2014 in pictures

Has a year gone by already since I posted 2013 in pictures?  How can this be?  Whatevs.  Here we go.

January

  

New Year’s day at Neptune Beach (Oops. You can tell that’s not an Oregon wine, can’t you? My bad.)
  

Happy Dog contemplates eternity

  

pink seashell on beach
  

Ocean sunset
  

Tidepool at sunset
  

Nelscott Reef welcomeNelscott Reef Big Wave Classic, Lincoln City
  

PhotographersPictures of people taking pictures of people . . . surfing.  Their cameras were much, much bigger and better than mine.  See what they were taking pictures of.  Suck it, Mavericks!
  

Surfer running on beach
  

Heart-shaped rock on beach

  

February
  

Surfrider Foundation table
Every February, at the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, Husband and I pour Barefoot Wine for the Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year: Barefoot donates all proceeds from the Festival to our Chapter. Thank you, Barefoot!

  

Man pointingThat’s the best one, right there.  The Harmony Gewurtztraminer.  You should buy a case.
  

Bare feet in water and sand
Can you tell that’s not Pacific seawater?

  

Seashell on beach
  

Palm trees at sunsetI wish the Oregon coast had these.  Have you guessed yet where I was?
  

Manatees! They’re swarming!

  

Party poopers.

  

According to this sign, swimming with the manatees is not, in fact, prohibited. However, this would be more than enough deterrent to keep me out of the water, manatees or no.

  

Manatee with scarsHardly any of the almost one hundred manatees we saw were without scars–even the small calves.  They all get sliced up by motorboat propellers.
  

Manatee swimming across springA geo-tagged manatee swims across the source of Blue Spring.  Several manatees were trailing these satellite tracking devices.
  

AlligatorNow that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Timing is everything.  I’m so glad we got to see this big boy.  I was hoping for a giant flock of flamingos, but I only saw a pair flying over.  (at Merritt Island NWR)
  

Thanks, mom & dad, for a fabulous vacation!

  

March
  

Walking the labyrinthMy friend Denise came to visit in March.  First I took her to the stupendously gorgeous labyrinth at Good Sam Episcopal Church in Corvallis.
  

Then we went to the beach.

  

Sunset on close-up beach cobbles
  

dog paw, toy shark and human foot
  

Three people drinking wineThen we tasted wine.
  

Then we played Monopoly. I lost.

   

April
  

Easter egg balanced on end
Did you know you can do this on any day of the year–not just the equinoxes?

  

It’s Easter. So, naturally, we went to the beach. I wore my camouflage boots.

 

That’s a big f*ing wave.

 

Volunteering at the annual Oregon Garden Brewfest

 pond and treesThis is why we volunteer there.

May
 

Fluffy kitten
Our new family member

  

Two people with green hills in background

    

June
  

P6013495Happy Husband and Happy Dog climbed the dune at Cape Kiwanda.  I sat on my ass at the Pelican, drank beer and watched the ocean.
  

It’s entirely possible they’re up on the dune somewhere. Who knows?

  

Woman hugging dog on beach
  

Wine bottle, glasses, food on table overlooking vineyardSunday afternoon picnic at Illahe Vineyards.
  

Otter Rock-n-Roll Youth Surf Contest

  

People on beach with surfboard
  

Surfrider Foundation tent

    

July
  

Happy Dog and I took a day trip to the coast.

  


  


  

We dragged my parents around the top of Cape Perpetua. Looking south, you can see the Spouting Horn . . . um . . . spouting.

  

Dad tasted some delicious Illahe wines.

  

Gratuitous plug for Illahe wines.

  

I hate the thought of wasting even a drop.

  

Then we dragged mom and dad up Salal Hill on Yaquina Head.

  

peregrine falcon on hillside
We watched one of the Yaquina Head resident peregrine falcons as it ate something.

  

Happy Dog & IPuppy and I took our day trip to Erratic Rock State Park.
  

DSCN3832
  

Cargo ship outside window
There’s a sight you don’t see every day.  Unless you live in Astoria and hang out at Buoy Beer Company on the riverfront.
  

View of Astoria from the top of the Astoria Column
Astoria from the top of the Column

  

Hydrangea
They grow ’em bigger and bluer in Astoria.

  

August
  

Woman wearing Simpsons t-shirt next to tent
Time for our annual camp-out at Airlie Winery.
  

