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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

November 25

I’ve had readers ask me why I haven’t written Day 365.  It didn’t begin as intentional – I didn’t mean to skip the last day.  I wasn’t ignoring it.  In a way, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.  But then I realized the obligation of writing a daily blog was a kind of practice in meditation – I have been focusing on writing like I focus on meditative breathing; and since I am a beginner at meditation – liable for straying from focus – I would make it a practice to return to the breath, so to speak, to get back on track.  It has been quite a commitment to open myself up to this discovery, or discoveries, that I have hoped would bring me to a higher level of consciousness and enlightenment.

When I realized the analogy of meditation, while it’s equally important to commit to meditation on a daily basis, I also realized that to a Buddhist, days melt together into an infinite stretch.  What is time, anyway?  It’s a measurement man had created for himself – really for farming purposes.  I’m not suggesting there’s no purpose or ceremony in an individual day, but, rather, each day is like a wave on an ocean.  We don’t always look out to the sea and see every single wave that rises, crests and falls.  But those waves are out there, they matter, they keep the rhythm of the ocean alive, they are constant and they follow a larger source and rhythm that we don’t even see.  Most of us don’t even feel it, which is sad.  But, I do.  Feel the source (not see every wave!).  And, thus, are my days – 344, 362, 365, whatever.  It doesn’t really matter.  My journey began long before the blog and my evolution continues to excelerate well past that missed day.

I was going to go back and write it, but when I was collecting the written entries to work this blog into a book project I’m hoping to get published, I realized I had accidentally skipped a day.  So, I’m actually two days short.

But, kind reader, don’t be dismayed that I have skipped or missed two days.  I am not dismayed, myself.  Those blanks, too, have served their purpose in my story.

If there must be some kind of closure to the 365 Days Until Love blog, however, let it be this…

Jane Goodall once wrote:
I have found that to love and to be loved is the most empowering and exhilirating of all human emotions.

And that applies to love in all of its manifestations.

John Denver wrote a song (perfomed with opera’s legendary tenor Placido Domingo) called Perhaps Love.  I write the lyrics below (without permission):

(Placido Domingo)
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

(John Denver)

(Placido Domingo)
Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel

(John Denver)
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go

(John Denver)
And some say love is everything
Some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

When Denver wrote the song he was thinking about all the ways he experienced love.  He thought about what all people must think of love, and the song came to him effortlessly.  A turning point for him, as an artist and musician, happened when he listened to Domingo sing the song with him in a live concert.  Denver was deeply impressed by the way Domingo sang his lyrics, which, thus, changed the way Denver sang his own songs from there on.  He had said, “when Placido sang the word steel, you felt steel.  When he sang the word cloud, you felt a cloud.”

And that is how I consider my work, now, moving forward, as an artist and as a humble woman – daughter, sister, friend, lover – to say what I mean and mean what I say, to feel and express myself deeply and fully, and to have strength in my love and loving.  And this I mean for love in all of its beautiful manifestations.

Blessings.

L.A.J.

 

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Saturday, September 13

Today was the day of an annual harvest party hosted by my friends in McMinnville.   As part of the annual festivities, they roast a pig, they hire a local bluegrass band, Jackstraw, and all of the invitees bring wine to share.  This is also an opportunity to welcome the harvest interns – crew members coming from as far as California, New Zealand and Burgundy.

I got there around 7:00 p.m. and there were already a ton of people there.  It was exciting.  There are so many good, cool people in the Oregon wine industry.  I grabbed a glass and headed toward the back porch that’s designed like the inside of a barn.  I poured a glass of pink bubbly.  The table was lined with wine bottles.

Eventually, I made my way to the food line and grabbed a plate.  I knew I was going to risk gluten contamination.  Still, I was as careful as I could be.  I didn’t even go near the dessert table.  So, I took a deep breath and sipped on a small pour of white Bordeaux while we moved toward the food.  I chatted with our winemaker and one of his colleaguesm, also in line.  Once it was my turn at the table, I selected succulent pork, farm fresh cole slaw and a hearty side of black bean rice.

After I ate, and while Jackstraw began sereneding the crowd, I met some of my gal pals under a tree filled with white lights for a photo.  Sadly, you can’t see all the twinkly lights in these shots.

