NYE Reflection – goodbye 2017

Life

I’m just going to get this out right here at the start: This was a year of letting go, of losing things that I’ve taken for granted. It was a painful year, starting with the loss of President Obama, and not knowing where our country was going to go with President Voldemort in power (sorry, I still can’t speak his name and “president” in the same sentence). It was an anxiety-ridden, painful fucking year.

I don’t want to go on about the losses because that isn’t where I want to go with this post. But I just have to say that, damn, it hurt when Newspace closed. It still really hurts to think about it. I did not see that coming. I had lots of plans to utilize that space, to improve my darkroom printing skills and, boom, it was just gone in a weekend. The good news is that the awesome equipment was saved by some Newspace volunteers and The Portland Darkroom was started  and they are doing a great job. It’s not really something I am able to use at this point in time but I’m glad they are there. Still, I really miss the easy accessibility of Newspace. I miss that space.

The fire in the Gorge was another devastating blow. We’re still are unable to visit all of our favorite waterfalls and I’m not sure when they will reopen. So there is that. But life, renewal, new growth, etc, etc. We will be able to go back there someday. Nature is stronger than the stupidity of humans.

The theme continues: Our sangha is losing it’s lovely space because the owner of the building is selling. But, again, there is the theme of renewal here: we will end up in a fantastic space that may end up being better than what we have now (though some of our conveniences will be gone but that is OK. We will work it out). I’m actually kind of excited about this new space and have even envisioned us being in that space! It’s kind of cool to see this manifesting.

The List Of Bad Things kind of goes on an on, but I want to stop there. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Roll With The Punches is my new motto and I think this year has taught me to do that. I just got so tired of getting upset at everything. It was exhausting. I’m not saying I’m going to not feel upset. Fake positivity is unhealthy and I don’t even think I am capable of that because I feel ALL THE FEELINGS.  I think the key for me is to feel the feeling and then let it go. Not dwell on it. Don’t get caught up in that horrible recursive loop of negativity. Instead, find the silver lining and move on.

What I really want to do here is focus on the highlights and there were some wonderful highlights! One of them was meeting an internet friend in person that I’ve known for more than 10 years. We had such an amazing time catching up and I hope that we will have many more real life chats in the future. Another highlight was  running  a half marathon! And I beat my time from last year!  Also, I got to display my pinhole photography at the library, which has been a great honor. And the total solar eclipse! OMG. That falls under a highlight of my life, and I wasn’t even in the path of totality! I’m making it a mission to see the next total eclipse in a few years. And finally, I was profoundly moved by the women’s march, and continue to be moved the the #metoo movement. The bravery of the women who have come forward is empowering. I feel like this has been the year of Don’t Fuck With Women and it is amazing. This collective empowerment has empowered me on a personal level, as well. And I go into 2018 filled with optimism and hope for the future.

Happy New Year to all of you, my friends! Here’s to a fantastic 2018! May we all have less punches to roll with.

Oh! And here is my One Second A Day video:

I had a lot of chocolate croissants in 2017!

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Slow Selfie in a yurt

Life, Photography

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Here is another one from last summer that makes me happy. I took this last summer when we went yurt camping at Cape Lookout. We decided to hop over to the coast on a whim to escape the heat and bad air from the fires and only stayed one night. It was so fun though! It was my first time yurt camping and I want to do it again. Such a cozy little space.

How was your Christmas?  We originally planned to go to the coast on Christmas but Portland had a freak ice storm and the roads were terrible on Christmas Eve. It was better Christmas day but not much. We kept waiting for the temperatures to creep up above freezing but it didn’t really happen. We finally had to accept that we couldn’t make the drive. I was disappointed and was tempted to be all “woe is me” and “wow 2017 sucked it might as well end on this note” and “I have the worst luck.” etc. But I have decided to do something different. My new motto is “roll with the punches.” I am so tired of getting upset with each bad thing that happens (and we all kind of know that this has been that kind of year). I obviously have no control over bad shit. So I’m going to roll with the punches. It turns out that Christmas ended up being very relaxing and nice. I read and knitted and we walked around the neighborhood and looked at Christmas lights and it was lovely.

