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Posts Tagged ‘finding love’

Thursday, September 11

Love.  Perhaps not the first word that comes to mind on this day, a Memorial to America’s most devastating tragedy.  When I think back to seven years ago, I remember waking up to a morning that was glorious in Washington, DC – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was illuminating.  I lived in an apartment with my sister in Pentagon City, in northern Virginia.  At the time, I worked for a quaint wine shop in Dupont Circle.  I got up, got ready for work and just after 9:30 a.m., or so, I was on the metro headed for L’Enfant Plaza, where I switched trains from the yellow line to the red line, leading to the Dupont Circle station.  Only, just as we left the Pentagon station, just as we emerged from below ground to cross a bridge over the Potomac, in a sudden flash a bust of fire plummeted into a side of the Pentagon, thrusting a black plume of smoke into the unblemished sky.  My first thought was that we were getting bombed.  It was utter pandemonium on the metro, and in a flash, we were back underground, nearing the L’Enfant Plaza station.   

To make a long, horrific day short, I was stranded in DC overnight.  It was and remains to be a day of horror.  I was stranded and feared we hadn’t seen the worst.  A sleepless night kept me frightened about what might happen next – biochemical warfare?  Bombs?  More kamikaze airplanes falling from the sky?  If it was a perfect sky that day, it was a perfect patchwork of glittering stars that night.  And it was quiet, except for the occasional helicopter pounding through the night.  We listened carefully to the silence, wondering if the sound of airplanes would cut through with sonic booms and possible explosion.

But, back to love.  My parents celebrated their 42nd Anniversary today.  How inconvenient to have a birthday, an anniversary, or any other happy occassion on such a dark, sad day.  That was true for them in 2001.  And perhaps in 2002, as well.  But, since 9-11 became synonymous with a cowardly terrorist act on the Twin Towers and in our nation’s Capitol, my mom and dad have quietly celebrated their marriage without diminishing their respect for the nation.  But, then again, they really celebrate their love and commitment to one another every day. 

It amazes me how they have managed to treat each other with such honor and respect for nearly a half century.  A reminder to me and my siblings about what it means to have a good marriage.  It’s kind of bittersweet for me, because their marriage has been the benchmark for what I expect out of a potential marriage for myself.  I want no less – to find a partner who loves, honors and respects me, who holds his tongue before lashing out before it’s too late to take unkind words back, who feeds my dreams and my soul, who stands strong by my side with an open hand reaching out to mine.  This is the example they have given me.  And it has proven to be a challenge to find and keep the right partner to share my life with – but I’m still grateful that theirs has been that shining example that continues to give me hope.  I’d be so lucky to have a marriage like that.

Okay.  Here’s a photo of my parents on their honeymoon.  They married in Pennsylvania, in my mom’s hometown in the Lehigh Valley, and then headed across country.  Here, they visited my dad’s family in Eugene, Oregon.  My Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathie were married exactly one week before them, on September 4th, 1966. 

 

Pictured on my grandparent’s front steps, Eugene, OR, clockwise from left: (back) my dad, Kurt, my mom, Marie, dad’s brother Uncle Ken (front) dad’s sister Aunt Irene and Ken’s wife, Aunt Kathie 

This photo is of my mom and dad on the Oregon Coast, still on their honeymoon, with my Great Uncle Johnny.  They were clam digging.

And, finally, this photo totally deserves another run.  This is dedicated to my mom and pop – married on September 11, 1966.  Here – they’ve been married five years, still two kids in love.  God bless them!


Okay, so that’s how you go from 9-11 to love.

As for my day.  Well, it was a good one.  Lot of self lovin’ going on, lot of positive energy.  And a lot of big winning.  I went to my friend Lota’s house to play poker.  We started off with a nice spread of bountiful seasonal goodness – a Caprese salad, a garden vegetable salad and I made my Pico de Gallo with three different heirloom tomatoes.  Then we cleared the table and began playing poker.  I hadn’t played in years.  It was so much fun.

And, one of the players brought Red Bridge gluten-free beer.  I had a bottle and began losing on five card draw, seven card stud, and then my luck turned for the better with a fun game called Aces Duces, which I kept calling AC/DC.  I won several pots and took home $10-15 dollars in quarters.  We all had so much fun we decided to do this semi-regularly.

