Archive for November, 2007

Day 71: A Solbeam

Sunday, November 25
11:38 p.m I have this great magnet on my fridge that reads:

Fall in love or fall in hate. 
Get inspired or be depressed.
Ace a test or flunk a class.
Make babies or make art.
Speak the truth or lie and cheat.
Dance on tables or sit in the corner.
Life is divine chaos.  Embrace it. 
Forgive yourself.  Breathe.
And enjoy the ride…


That’s all I wanted to write.  Not my own words.  But something worth sharing with the universe.

I’m headed off to Colorado for the week (Aspen, Vail and Telluride), and then onto Walla Walla, Washington for the weekend, so I’ll be behind on my posting, but when I do post I hope to have some good transcendental blessings to share from a wondrous journey!  Cheers!


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Saturday, November 24
11:04 p.m

Today was my assigned day to work our event at the winery, so it was back to wine country.  I woke up with the alarm, made my bed, took a shower and made myself a quick bowl of buckwheat cereal with fresh strawberries. 

It was a busy day, which was good.  And so it went by quickly.  After, while we feverishly moved things back to the proper place, fixing up the tasting room for business tomorrow, two of my co-workers accidentally ended up in a whip cream fight.  The winemaker’s wife had made a pumpkin pie for the staff.  With it, she provided a metallic dispenser of homemade whipped cream.  Well, one of my co-workers tilted it upward and when she hit the trigger, it shot out at our tasting room manager.  We were all tired and punchy, so it was just hilarious.  Minutes later, the tasting room manager retaliated.  They quickly cleaned up, we finished our wine, and left.

When I got home, I called my mom.  I have been home sick lately.  And while I love Oregon, I sometimes contemplate returning to Virginia, if only to be near my parents.  It hits me at times like these, around Thanksgiving, when you’re supposed to be with family.  I cried a little.  She reminded me I’d be home soon for Christmas, which was true.  I then started whining about needing a vacation.  I haven’t been on a real vacation in years.  Since I moved out here, I used a chunk of my vacation time to visit my family over the holidays, which isn’t the same as getting a relaxing vacation, sitting on a remote beach somewhere, sipping on a piña colada and getting spritzed by a cabana boy.  I can’t even afford that kind of trip.  But, I want to try to go somewhere like Mexico or Hawaii in January or February.  Wishful thinking.  We’ll see…

After we hung up, I took a Claritan.  It’s the first one in over two months and I felt terribly guilty for going back to chemicals to make myself feel clear again.  My sinuses were just annoying me to no end and my eyes were itchy, puffy and watery, and finally I couldn’t stop sneezing.  I am anxious to see an allergist when my insurance kicks in.  And I can’t wait to find out if my septum is deviated or not.  In any case, I caved in and took the meds.


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Friday, November 23
11:39 p.m

I pulled out my petit Christmas tree with every intention of decorating and spending the day in.  Only, it occurred to me that I should visit wine country and hit some of the neighboring wineries, even places that are only open to the public on Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekends.  So, I left the tree to be dressed later and called Kerry and we drove out to wine country, taking Bell Road off of 99W toward North Valley Road.  We visited Bergström, Aramenta and Grochau Cellars, and then Shea Vineyard.  Shea was the highlight, with a new facility and an event that was rather novice, but the wines sung beautifully.  After, we headed toward the Dundee Bistro and sat at the chef’s bar. 

I started off with a glass of Chehalem’s “INOX” Chardonnay, with perfect minerality, clean and fresh, with wonderfully balanced acidity and fruit.  I had the beet salad and then a medium-rare pork loin from Carlton Farms with polenta, broccolini and chantrelle mushrooms.  It was really good.  I’ve had hit or miss meals at the Bistro, usually with food that’s too salty for my palate.  However, when food is prepared right, it’s spot on.  And, that typically depends on whether Chef Jason Stoller Smith is in the kitchen or not.  Tonight, not only was Jason in the kitchen, but he was belting out songs, cracking jokes at the serves and jovially slinging out food like a guy who might actually enjoy what he’s doing.

