inside the ordinary

 

Ordinary day.

Ordinary beach.

Extraordinarily poetic.

The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. 

– Veronique Vienne

For more (extra)ordinary photos, check out the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge!

P.S. I think this is my shortest post ever. But I just ruined it by writing this post script.

 

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turn left at the cow

When friends visit me for the first time, I tell them, “Turn left before the blackberry bush.” And then I add, “You might see some sheep when you turn onto my road!!” These are the kinds of helpful details you don’t get from Google maps.

It’s quiet here.

lonely barn

Here is my house. (This, of course, is not my house. I’m not crazy enough to post a photo of the exterior of my place because although I like you, I don’t like you enough to want you to visit me. Unless you show up with a bottle of wine, in which case I love you very much.)

It’s what I wanted. Sometimes I hear roosters crowing, horses laughing, sheep gossiping, cows crooning. The wind picks up every afternoon, always wanting to show off a bit. Other times it is eerily silent. Hearing myself think can be pretty boring and often leads to no good. On a positive note, I’m able to hear potential killers coming up to my door. The crunch of gravel and dry leaves acts as quite an effective burglar alarm.

I always like to find the silver lining in all of my worst-case scenarios!

The best thing about living in the country is the nature and the space. And I realize that saying ‘I live in the country’ is relative. I know there are countrier places, but this is the countriest place I’ve personally ever lived.

country living

Every time I come home, I feel a sense of peace. It is restorative.

This is my happy place, y’all.

For more happy places, check out this week’s WordPress photo challenge!

Oh, before you go, I have a joke for you. Why did the turkeys cross the road?

we own the road

Answer: I have no idea. These turkeys stopped in front of my car and started gobbling the heck out of it. They were either trying to mate with my vehicle or pick a fight. Maybe both. I’m sure this kind of thing happens in the city (substitute the turkeys for people), too.

writing is such sweet sorrow

 

I’m having writer’s block.

My mind is a blank. Not my regular blank but that no-makey-sense-my-words-no-good kind of blank. So, when in doubt, post photos of extremely random things and make matching random comments:

vandals

This is my newest succulent. I’m holding a little nub that had been uprooted from its pot and tossed disrespectfully onto the ground. It had toothmarks on it. I often find my succulents with bite marks and chewed leaves, knocked over, or uprooted and strewn about. Vandals. Miscreants. Other strong words describing animals behaving badly.

 

I have this thing with tree trunks

This is my favorite selfie. Morning feet, good. Morning face, bad. Trust me on this.

 

serious mood lighting
The lighting in my place is ridiculous. I want to invite people over so that they can take their selfies in this light. For a small, yet exorbitant fee, of course.

 

cute badonkadonk

Cute sheep butt sighting.
Sheep cute butt sighting.
Sighting cute butt sheep.

All of these descriptions work pretty well. I really missed out on a career with words about sheep butts.

 

planting bok choy

Planting bok choy. Taking time to admire my work. Too much time. I had trouble straightening my legs but didn’t have any problem making a lot weird sounds while trying to stand up.

 

apple season

I am so lucky to be in a part of the world that has an abundance of beautiful summer fruit. I’m very, very grateful. Along with eating the fruit raw, I’ve made apple cake, apple crisp, and multiple batches of applesauce. Peach crisps are dang delicious. I put plums in my oatmeal. Nectarines and strawberries went into my yogurt. Pears went down my gullet. Fruit has been an extremely attentive BFF, the kind of BFF from whom you need to take a little break and hope they don’t take it personally. Okay, I think I’ve covered my bases. If there’s one thing I don’t need, it’s Fruit being all like, “I thought you were my friend….!!!!”

Well, I guess I wasn’t lacking for words after all.

I believe that part of having writer’s block is the belief that you have nothing to say. Fear of sucking at something you actually love to do. Overthinking doesn’t help. It gets tiring, this thinking about my thinkings. While some people need a more stringent thought process, I need to keep free from extraneous thoughts. I’ll try it now.

Are you still there? It’s kind of creepy the way you’re watching me not think.

That’s why I like you.

I’ll leave you to overthink that one.

 

we’re jammin’

 

friendly, non-intimidating kitchen

One of my goals is to gain more confidence in the kitchen.

If you’re new to my blog, one of the first things you should know about me is that I’m not a perfectionist.

I just happen to like it when things go perfectly.

I’m not an alarmist either. So when I made tomato jam the other day, I didn’t think about botulism or accidentally poisoning my friends. My jam-filled jars weren’t going to shatter in a pot of boiling water, exploding magnificently in my face. And I never once thought about investing in a welder’s helmet. Or a beekeeper’s outfit (for deep frying: onion rings, chicken, Snickers bars, etc.).

I had to stop procrastinating. I had some beautiful tomatoes I bought at the farmers’ market and I had to do right by them.

tomatoes

So I began at the beginning. I read the “Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving”. Set out the equipment and ingredients. Started chopping.

chopping tomatoes

A few hours later, the tomatoes were cooking nicely on the stove. But wait – my jam looked more like soup! Oh, the horror!! I glanced at the recipe again and it didn’t mention covering the pot with a lid. Which I did. And I shouldn’t have. Doh!!

Another four and a half hours later, the tomatoes finally cooked down and I tried the hot water bath technique for the first time. The jars didn’t shatter. I still have my face and am not going to need plastic surgery (at least not for this reason)!!

Three and a half pounds of tomatoes and eights hours later:

the "fruits" of my labor. sorry. it's my grandpa humor. I realized later that I put pears in the photo when I really should have tomatoes. Good thing I'm not a perfectionist and this is not going to drive  me crazy.

The “fruits” of my labor. Sorry. It’s my grandpa humor. (I realized later that I put pears in the photo when I really should have tomatoes. Good thing I’m not a perfectionist and this is not going to drive me crazy.)

All that work resulted in three, almost four, half-pint jars, two of which I’m planning to give away. Tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself. Kind of sweet, savory, tomatoey, jammy, and other yummy, nonsensical words.

I really hope I don’t poison my friends. If I do, I’ll try to write from prison. They allow free-writing time in there, don’t they? Maybe I can start a canning group! We’re jammin’, jammin’, and I hope they’ll like jammin’, too…

 

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

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