 

Bottle of Red Bridge gluten-free beer with some of my winnings…

And, to end a note on love…well, like poker, it’s a gamble.  Okay, that’s pretty bad.  But, if it were true, and if it were anything like last night, then that would make me a winner at love.  And that’s cool with me.

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Monday, September 8

Satisfaction.  That is what I felt when I printed out a holiday catalog I put together for the winery.  The pages looked clean, the photos I selected were beautiful.  It flowed seamlessly.  I printed the pages on matte photo paper, used the paper cutter, then taped the edges for the front and back pages, and finally stapled the mini book I created.  I was content with this.

That set the tone for my day.  Which was nice.  I was busy, proactive.

But then, it quickly turned.  I had a moment of feeling overwhelmed when I got home.  I went to the gym to run, and I thought it was ironic that I ran on a treadmill.  It’s like going in circles – you go nowhere.  Perhaps I should get outside and run.  Perhaps I should sign up for 5Ks.  But it wasn’t just the running in the gym like a hamster on ia wheel.  It was the analogy of going nowhere.

Last night, on PBS, I watched The Last Lecture again with Randy Pausch.  He talked about this allegorical brick wall that he’d often run into when trying to reach his not-so-short list of childhood dreams.  He said the brick walls are signficant.  Because most people never get over or break-through that brick wall.  But, for those who are dogged and don’t give up easily, for those who do get over or break-through thier brick walls, that means they were meant to achieve their dreams.  Thus, the brick walls serve as a test to see how badly you want it.

And, while running on the treadmill, going nowhere, all I could think about was the harrowing number of people who never reach their dreams.  Is it just that they didn’t try hard enough?  Is it fair to reduce their failures as, well, those so-called dreams were never meant to be, else, they would have come true.  This made me sad.  Frustrated.  Concerned.

Was I running on my life treadmill going nowhere?  I thought – what are my dreams?  Am I even remotely on the right path?  I wondered about the concept of when paths cross.  When you meet that person when you’re not looking.  Everyone always says you find that person when you’re not looking.  Yeah, but when you’re in your mid-thirties and you’re still single, like hell you’re not looking!  I keep seeing examples of couples who meet out of passion for the same things.  They seem meant for each other.  Okay.  I love wine country, I want to eventually make wine or grow winegrapes (or both), I want to publish literary works, I love to play golf, do yoga, run, hike, cook.  Where is he???  The latter statement an echo from a Sex & The City episode when Charlotte, exhausted from being single, exclaims those very same words in her princess past expiration desperation.  And then there’s the dream of making wine, growing winegrapes, and getting published.  In some ways, I am closer to those dreams than ever.  But, I am facing a bunch of agonizing, tall, wide brick walls that are keeping me from getting there.

And then there’s the question of destination.  Is there, in fact, a final destination when it comes to our dreams.  Or do we design new dreams for ourselves?  Surely, my childhood dreams did not include making wine or growing winegrapes.  I dreamt of being a singer, a ballerina, a firewoman.  I dreamed of travelling to space.  I dreamed of having my own castle and unicorn.  And when I outgrew those dreams, I dreamt of being the first woman to play in the NBA after I watched, along with my basketball team, Lynette Woodward, the first woman on the Harlem Globetrotters, play at George Mason University in 1985.  And of being a politician to make the world a better place (I was in student government and grew up in the Washington, DC area, after all).  Yeah, I dreamed of stupid stuff, like marrying The Karate Kid when I was in fifth grade, and then moved on to Patrick Swayze when I was in sixth grade (after his part in the t.v. mini-series North & South).  The only childhood dream that I seem to be loosely following is my dream to be a writer.  But, I’m barely on that path.  And, thus, I am running on that treadmill going nowhere.  

I have run smack into the brick walls of my dreams:   Writing?  Hasn’t happened.  Making wine or growing wine grapes?   Nope.  That hasn’t happened, either.  Buying my own home?   Okay, no jokes about building that brick wall into my house.  Getting married and having kids?  Uhhhhhh, not even close.   And using my gifts to make this world a better place – my desire to make a difference?  I did help coordinate wine donations for a very good cause that benefits people in need (William Temple House).  At least that’s progress.  Brick by brick, right?