The band was pretty amazing.  After a few sets, the next entertainment for the evening began.  A troupe of fire dancers did a wild and mesmerizing performance in the middle of the street, which was closed off for an entire block.

     

     

 

The fire dancers finished performing just after 11:30 or so.  I was tired.  I had a sleeping bag in my car and the option to crash there, but I was ready to go home.  I didn’t drink very much and felt like the responsible party-goer.  So, I got in my car and drove home.

And, I reflected a little.  There was something magical in the air.  We were getting ready for harvest.  Very soon, the grapes would start getting picked and would be pressed into juice, along with the skins and seeds, and would then ferment into wine.  We could count on this every year.  I liked the steadiness of agriculture, of seasons changing, of vines that would grow such beautiful grapes.  I loved the potential for greatness and the risk of imperfection.  The latter, the idea of risk, had been something channeling and, perhaps, challenging me. 

Which is, it seems, a great seque to love.  It’s not the easy circumstances in life that force us to grow.  Rather, it is the chance for disappointment and disaster that really challenges us to grow.  I’ve heard that love is gentle, love is kind.  But I have never known that to be true.  Rather, it is filled with uncertainties, challenges, questions – often rough and unkind.  So why do it, why bother with love? 

I’ve learned that risks in life are necessary for personal growth.  Okay, that might sound very “new age book store” material.  But, it is true.  When we work at love, when we muddle through the sometimes mucky side of love, when we are forced to open it up like a dissected heart, to look within, to really examine what we see, good or bad, we become better versions of ourselves – the versions that have had the courage to dig into those unpleasant corners or to bravely face the beautiful parts that were always there, all along.  When we take the risk to open up and welcome in love, we are most deserving. 

I had been spending years running away from romantic love.  Call it fear, which is fare blame, but, mostly, it hadn’t occurred to me that I should be in a relationship or in love.  Instead, I kept on my path.  I dared to learn about who I was, what I’m all about, and why I have been placed here on this earth.  I have been seeking, in many ways, to identify and understand my gifts, and to learn how to use them to make this world a better place.  It’s a theme that has run through this blog, even.  Meantime, I had been protecting myself and preventing my potential for for growth. 

When I got through most of this blog entry, I took in my own risk assessment and settled that I had been coasting along on the safety bus.  Thankfully, I am ready to take a step off.  I am ready and willing to take some risks.

 

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Friday, September 12

Moving along with more love…  I’m feeling indulgent.  There are all kinds of examples of love that can really surprise you, examples that show you a different kind or side of love, or even yourself.

Take for instance my change in plans this evening.  Initially, I was going to meet the girls for a game of tennis and then dinner and a movie.  But, for different reasons, changes in plans opened up my evening. 

I got home, changed and then drove over to the driving range.  I hit a large bucket of balls and I was having a blast.  I was hitting each club consistently well as I worked through the drills I picked up when I took a series of refresher lessons at Triology Golf Club when I lived in Redmond, Washington last summer.  I loved my teacher – a pro who was originally from Oklahoma.  For our last lesson, he went out on the course with me to play four holes.  It’s not very often that I get to go out and play with a pro.  He had me hitting like an LPGA pro.  I kept telling him I wanted him to be my caddy/coach, and I’d start entering some tournaments.  He made me feel that confident in my game.  And it’s not that I can’t feel confident without him, but I really did rely on his expertise to coach me into taking the right kinds of shots.

So, I was having a nice practice session.  The weather was perfect.  The cute guy I had met at the driving range on Sunday was there, practicing his game, as well.  He happened to mention his girlfriend was driving out cross country to move in with him.  That wasn’t a surprise.   I wasn’t even disappointed.  I’m not exactly sitting around waiting for my prince to show up with a seven iron in his hand and a bucket of balls.  I’m busy playing my own game, thank you very much. 

And the point about my love relevation this evening wasn’t about meeting another golfer at the driving range.  Rather, I was having an awesome evening playing my own game.  When I left, I called my parents to share my gratitude for the series of refresher lessons they paid for last summer.  I wanted to let my dad know how much better my swing is, and how much better I hit the ball.  I wanted him to know how grateful I was for everything he and my mom have ever done to make my life better.  And that’s a long list.

