crossing my fingers that my allergies won’t be too bad this spring. Or summer. I might as well throw fall in there, too. More than anything else, I’d like to spare others from my incredibly loud sneezes. I sooo wish I could be one of those people who sneezes like a cat. So delicate! So dainty!: choo.

Instead, this is me: WA-WA-WAAAATCHOOOOO!!!!

jasmine

But it would be worth it, you know? I want to have fresh flowers in my place all of the time. I decided to buy/find them for myself since I don’t have a thoughtful boyfriend that picks wildflowers for me (whine, whine). Camera’s excuse is that he doesn’t have legs, arms or hands. Whatever.

Everyone deserves to surround themselves with whatever they find beautiful to them. Unless you have a tooth collection. I’m very open-minded, but ew.

Spring is a beautiful time of year. I hope that you get fresh with it any way you see fit.

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.