Man's feet and dog with lake and tents in background
Husband and Puppy enjoy the evening

  

Technically, this is not what the wind shelter should look like.

  

Cape Kiwanda
It doesn’t look that windy, does it?

   

September

Woman driving TeslaAh, the infamous Tesla test drive in Lincoln City.
  

Me and Laney at Emerson
Emerson Vineyard hotties on Labor Day weekend

  

Man and woman in front of Nana's Pub in NewportOne of our favorite places to take friends:  Nana’s Irish Pub in Newport
  

Man and dog overlooking lighthouse and ocean
Of course, we also like to take them up Salal Hill on Yaquina Head.

  

People on patio at brewpub
We drag everyone to the Pelican.

   

October
  

Woman harvesting grapes
Harvesting the Maréchal Foch at Emerson Vineyards

  

Man harvesting grapes in vineyard
  


  

Emerson’s winemaker, Elliot Johns
  

Grapes falling into bin
Our grapes getting de-stemmed

  

Tasting Room Open sign
Life is good.

  

Sunset at Nehalem Bay State Park

   

View south from Ecola State Park

  

Not-so-Happy Dog wondering, “Why, mommy, why?”

November

Proposal Rock at Neskowin
Evening in Neskowin

  

It’s November: must be time to climb the dune. Again.

  

rainbow with hills in background

Although it would appear this photo was taken from inside the pot of gold, I’m here to tell you there was neither pot nor gold anywhere in sight.

  

Waves, rocks, spray, ocean
The Spouting Horn was in fine form at this very high tide.

  

Thanksgiving: Oregon style

  

So my brother visited us over Thanksgiving. Our first beach day was a little wet.

  

Did I say “a little wet?” I meant stupid crazy wet. As in our clothes didn’t dry out the rest of the day wet.

  

F*ing leash.

  

Our second beach day was a huge improvement.

  

And I finally got to see what’s on the other side of the Cape Kiwanda dune! OK, I cheated and only went part of the way up. Still.

  

Back at Illahe Vineyards

  

Three people with the Willamette Valley in the backgroundIt’s never too cold to drink wine on the patio at Illahe.
(Photo courtesy Illahe Vineyards)

  

December

Christmas in The Garden

  

Christmas in The Garden

  

Husband’s arty interpretation of our Christmas tree

   

Our little guy is growing up.

  

Nothing says Christmas like hiking in Sedona.

  

One of my favorite things to do when I travel anywhere is walk the local labyrinths.

   

Watching Husband play with cactus is pretty entertaining as well.

  

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Thank you, Arizona mom & dad, for a wonderful Christmas trip!

I drove an hour to see a rock.

glacial erratic, if you want to get technical.  But still, I drove an hour just to see this rock.  Because that’s the kind of geography nerd I am.  Physical processes have always been my favorite aspect of geography, and the French-heavy glacial terminology is almost musical, conjuring up images of soaring, rocky, snowcapped peaks, icy blue lakes and huge piles of jumbled boulders:  tarn, esker, arête, moraine, cirque, crevasse, paternoster lakes, drumlin.  Go on.  Say them out loud.  You know you want to.

It was overcast and rainy at home, but, aside from a miniscule sun shower while Happy Dog and I were basking atop the rock, it was a gorgeous day there.

Located a few miles southwest of McMinnville, Erratic Rock State Natural Site is part of Oregon’s state park system.  If you don’t blow past the trailhead and parking pull-out (like I almost did), Erratic Rock is easy to find.

Erratic Rock sign

That’s Oldsville Road, just off Highway 18, in the background.

The paved trail is only about a quarter-mile long, but the last 150 yards or so are pretty steep.

Erratic Rock trailheadHere’s a close-up of the interpretive sign, so you’ll understand why Erratic Rock is so cool.  You can click on it to make it bigger.

Erratic Rock interpretive sign

There were quite a few distractions along this short trail.

blackberries

wild sweet pea

geese

I’ll leave it to you to figure out which were distractions for me, and which were distractions for Happy Dog.

Yaaaaaaay!  There it is!  It’s a Really. Big. Rock.

Erratic Rock

Erratic Rock

The surface looked exactly like slate to me.

dog on a rock

According to the interpretive sign, Erratic Rock is a 90-ton or so (I mean, who can really tell?) hunk of metamorphic rock called argillite.  Wikipedia says, “Metamorphism of argillites produces slate, phyllite, and pelitic schist.”  That would explain, then, its slate-like appearance.  Silly geologists.