After we got off the phone, I pulled into Pacific Breeze.  I ordered a pot of tea and the seafood and pork rice noodle soup.  It was delicious.  As I ate my dinner, I overheard the table next to mine.  Two couples, presumably in their late 80’s, were enjoying dinner while one of the gentleman was pouring the remainder of a bottle of white wine in his friends’ glasses, then his wife’s, then his own as he joked about who was going to be the designated driver.

I wasn’t eavesdropping, but because of the way the tables were set up, my ear was right in their space, and I overheard the man talking about his time serving our country in WW2.  He had been stationed in Japan.  And my ear dropped out of the conversation, but I managed to hear some sound bites about Washington, DC, visiting the war memorials, their respect for Senator Bob Dole, and then their appreciation of Tom Brokow for all of his work toward recognizing the WW2 generation.

Just before they left, I had to say something.  I am my mother’s daughter, after all, and when I am moved by someone or something, I have to share my feelings.  I am a sap, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Anyway, I talked to them briefly about my Great Uncle Jimmy, who, when stationed in Italy, met his sweetheart, my Great Aunt Carmella, who, back in the 1950’s won a Sofia Loren look-alike contest, and how a few years ago, when the WW2 Memorial was unveiled in Washington, DC, I got to accompany them to a ceremony that was just for the men and women who served in the war.  I told them how I treasured that day, how it meant so much to me to get to experience that memorial with my Great Uncle Jimmy.   As I relayed the story to these strangers, I got a little choked up.  In part, I felt like an idiot, but on the other hand, I could see they understood what I was feeling.  And that was gratitude.  I smiled at them and told them they were truly part of the Greatest Generation.

Before we parted, I also mentioned my father, and proceeded to get teary-eyed again.  I told them how he was stationed at the Pentagon, which is why I grew up in the Washington, DC area.  I told them about his rank and how he served in Vietnam, and what an honorable man he is.  They were tickled, I think, that a young woman would even bother to connect with them on something like the military and those who bravely, dutifully and honorably served our country.

On my way home, I called my parents again.  Thankfully, they were still up.  I got choked up all over again when I shared the story of my dinner conversation this evening.  My mom put my dad on the phone and I lost it.  I know it sounds crazy.  But I am so proud of my dad for serving our country.  He is the epitome of honor, respect, dignity, courage, and the true grit American hard-work-ethic.  He doesn’t give up.  He stands for what he believes in, and he is such a good person.  He is kind and fair.  Reasonable.  And a shining emblem of brilliant-smart.  He graduated magnum-cum-laude from the University of Oregon back in the 1950’s, working three jobs to put himself through college.  My father is a kind of stoic, quiet Scandinavian man.  He doesn’t say much, but when he does, people listen.  In one word, he’s my hero. 

It’s easy to forget sometimes how wonderful our loved ones are.  Or, it’s easy to take them for granted.  I have always felt blessed for having such a solid, good family.  It is everything to me.  And while I have spent much of my time on this blog contemplating all kinds of loves, truly, my greatest love is for my parents.  I know that no one on this planet will ever love me the way my parents love me.  I have never questioned or doubted that love.  It has been my true birthright.  Their love for me is my strength, my happiness and my one true thing. 

As they grow older, I often worry.  I live clear across the country from them, which was a painfully hard decision to have to make.  I never imagined I would ever live more than a couple of miles away from them.  And here I am, in my father’s home state of Oregon, while they’re still in my home state of Virginia, and I do my best to talk with them once or twice a day – maybe more.  We’re on a Verizon family plan, thank goodness.  I pray for them daily.  I always think of them and wonder what they’re up to, so then I call…again.  We talk so much, that it sometimes give the impression of nearness.  And it’s a relief to feel like we’re not so far apart.  I get to take in the laughs, the tears and the usual rapport of what’s going on with this cousin or that neighbor.  They perpetuate that feeling of home for me.  And then I get a little homesick.  I can’t help it.

I am in awe of their unconditional love and support – it’s never wavering, it’s never exhausted, and it keeps pumping like the strongest, biggest heart humanly possible.  And I know I am not alone.  I know I not far from home.  And I know I am not unloved.  It is the greatest gift I will ever know.

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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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Wednesday, September 10

Here’s how my day started.  I had to take an allergy nighttime pill last night, which knocked me out.  I mean to say, when I woke up this morning, my sheets were still tucked in – it was like a corpse slept in that bed!  I was very groggy all morning long.  I went over to the Coffee Cottage across the street, and while I was waiting for my cinnamon twist coffee, I found a used book that looked really interesting to me.  It’s called Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Marshall, a woman who speaks and writes on cultural issues as director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, the Washington, DC based think tank. 

