Oregonians

Todd Lake+Mt Bachelor

Todd Lake+Mt Bachelor

At the beginning of June we packed up and moved to Bend, Oregon. After a honeymoon-like summer, it's now becoming more real. Pre-K has begun. Resumes are floating around. Here we are, Oregonians. Here we are, living in a too-good-to-be-true town. No, it's not perfect. Yes, a great deal of people (many from the Bay Area) are moving to Bend (even the moving truck rental guy commented on it). Maybe it's growing and changing too quickly, especially from the perspective of people who have been here for decades. Change is hard. Change is inevitable. I, of course, can't speak for all the new Bendites, but we came not to take advantage but to contribute and become a part of the magic. We came here because people here seemed kind and open and happy, and it made US want to be kind and open. So, we will say hello to everyone we see on our morning run. We will signal our roundabout exits. We will support local causes, artists, and businesses. We will play in the mountains and the river and the desert. We will find our way. We will share our joy and kindness as much as we can.

We will thrive.

 

2016

image.jpg

Two weeks into the new year, how's it going for you? I've been on my own for half of it as my people were off visiting more of our people. I missed them terribly, but was quite excited to have a long moment completely by myself for the first time in ages...a little introvert recharge, if you will. I had great intentions for projects and adventures, some of which I accomplished, but mostly I found myself sitting still, binging on shows and books and forgetting to feed myself or sleep properly. Ah well…guess that’s what I needed?

Truthfully, it usually takes me about a month to transition to a new year. There are the holidays to recover from and mental knots to untie from the previous year so you can daydream about the year to come. But if I'm not careful I can get a bit mopey about it all, especially left alone in a quiet house to listen to my own perfectionistic, regretty bullshit. My approaching birthday gets me going, too. To get me through it this time around, I'm tying knots in dough. I've been a bit obsessed lately with The Great British Baking Show (which due to trademark issues is sadly NOT called The Great British Bake Off here as it is across the pond). It's utterly charming and inspiring, so I decided to put my hands where my brain is. This month I'm practicing pretzels and using terms like 'cling film' and 'bicarb.' I found Baking is something I've dabbled in over the years (I'm told my apple pie is very good...probably excepting that time I made it with Splenda). I’ve been approaching it all in good fun as a true learning experience, without getting frustrated when things don’t go exactly according to plan. It could still be yummy in the end. That’s how baking is, and that’s how life is, and I would do well to remember that.

Three Rules

Earth Wall, Andy Goldsworthy

Earth Wall, Andy Goldsworthy

A year ago I was feeling all tied up in knots in my brain. Well, maybe I still am, but that's beside the point. My mama came for a visit and gave me three life rules that she wisely saw I needed:

  • Don't be so hard on yourself
  • Don't worry so much.
  • Carve out some time for yourself.

Little did I realize that I'd remind myself of these rules weekly, if not more, for the past year. Does that make it a mantra? I've followed #3 pretty well, but the other two are constant challenges. I've added a sub-rule...or maybe it's #4...Take care of yourself (get enough sleep, don't forget to eat lunch, take your vitamins, etc.).  That one is a challenge, too. I notice when I don't follow the rules I get irritable, anxious, depressed...all the bad feels. Being a grown-up is hard. 

I know I'm not the only woman/mama/human who feels that way. Do you have a simple list of life rules? 

Sweet Monday

Daylight Savings seems to be hitting us a bit hard this spring...we couldn't quite make it out for our usually Sunday hike. But then we stumbled into a Monday without anything on our schedules. We celebrated with a leisurely hike thru Tennessee Valley for a picnic and some beach exploration. Weekday hikes are always just a little bit sweeter, don't you think? 

Kicking Myself

image.jpg

I got new "kicks"! Get it? Kicking myself? Groan. Long story short, I have some minimalist trail runners that I love wearing..they are light and I feel quick in them. But I convinced myself they were making a knee problem worse. The more likely truth is that I have been rather complacent about some physical therapy exercises I was given back in November to combat my knee problem...patellofemoral syndrome, a vague but promising diagnosis. But a diagnosis doesn't fix it, especially when you don't follow instructions. For that, I really am kicking myself.

Long, long ago, when I was a consistent runner (which I'm aiming to be again...I think), I preferred trail runners because they were a little more rugged and seemed to protect me from rolling my ankle so often. I picked up these Montrail FluidFlex II because they were on sale, cool looking, and had good reviews. I thought they'd solve all my problems and my months of not doing the proper knee work would be irrelevant. So, of course, on my first time out with these, I did a major ankle roll while trying to fight through the worst, sharp knee pain. It wasn't an EPIC fail, but it was disappointing and frustrating. Problems decidedly not solved, with no one to blame but myself. So, it's ice packs, stretches, and strengthening for me...EVERY NIGHT. I think I'll reward myself with a run next week. In the meantime, walking, hiking, and biking, stiff ankle and achey knee be damned.