Happy Dog and I enjoyed the sky and the scenery immensely.

Happy Dog & I

View of the Coast Range

DSCN3833

Big sky

Time to head back down.

Trail from Erratic Rock

View from Erratic Rock trail

Hmmm, I’m pretty sure we passed a number of wineries on the way here,

Map to the wineries of Oregon's Mid Willamette Valley - McMinnville AVA and Eola-Amity Hills District AVA

not to mention a monastery, at which reside the fudge-making Brigittine monks.  Chocolate and wine?  Yesplease.

There goes my hero

I was taking my favorite back road home from Corvallis one day last week and thinking about lots of stuff–like what a gorgeous day it was, and how long it had been since I’d blogged, and how much I missed my brother in South Dakota (I was listening to the Foo Fighters–which always reminds me of him–at top volume), and, as usual, on top of it all, feeling supremely sorry for myself.  Pathetic, right?

So, with darling husband off on a business trip in San Diego this week,  I finally decided to open a bottle of wine, tackle all those things at once and write a post about my little brother, whom I adore and miss like crazy.  He just celebrated his 45th birthday, and it hurt that I wasn’t able to be with him to toss back probably more than a few whatevers, celebrating with him, my sister-in-law and our parents.  I’ve gotta tell you:  even with all the modern technology available that supposedly enables us to keep in touch with each other better than ever before–even Skype, which allows us to see each other while we’re talking–none of it is a remotely good substitute for actually being there.  My brother has this . . . presence.  And I just love being with him.

Though we have a lot in common, my brother and I are very different people.  I don’t think we look at all alike, but others tell us we do.

Sibs

We had a similar upbringing–obviously–but had very different experiences as young adults.  My brother attended one university, had one major, joined a fraternity, partied like it was 1999, got engaged to a hippie chick but broke up before they graduated, married a different woman shortly after graduating, and then got divorced.

I attended four schools, declared two different majors, mocked frats and sororities, partied far less than my brother, graduated in . . . um . . . eight years, also got engaged and broke it off, then married someone else more than twenty years later.  Oh yeah, and I started two graduate programs at two different schools, neither of which I finished.  I could be a fucking doctor by now, but I only have a bachelor’s degree in geography to show for all those years of school.  My brother has the same degree from the same school, and he got his in five.

Like most big sisters, when we were kids, much of the time I hated my brother like poison.  He was a typical little brother:  following me everywhere, touching my things (imagine!) and being a general pain in the ass.

Dude & Mocha

You know how it is.  I wrote hateful things about him in my diary (what big sister didn’t?),  and once my dad read it and reprimanded me, seriously worried about what I’d written.  (I was maybe 10 or 11 at the time, by the way.  An ex-fiancé violated that privacy as well, years later, which literally caused me to throw out all the diaries and journals I’d kept up until about the age of 23.  God, how I wish I hadn’t done that.)

By the time I was in high school, we had become pretty good friends.  And when I went away to college, we both realized we missed each other a lot.

Beach sibs 1983

[Sigh.  I was so skinny back in the day.]  We worked a summer job together at Silver Lake Family Campground outside Haymarket, Virginia, cleaning up “goose poopies” and renting pedal-boats as part of our daily tasks, and listening to Purple Rain and When Doves Cry on the jukebox.   I withdrew from college at the beginning of my second year, worked full-time, then went on an extended trip to London with a friend and talked about how I might not come home.  More long-distance bonding with brother.

Then, in 1985, came the event that, I believe, guaranteed our permanent bond from that point forward:  my parents moved our family from northern Virginia to Rapid City, South Dakota.  (They bribed us with waterbeds.)  We moved within a few weeks of my return from London, offering me an opportunity to experience the culture shock of a lifetime.  Mom and dad drove in one car, and my brother and I drove in mine.  I was 19 at the time; he was 15.  I have a very clear memory of us driving across South Dakota on I-90, looking at each other, horrified, and asking, “What IS this place?  Where the HELL are mom and dad taking us?”

Amazingly, we both survived–although my brother, at his impressionable age, sometimes allowed himself to be swayed by the local trends

Yee-haw

while I strictly adhered to a more cosmopolitan 80s fashion and hairstyle.

