Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Unwinding of Summer

Summer is coming to a close.
My last two finals to take are tomorrow.
The last outdoor trek of the summer happens this weekend.
And what a summer it's been.

In the midst of all the current tiredness, I can't help but feel that I am so incredibly fortunate to be so tired. That all the moments of tiredness are and were so worth the moments with friends, with family, with movement toward the future, or with growth through goals.

So what were the highlights of Summer 2014?

1) I made it through another dual term. I taught three separate courses this summer-one of which was a new class for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my students this summer. I took four massage courses this term and I fell in love with many of the Eastern modalities. I'm registered for my final term. I'm scheduled and prepared for teaching this fall. I created a career plan that reflects the next two years and I know that I'm headed toward even more growth.

2) Per usual there were a lot of awesome outdoor adventures (all of which I wish I would have blogged about separately). There was a kayak outing on the Tualatin River, a solo SUP morning, and a day of kayaking with visiting friends. There were multiple solo day hikes, long day hikes with the ex-husband/Tall D as we reacquainted our friendship, and a few date hikes or runs with different dudes as well. There was a lot of running mileage as I continue to progress toward my goal of 900 miles this year. There was a women's weekend where I finally got to attempt surfing. There was the best back packing trip I've ever been on with one of my favorite massage school gals. There was a recent day of exploring Olympic National Park (with a hike, lots of driving, and a beach trek) with Tall D. And tomorrow he and I leave for a long backpacking weekend in the Wallowas in eastern Oregon.
At the end of our Herman Creek backpacking trip.

Short Sands surfing

3) There were a lot of awesome visitors! I had one of my best gals from high school in town for a night in August. Earlier summer included dinner/kayaking with one of my best gals from grad school and her boyfriend, my buddy R who relocated to Texas and I hiked in to float on a mountain lake, one of the housemates from last summer stopped by for dinner on his move to Seattle, one of my undergrad friends brought her husband for dinner while they visited to explore moving to Portland (they're moving here in December and returning for another visit in two weekends), and I met a favorite high school buddy and his fiance for happy hour when they passed through town. I also hosted local acquaintances who I don't get to see as frequently: an afternoon of tapas at the house with an old hometown mentee and her boyfriend and I happily reconnected with an ex-who-was-my-best-friend-for-years and his wife.

4) Granny celebrated her 103rd birthday! We celebrated per usual with a family BBQ on her actual day and the female clan tea party on Saturday. It's always great to honor the queen and to reconnect with many of the extended family who comes home to help celebrate.

5) I celebrated my 32nd birthday...and it was a phenomenal celebration this year. After all our history, Tall D still has a knack for making me feel especially special and appreciated on my day. This year I had my high school gal here during the weekend before my birthday and then on my actual day the two Ds and I hiked into a secluded lake and floated around in tubes with some beers. In the evening, I went out to my favorite Mexican restaurant with a handful of friends. And the day after my birthday, Tall D had gotten me tickets to one of our favorite soulful artists. It just so happened that one of my local gals and her husband also had tickets so we were able to connect with them at the venue. Such an incredible birthday this year--I definitely felt so special!

6) I dated someone new for several months and helped refine what I'm looking for and grasped a better idea of what matters versus what we think matters in the bigger picture. I had a lot of fun. I learned new things. I was amazed by the thoughtfulness he put into creating simple dates and at times I felt incredibly spoiled. ....and in the end, our timing wasn't right, the pairing was and wasn't right, and I decided to put dating on hold for a bit again...unless that "right" man falls in my lap of course. Har har.
A bonfire at the beach with the dude, dogs, brats, tunes.

