Posts Tagged ‘writing’

My Musings Have Not Ended…

While I have completed the year-long journey of this 365 Days Until Love blog, I have not put an end to the blogging.  My latest musings, mostly about my developing writing career, and other fun related stuff, are scribbled on Scrivere, which appropriately translates to “to write” in Italian.

I just relaunched my website!   This will help me to stay in touch with my readers and announce news, like my next book launch – but I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself.

My first book, Basking, a self-published chapbook of poems, will be accessible on the new site, along with my newest collection of poems, Consequences (to be published this spring).  Plus, I have just started writing my memoir, Love Grows in the Backyard: One Woman’s 365-Day Search for Everything at Home in the Northwest, based on this blog.  As soon as that’s published, I’ll put out the announcement.  In the meantime, I will include my latest prose, poetry and freelance work on the new site. 

Thank you for your interest in my writing and please stop by my new website:

weather-vain1      lj-logo1



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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.




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Tuesday, September 9

In moments of self doubt, sometimes the unthinkable can happen.  Sometimes miracles can happen.  Okay, maybe I’m going a little bit overboard.  But, I have been a little bluesy over the past few days.  Got my celiac rash bach.  So, I knew the negative, despressed feelings were my symptoms returning.  After I wrote yesterday’s entry, feeling so down and exhausted, like I’ve been running like hell on my treadmill but going nowhere, I realized I was being entirely too hard on myself.  I don’t want to patronize myself and suggest, sure – all my dreams will come true.  I need to re-evaluate my dreams and why I have them.  This will help me figure out how I can reach them.  I caught a flickering light of reason at the end of that entry, with my consideration of the Shakespeare quote – strong reasons make strong answers.

So, by the time I did my skincare regimen, sprayed my room with a soothing sandalwood and cinnamon aromatherapy, and pulled back the sheets, I felt relaxed in the sanctuary of my room.  I have made it a temple for sleep.  And at the end of every day, I am able to lay down, have two sweet kitties snuggle up next to me and fall with ease into deep, restorative sleep.

When I woke up an essay came to me.  I took out one of my notebooks and wrote feverishly.  In twenty minutes I had the skeleton of some really good content.  When I closed the notebook and finished getting ready for work, I took a mental note of where to submit this.  Top of my list are River Teeth journal and Seattle Concious Choice magazine.  My essay was about what it feels like in moments of succumbing to anxiety and depression, as experienced through malabsorption of nutrients from celiac disease.  I mustered some humor in the midst of such a heavy subject.  In the end, I thought and felt that it was well written.

During my lunch break, I wrote down some lines about the ineffectiveness of the National Organization for Women (N.O.W.), how it has become nothing more than an advocate for one issue (abortion, as if I really need to state that) and how disturbing it has been to watch the organization sit back and do nothing while sexism had smacked both Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the currrent election.  I then highlighted the more current and relevant organization that better supports women, irrespective of party or issue.  It’s an organization that promises to protect all women running for elected office.  It protects in a way that N.O.W. has terribly and erroneously neglected.  That new organization is called WomenCount.

I was energized with good essays to finish and submit for publication.  And I need to give credit where credit is due – this blog.  It has forced me to write daily, to think and write in essay form.  It has helped me to hone my skill of writing narrative nonfiction. 

What a difference a day makes.

And this evening, I went for my first real run outside in years.  I broke free from the treadmill.  And, it’s not that the treadmill is a bad thing, per se.  During inclement weather, a gym and treadmill is better than nothing at all.  But, this evening, I ran free.  I ran through my neighborhood, with gorgeous houses lining the streets and tall trees to admire.  I ran up-hill, around bends, down-hill.  And I only ran for twenty minutes, but I was satisfied.  It’s a different kind of energy running outside than on a treadmill.  It felt good.  And I made a goal to be ready to run the Jingle Bell 5K Run this winter.  As long as I can help it, I’m no longer going nowhere.

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Sunday, September 7

A nice morning to sleep in.  I got up around 10:15 and immediately got to work.  I sorted laundry and put in a load.  I stripped my bed and put the sheets in the warm water pile.  I cleaned the toilets.  I cleaned the bathroom sinks.  Then I was hungry.  And, for whatever reason, I was in the mood to cook.

It was late enough for brunch.  So, I whipped up one brown, organic free range egg.  I added two good pinches of shredded mozzarella cheese and scrambled over medium heat.  I then heated up a slice of gluten-free corn bread from the Whole Foods bakery.  I sauteed an Italian pork sausage, and I sauteed broccolini with olive oil and garlic.  I purposed undercooked the broccolini.  It was pretty good.  I didn’t have polenta, so the scrambled egg and cornbread went perfectly with the sausage and broccolini.