Am I not working hard enough?  Am I not aggressive enough?  Am I not worthy?  Or have I just become too cynical?   Are there patterns to my running on that treadmill going nowhere?  Is it possible that I just don’t know what I want?  Is it possible that I am to just be grateful for my blessings and forget my dreams?  What would Randy Pausch advise?

Before bedtime, I made a cup of Good Earth organic Sweet & Spicy tea.  Another quote on the tag.  This one read:  Strong reasons make strong actions, William Shakespeare. 

I looked up the quote and it’s from his play King John, at the end of Act 3.  Which led me to another blog – Making Change Happen by Jane Northcote.  She wrote: If we are going to make change happen, we must know what we intend to achieve and why. This is profound and difficult.

Aye, me.  It’s not a coincidence that I got this flippin teabag message today.   What would life be without a little serendipity?  I decided I was too tired to figure out my strong reasons.

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Friday, June 13

Robert Graves once wrote:  love is a universal migraine.

It’s interesting to me how frustrating love can be.  Especially dating, for that matter.  I have pretty much settled on the fact that I prefer to stay home and make myself a fabulous dinner and treat myself to an at-home spa treatment than go on some random date.  I’m not into online dating – in fact, I had a match.com profile, off and on, for a few years now, though it’s currently expired, and I have yet to meet anyone in person because of it.  And the men of Portland, and perhaps the west coast, for that matter, don’t really ask women out on dates.  It’s very bizarre.  But I’ve gotten used to it, I think.

About a month ago, when I was still watching the Redwings in the Stanley Cup playoffs and finals, I met a nice guy who recently moved to Portland.  In any case, he asked me out.  He seemed like a nice guy, so I accepted.  He texted me to chose a movie – anything but Sex & the City.  Easy.  So I came up with this interesting list – including Bra Boys, a film about the cultural evolution of the Sydney beach suburb of Maroubra, and the struggle of its notorious surf gang, a tatoo-clad group of surfer rebel rousers known as the Bra Boys, narrated by Russel Crowe.  My other choice was Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, about the declining Colorado River filmed and experienced by writer-antropologist Wade Davis and world-renowned river advocate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., accompanied by their daughters Kick Kennedy and Tara Davis, with the score by the Dave Matthews Band and narration by Robert Redford.  It was playing at the IMAX Theater at OMSI.  Grand Canyon Adventure won!

I met this guy at OMSI at 7:30 and we picked up our tickets for the 9:00 p.m. show.  We walked around the Water Street industrial neighborhood and settled on Clark Lewis’s tiki-like bar for a place to sit and imbibe on something before the show.  I had a Maker’s Manhattan.  Disappointingly, there was a maraschino cherry, which I think is gross.  I was hoping for an amaretto cherry.  The cocktail was very average, but the bartender, Jordan, was very charming and engaging.  After a nice conversation with my date, we walked back to OMSI and headed in to the movie.

I have to say, I loved the film.  When we first entered the IMAX theater I felt a little dizzy.  It was kind of weird, a little like Vertigo (ooh – that Hitchcock classic is actually playing at a cool art house movie theater downtown, which I’d like to go see).  I digress.  Anyway.  Once the film started, I was mesmerized.  The Grand Canyon is just amazing.  I can’t get over the way ancient river flow sculpted and carved out that incredible landscape.  Watching this group make their way down guided down the Colorado made me want to go rafting!  What a wild life experience!  They say a river like that challenges you, changes you and makes you a little tougher, makes you appreciate life a little more, makes you connect with the river in a very spiritual way.

It’s shocking how much water loss this river has endured.  It was interesting to see old photos, the first taken of the Colorado River’s run and current views of those same frames, now depleted and eerily changed.  I loved the native American thread.  And I was just moved to want to do my part to conserve water, to think about my impact on the environment and to develop my love of natural waters in our world.  Further, I am eager to go white water rafting.  I would love to experience the magic and thrill of the Colorado as it runs through the Grand Canyon, but I think I’ll start somewhere up here first  – perhaps the Deschutes near Bend or the Rogue near Grant’s Pass.

Summer’s here.  Perhaps a trip is in order. 

