Goodbye 2015

Life

This has been a good year for me. It was very introspective. It was kind of spiritual. It was very peaceful. I did a lot of meditating and reading. I did a lot of questioning and sitting back and observing and being in the moment.  I did a lot of learning about myself.

Here are some highlights:

  • WEZC. OK, I am not supposed to brag about these things but something happened this past year in which I played a very minor part but I am so proud of it. It is this: I helped found a zen center. This past year the little sitting group that I belong to became an actual, government approved, zen center. I am on the board of directors and played a very, very minor roll in this but, still. I have been with this group from the very beginning and I have seen it grow.  I can’t wait to see where the next 6 years take us. It’s been really amazing to watch this whole thing blossom. And the people in this group are some of my dearest friends. I just couldn’t be more proud of us.
  • Reading, reading, reading. First of all, I read like a motherfucker this year!! 61 books!!  granted, most were kids books or graphic novels, but still. some of them were very adult. It’s really hard to pick a favorite because I read some really good books. I am going to have to go with a three way tie between Enduring Love, Dune, and Kafka On The Shore.
  • I became a vegetarian. Again. Aside from a couple of blips I’ve been sticking with it pretty well. I actually don’t miss meat at all. Well maybe I miss bacon a little.
  • Next Best Thing Pinhole Project. I continued contributing to the Next Best Thing Pinhole Project this past year! It was such an honor to participate and be among such talent.
  • Drawing. I was really into sketching this year and I enjoyed it immensely. I developed a practice of drawing something everyday and the practice has helped me become more mindful. And then *poof* my desire to draw left me. I am very sad about this. I would like to try to rekindle this desire in the coming year.
  • Poetry! I signed up for a poetry writing course via WordPress and manged to write a poem every single day for two weeks. And I published them all on this blog. I really enjoyed these two weeks. I enjoyed the creative challenge and it is fantastic to have a little something to show for it.
  • 100 Days Project. I posted something here on my blog everyday for 100 days. I really enjoyed doing that and I will plan on doing it again next year, but I think I will pick a different time of year. I am probably going to have the time-frame coincide with my trip to Barcelona next year. I have truly enjoyed all of the great conversation these past 100 days! I have done a lot of brain grappling on this blog over the years and, especially over the past few months, and I appreciate that it generated thoughtful conversation from you. You have all made me think and grow. Thank you for that!

I have been scrolling through the posts on my blog over the past year and I realize that I went through some rough patches of depression, so there were some not so great moments. But this is life. I have made it through these rough patches and today I am feeling good. I am happy and I am looking forward to a great year in 2016!

Since today marks the last post of my 100 Days project, I’m thinking that I might take January off from blogging, to give myself a break. We’ll see. I might miss it too much to take the whole month off. I’d like to take some time for myself, maybe develop my drawing practice again.

In the mean time, I wish you all a fantastic, and safe, New Years Eve. And may you have a peaceful and joyful 2016!

P.S. the video is my 1 Second Every Day project. I have been doing this now for 3 years. It is a compilation of 1 second from each day of 2015. 

2012

Life
Me and Paris

Visiting Paris = The highlight of my life.

I had an amazing year. Finally. A year that was all good. I can’t think of anything to complain about regarding the past year, and for this I am grateful (’cause the past several years have been kinda painful. Thanks for the break, Universe!)

Travel. If someone had told me a year ago that I would visit France in the coming year I would have called them a liar. But I DID IT! I went to France! And I loved it! And now I want to go back. And I want to visit ALL THE PLACES.

Photography. I had a lot of fun this year with it. I always do but exploring film photography was super fun. I will be doing more of it in the coming year. First on the list of things to do: develop my own film already! (taking it in to be developed is breaking the bank. I need my money to visit ALL THE PLACES.)

Running. I have had an on again/off again relationship with running for most of my life. Regardless, It is my favorite form of exercise and it is important to me. My big running goal has been to run 5 miles. This goal, for whatever reason, had eluded me. Not anymore! This past summer I finally reached that milestone and even surpassed it! Yay me!

Blogging. I moved my blog to WordPress.com about a year ago and in the process have been plugged into an amazing blogging community, the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. I have seriously enjoyed “meeting” and getting to know all of you! And I continue to enjoy being introduced to many amazing and inspiring blogs. Also, I managed to blog everyday this year! Well except for that one day in August. But it’s JUST ONE. Hmm. It appears missed a day in June as well. so two days. I missed TWO DAYS out of an entire year. Do I get a medal? No? oh well. It was nice to check in everyday here. For the most part, it was a very positive experience. I might do it again next year. Or I might take a tiny break. We’ll see.

Favorites of 2012.

Two favorite books:

Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins

Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Read them both. They are excellent.

Three favorite albums

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist

Caravan Palace: Panic

Grimes: Visions 

Happy new year!!!

The New Year’s Eve retrospective post – 2011

Books, Music, Art, Movies, Life

This past year has kind of been uneventful, if I am comparing it to previous years. If there were a word to describe it I would have to choose “introspective.” I’ve done much thinking and observing and working on myself. I have faced things in myself that have needed to be faced for years. It has been a year of awakening. An awakening that I’m sure will continue on through this next year and further, if I am lucky.

Here are a couple of “notable” lists:

Notable Books of 2011:
I read a lot of really good books this year!