I enjoyed this with a cup of Yogi Goji Berry tea, a Tibetan treat.  I also had a small glass of organic orange juice.  I was content.  But, I still wanted to cook or prep.  I had music going (Lisa Loeb, Abra Moore, Shannen Worrel), the sun was coming in from the window, I had some great stuff in my fridge, I couldn’t stop.

So, I made a killer organic Pico de Gallo. I used a large, green heirloom tomato, red onion, two small cloves of garlic, a half a lime (for the juice), fresh cilantro, a small yellow sweet pepper, fresh jalapino, I cooked up a half a cob of sweet white corn, and then I used a secret ingredient I won’t share.  I mixed all of this stuff up and made a gorgeous, bejeweled Pico de Gallo.

I decided I would have to make fish or shrimp tacos for dinner.  So, I cleaned up the kitchen, put the PIco in the fridge and ran the dishwasher.  I wiped down all of the counters and the sink, using an environmentally friendly cleaner.

I poured a glass of water and went into the living room to do some work.  I got on my computer and worked on a promotional piece in Illustrator while watching the Seahawks game.  My cat, India, curled up on my leather sofa and, so cute, I had to take her photo:

Just then, Capri jumped up on my red Ikea sofa right next to me and posed for the camera, which was hilarious:

God forbid I give one cat more attention than the other!  I worked for a couple of hours on my project.  I wanted to get it off of my plate soon so that it could go off to the printer a.s.a.p.  I have a lot of projects in my queue and they all seem to be due within the month.

I then worked on collecting my archived blog entries for the skeleton of my next book.  I have a lot of work to do with my writing, so I gave up spending a beautiful day outside for getting this critical stuff done, or as much of it as possible.  I am about half way done collecting the entries.

The Seahawks lost the game.  The score was 34-10.  Both of my Washington teams lost this week – the Redskins and the Seahawks.  My boys better get their acts together.  I don’t want a crummy, lackluster season.

I finished my laundry and then went upstairs to get dressed.  I wanted to do some kind of activity outside this evening.  I had hoped to corral my friends for an afternoon game of tennis, but to no avail.  So, I decided to go to the driving range.  I had a nice run, working on my drills from my last lesson, last summer.  I hit every club well.  There were two large wooded buckets about 75-100 yards out, one with a McCain cardboard cutout, the other with a Obama cardboard cutout.  Each had a sign, place your vote.  I hit two in the Obama bucket.  I tried to send a few over to the McCain one, too, but I didn’t get any in. 

I met a nice, really cute guy named Jeremy at the range.  We played a few games.  And I won!  And he didn’t let me win.  It was a fair and true win.  And, he watched me hit my 3-wood about 200-250 yards, five times in a row.  I got a margarita out of it.  Which shocked me.  He’s from the east coast, which didn’t shock me.  The men out here simply do not ask women out.  It’s very bizarre.  It was refreshing to spend time with a guy who knows how to court a woman.  He asked me for my number.  I am not counting on ever hearing from Jeremy again.  And I’m okay with that.  I was happy to just have a really fun afternoon.

After, I went to Safeway to pick up some groceries for the week, including white corn tortillas for my shrimp tacos.  When I got home, I went to work.  I sauteed shrimp in olive oil, garlic, jalapino-lime smoked salt, white pepper and fresh lime juice.  I heated up three taco sheets on the oven rack.  I cooked up rice and pinot beans, and then sliced a radish, a jalapino and I chopped the ends of green onions.  I put a small scoop of the rice and beans on each tortilla.  I then put three large gulf shrimp, with the garlic-lime sauce on the rice and beans.  Then, I topped with Mexican finely shredded cheese.  I put a nice spoonful of my homemade Pico de Gallo on top of that, followed by shredded white cabage and cilantro.  Here’s the final plating:


I was happy.  I had a margarita earlier that wet my palate for my sauteed shrimp tacos with my killer Pico de Gallo.  Life was good.

After I ate, I cleaned up the kitchen and then went upstairs to make my bed with fabric-softner fresh sheets.  I had bought a new tea at Safeway – Good Earth brand Organic Sweet & Spicy Herbal tea.  It’s caffeine free and a natural source of antioxidants.  It was super delicious.  It’s a Rooibos base with no added sugars.  It’s full bodied and smooth.  And it came with a little fortune tag, like Yogi brand.  This one was a quote.  It read:  “The first duty of love is to listen.” ~ Paul Tillich, 1886-1965.