It was a nice date, which appropriately ended with a hug.  It’s too early for me to feel a connection yet.  I don’t date, after all.  And I am much obliged for developing friendships with good guys at this point.  I am in no rush to fall for someone without thoughtful consideration and really getting to know him.  It’s so important to take things slow.  I’m not interested in diving into anything right now, except for maybe a big, ole river!  Anyway, I’d definitely go out with him again, but I am also interested in getting to know other potential migraine enducers out there.

Meantime, the movie was over under an hour and I got home at a nice and reasonable hour, which was pretty cool.  I had minimal sleep each night this week and I was exhausted.  I was glad to make myself a cup of Yogi chamomile tea.  The back of the box suggests “Let the worries of the day float away as you sit with a cup of our organic Chamomile tea.”  In addition to enducing relaxation, allowing you to unwind after a stressful day, drift into a restful sleep, east minor menstrual cramps or occasional stomach discomfort.  I was hoping it would help me drift into a restful sleep tonight.

The fortune on the tea bag read:  there is nothing more precious than the self.

As I began to let the worries of my day float away and relaxed with the happiness I usually feel when it’s warm and sunny out or when it’s the start of a weekend, I contemplated love once more.  Especially self love, which, as Yogi Tea man Yogi Bhajan suggests is the most precious thing.  I contemplated my ongoing thoughts about dating, or really, about love – about finding love in all of its manifestations!  About finding true love.  And Graves’ poem, Symptoms of Love, concludes: 

Take courage, lover!
Could you endure such grief
At any hand but hers?

I suppose when you find the right love – whatever that symbolically means in your life, or if it’s literally about finding love, I suppose when it’s under the right terms or when you’ve found the right person, then it really is worth the migraines, the grief and any other symptom that requires you to courageously carry on.

Meantime, I curled up with my cat India on the sofa, while Capri napped solo on her favorite fleece blanket of mine, folded on the leather love seat, and watched an old episode of Sex & the City.

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Wednesday, April 2
9:37 p.m.

So I have decided to do some casting calls to make some extra cash – both in print photo shoots (oh, nothing glamourous – just local businesses needed a thirty-something, attractive wife sitting at a banker’s desk with her husband, or at a computer in an office) and as an extra in locally shot films.  I need to beef up my savings account.  I used to model in DC back in the 90’s – again, just local stuff.  I’m hoping to do some head shots – for local skin products (all natural markets, etc.).  I was an extra in a few movies filmed in DC, including The Replacements , which was filmed at the Baltimore Ravens stadium, starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.  And when I worked for PBS, back in 1998, I was on-air talent (reading from the teleprompter) for the satellite service pledge drives, which reached a few million viewers – the programs I did the pledge drive for included a Mary Chapin Carpenter concert, a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band reunion tour show, and a kid’s programming special called Peter, Paul & Mommy, too (featuring Peter, Paul & Mary).  So, we’ll see what we get.  I’m hoping if I can get a few gigs here and there, I can free myself of the pressure to perform in my writing, so that I can enjoy the process and focus on my craft – not the results or the price per word.

In the meantime, I was flattered to get contacted by a journalism student today who came across my blog and wants to interveiw me for an article she’s writing on blogging.  It will be good practice.

I read an article on WordPress.com last night reporting two bloggers who got book deals for their blogs – one of them got a $300K advance!  It’s time to start thinking about finding a developmental editor!

After a very busy day of work, I went home to change for the gym and ran to the grocery store with the gift card my mom sent me.  Yes, she sends me gift cards to grocery stores.  I tell her she shouldn’t do it – but, she feels badly about the cost of my gluten-free diet and wants to encourage me to eat healthy, organic fruits and vegetables and whole, gluten-free grains.  The woman was a dietitian for years, I can’t stop her.  I’m not a mother, but I suppose once you are, you never stop wanting to mother your children.  And my mother isn’t the controlling, intefering kind, rather she just wants to do everything she can to ensure her children are happy and healthy.  I appreciate her gestures, even if I do feel badly that she’s spending money on me that she could be spending on herself.

At the gym, I ran on the treadmill for thirty minutes then went home and made myself a beautiful salad of organic baby romaine lettuce, red, orange and yellow baby peppers, red onion, carrot shavings, pecans, and yellow and red grape tomatoes with a lite, homemade honey mustard dressing and then I sauteed broccolini in olive oil with chopped garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice, which I topped with parmesan.  I had a tall glass of water with a fresh slice of lime.  It was fresh and tasty.  My mother would have approved.

