Ice Cream

That’s Going to Be Fun for You?

I read fast. My eyes scan pages and absorb words quickly, inviting me into worlds not my own. Don’t ask me for details about story or memoir, though, because once I’ve finished a title I seem to forget. My reading comprehension sucks. The pleasure is in the journey, not the destination.

On our most recent road trip I read four books. Four. Last week I spent 38 hours in the backseat of a Subaru and there is not much to see from Wyoming to East Oregon. Enter books. Thank goodness I don’t get car sick.

Before the trip I sat down at our kitchen table and opened up a new browser to search for books to download to my Kindle. Picking out books to read is what I live for! I selected five titles and tucked my little e-reader in my travel bag.

Our trip was an amazing break from the day to day grind. When I told some of my friends that I was driving 38 hours across the country, they looked at me like I was crazy. When I told them we were driving with my in-laws, their mouths dropped a little more, and eyes got bigger seeming to ask, ‘That’s going to be fun for you?’

Yes! Fun for me. I am incredibly lucky in that I like my in-laws! My father-in-law drove the whole time. My mother-in-law packed delicious snacks and navigated our route, picking our hotels, restaurants and day trip itineraries. While Dylan and I are both grown people, these two parents continue to extend their love for us as we dozed in the backseat. After a hard year of taking care of hurting, searching people –  ie. myself, my husband, my mom – riding along in the backseat where all my needs were met was just the heart medicine I needed. It is nice to be cared for and out of your routine.

A list of beautiful things from our time in Oregon:

  • New breweries: these people like to drink beer as much as we do in Northern Colorado. I now know how tourists must feel when they come to our town. Another brewery on that corner! No time to fit in all those delicious pints of craft beer.
  • Kite Surfing on the River: no, no, I didn’t try, but we did watch hundreds of colorful kites kiss the sky as surfers handled the wind on the Columbia River. We stuck our toes in the water and laughed as the ripples lapped at our legs.
  • Salt and Straw & good friends: One of my oldest friends Jenny now lives in Portland. She took us to her neighborhood food trucks (THAT’S A THING PEOPLE!) and out to the trendiest ice cream store I’ve ever been to. Apparently Oprah endorses their Arbequina Olive Oil flavor. I couldn’t mentally stomach spooning olive oil into my mouth over and over, but the creamy concoction was delicious on a small metal tea spoon. Instead I turned to the beautiful combination of Carrot Cake Batter with Hazelnut Praline. For those easily overwhelmed types like my husband, they also have vanilla.
  • Canon Beach: We went to the ocean. Nothing like having your feet in the sand with cold water running over your toes. Wind in the hair, sand pushing back against the arches of your feet, reminding you that you wear shoes all too often. Cloud cover and waves crashed together in a soothing blanket of gray. The ocean is big. It makes me feel connected to the edge of something. I loved walking on the sand and exploring that quaint little town.
  • A family wedding: Dylan’s cousin got married and I was honored to be a part of the celebration. As we walked up to the rehearsal dinner which was held in a neighborhood park, huge trees sheltered us from intense sun. Who knew it could be 105 degrees in the Northwest. Rays of sunshine trickled through the leaves. We approached from about fifty yards away watching the bride practice going down the aisle with her dad. I stopped and stood still, catching my breath at the beautiful scene unfolding in front of me. Other members of the family kept walking ahead. One breath. Two. I swatted at a tear starting to trickle down my cheek, escaping my from my sunglasses of protection. I missed my dad as a flood of memories from my own experience down the aisle came back. More though, I was overwhelmed with the truth that I am living in the light again. Grief still exists, yes, but that’s not all. I sent up a silent whisper of thanks in realizing I am returning to living in joy. The choices to be taken care of, to explore, to love and feel loved, those are all beautiful, beautiful things.

 

Here is a list of books I read on the trip:

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Vinegar Girl: A Novel

Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel

The Here and Now

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Relaxation is Who You Are

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Can I get an Ohm please? I saw this quote tonight and just thought, “oh heavens yes!” I am going to dwell on this truth over and over again in the next few days. Two weeks ago, my mother-in-law sent me a link to sign up for a twenty-one day meditation exercise based on gratitude. Yes! I signed up immediately and listened to the first exercise spending twenty minutes trying to center myself on the main mantra of the session. I made plans to wake early, sit outside while sipping coffee and ease into my days with thoughts of acceptance and grace. I then spent the next twenty mornings pressing the snooze button as my alarm forced me into the next day. I continued in those twenty days, ignoring my email reminders rolling into my inbox about the various elements of the practice of gratitude, stressed out that I wasn’t making time for these sessions to dwell on the positive benefits of thankful thinking. I guiltily clicked delete as I could not prioritize my responsibilities to include time to reflect on all the things I was grateful, regardless of the soothing music and Deepak Chopra’s voice. I had to give myself permission to say, thanks, but no thanks. Good intentions aside I do not have the discipline to do this meditation session right now. I think I should meditate, but that stresses me out more than is helpful. Whew. Relaxation is who I am, rather than who I think I should be.

I had a few beautiful moments this week that helped me re-shape my priorities. The first was watching the movie “The Fault in Our Stars.” Nothing like watching a movie with two main characters battling cancer that make you re-think how you are living your life and the priorities you use to make your decisions. How would I live my life differently if I knew my days were limited? This theme may seem trite, but I think it is important to consider the choices we are making and the attitudes we cary as we breathe through the day.

I want to hold hands more, eat more ice cream, tell my brother I love him. Notice the good things that are around me. I went golfing with my husband and my father-in-law. I do not golf, I was uncomfortable, and probably a little whiny. However, on hole four or five I realized what a beautiful spot to spend some time pretending to be good at hitting a small ball over grassy fields with a view of the mountains. My life could be so much worse. I can walk, I can carry clubs, I can laugh at myself and my inability to hit a straight shot. It is fun, my friends, to be able to tee off from the lady’s tees. I now have an excuse to buy new athletic apparel. Tennis skirts, those I have, but golf clothes!

IMG_2804We have lived on a lake for the last seven months. Most of the time, I wake up in the morning as I rush through my hurried routine to get out the door and miss the view. I come home from work and cook dinner, do laundry, focus on my to-do list. I need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the view. One night last week Dylan invited me to postpone the folding of clothes and he took his guitar out to the dock. We watched the sunset, and I was in awe of the beauty that is one hundred yards from our sliding glass door. Chords from the guitar were calming and I casually swatted at the mosquitos. I was reminded that I am immensely blessed to be in that moment. I need to take time to create these moments to unwind – they can be much more natural than a forced, online meditation session. Mosquito bites be damned – be by the water, watch the natural flow of days in and days out. Be thankful for another day to breathe.  Relaxation is who I am.

Essie Polish: Nail Stickers! I love these things

Biscotti – is now switching to flavor of ice cream. Ice cream is a much better dessert for the summer. This week’s flavor: Espresso Chocolate Chip by Boulder Ice Cream (don’t look at the calorie count)