The back cover read: 
“8 out of 10 young women say they’re hoping for marriage, but 3 out of 10 women are still single at 30.  The difference between life here and life hoped for can be disillusioning – and cultural changes have made single life in the 21st century more confusing than ever.  Now and Not Yet offers guidance for navigating this new territory with purpose and contentment.  Make sense of life in the gap between expectations and reality.  Singleness may be an unexpected in-between, but it’s much more than a holding pattern.  Now and Not Yet is about making the most of the time between now and the future for which so many women hope.”

I kind of laughed at that last statement, but, whatever.  Something appealed to me.  Maybe it was the “it’s much more than a holding pattern”.

Plus, it had a nice cover, see:

 

 

A young, independent woman with a background of Paris and New York.  I was convinced it would be a relevant, engaging read.

So, I bought the book.  I thought, this could be some positive reinforcement, which I needed.  And so I walked back to my office, sat at my desk, flipped through the first pages and read:  I found myself asking Why?  Where are we going, God?  What makes us think we can demand concierge treatment from God, as though He needs to consult us about whether we’d prefer the direct or scenic route?

(Insert scratch on the record).  Huh?  God and He, what?  I flipped the book over and in very tiny, fine print it reads CHRISTIAN LIVING / WOMEN.

No good sex stories and reasons to sleep with as many men as possible before tying yourself down?!?!?!?  I’m KIDDING.  But…I just bought a “Christian Living” book??  I put it down, annoyed.  Only, there’s a pale halo of hope.  If you muddle through some of the God speak, there were some good messages and lessons.  So, I’ve decided not to return the book.  I’m still going to read it, but take it with a grain of salt.  And I am Catholic, after all.  It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I learned a good spiritual lesson or two. 

But, here’s the thing.  I decided I would focus on love for my last entries, as much as possible.  As I sat and wrote tonight, my latest issue of O, the Oprah Magazine, was sitting next to me on the sofa.  In fact, my cat Capri, one of the loves of my life, was sprawled out over it.  Just below her curved paw were the words:  

Getting Good at
LOVE
How to
– find it
– risk it
– let it go
– make it grow
– Live It Every Day

That last bullet point had my attention.  If I were to focus on the art of living love every day, I think I would be exponentially happier.  It’s simple, yet so challenging to do.  It’s truly a state of mind.   It’s all about perspective.  You can choose how you are going to feel each day.  You can let things fester and get to you, or, you can choose love.  Love your cat, love your dog.  I don’t know.  Love your tea.  I really love my tea.  But, you can really turn things around if you really try.  Really.  John Lennon got it – all we need is love; love is all we need

So, I’m gonna get good at love.  Thank you, Oprah, for the reminder of the necessity of that action.  You gotta put love into action to be good at it.  And that starts with loving and respecting yourself.  How to find it?  Well, again, start within.  Then ask yourself what kind of love are you looking for.  I suspect if you can answer that, you’ll soon find it.  How to risk it?  I suspect you can risk love that serves you by choosing love that serves another.  That might be a good risk.  How to let it go?  Well, think of that lovely Richard Bach quote:  If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.  How to make it grow?  Just like anything else: find fertile, rich, healthy soil; plant the seed; nourish it, shower it, give it plenty of sunshine, but let it weather every storm so that it can grow stronger; don’t over-care for it, give it a little challenge so that a little struggle will make the roots dig deeper and the branches stretch higher. 

I am no love guru.  And I know that I have a lot of work to do to live it every day.  It ain’t gonna be easy.  But maybe that’s what my journey has been all about this year.  In seeking love in all of its manifestations, my catchy, hopeful tagline, perhaps it’s more accurate to say I am learning to live love every day.  This means the responsibility and action for having love in my life is not dependent upon someone else.  That takes most a whole lifetime to figure out.

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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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Wednesday, September 3

I got an email from my former French boyfriend.  Well, on Facebook.  It was sweet.  And it made me feel bad for avoiding his last two emails.  On Facebook.  I don’t know.  I’m bad about Facebook.  I forget to answer emails there.  I’m not sure if I should respond when people write on my wall.  I drink and Facebook.  I’m not the most diligent or responsible Facebooker. 