Anything you're kicking yourself for this week?

Newish Year

Larrabee State Park, WA

Larrabee State Park, WA

It's halfway through February, and I think I am finally ready to say Happy New Year and make some goals and plans for 2015. There have already been so many lovely moments: a lot of giggles, hugs, sights, good food, and important time with family & friends. I've made an effort to exercise, read, and spend time outdoors. But there have also been illnesses, uncertainty about if, when, and where we might settle, financial questions, and just general overthinking and stressing out about all the everything. The ups and downs have challenged my brain and body the last two months, culminating in a big, fat, 2-year-old-style, all-day, crying tantrum last week. For real. I couldn't pull it together that day. I can't change what happened, but it was another 'woah' moment that tells me (again) I need to take better care of myself. 

With that in mind, I feel I can't quite get a grasp on how to "do" this year, whether to make ambitious goals and plans, or just continue quietly and somewhat safely moment to moment. Be satisfied with things as they are, or make big changes? Or should I aim somewhere in between? 

I'm curious, what are your top goals for the year? Are they bold or gentle? Complicated or basic?

 

On NOT going on an adventure...

Little one taking a little break on Angel Island/Photo Credit: Scott Mansfield

Little one taking a little break on Angel Island/Photo Credit: Scott Mansfield

I think that adventure is the right choice 98% of the time. Even small adventures like a walk in the rain win out over (some) responsibilities or laziness. Adventure refreshes the soul and makes you feel like you can tackle the rest of life.

Sometimes your guts cry out to stay home and you have to have a chat with yourself about the benefits of going out. You KNOW the adventure will be fun and good for you, you just have to get out of bed or away from the computer. But sometimes you DO have to listen to your guts. Sometimes your guts know that you are avoiding hard tasks. Sometimes your guts know you are fragile.

I've been dealing with some anxiety issues lately. I won't bore you with details...I just have some work+healing to do. But my brain+body issues mean that I'm hovering closer to my limits and do need to pay attention when my gut says "don't go!" If I push past my mental and physical limits I get cranky and tired and withdrawn...in other words, no fun to be around. Staying home and staying quiet can really help bring me back to a little closer to normal. Sure, I might miss out on a special moment, but I know I'll hear stories about it and see pictures, and I know I'll be ready for the next adventure.

 

Summer is gone. Long live summer.

image.jpg

Woosh. No...more like clackity clackity clackity clackity. The sound of the calendar days turning over quickly like a train station schedule board. It's mid-September already and the calendar says summer is ending. But in San Francisco it's really just beginning. The fog lingers less each day. It's a bit disorienting...beach weather is coming soon. I'll get my apple cider on ice. Travels and visitors and new work schedules and new nap schedules and new ideas swirl around me even faster than my daughter does. Blink and it will be fall. Take a breath and it will be Christmas.  Wake up and find it's a new year. I must rememeber to keep my eyes open. To jump in...participate. Choose. Take pictures...unless I'm just enjoying the moment. You never know, I might find someone small took the perfect picture for me.

Blooming?

Over a year ago I wrote a post about my uncertainty about life and personal potential, and the question of if and how motherhood would affect my uncertainty and fear (read it HERE so you know what I'm babbling about in this post). The discussion continued in the comments of that post and recently an old friend of mine, who is now expecting her first little one (yay!), nudged me for an update and brought up some new questions of her own. 

I hadn't re-read my original post since I had written it, and when I did it really threw me into a crazy mental place...part of a series of events which have made me question my own behaviors and choices over the years and have made me worry even more (if that's possible) about some of the life decisions looming over me: Should I/Can I become a stay-at-home mom? Where do we want our family to live and grow? What is important to me? What am I willing to compromise? What gives me joy? What brings me down? What have I accomplished? What am I proud of? What do I wish I had done or was doing differently? 

The last year has been a whirlwind. They aren't kidding when they say "don't blink." After a year of keeping a tiny human alive it does finally feel like there is some breathing room to think and do and turn a corner (ah, but which corner...). I unfortunately can't say that much has changed in my brain since my Blossom post...I still feel a part of me is dormant. I still get overwhelmed by choices and dreams and responsibilities and fear and failure. However I can say that it all feels bigger and more important now, in a good way.

