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”
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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.

 

stone cold knitter

i miss my cat.

I’m an on-again, off-again knitter. I’m in on-mode right now, having been inspired by a friend who has been crocheting those cute amigurumi figures. I’m of Japanese descent, and it has taken me forever to learn and remember that word. Amygummy? Agroommy? Ergimummy? Argh!!

I love yarn, especially when the fiber is spun from alpacas. I love wooden needles and the fact that you can’t bring them to jury duty because it is a known fact that knitters are stone. Cold. KILLERS.

I’ve been trying to knit the perfect hat. This has been going on for years. The only hat I’ve ever kept was the one I subsequently lost in Scotland. Every time I travel I somehow manage to leave behind some article of clothing. (I am choosing to let that last sentence sound sexy and daring, even though it involves beanies and stretched-out sweatshirts.) In fact, I’ve hardly kept anything I’ve ever made, save a few coffee cup cozies and some crocheted roses my armygrummi friend taught me how to make.

Why is this?

a) I’m a perfectionist unwilling to compromise the highest apex of my expectations
b) I give everything away as part of my plan to clothe the heads of the entire population, one hat at a time
c) I look terrible in hats

See? I look like Michael Nesmith. I’m very upset because the hat is too small for my head. And it’s making me look like I have sideburns.

All are sort of true. But the thing that dawned on me this morning is that I actually enjoy the process. Screw the outcome. My task, my lesson, is to appreciate what is happening in the moment. Sometimes I feel disappointed that I didn’t capture a moment with my camera or that a better camera would be able to perfectly capture a scene…and then I remember that I am here, seeing this perfect thing at the most perfect of moments. That I can choose how I want to see what I see. Moments like this shift my perspective and depth of gratitude. Knitting, you are a surprising teacher.

Yes, we’re stone-cold killers. But we can also be found staring lovingly at our inordinate amounts of yarn and our beautifully crafted weapons of choice.

It’s the alpaca heart in us.

Walking Tall (Even Though I’m Not)

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that I have a fondness for self-deprecating humor. I’ve used it unconsciously and consciously and thought it was quite harmless. I didn’t mind making people laugh at my expense.

Except…I noticed (and it was also pointed out to me) that making fun of what I think are my real deficiencies doesn’t do me or anyone else any favors. Not taking yourself too seriously is a good thing; turn it against yourself too often and you weaken yourself with your own sucker punches.

I’ve made fun of my height, legs, cellulite, age, over thinking…well, I think that’s enough to begin with. We’re all self-critical to varying degrees, but when it plays heavily on our insecurities, enough is enough. Yes, I want to be a lot taller, have different shaped legs, dimple-free skin, be younger, and I want to stop thinking so damn much. But unless I have bone extension surgery, can turn back time, and stop being an INFJ, well, it ain’t gonna happen.   

As I tackle Project Jane and work on my “stuff”, I want to embody this mantra: Own and learn to embrace what you have, who you are, and that you are a work in progress. The stronger you are at your base, the stronger you will be against your inner critic and outside forces. Why not focus on your assets as opposed to highlighting what you think are your weaknesses?

Easier said than done, I know. It’s taken me a long time to even get to this point and even then, I falter. I just want to make sure I don’t falter too far or for too long.

It’s funny, for years I would walk down the hallways at work with my unusually fast, stompy stride, always giving people the impression that wherever I was going, it was important. And I needed to get there immediately. Sometimes it was true, other times, I had no pressing agenda. I’ve found myself morphing that walk into a strong, bouncy, purposeful stride. Like one of my Zumba teachers says, “Don’t know what you’re doing? Fake it!!!

Didn’t anyone tell you? I may be 4′ 11″, but I can be 6′ 0″ tall inside…