But, then again, I got a message like this one in my inbox which made me love Facebook:
Hello ! just a little kiss from Paris. I wouldn’t mind talk to you a little. hopefully soon
xoxo

Now, what girl wouldn’t swoon from such a message in her inbox?  The one thing I will give this man, my former French boyfriend, is that he knows how to do romance.  When I last visited him in Paris, ten years ago, I would wake up at his father’s apartment in the Montmartre (he had a couple of fabulous apartments) and Jean would have a fresh pastry, French press coffee and a USA Today on the old, wooden table in the kitchen, waiting for me.  He’d kiss me on the forehead and I’d wonder when he had left and for how long.  He’d wake early and go to the same patisserie on the block.  There were usually some flowers on the table for me, too.

His previous email, that was sent about a month ago, asked me when I was planning to return to Europe.  Ah, Europe.  Let’s see.  I have no vacation time to use.  I can’t afford to take leave without pay.  Um.  That would be never.  Or at least not until I win the lottery.  I’m glad I frivolously traveled in my twenties.  Because I practically live paycheck to paycheck now, which is ironic.  And I just found out today my rent is going up.  My limited funds seem to be flying out the windows.

Not ideal.  Not ideal, at all.  I made a list of where to cut spending.  I am worried about paying for my heating bills this winter.  They were pretty bad last year and will probably be worse this time around.

I worry.  I worry about taxes going up.  I worry about gas prices continuing to skyrocket.  I spend a lot of my time worrying. 

I know it doesn’t help to worry.  But it’s feeds the woe that makes me feel like it’s impossible for me to do this all on my own.  I remind myself how much easier it would be if I just married someone and got it over with.  You’re either taken care of or you split the bills.  Either way, you come up ahead.

It’s useless to lament over my inability to travel.  Which is more or less why I let my French ex’s messages go unanswered – it just isn’t plausible to get over there.  And, even if I could take a leave of absence, what next?  The thing is, Oregon is my home.  It’s funny that the few men I’ve met over the past year or so, that I’ve actually been interested in, all live elsewhere.  Not in Oregon.  I am unwilling to pick up and leave my beloved Oregon.  So, I have already decided it’s not worth getting the heart mixed up with anyone who doesn’t already live in Oregon or love it as much as I do.

As I drove home from work, I thought more about this.  I came to no new relevations.  It’s in Oregon I shall stay, loved or not loved.

At home, I changed and met Susan at Tryon Creek Park, up Terwilliger Boulevard.  We hiked a trail for about four miles or so, possibly more.  It was a nice change from the gym, an old growth forest with perfectly manicured trails and a nature center.  As we hiked, we chatted at length about Sarah Palin.  I have no idea how I’m voting for this coming election, but, because I am an Independent, I am interested in listening to what each of the candidates have to say.  It’s a thrilling election.

When I drove home, I caught the first half of her speech on NPR.  She had my attention.  I was surprised that this was her first major national address.  She sounded confident, competent and she had her own brand of charisma.  She has my attention.

I quickly made a gluten-free pizza for dinner.  This one had a touch of tomato sauce topped with thin slices of yellow heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, shreded Assagio and Provalone.  I then topped it with fresh basil from the garden.  It was my seasonal Margherita Pizza.

While eating, I worked on my latest writing project.  I’m in the process of collecting the copy for each of my blog entries and separating them out in Word files by month.  I plan to organize the entries in a way that I can build a new narrative – the book will be based on the blog.  I don’t want it to be the blog reprinted word for word.  Instead, I plan to highlight themes and begin a meaningful narrative that reads more like a novel. 

I’ve been struggling with writing the book proposal for this, as most nonfiction book proposals are constructed for writers who are experts in a field or promise to help the reader accomplish something (learn how to cook, self help, etc.).  My nonfiction book is all narrative, so it doesn’t really fit the typical model.  I’m not claiming to be an expert on finding love in all of its manifestations, nor am I trying to teach anyone how to find love in all of its manifestations.  I am simply writing about my own experiences that have helped me to seek out and sometimes find love in its many manifestations.  And I’m satisfied with that.  Now, I have to figure out how to get an agent or publisher on board.  Between that and figuring out how to launch my new website, I’ve got a lot to do in my few hours of ‘free time’.

 

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