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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

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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Tuesday, September 2

Things don’t seem to change.  This does not surprise me.  I shrug, even.  But, alas, I went to bed at 1:00 a.m.  That’s when I get tired, that’s when I’m ready to actually go to sleep.  And, the alarm went off at 7:30 a.m.  I don’t have a snooze button.  My alarm clock is a tibetan gong.  I stop the alarm and then either get up or lull back into a half-sleep.  Which is what I did this morning.  I finally got up at 8:00 a.m.

I had breakfast, including some of the dried plums my friend, Susan, gave to me.  These aren’t your grandmother’s prunes!  These were sweet, delicious with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, meaty, and more like figs than the dark, slimy prunes I remember at my grandparents’ house.  Susan’s family has a prune ranch in northern California.  She just returned from harvest.  It was a nice treat for her to bring back the freshly dried fruit.  Susan did warn not to eat more than 5 per day, when you’re not used to eating dried plums regulary.  Good thing she did that – otherwise we’d get more fiber than our young bodies could handle!


I got to work at 10:00 a.m. and was busy all day without even a stop for lunch.  I made a turkey breast sandwhich on gluten free bread and ate at my desk.  I worked until 7:30 p.m.!  I was waiting for a bunch of photos to upload on flickr for our event photo galleries.  It took forever.  Plus, I was working on website updates.  I didn’t even realize what time it was.  I get in a zone.

When I left, I locked up and drove home with every intention of going to a driving range to hit some golf balls.  But by the time I got home, it was too late.  I dropped off my bags, with a handful of basil I brought home from our garden at work, and put it in water.  I changed and went to the gym to ride on the exercise bike by 8:15 p.m.  I got a good 20 minute workout in, and my legs were wobbly and sore by the time I made my way back down to my townhome.  That was a nice change from my usual jogging on the treadmill and yoga.

I quickly got to cooking.  I boiled in water with a dab of olive oil and a pinch of salt some Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti.  I cooked up two small spicy Italian pork sausages in garlic and olive oil.  I then cooked up some homemade tomato sauce.  I topped the cooked pasta with a mozzarella-assagio cheese blend, the cooked sausage and garlic, the tomato sauce and then some freshly chopped basil. I love to show how you can make delicious gluten-free options for your favorite meals.

After dinner I had a cup of hot Yogi India Spice tea.  I then cleaned up the kitchen and wiped down the counters and floor.  I have been so nervous about the ant situation this summer, that it has forced me to be obsessively clean.  Which is probably a good thing.

I missed the Republican Convention this evening.  Because I am registered Independent, I don’t believe in voting for a party.  I vote for the best person.  And I feel I must listen to both parties present their cases.  I am curious about Sarah Palin, especially after her controversial announcement of her 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy.  Unfortunately, politics get ugly, and it will be interesting to see how the Democrats rip these people and their families apart, and vice versa.  This is the part of politics I hate.

Today, I received my order of a USB desktop microphone to record myself doing readings of my literary work for my new website.  I can save them as mp3 files and make them available on the new site.  I noticed today that my friend cleared up my current website with a “new site coming soon” announcement.  I am excited about creating my new site.  This will go to show potential publishers (and agents) that I am a “dream author” who knows how to market herself.

When this blog comes to it’s end in two weeks to this day (wow!), I will start a new blog on my writer’s website.  I won’t stick to a daily entry cycle as I have with this one, it’s a totally different kind of blog.  I am happy to see this blog come to it’s end.  I will still keep it up and accessible via my new site.  I am proud of this blog and I am still hopeful I can get a book deal based on the content of this site.

As I began to wind down for the evening, I realized how promising my writing career has been since I committed to this blog.  It was one great step for me, one that will surely turn things around and land me my first book deal.  I am sure of it.

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Friday, August 22

I got up and enjoyed a sweet but moderately nutritious bowl of gluten-free Leapin Leamers cereal. 

I had to run errands for our vineyard dinner tomorrow.  I drove over to Michael’s printing for our menus, Trader Joe’s to look at flowers (I took notes in my little writer’s note pad), Haggan (which I couldn’t find anything that would work for centerpieces), the Fred Meyer in Sherwood, which, again, didn’t have anything for my centerpieces, and finally the Fred Meyer in Newberg – where I scored these adorable and beautiful plants with tiny red, orange and green-yellow peppers.  I then found some green-white hydrangea.  I also found these beautiful green ceramic pears with silver-gray stems that would also look beautiful.

The cellar had just finished bottling for the day and were offering “first off’s” to staff, the wine they couldn’t sell that went through the bottling line first.  There was perfectly good wine inside, in any case, a few of us went down to the cellar and picked out a number of single vineyard Pinot noirs, some Syrah and Gamay noir, as well as single vineyard Chardonnay. 