  1. Tinkers by Paul Harding. This book blew my mind.
  2. Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I ended up reading it in one sitting. I simply could not put it down.
  3. Strange Piece of Paradise. A true story about a woman who, when she was in her early twenties on a bike trip across American, was brutally attacked by a stranger in Oregon and lived to tell the tale.
  4. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I love anything by this author but this one was especially good. It was a One Book One Twitter read.
  5. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I was introduced to Jamie Ford when we connected on Google+. The first post that I saw was this one with the comment, “it looks like we just murdered a clown.” I became an instant fan. I’d heard of his book because everyone who walked into the library asked for it but, for some reason I hadn’t picked it up. I finally did this year and am so glad! It was excellent!
  6. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you haven’t read it you must.
  7. Blankets by Craig Thompson. This graphic novel has been on my To-Read list for ages and I finally picked it up a few months ago. A most excellent coming of age story.
  8. Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy. If you like beautiful love stories this is your book. The writing was wonderful.
  9. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Fantastic book for kids who are dealing with grief. Superb illustrations, too.
  10. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. I find myself thinking about this book all the time.

I discovered some excellent music this year, too!!

Notable Albums of 2011: 
Lots of really great music this year! These are just the albums that I bought and really liked.

Settle Down by Kimbra. A very recent discovery and OMFG. Love her. I mean, seriously. Listen to this voice. She is the real deal.

Zonoscope by Cut Copy. My current running music. Great album.

Only in Dreams by Dum Dum Girls. Fun girl-band, poppy songs.

Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay. I’ve been listening to this album lots these past couple of months.

Codes and Keys by Death Cab For Cutie. Not my favorite album at first listen but it has grown on me.

Personal Life by The Thermals. One of my favorite albums of the year. LOVE IT.

Alright You Restless by Agesandages. I discovered this band when I saw them live at Live Wire. Loved them!

And, Finally, Here is my Year In Pictures for 2011. May 2012 be filled with peace and love! Happy New Year!!!

Goodbye, 2010

Life

Why hello there! It’s New Years Eve, and time for me to take a look back at the past year.

The past couple of years on this day I have tended toward the negative. And, rightly so. There were some crazy-bad things that happened. 2010, though was pretty darn good. I honestly can’t think of a single thing that was bad about it.

  • I originally declared 2010 the year of the Banjo, but I ended up learning the Ukulele instead. One of my Summer Reading Performers, Cinda Tilgner, brought hers to the program and I fell in love with it. One thing led to another and I ended up buying one and performing in Cinda’s Uke Orchestra. It’s been lots of fun!
  • I was invited to a meditation group in April  and I  haven’t been the same since. In a good way. I’ve written lots about this experience this year, so no need to go into detail. But I’m very glad my friend had the instinct to invite me. I’ve made some fantastic friends through this group and am so happy that they are a part of my life. And I’m so happy to have finally developed a Zazen practice.
  • Raf became a Tattoo artist! If someone would have told me ten years ago that my husband would become a tattoo artist I would have told them they were crazy. But it was something that he wanted to do and he did it and I’m proud of him. And now I have my own personal tattoo artist in the house. I’ve always loved tattoos and have wanted to get more of them but I, generally, don’t like being touched by strangers. I hate the dentist, I don’t like getting my hair done, I don’t like doctors, and I especially dislike massages. So now that Raf has his tattoo license I can get tattoos and not feel uncomfortable. So I got a few of ’em this year.
  • I had a blast exploring the area. We went on a number of really fun hikes.


My favorite reads this year? I’m so glad you asked!

In short: 2010 was pretty killer.

Be safe tonight and I’ll see you tomorrow.

2009: A year that changed my life

Life

Here we are, another year later. It has been bittersweet. It was the best and the worst year of my life all at the same time. It has been a year that has changed me forever.

Up until a month ago I would have said that this was one of the best years of my life. I turned 40, and while that could have been scary and terrible, I have decided to look at my Forties as the prime of my life. Because, really, it is. I feel really good about myself and have more confidence than I have ever had. I have thought a lot about my life and what, exactly, I want out of it. What is important and what isn’t. At 40 I think that this phrase sums up my thoughts on life: “wherever you go, there you are.” In other words, I’m not going to be happy trying to run to or away from things. I am not going to be happy getting things. Happiness is always there, accessible within me all the time.

That said, I am proud of myself for picking myself up out of Spokane and finding a place to live that I love. As much as I tried to find happiness in Spokane I realized that I needed to be somewhere else. I don’t know what it is about that town that oppresses me so much but it always has, even growing up there. I loved the friends I made there, and I love my family. But the vibe of the town doesn’t jibe with me. I do believe that cities have certain “voices” or “vibes” or whatever you want to call it. Spokane doesn’t do it for me. But this little town of Sandy does. I love it here and am so happy to be living here. I feel so blessed. I love living so close to Mt. Hood and I love seeing its beauty everyday (well, when it’s clear out). So in that sense, I feel like 2009 treated me very well.

However, this is the year I lost my step-dad. This has been the most devastating and painful experience of my life. It is still so raw and I tear up whenever I think about it. I still can’t believe he’s gone, even after watching him die. So that part of 2009 completely sucked horribly. But I also learned things from that experience that have changed me forever. I learned about Karma. I learned that in the end, things don’t matter, money doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is love. Doug was a very giving and loving person and he left this world with his family and friends by his side. That’s karma. I also learned that there might be something beyond this life. I know that sounds all weird and metaphysical and I understand that this is very debatable. But this experience with Doug made me think about the afterlife a little bit differently than I have in the past.

So that was my 2009. I hope that next year is filled with less drama.

I don’t have any resolutions but I do want to do one thing. Learn how to play the banjo. I finally got my banjo last night and I can’t wait to learn. I declare 2010 The Year of the Banjo!

Hope you all have a happy and peace-filled New Year.