It turns out that being a mom has made all these questions and feelings MORE relevant. I feel like I've got the basic mom stuff down pretty well...you know, providing basic needs, physical & mental development, and a good dose of play. But more than wondering if it's okay to be "just a mom" or comparing myself to other mothers, I find myself wondering constantly if I'm being a good example to my daughter. I want her to be proud of me and look up to me not just as her mama but as a woman and a human. I know it doesn't exactly matter yet...she doesn't know or care about what I do beyond taking care of her. But she will one day.  And the things I do for me will help me do for her. This is all why seasoned moms tell new moms to take care of themselves, to take time for themselves. Why is it so hard to take that advice? I'm trying.  I'm ready to find my balance again. I'm ready to bloom. But yeah, your kid DOES become your whole existence...partly because of logistics and partly because of love. 

Honestly, I think a lot of my worry relates to my particular situation...living in the most expensive city living mostly on a freelancer's income (i.e. income-not-necessarily-guaranteed) and my own particular brain...agonizing over every little thing and never having had a distinct dream or 10-year-plan or what-have-you. Well, not one I thought feasible or followed through on. Plus, having a kid makes every decision feel more important, makes you cautious in a way you can't know unless you're a parent. And becoming a parent made me understand my own parents feelings about ME, and that made me want to make THEM proud, too. Although, my parents seem to be proud of me no matter what...which I also understand now. 

Maybe part of why I haven't made progress on "fixing" other things in my brain is because I relish the moments I'm with my girl. It's a tough choice between living for now versus living for later. I generally choose NOW and try to not feel guilty about it later. On the other hand, I am a master at worrying and overthinking everything. I am trying to learn to let go and jump in and go for it, etc. etc. When I get so worried about life I just think about this most beautiful little face and heart and personality which bring me more joy and awe than I knew existed, and everything is fine.

image.jpg

listen to myself...or don't?

 Yesterday I gave my mom some advice during a quick text chat. She's training for her first full marathon but is running into some injury obstacles, which make her worry about achieving her marathon goal. I told her its okay to be flexible with the details...if she has to walk instead of run or if she has to pick a different marathon date, that's okay, she still will achieve her goal of finishing a marathon. Focus on the good, look on the bright side, etc etc. I felt very wise.

Transient

 A few weeks ago I came across a long forgotten  list of goals I wrote 9 years ago. I got kind of sad because I had forgotten the goals, did nothing to work toward them, and I felt I hadn't achieved any  of them. Granted, I have changed, and life has changed, and some of the goals I've tackled in part...But I should listen to my own advice. Be flexible with the details. Be positive about what you have achieved. Be willing to revisit and modify your plans. Work around the things you can't control.

 Or am I full of it? I don't know...do you think this is good advice or bad? I think it's good, but then a little part of me wonders if it's just justifying excuses out of fear of failure. Is it better to set super specific goals? Or, like most things, is there no simple answer? Long term life goals can't be treated the same as small project goals...can they?  

blossom

cherry_blossom.png

Cherry Blossom #1, Flora

I've been thinking a lot about dormancy lately...maybe because I'm acting as a cocoon for this little human being inside me (the one squirming and kicking right now). But I know it started before that. It was part of why I revamped and restarted a blog a year and a half ago...this feeling that I'm not quite living up to my potential, that I can do better.

I don't think that's a bad feeling...without it I wouldn't try new things or work on bad habits or put effort into anything, and so on. But I'm challenged by not knowing what my true potential is, as opposed to things that are realistically out of reach. I am frustrated that I let myself down because I know I need to put time into something I want to accomplish, but I decide to watch a movie or something instead. I'm confused by the choices between dreams and responsibilities. All of this makes me feel overwhelmed, so I shut down and veg out and do nothing: I go dormant.

I've let myself down a lot, but then I'm never sure if I'm just being too hard on myself...it all comes down to fear, I think. I fear failure, I fear disappointing loved ones, I fear complacency, and I fear regret.

Fear has put me into a state of dormancy mentally. Hustling to survive in the city has put me into a state of dormancy creatively. Pregnancy has put me into a state of dormancy physically. Scott thinks motherhood is going to make me blossom...I think he may be right...

amy_wing_blossom.png

saturday as it should be

I love it when a Saturday turns out just right. We started out with coffee+pastry at a new cafe in our neighborhood called Cassava (if you go: go for lunch & get it to go. Cassava is adorable & so very yummy, but TINY...plus the park being 2 blocks away = picnic!).

Mid day I've been tinkering with my blog a little (new header + updated 'clicks' page).

clicks.png

And this evening we're having dinner with friends, making Ad Hoc fried chicken...yum.

adhoc.png

What did you do today?

and furthermore...