80s sibs

I commuted to a local college, and my brother finished high school.  After graduation, he left to attend the University of Wyoming.  Meanwhile, I transferred to my third school as an undergraduate, this time back in my home state of Pennsylvania.  He and I wrote to each other and talked on the phone a lot.  Somehow he convinced me not only to transfer–one last time–to UW, but to share an apartment as well.  It was during this time we started calling each other Dude.  To this day, I call him Dude.  And so I will refer to him as Dude from here on out.

For the longest time, I seemed to be the mature one.  Being the firstborn sibling, I was supposed to be the responsible one.  And for a while, I kinda was–in my mind, at least.  Dude was the frat boy, the partier, the rock climber, the shooter of paintballs–the one who got in trouble with mom and dad.  Though I was clearly incapable of committing to one school, I had always received high grades and rarely got in trouble.  That is, until I got engaged to George.  No one liked George:  neither my parents nor any of my friends thought him worthy.  But my brother stuck up for him–and for me.  And when I broke up with George–for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was him reading my journal without permission–Dude didn’t say “I told you so.”

A lot more long-distance bonding occurred when I supported him through the breakup of his first marriage.  As divorces go–especially since there were no children involved–it maybe wasn’t the most traumatizing one on the books.  But at the time, it was the end of the world as he knew it.  And he did NOT feel fine.  It was worse than awful for him, and I performed my role as Big Sister to the best of my ability from 1300 miles away.  But I regret not being able to actually Be. There. for him.  It’s really hard to only be able to offer a shoulder to cry on over the phone.

Christmas sibs

Since then, however, my brother and I seem to have switched roles.  He’s become the stable career professional, working his way up through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service with co-workers who love and respect him.  He remarried and has lived in the same town for the past twenty years.

D & K

He bought his first house on his own after his divorce, and has almost completely remodeled the one he bought with my sister-in-law more than ten years ago.  He has never lost his job, experienced the humiliation of calls from a collection agency, or been on unemployment like yours truly.  He’s learned to hunt with a rifle and crossbow, successfully parents two dogs,

Dogs

has owned a business and climbed Devil’s Tower, builds his own furniture and makes his own German sausage, and is a fabulous cook.  He doesn’t gain weight or need glasses, over-analyze, obsess over every little thing or live in the past.  He’s brilliant, irreverent, afraid of nothing, and he can make me laugh till I cry.

Dorks

On the other hand, it took me eight years and four schools to finish a bachelor’s degree.  I’ve put myself in debt to attend graduate school and never finished, have owned four homes in three states, haven’t held a job for more than two years since 2007, been on unemployment twice in the past four years, work 19 hours a week for $12.56 an hour and haven’t had medical insurance since last summer.  I’ve struggled with my weight for the past twenty years and am more nearsighted than anyone I’ve ever met.  I question everything, beat myself up continually, feel like I can’t do anything right and usually wish I were anywhere but where I am.  And recently I yelled at my husband about how angry and resentful I am that he has a better job than me.  I’m a real prize, aren’t I?

Valerie the witch

I’ve posted this photo before:  as long as the shoe fits, I’ll continue to wear it.

The bottle’s almost empty, so before I start bawling all over myself, I need to let the Universe know how grateful I am for my family, Dude in particular.  I love him more than I can say, and I am unspeakably proud of the man he’s become and the life he’s built for himself.  There are days I miss him so much it makes me cry.

My brother has made an ordinary life extraordinary simply by living it and being who he is.

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Valerie photo courtesy Act III Communication

2013 in pictures

January

Rock and waves
Rock
Waves at sunset
Spindrift
Yaquina Head
Yaquina Head

February

Snail
Snail
Sunset splash
Splash
Cairn
Cairn

March

Waves
Easter
Stump
Stump
Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua

April

Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Green
Green
Sun reflecting on waves
Shine

May

Parents reading paper
Surprise
Yoga tree pose in creek
Tree
Aerial photo
Almost home

June

Puppy meets ocean
Wet
Puppy yawning
Yawn
Snakebite drink
Snakebite

July

Coastline with fog
Fog
Sunset
Sunset
Willamette River Ferry
Wheatland Ferry

August

Grapes
Wine wannabes
Marion Lake
Marion Lake
Dog and pond
Camp

September

Puppy on beach
Puppy
Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock
Couple on beach
Us