I finished with a cup of coffee – they have really good coffee at the Bistro – and a scoop of homemade cinnamon stick ice cream.  The server told me that the pastry chef heated the ice cream over and over again with fresh cinnamon sticks, and then froze the desired concoction.  It tasted like the holidays – simply divine.

We drove back to my apartment and watched Men In Trees.  We missed last week’s episode because of the Beaujolais Nouveau party, so we were a little confused with some of the storyline.  But we both love this show, the narrative of the main character, the quirky characters and this episode followed a theme of couples disconnecting in love.  The episode wove in and out of these couples moments of disconnecting, and, in some cases, some of the couples came back to a connection by the end, while others hit a precipice and we’ll have to wait until next week to see if there will be any leaping over the edge or pulling back in to safe ground.  I like the way the story was told.  We start chatting about the show immediately afterward.

Kerry left and I had a cup of tea before going to bed.  I spent more money than I should have today on wine.  But, it’s faux pas to go wine tasting and leave without buying at least one bottle of wine.  In any case, I considered my purchases and would lay them down in my pseudo cellar, a closed space under my staircase.  I looked at my bare Christmas tree, lit up with pretty white lights, and wondered if I should decorate it or not.  It look very natural in its simplicity.  A good final thought for the day.

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Thursday, November 22
10:22 p.m.

I got up, made myself a cup of tea and started dialing away.  First, I called my sister.  We chatted briefly, as she was on her way out of the house for her Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house.  Next, I called my college best friend, Meg.  We talked for about an hour.  It was nice to catch up, to hear her voice.  She told me that since she had been working for a client, privately teaching an eight year old boy, her husband quit his job in the restaurant business to stay home with their infant son.  I thought that was incredibly modern and commendable.  We talked about how many fathers miss out on their childrens’ lives, and how beneficial it is for both he and their son to create such a solid father-son foundation.  I was really impressed by his decision to do that.  When we hung up, I called my friends Cindy and Alex and left voice mail messages.   I then talked to my parents for about a half hour or so.  I planned on calling my cousins later, which, sadly, I didn’t get around to.

After I got off of the phone with my mother, I ran to the grocery store to pick up extra cranberries and green beans, and a bottle of Thurgau Müller wine by a local producer, Chateau Benoit.  I got home and made the second batch of cranberry sauce, prepped the green beans to take with me to dinner, including peeling an orange and chopping up chives.  After I gathered everything I would bring to my Thanksgiving hosts’ house, I went to the gym to run a couple of miles. 

A couple hours later, Kerry came over, we loaded up the car and drove to Dundee.  We entered a festive house with beautiful Thanksgiving holiday details – sparkling pumpkin décor, tapered candles sprung from small gourds, and the aromas of wonderful hors d’oeuvres.  I gave each of our hosts children a small gift; for their nearly four-year-old son, Caleb, a spider man action figure and a hot wheels car with all the bells and whistles; for their infant daughter a Baby Einstein musical stuffed dragon.  I poured a glass of bubbly and enjoyed some of the festive, savory fare.  It was a relaxed evening of chatting and nibbling.  When we sat down for dinner, the hostess went on to share her thankfulness for each person sitting around the table.  They graciously prepared gluten-free stuffing for me, and I made a small cup of corn-starch based gravy.  Dinner was fantastic. 

After, we played Thanksgiving Bingo.  Each guest brought four kitchy gifts in the $2-$4 range.  It was a blast taking turns calling bingo, wearing crazy hats and a fro wig.  Some of the gifts included a blinking Rudolph nose, margarita shaped sunglasses, a Mr. T action figure, High School Musical temporary tattoos, a Curious George hat, and so one.  It was the highlight of the evening, filled with laughter.      

It was a perfect way to end a holiday.  It’s hard to be apart from my family on Thanksgiving day, but if I’m going to celebrate with friends, I could have asked for a more special day.  I realized I had a lot to be thankful for.  But today isn’t the only day I reflect on this and feel gratitude.  I try to feel gratitude each day.  My work this year is to find love, in all its forms, and the place to begin is cultivating self love.  You must master feeling gratitude in order to feel and experience self love.  Once it starts there, love manifests with a domino effect.  The gratitude and love within will flow forth.    