When I got to the winery there was a lot of work to do.  Others were cleaning up while I washed out our hurricane lamps and staged things for my flower arranging tomorrow.

I returned to the office to check emails and then headed out to Dundee to pick up a few coolers from another winery. 

Driving home, I had every intention to change and go for a run, but Susan had called and convinced me to meet her and her mom for dinner downtown.  So, I emptied the wine from my car, put it away in my cellar under the stairs and changed for dinner.

We were going to go to Nuestra Cocina up on Division and 22nd, but there was an hour wait. So we went across the street to a new wine bar called Bar Avignon.  It was chic and cool inside.  We took a table by the window.  Her aunt, uncle and family friend joined us.  I shared an order of luscious green olives and prosciutto and sweet peaches, then an order of gazpacho and their local farm green salad, which was really fresh and delicious.  I enjoyed a glass of Soter rosé with it.

I tried to pay for my portion, but Susan’s mom wouldn’t have it.  That was very nice of her.  I sipped on a cup of Stumptown coffee while they passed around a couple desserts.

After, Susan, her mom and I went into the frozen yogurt shop next door.  I ordered a cup of the chocolate yogurt topped with a little coconut and shared it.  We proceeded toward the New Seasons on Division, where I bought gluten-free donut holes by Ener-G, a couple more of my new favorite gluten-free pizza crusts, organic, free-range brown farm eggs, organic sausage links and these cute, small recycled notepads. 

I have become obsessed with little notepads that I carry around in my purse, leave in my car and stock in a pocket inside my workbag.  I take a little notepad everywhere I go, just in case I get an idea I need to write down.  I use the little notepads for more.  Like when I was in Trader Joe’s in Lake Oswego and needed to note which kind of flowers would work best for our vineyard dinner.  I jot down notes of things to do, people to call or meals I should make for the week.  I write down names I like that may either become characters or children.  I write down addresses and phone numbers, but, mostly, I scribble thoughts that come to me when I’m driving down 99 West or I-5 or when I’m in the middle of doing something else but don’t want to lose that train of thought, that perfect description in my head, that crazy thing that just happened as I turned that corner on 21st  and Clinton, where the two guys on their bikes nearly hit a parked wagon with the front windows slightly open where two shiatsus practically wrestled each other to fit their sad little pink tongues through the slight open crack of window.

There was a cute, smallish guy putting his groceries down on the conveyor belt as a tall, round girl with friendly violet eyes framed in old-school black and mother-of-pearl glasses checked me out.  I handed her my check card, excited about the gluten-free donut holes.  The cute guy looked at my little notepads and said they were cool.  I told him I was a writer.  When the check-out-girl gave me my receipt, I smiled happily as the cute guy kindly offered, “good luck with the gluten-free, and the writing.”  I smiled back, “thanks!”

At home, I finished the place cards for the vineyard dinner.  I watched the last five minutes of Jaws 4 (or Jaws: The Revenge).  I had no choice.  I had watched the first three this week.  I didn’t even know there was another one after the 3-D version.  This Jaws didn’t blow up.  I was disappointed.

I burned some Moss Garden incense, not that it really smelled like moss.  It was actually a blend of sandalwood, benzoinum, patchouli and spices.  Not sure what the spices were, even with my trained wine professional’s nose.  It was Japanese.  Manufactured in Kyoto and distributed in Boulder, Colorado.  I have been slightly obsessed with Kyoto.  Not the same way as I have been about Tibet or Vietnam.  But enough so that I read a whole book on the tea service in Kyoto and the spirit of reciprocity there, how everyone is keen on gratitude, even if only in a matter of politeness and gesture.  There is what is called ‘the spirit of the gift’, to which Kyotans give little gifts to patrons who dine in their tea houses or restaurants, the gifting concept carrying over in many areas of their culture. 

Anyway.  I burned the incense to relax.  It’s a kind meditative gesture to myself, really.  I read a little and headed up for bed later than I had intended.  I made a note in one of my little notebooks that I was now going to bed rather regularly at 1:30 a.m.  It started off at 11:30 p.m.  That had been my bedtime for quite some time.  But then the late hour for me crept to midnight.  Then 12:30, always reading or writing, stretching my day as long as I could to get in all of the time I needed after work to workout, cook dinner, get some writing done, meditate and unwind, read and then turn in, which no sooner turned to 1:00 a.m.  And for the past couple of weeks, this has proceeded to dip into that too-late pool of 1:30 a.m.  I made a note that I simply could not allow this pattern to continue.  I could not let the minutes charge on to 2:00 a.m.  I had to curb the restlessness, the need for more time. 

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