October

Willamette Valley from Mary's Peak
Willamette Valley
Dog watching birds
Anticipation
Sunlight sparkling on ocean
Sparkles

November

Fool's Gold
Fool’s Gold
Airlie friends
Airlie friends
2 fools
2 fools

December

Christmas tree
Sacrificial tree

So many thoughts, so little time

Life is seemingly boring after the events of Blog Week 1.  However, I remind myself (and you) that I didn’t start MyTrueNorth2013 with the intention of a Bill Bryson-esque romp through Europe or a Stephen King-esque novel about a killer bat that invades peoples’ homes and flies off with their pets.  I started it to write about things that make me think–which, with any luck, lead to big ah-hah moments (at best) or opportunities to enjoy feeling another small piece of the puzzle click into place (at the very least).

Which is why, despite an action-packed weekend into which my husband and I tried to fit a few too many events, including

• dinner, wine and two-fifths of the Brian Copeland Band at Emerson Vineyards (another perfect Willamette Valley evening)
• a dawn hot air balloon launch (sounds corny, but watching thirty or so hot air balloons launch makes my heart soar)
• more dinner, wine, live music and camping at Airlie Winery (it’s definitely not about the sleep)
• a three-hour nap (is three hours still considered a “nap?”) while husband  worked Sunday afternoon

I’m choosing to write today about a guided meditation practice I attended at Love Yoga last night.

Image

Meditation is one of those “talk the talk” things I mentioned last week, as in “How was your meditation, honey?” “Ooooh, I felt so centered.  I  think I really had a breakthrough.”  I love the idea of meditation, and I love the insights it can and does bring when I do practice it.  But I don’t do it nearly enough.

I have come to believe that meditation is one of the most valuable tools –if not the most valuable–we can have in our self-work toolbox.  Though I can count the number of times I’ve done it on my fingers and toes, I can also say that I’ve had a pretty good-sized ah-hah moment just about every single time.

If this is truly the case, then, the next logical question would have to be, “Why in god’s name don’t you meditate every single day?  Or three or five or ten times a day, for that matter?”

In a word, laziness.  Also, admittedly, a sense of entitlement–by which I mean I think I should just have an amazing, joyful, happy, peaceful, prosperous, healthy life without working at it.  In fact, I think we all should.  I think every single person deserves to have a wonderful, happy, prosperous life, and it makes me sad that so few do.

Anyway, last night Melissa led us through four 15-minute meditations, during which we were free to be comfortable on our mats any way we chose.  Guided meditation works much better for me, as I’m one of those people whose completely undisciplined mind needs that gentle direction and constant redirection from the never-ending hodgepodge of thoughts that I just can’t seem to stop.

procession

Less than 24 hours later, I can’t remember exactly what she said, or how she led us through the meditations.  However, more importantly, I do remember the ah-hah moment that resulted.

Louise Hay tells us in You Can Heal Your Life (Hay House, 1984) that

“We create every so-called illness in our body.”

Now, this may be hard to swallow.  I know I find it hard to swallow.  The personal responsibility placed on us by people like Louise Hay (not to mention non-physical entities like Abraham) seems patently unfair to me sometimes.  OK, most of the time.  But I guess I don’t have to like it for it to be true.

Hay’s book Heal Your Body (Hay House, 1984) contains a pretty comprehensive list of dis-eases and physical and emotional complaints along with their corresponding probable causes.  I use this list frequently to try and figure out what the hell’s going on with me.  The weird thing is, every single probable cause she lists for my physical or mental gripes is spot on.

During last night’s meditation, I found myself–as I very often do–thinking about the past and being saddened by my thoughts.  (See last week’s post Will Someone Please Invent Time Travel, Already?)  On the way home, I started wondering–as I also very often do–why my thoughts always seem to be so overwhelmingly focused on what has been, instead of on righthererightnow or what’s yet to come.  And then I started thinking about what Louise Hay says about foot problems.

Without going into too much detail, I can tell you that one of the several physical ailments I suffer from (read “cause myself to suffer from”) is plantar fasciitis.  I also have osteoarthritis in one of my big toes.  Guess what Hay’s probably cause of foot problems is?

. . . . .

(I’m giving you time to guess.)

. . . . .

(Did you guess it?)

. . . . .

(Drum roll)

. . . . .

“Fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life.”

Didn’t I say she was spot on?