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Wednesday, November 21
11:17 p.m.

I stopped by the liquor store on my way home.  While I was waiting in line, a guy was pouring samples of Frangelico.  Some of the local Newberg guys were in line and decided to try the samples.  It was kind of funny seeing these hard, blue collar men sipping on samples of Frangelico.  And they all liked it.  I added my two cents, telling them it was great with almond cookies, Christmas cookies, cake.  I helped sell three bottles of it!

When I got home, I started making my usual Grand Marnier cranberry sauce.  I put in a baking dish the organic cranberries, sugar and a few teaspoons of thawed out frozen orange juice from concentrate.  After it baked for about an hour I added two tablespoons of Grand Marnier.  After cooling off, it went into the fridge to chill.  I realized I didn’t make enough for twelve people, so I added cranberries to my grocery shopping list for the morning.

I smiled, taking in the warm, seasonal scents of the cranberry sauce.  It was as if I had been burning a spiced cranberry candle all evening, which made me feel a bit of nostalgia and excitement for the holiday season.

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Tuesday, November 20
11:17 p.m.

I spent a few hours this evening reconsidering my website, looking into potential changes.  I was designing a couple of simple alternative looks, cutting out some of the irrelevant or “old” stuff, simplifying the composition to make it look more sleek and professional.  It currently looks very home grown.

I need to come up with a solid marketing plan for my website and this blog.  I had researched some marketing websites for women bloggers.  I’ll keep researching ideas to make the most of my work and to reach a broader audience.

Meantime, I spread a volcanic lavender facial mask on and draped my shoulders with a hot microwavable chenille wrap that’s filled with aromatherapy lavender.  It has sand or seeds in it weighing it down so that the heat and slight pressure add to the stress relieving component.  It was relaxing.  I sipped on a cup of hot detox tea and flipped through a new age catalog with all kinds of products for achieving balance and well being.  There was a headline that read:  we gotta keep transcending!  And I thought that would make a great motto.

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Monday, November 19
10:48 p.m.

It’s a challenge to balance everything you want to do.  I find myself wishing I had more time – especially more time to write and focus on the all-important process toward publication.  I’m working on my next book, only I’m not quite into it yet.  Mostly, I want to see my first book through.  It feels a little premature to dive into the next book so soon.  But I’d also love to start painting again.  And have more time for fun work outs – hiking, yoga, etc. 

I occasionally have time to sit back and enjoy being in the moment, and I am grateful for those zen moments, like when I’m enjoying a soothing cup of tea, eating a comforting bowl of pho soup, or reading a great, engaging book.  Those moments are too few and far between.  More often I feel exasperated.   I rarely feel like I have ample time to dive into the projects or activities that I’d like.  It’s a real challenge. 

I haven’t mastered the skill of making time quite yet.  I couldn’t imagine having to juggle a relationship or children at this point, either.  That would give me negative time in my life bank!  I’d be in serious debt, which makes it all so very crystal clear to me that my life is as it is for a reason.  I just hope I can really make the most of this time in my life.

But it also makes me wonder if anyone out there is doing exactly what they want to do all of the time.  Is this even possible?  If you could remove the need to work and reduced the intake of material things, eliminating your dependence on money, if all of that were irrelevant, if there was unlimited financial security, what would that be like?  I wonder how most people would spend their time?

Even if I had all the time in the world to write and work on getting my work published, I’ll still become a pawn of the publisher.  I’d have to do book tours, media tours, things that kill the creative spirit.  But there’s always a price to pay for success.  You have to work hard, from the time you start penning the first sentences of your book.

The thing is, time is sacred.  Our time here on earth is limited and yes, sacred.  How we choose to spend our time is a very serious matter.  And yet, so many people become slaves to time.  It’s sad really.  Which is why I refuse to wear a watch – I don’t want to be reminded of the passing of the hour and minutes hands.  This makes me even more determined to make the most of my time, to be productive, but mostly to make the time for the things I love to do.

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