Last night I welcomed myself back to my blog and just wanted to elaborate on "other tidbits soon to be revealed"

temp knuckle tats from  Tattly

temp knuckle tats from Tattly

temp knuckle tats fromTattly

I'm building a new little person inside of me! I'm nearly three months pregnant :) 

Don't be scared...this is not going to turn into an all "Mommy Blog" all the time...I'd like to stay well rounded...and I'd like to try to be sensitive to people around me who are not/cannot/choose not to have kids. We're all friends here. But it's also true that this is a pretty big deal and I'm pretty excited, so of course it's going to come up from time to time. And it's my blog.

Eleven and a half weeks in...I've been very fortunate to have had it pretty easy.  Digestion is harder, crying is easier. Sleeping is up and down (get used to it). I've had a few scattered days where I felt sort of dazed and worried and scared by it all. I've had a few scattered days where I've decided I'm going to be a kick-ass mom (i.e. awesome, not literally kicking my kid's ass...geez.). In between I've been waiting for the everyday changes and effects...such as yesterday when my pants became uncomfortable. So I think pregnancy is really a game of constant re-adjustment and self pep talks. I'm grateful for our wondrous and understanding family and for how lucky I am in life and love.

large land mammal

american bison, antelope island UT

american bison, antelope island UT

Well...life just got in the way of blogging like a big ol' bison. This and that, work, Flora, holidays and family time, and other tidbits soon to be revealed, have occupied my brain and my time. Sagebrush Coast's one year bloggyversary came and went (cake, fireworks, etc. yay!) I'd been stressing out about my lack of posts and I realized:

A) I've been really busy and preoccupied.  Maybe not in comparison with some people, but it's all relative, right?

B) I had strayed from my blogging philosophy: that my blog is for me.  Obviously it's waaaay more fun when people read and comment and enjoy, but when it comes down to it, I do my best writing and posting and documenting when I do it for myself, not for a target audience. And thinking about a target audience is what sometimes stops me from blabbering away here.

C) People are not beating down my internet door breathlessly awaiting my words. There might not even be people out there...I know of 4...sometimes 5. Hullo?

D) Sort of related to B, I am a person and I have opinions and feelings, too. I'm just not always sure how or when to share them. I don't want to come across as someone who is not nice or who is fishing for sympathy/comments/questions or  who is being a Negative Nancy. Hmm, perhaps best to keep some thoughts to myself...

Anyway, long story short, I'll be frequenting this area more again... when I can. I may do a little catching up on the last couple months...I've got more pics to share from our Thanksgiving in Yosemite, a getaway in Santa Barbara, our holiday adventures in Salt Lake City, a couple of Museum Love posts, a word for 2012, and much more.

A very happy new year to you. I hope this finds all happy and healthy and warm ♥

photo an hour

A couple months ago I decided to take a photo an hour during my day.  Want to see? I recommend doing this...it makes you take a moment to notice what's around you...AND it makes you notice what you're doing.  I'm going to share with you my 9AM to 5PM (let's just say things went downhill after 5PM).  Yes, this was in August...but it's still a pretty typical weekday snapshot.  Enjoy...and try it yourself!

Ph9AM.jpg
Ph10AM.jpg
Ph11AM.jpg
Ph12PM.jpg
Ph1PM.jpg
Ph2PM.jpg
Ph3PM.jpg
Ph4PM.jpg
Ph5PM.jpg

here's to another year

34_bday.jpg

Happy Birthday to the love of my life...I hope you had a pleasant day and enjoyed your apple pie and "powerful Welsh cheddar" (note the coal miner on the wrapper...i hope he did not eat coal dust with his cheese. do not note the quality of that photo...I had to take it quickly before you gobbled it up...and I had to edit it before it wasn't your birthday anymore).  I can't wait to see what 34 brings to you...or rather what you bring to 34 ♥

P.S. Good job actually purchasing books on our traditional bookstore date :)

6

October 1st was our 6th wedding anniversary...yay us! We have two traditions that we have kept since we got married.  One is to have our portrait taken.  Each year's photo goes into the back of one of our wedding albums..this one is a contender for #6, although we've got some cute non-Hipstamatic options too:

anniversary6.JPG

The other tradition is that we give each other a gift according to the "Traditional U.S. Anniversary Gifts" listed on Wikipedia. We usually keep it simple, and we like to try to make each others gift.  But Year 6 is Iron.  Seeing as how we have neither a forge, nor the skills of a blacksmith, we came up with a creative solution.

Picture+5.png

We bought ourselves a waffle iron. Get it...?  Iron...?

Cheers to love and breakfast options! May you all have both in your lives ♥