So I kept my train of thought chugging along its proverbial track and asked myself, “Couldn’t my obsession with the past and how I seem to miss the Good Old Days and all the houses I’ve lived in and and things I’ve done and enjoying time with my family and all my dead relatives and friends and pets and vacations I’ve been on and being a kid and riding my bike around the neighborhood and not having any of these hateful adult responsibilities more than I enjoy being righthererightnow and anticipating all the wonderful times still to come be construed as ‘fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life?'”

I think it could.

(You may want to go back and reread that paragraph.  It actually does make sense, as well as seeming to be mostly grammatically correct.)

Louise tells us that new thought patterns–or positive affirmations–can heal and relax our body.  For foot problems, her recommended affirmation goes like this:

“I move forward in life with joy and with ease.  I stand in truth.  I have spiritual understanding.”

Her step-by-step method to allow and encourage change is pretty straightforward:

1. Look up the mental cause.  See if this could be true for you.  If not, sit quietly and ask yourself, “What could be the thoughts in me that created this?”

2. Repeat to yourself, “I am willing to release the pattern in my consciousness that has created this condition.”

3. Repeat the new thought pattern to yourself several times.

4. Assume that you are already in the process of healing.

Whenever you think of the condition, repeat the steps.

Easy, right?  It should be.  But this is where Laziness rears its ugly head:  it’s easier to be a mess and wallow in the past and be unhappy and complain and cry than it is to do the hard self-work.  You really, reeeally have to want to change yourself and feel better and know that it’s worthwhile to do the work, or you’re just going to be stuck in that same rut forever.

I vacillate between desperately wanting to change and thinking, “Why bother?”  After all, these patterns of thought have worked for me (more or less) for almost a half-century.  Why should I bother now?

I’ll tell you why:   because I’ve had glimpses of how good it can be.  I know now how it feels to be in what Abraham-Hicks refers to as “the Vortex.”  I recognize when I’m in there–and when I’m not, I want to be.

vortex

The most beautiful (and ironic) thing of all is that I love knowing I’m the only one responsible for all of it:  how I feel, the good and bad things that happen to me–all the love, joy, fun, health, wealth, peace and serenity, or lack thereof, that I experience in my life.  There’s no one and nothing else to blame when things go wrong, and only myself to celebrate when things go right.  That’s not to say that I don’t feel immensely grateful:  the Universe is a kind and generous place that works in concert with me and my thoughts.  My parents have done more for me than I could ever express in words.  And my Non-Physical Posse always has my back.

Today I choose to enjoy the Here and Now.

Namaste.

Procession photo courtesy Institute for Great Lakes Research, Bowling Green State University
Vortex photo courtesy Crestock.com

Will someone please invent time travel, already?

Is it a bad thing that I’ve started to watch the clock and wonder what time is too early to start drinking?  I’m pretty strict about waiting till my husband gets home in the evening so I’m at least not drinking alone.  But lately I find myself wondering if 3:00 is too early?  Maybe a glass of wine or two with my salad at lunch?  That sounds pretty sophisticated–although not as sophisticated as when I’d go for lunch at T.G.I.Friday’s with work colleagues and order a Long Island iced tea.  (Really, that only happened once.  Or twice.)

Sometimes Okay, frequently I find myself wallowing in retrospection and regret.  And if that doesn’t sound unhealthy, I don’t know what does.  It’s like if I just focus long and hard enough on whatever aspect of the past I happen to be obsessing about, I can magically transport myself back there and do things differently.  And then when it doesn’t happen, I get even more regretful and depressed.

Then I have to try and pick myself back up by repeating all the mantras I’ve accumulated over the years, starting with the most recent:

Comparison

Then I move on to:
You are loved.  All is well.  (Abraham)
This too shall pass.  (Unknown)
Leap, and the net will appear.  (John Burroughs)
It’s all a journey.  (????????)
Rub some dirt on it.  (husband’s Little League coach)
There’s no crying in baseball.  (A League of Their Own)
Ball up.  (tactful, loving brother)

Then maybe I’ll listen to my Abraham-Hicks CDs, or, alternately, Rush or Pink Floyd, and things either continue to deteriorate or husband comes home from work and we watch 30 Rock.

I think the real problem is that I’m simply not very good at at being Present.  Oh, I like to talk the talk.  (“How was yoga, honey?”  “Oooh, transcendent.  I was really in the zone tonight.”)  But when it comes to walking the walk, I’m just not There.  And I’ve been aware of There and studying There and trying to be There for almost ten years.

