Slow Living Part Two

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It feels like fall here lately but I know it’s a trick. Summer here usually lasts until Halloween so I’m not digging out my sweaters anytime soon. I’d rather shiver all fake-fall long, in layers and hoodies than put on an actual warm wooly pull-over sweater because the sun is watching me and as soon as I do, it will poke it’s angry head out of the clouds and make everything A HUNDRED DEGREES! I can’t complain though because of the whole no snow, no mud, no ice thing. We do have it pretty good here.dogs-being-dogs2

The girls and I have started a tradition of going to the beach on Saturday mornings. Remember my old beach that I used to take walks on everyday and share pictures here? Same one.  I miss that old beach so this new dog-morning tradition is fixing that up.

The beach allows dogs on leashes on the beach between 7am and 10am which is perfect because I don’t think I could handle the dogs on the beach any longer than that. They are so dirty and ill-behaved. It’s pretty much sand and digging and dirty, smelly dogs for hours. Then we haul the sandy wet dogs back into town for bagels and coffee, walking of course. It’s great. The dogs then try to eat our bagels and get wet sand all over everyone and the other patrons at the bagel shop get annoyed with us but we persevere. I have a theory that the more we do this the easier it will get.

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The lovely thing about beach-dog mornings is that we have amnesia about them. While we are there the girls complain about everything under the sun. They are wet, they are not wet enough, they should have worn their swimsuits or leggings or ugg boots or whatever, they don’t want to carry their leggings or ugg boots or flip flops or whatever… they are cold or hot or they want to stay longer, they stubbed their toe on a rock, they are starving and need to eat right this very minute or use the bathroom…etc etc.

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I’m not much better myself. I’m getting pissed at the dogs for fighting with each other or eating seaweed or drinking drainage run-off water that is probably contaminated with some kind of algae that will make them puke in the truck later…but then magically, as we climb over the hill back to our inland city, those bad memories dissipate into thin air just like the humidity. All we remember is how pretty the beach was, how the ocean was so peaceful and grand at the same time, how beautiful the sky was in it’s myriad of subtle colors stretching on forever…and how yummy the bagels were as if the salt in the air perfected their flavor somehow. It’s funny how the misery of the beach becomes what you savor later.

Just like I always say, you love what you suffer for! Psychology 101.

So my message for today is: get out there and suffer a little!

Slow Living: Part one of…

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my message here and what I should do with this website now that I have to sink it officially or swim with it. I’m not even trying to say that I have anything worth writing about. I hate even wasting time being so metta, but I do have the luxury of this space and willing readers who put up with my navel-gazing and cheer me on from time to time so it would be a shame not to have a message. So maybe I do have a message. I just have to find it. Right now it might be a whisper or maybe even silence.

The other day when I was in Washington DC visiting Bethany, she gave me a personality test to figure out what kind of INTPJ-whatsit-or-other LMNOP thingy. I’ve taken these tests a few times and I can’t for the life of me remember what personality type I am. And it’s not the first time I’ve forgotten. I think I’m blocking it out.

If she reads this I’m sure she will chime-in in the comments and remind me because she has the mind of a vault. I think we established that I’m not an extrovert, which is kind of surprising. I always thought I was but maybe I’m changing as I get older.

But who cares about that. The part of the test that stuck with me was a question revolving around my goals in life. It asked something like, Are you rigid in your pursuits or aimless? Aimless?!! What?! I’m not rigid but I’m not an aimless loser either.  The more Bethany and I discussed it the more aimless seemed to fit and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I’m not aimless but I am pretty good at living in the moment. Maybe living in the present is a good thing. I am pretty good at seeing the positive in life and being okay with things that aren’t quite meeting some standard that I previously set.  I’ve learned that there is a positive spin to everything and believe me, I have friends who call me quite often for pep talks and to be reminded of what is good when everything is falling down all around them. I’m good at that.

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I think that’s my message. No matter where we are, no matter what we are caught up in, no matter how many bad things are happening, we can slow life down and appreciate the beauty in the every day.  There is always something to appreciate. There is always something pretty to take a picture of…The way the sun falls across the coffee table in long golden rectangles, the soft whir of a fan, the sound of children practicing violin together, the sound of one bossy child actually being patient and teaching the other how to play a whole note. It might not be music to my ears but it warms my heart nonetheless.

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I’m teaching myself to be okay with little things not being perfect. Paper plates are okay. I hate paper plates but I love the commercial they are running right now about being in the moment and enjoying each other’s company instead of worrying about who’s doing the dishes or how much of a footprint you are making on the planet. Don’t worry, I’m not consuming and throwing things away willy nilly but I am trying to appreciate the way things work out. There is beauty in a family coming together at dinner time and not arguing. The television might be on in the background, I’m still working on being okay with that. Discussions are lively and that’s really all that matters.

I threw out the meal plan this week and it’s been a little unnerving for me but the family seems to like it. I’ve noticed that everyone is helping out more. Is that because they are worried about my state of mind and trying to appreciate me more or is it just a coincidence and they really like being in the kitchen at dinner-prepping time or is it just because they are hungry and the suspense is killing them? I don’t know but I’m liking it.

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And that’s all I got today! I have to get my butt in the kitchen and make a pizzette!