 I had a cup of Yogi India Spice tea afterwards.

Well after the food had settled, I meditated for 15 minutes.  I have been trying to stop stressing, to come up with sensible, creative solutions to take care of myself, financially, and to get more disciplined about making the most of my workouts, eating well-balanced meals (small portions), sticking to a yoga and strength training program, all to get balanced. 

I embrace myself – my single, happy, soon to be balanced and enlightened self.

It’s funny.  After I engage in activites and practices that are supposed to help me to acheive balance and enlightenment, I have closed myself off from the idea of partnering up, getting hitched, looking for a man.  I don’t look for men.  I hate the idea of seeking out love, because it seems to me that if you are actively looking for it, then there’s something inside of you that’s terribly lacking to send you out in the world to seek an idea of happiness in the form of another person.  I just won’t do it.  Being lonely is not a reason to search for the love of your life.  And I’m still not sold on the idea that there’s just one love in a lifetime.  So, you live your life to the fullest and resolve what has you so scared about being alone (as if being solo is like having the plague).  

Anyway, I am comfortably alone and not seeking love.  I’m not 100% closing off the idea of falling in love, but, it will have to find me.  Which may sound like a contradiction to this whole blog.  The thing is, my 365 Days Until Love search may have started with a starry-eyed concept of finally being ready for love.  But, perhaps I was wrong.  I mean, that was only the beginning.  And, besides, are we ever truly ready for love?  Or does good love come when you least expect it, when you least want it, when you are making big plans for your wonderfully solo life?  Hell if I know.  But, I suspect much of this journey of journaling through a year of my life has led me to identifying certain patterns – and looking back from the beginning, reading along what I have written, I see many subtle changes in my mindset and even in the direction of the path I’m headed down.  The quest for enlightenment and compassion only evolved in the new year, not from the beginning.  I have been able to experience the causes of my own illnesses prompted by stress – mostly my bouts of congestion.  So, I have experienced optimum health when I am happy, relaxed and balanced.  And as soon as I got stressed again, the congestion is back on and I’m riddled with physical tension.  So, I have seen the power of the results – I just have to get disciplined in my practices.

By writing through the mundane, I have learned some extraordinary things about myself, that I am not seeking the kind of life that has so many trying to keep up with the Joneses, where I am culturally obligated to marry, work hard to make a lot of money so that I can buy really cool things, and a huge house that my husband and I can’t really afford, then pop out 2.5 kids, go nuts trying to balance work and my crazy family, to the point where I am exhausted, unhappy and unfilled, but I have to lie to myself and the world that I am happy, balanced and fulfilled or else I’d be a terrible mother – and that is the worst thing a woman can be, worse than a prostitute servicing government officials. 

I mean, if that happens, it happens, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more about myself – certainly in setting boundaries!

I would be remiss not to mention the eel that I had met back in October, when I first returned to Oregon.  I didn’t take that encounter seriously, well, because he left two days later to move to San Francisco.  Oddly, I get random emails, including one today, as part of a group forward.  I appreciate the gesture, of being included when the email is an informative one like the one I received today.  But, well, I couldn’t help but wonder, why do some men orbit  your atmosphere?  I mean, what’s the point?  I can’t exactly be friends with someone who I don’t really know, who lives that far away, right?  There’s definitely attraction, but, again, what’s the point?  I kind of feel like if the eel wanted to hang with the salmon, he’d swim upstream for a visit and test out the waters, so to speak.  So, by the grace of logic, I have figured that one out.  I think.  The eel isn’t interested in swimming with the salmon right now, but the eel is interested in keeping in touch with the salmon just in case a climatic change occurs where the eel and salmon might be swimming in the same waters.  Meantime, the salmon is happily swimming in her clear, temperate, safe stream.  (note: if you’re reading this and you’re confused about the eel and the salmon, you’ll have to go back to the beginning of this blog to understand).

I would have to meet someone exceptional, someone who just exceeds my expectations exponentially before I am willing to let go of that comfort and safety – someone who’s going to arrive without a search party reeling him in.  Someone who I meet serendipitously in a moment of synchonicity.  Otherwise, I’m just not interested.  And this isn’t necessarily directed to the eel.

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