7) I preserved a LOT of food. One of my personal goals for this year was to try to grow more and preserve more than any year before....and I am really happy with the outcomes, while also knowing that even bigger gains are possible in years to come. This year I canned: peaches, pears, salsa, pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, applesauce, pear butter, plums. In the freezer are: blueberries, raspberries, cherries, marionberries, strawberry freezer jam, kale, grapes, shredded zucchini, rhubarb, mint. This year I planted: tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, kale, spinach, leeks, strawberries, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, peas, green beans, corn, and beets. The brussel sprouts got ripped out due to battling bugs that spread to the cabbage & eventually the kale, the spinach went to seed quickly, I battled with mean bee and yellow jackets nests (twice), I learned that co-planting snap peas around the tomato cages is a bad idea, the zucchini didn't seem to like it's new location, I can never keep up with the green beans in time, and my absolute favorite thing I grew were the beets. I also harvested grapes from the neighbors vines that I let go crazy over the fence, I replanted artichoke plants, I left the garlic alone, I picked mint/rhubarb/marionberries from the yard, and the kiwi is absolutely loaded (for harvesting in December).

8) There were a lot of chicken transitions and build projects. At the end of the summer I currently have four hens. Two separate batches of Americauanas with one gray hen from my original batch that produced her and two roosters and then two new brown hens that are still growing. There is also a lil black Banty that came from my middle hen acquisition attempt....and she's currently laying! :) Build projects included continuing to tweak the rebuilt/moved coop, indulging in a few hammock recoup sessions under the rebuilt arbor, and this summer also yielded a date day of demolishing and building compost bins from old pallets.

9) Beyond my long term massage classmate/housemate, there was a young housemate here for two months who desired lots of companionship and to see parts of Portland/nearby. I spent a lot of time in conversations with her and we also took trips to the Gorge, into downtown, and down to Silver Creek Falls. Her youthful energy was fun and reminded me a lot of a much younger version of myself. That gal is destined for some pretty great things.

Portland Rose Garden

10) In the down moments, I spent a lot of time continuing to reflect...on growth, on how to align opposing versions of myself and land somewhere in the middle, on where life might potentially head. I had a few great afternoons laying in the hammock or suntanning on the back patio. I watched a couple great documentaries and tore through some sessions with various books from the library. I met up and spent dinners/happy hour/coffees with some of my closest local Portland friends. I remembered to grant myself grace, to be comfortable with and proud of what I see when I look in the mirror, and to embrace the constantly evolving nature of life. And at the end of the summer, as tired as I might be, I'm again so grateful for a rewarding experience of life that passed along. While it might not have felt as epic or total fun as last summer, this summer felt pretty darn fulfilling!

Hope y'all had a wonderful last few months as well!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life....To Stress Less

I really need to stress less....even if I'm trying not to totally let out my breath even now :)

The last few weeks I've been a little stressed in the back of my mind/cells as I've wrapped up the end of my teaching term, headed toward final projects and finals in massage school, focused on preserving/canning food like it's going out of season, tried to get mileage, thought about relationship options, wondered about budgeting for my usual tighter month of October, realized I needed to prep my fall teaching term still, and hoped to get two backpacking trips in during my "slow" week/s. As per usual in fall, I've pulled in a bit and taken lots of time to just be also without really doing much of that which I should have been well, doing :)

But today is a perfect example of how it all just comes together:
--finished all of my massage course assignments (3 projects)
--finished final canning of the season w/ 3 batches of salsa
--finished my take home final that's due next week
--prepped all of my fall teaching courses (2 online & 2 in-person courses)
--and realized that I'll have more overlapping pay then I thought during my tighter month

Yesterday my current short term renter asked to stay until November, so financially I should make it thru my slower months just fine and actually might be able to make a bit more headway on that credit card.

The last week I also realized that I can only control so much and so I shouldn't stress as much about relationship stuff, but rather let it evolve and demonstrate itself. And I also read 2.5 books in the last week as well.

But seriously, some days it just all comes together right as I allow myself to start to feel a bit of panic about the situations of life. If I would just allow myself to trust life and all the small graces I have felt in the last few weeks, then life would truly feel pretty.darn.amazing....although truthfully it is already.

Oh add to that list that I also got to give/practice Thai massage today and make an awesome dinner....and all around it's been pretty darn stellar!