Now we are back up to normal temperatures, and maybe even above normal. It was 54 degrees this morning when I woke up and I went running in shorts!

 

New Year, New Me

Life

I’ve been thinking about all of the things I want to do for myself, to better myself, in the new year. I know this is a cliche, but I kind of love the New Year for this reason. I love how it is a do over. It’s a way to wipe the slate clean and start over.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to do that. One of the things I want to do next year is stop buying stupid shit. And to stop using my credit cards. I really buy a lot of stuff that I don’t need. I bought a lot of art supplies last year I haven’t used. Expensive stuff too. And it turns out my favorite art supply is the humble ballpoint pen that I can get pretty much for free anywhere. I buy a lot of clothes. I don’t need anymore clothes. I have all of the clothes I need. Or books! Oh god I so do not need any more books. I have got to stop checking the Friend’s Of the Library bookstore every time I walk by. I have to read through all of the books I have purchased.

I kind of am seeing lately that my desire to buy stuff is a kind of addiction. It’s a way of making myself feel better. Buying things turns on something in my brain that makes me happy. But then I just feel bad for spending the money because that is money that could be saved for something much better than a stupid something that I don’t really need.

Which brings me to the other things I want to do. Read for an hour everyday. I probably won’t be able to do this everyday, but I can shoot for this and it’s not as hard as it sounds because I tend to read in 20 minute increments throughout the day. 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at lunch, 20 minutes in the evening. Boom, I’m done. Maybe I will actually read through all of my books!

I also want to meditate for at least 20 minutes every day when I can, or at least 10 minutes everyday. Yoga everyday. Aerobic exercise everyday. And I mean work up a good sweat exercise. I’ve noticed that a good aerobic workout helps my mental health profoundly. I’ve already pretty much been doing this so that’s good. Keep doing it!

I want to stop drinking except for social occasions. Drinking makes me depressed. I stopped for about 2 weeks a month ago and I felt so, so  much better. I actually woke up happy for the first time in my adult life. Alcohol is a depressant and I struggle with depression therefore, I just don’t think I can drink it casually as much as I do if I want to be a happy person.

Stop eating sugar. again. This seems to be the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I keep jumping right back on the bus with this. So I am going to be kind to myself because I will probably fail but I need to keep trying because it is important for my health.

Lose 10 pounds. I just need to fucking be disciplined about this. I know what I need to do. I just fucking need to do it already.

Draw everyday. I like how drawing makes me feel. I miss it when I don’t do it. This is kind of silly, but I bought a Hobonachi Planner and am going to use it for this purpose. I would  like to develop my skills with the ballpoint pen.

This all seems like kind of a lot, and it kind of is. Some of it is stuff I’ve been working on already. So we’ll see. It’s a work in progress. I am a work in progress. 🙂

Summer dreams

Photography

It is officially the dead of winter and I am dreaming of Summer. I am currently going through some pinhole photos I took last summer at the beach and they are making me happy, so I thought I’d share them here with you as my next series for Photography Friday.

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This was taken at Cape Lookout on the Oregon Coast with my Reality So Subtle 6×6 and Ektar 100. I don’t know what the exposure time was because my phone had died and I didn’t have a way to meter the shot, so I used The Force.

Moni 2.0

Life

I have struggled with acne my whole life. I’ve tried a number of things, both weird and rational. A couple of years ago I went to a dermatologist (for the billionth time) to see if they could help. They prescribed Retin-A. It has kind of helped. However, I learned this week that I have been applying it the wrong way these two years. So I started applying it the correct way (wash face, wait 20 minutes, apply Retin-A). Whoa. Now things are different. I’d never experienced peeling and flaking skin before and wondered why I was different. Well, now that I’ve been applying this stuff correctly, I’ve got ALL OF THE PEELING SKIN. It’s not comfortable. I am told that if I can endure this for a couple of months my skin will be, not only be acne free, but also new and fresh and young looking.

This whole process feels very cathartic. Like I’m shedding some old part of myself that isn’t doing me any favors and underneath this old self is a new self.

A Moni 2.0.

I’m looking forward to meeting her.