[At this point, I need to overwhelmingly, enthusiastically and lovingly thank my friend Shelly for introducing me to Mary Graham and the Creative Living Institute.

CLI logo

Shelly, Mary and CLI expanded my world and became a turning point in my life.]

Maybe this is all okay.  Maybe working towards There is what life’s all about.  Maybe I won’t ever get There.  Maybe I will.  But I do know this:  beating myself up about every decision I can’t change isn’t going to help.  Maybe if there’s one small gift I could give myself, it would be to love myself as much as or more than hummingbirds, flowers, sparkles on the water, moonlight, shooting stars, butterflies, autumn leaves and Carolina wrens.

The Law of Attraction at work.

If, like me, you’re a student of Abraham and the Law of Attraction, the following will make a lot of sense.

Yesterday was not a good day.  Sometimes the smallest thing sets me off.   More often it’s the combination of the smallest thing coupled with perimenopausal hormone levels.  Then, because the Law of Attraction is a real thing (like gravity) and is in effect every day all the time, most times things just deteriorate from there–unless I’m able to reroute my attitude, which doesn’t often happen.

The thing that set me off yesterday was a trip to our local Safeway for my favorite yogurt and discovering they apparently no longer carry it.

Nancy's yogurt

Let me be clear that this kind of thing inexplicably happens to me with disturbing and irritating frequency.  This leads me to believe I either have really bad taste or I belong to a very small, elite minority with such highly evolved taste that the rest of the world simply can’t keep up.

Anyway, the AWOL yogurt was another one of those Final Straws I mentioned in an earlier post.  It prompted an f*bomb-laden text to my darling husband, who is painfully aware that I don’t always respond to these types of personal challenges with my Highest and Best Self.  The text said:

You know what?  Fuck Abraham.  Sometimes I really just want to be able to hate my fucking life without the fear of attracting more shit.

Ew, right?  Right.  Enter the Law of Attraction.  Or, if you prefer, the very similar Threefold Law, as stated in the Wiccan Rede:

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

In other words, like attracts like.  That which is like is drawn unto itself.  As within, so without.  You get the picture.

Back to the yogurt.  I decided to try the Corvallis Safeway about 15 minutes away.  Guess what?  No Nancy’s yogurt there either.  So I went to Market of Choice, and SUCCESS!  All the Nancy’s yogurt flavors I could ever want and then some.  Hurray for me!

[Insert thoughts of rainbows, butterflies, unicorns, playful kittens.]

At this point, I should let you know that I had brought puppy along for the ride.  Remember happy dog from the other day?

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I thought you might.  She is cute, isn’t she?  Unfortunately, she also gets carsick.  But I naively thought she was over it–with good reason, as she hadn’t gotten carsick for almost a month.

Here’s where things started to get weird.

We were in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and I was just about to go in when she barfed up copious bright pink vomit containing all manner of yard debris, including grass, plum pits (hence the bright pink hue), scilla bulbs, mulch, and a rather unhealthy amount of colorful string from the rope toy she’d been busily ripping apart for days.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe.  “This is especially for you.  Thank you for your order.  I am happy to comply.  Please come again.”

Can you see where this is going?

Poor sad puppy.  Poor grossed-out me.  I cleaned up her travel crate as best I could, and we headed straight home.  I then found myself following a garbage truck for the next 15 minutes.

“Hello again, friend,” said the Universe.  “Aren’t I doing a good job giving you exactly what you asked for?  Enjoy your drive home.”

When I got home, I realized I’d forgotten about leaving one of our two cats out on the patio in the kitty cabaña.

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She, of course, had barfed up a large hairball and was meowing at the top of her lungs to be freed from the vomitorium.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe once again.  “Have you had enough?  I can keep this up all day, if you like.”

I’ll wrap this up.  I apologized to the pets for being the worst mom ever, fed them dinner, cleaned up the car and the patio, threw a load of vomit-splattered towels, blanket and crate pad in the laundry, and thanked the Universe for being so responsive.

Husband came home from work shortly thereafter to find me tear-streaked and sprawled on the couch in front of the stereo listening to Rush loud enough to shake the entire house in a manner akin to the classic Maxell audio tapes commercial, drinking wine straight from the bottle.

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

Indeed.