| February 14, 2019 |
I am blessed. Really and truly.
I have been regarded highly for my optimism and effective communication by those close to me. It’s been reassuring to have these qualities both felt within me and interpreted outwardly. I hold myself responsible for maintaining optimism and effective communication, but also give myself permission to mess up every so often. Mistakes = self-reflection = growth.
What happens when communication breaks down? What happens when people misunderstand? Is it my fault for not speaking my truth clearly? Is it their fault for holding biases and making assumptions?
What happens when my optimism runs dry? Do I allow myself to be fearful and uncertain? Do I stop the tears from coming, heartache from consuming? At times, I believe it is necessary to be void of “good vibes” and optimism. To live in delirious optimism can be unhealthy. It means looking at a negative situation and making it positive, which feels like denial, repression, and avoidance of truth.
If I am to be authentic, there are going to be moments where communication and optimism are not my strongest points. There are going to be moments of misunderstanding and conflict. There are going to be times where I feel lonely, afraid, hurt, angry, lost, vulnerable, wordless, and insecure. But this makes me human. And it makes you human, too.
So, why am I blessed? Because through some of my missteps, I have learned. I have leaned into the discomfort of taking responsibility for my life situations. It’s always easier to blame others, but how can we grow without carrying our own loads? Together, we are responsible to each other for helping carry the burdens of life, but we must carry our own load and “burden of daily toil.” I must deal with my own “feeling, attitudes, and behaviors,”1 and carrying them makes me a stronger climber through this epic mountain of life.
The product is a more colorful life, and one filled with magic I created.
I am deeply, soulfully grateful for 2018. Read on to see the third and final installment of 2018 reflections. We are going to stick to “Cherished Moments” only on this one, because there were too many photos and moments to need adjunct! Suffice it to say, my heart was healing and revitalizing itself in many artful and colorful ways!
October will forever be my favorite month, and it’s not just because I was born in October. The freshening of air, release of summer heat, changing of colors all enhance the sentiment that the only constant is change.
This October was FILLED with treasured moments. I made it to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, walked many paths in the shadows of golden larches, and again connected with meaningful people. Not only did I reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in over a year, but I also worked and forming new connections and exploring different relationships.
There were a LOT of photos from October, as this was the biggest boom in my photography and creativity revival. Also, October is my birthday month. Also, October means sunflowers and falling leaves and changing colors and crisp air and flannel and run-on sentences and pumpkin everything and larches and EVERYTHING THAT BRINGS JOY.
My bestie @tallymarkprod sent me the best flower bouquet for my birthday!
OKTOBERFEST IN LEAVENWORTH finally happened! I was actually supposed to run the half marathon, but I backed out because I was feeling super yucky the week before, plus a bunch of people were coming into town and I wanted to enjoy Oktoberfest! I met up with Erin, Todd, Leslie, Kevin, Amber, and Haley! I love when friends come together and meet each other and all the good vibes are shared.
We even had to come together to get my car out of a ditch… but seriously. Upon parking back at the cabin after Oktoberfesting, I went to put my car into park, and my car just kept… sliding forward. Basically, there was about a 3-foot long gap between the edge of the “driveway” and a wood shed, and therefore my two front tires ended up suspended in mid-air!! My front bumper was just kissing the opposite side of the gap. In the morning, our group problem-solved by building up cinderblocks and wood under my tires, and used a jack to lift my car. It was a real team effort, but Jazzy (my car) made it out just fine! I have no idea where the photo evidence of this is (HELP ANYONE?!), so you will have to use your imagination for now, apologies!
A note on Oktoberfest is that it’s best to actually go into Oktoberfest, do some dancing, meet some silly people, and then exit to get drinks. They were wildly expensive in the tents, and it was cheaper and more fun to come and go from the tents. It cost $20 to get in, and each beer was about $7. Instead, we got to go to dive bars with college kids and blast lyrics to things liek
The day after Oktoberfest shenanigans, Erin, Kevin, and I went on a hike near Icicle Creek. It was Erin’s first hike since her knee surgery, and was filled with autumn beauty. We got into deep conversations about death, the origins of our perception, and sensory deprivation.
Kevin continued his visit from Oregan as we shared all the golden good vibes, and he inspired me to play my ukulele more. We found larch trees and random flurries of snow at Blue Lake. This was the SECOND time this year I had been to the Blue Lake trail (first was on the approach to South Early Winters Spire), and I was not complaining. Blue it was…
On October 13, I lived my dream and found a sunflower field at Stocker Farms, where Leslie and I basked in all the sunshine, corn, and sunflower glory. We also had the best corn ever. And we ALMOST did the corn maze, but it looked intense and we feared getting lost and being chased by people with chainsaws and never actually getting to take pictures with the sunflowers.
Also… I missed living with Groot/Gumo/My Husband EVERY day. How could you NOT miss a face like THIS:
On October 15, Greg, Amber, and I headed to Heather Maple Pass Loop and hiked amongst even MORE golden larches. You know, one thing I really appreciate is being with people who just simply LIKE TO BE OUTSIDE and hug larch trees and sometimes prance around and don’t judge me for wearing a tanktop while wearing a winter hat.
The weekend of October 20th, my brother Kenneth came to visit me in Washington! This was somewhat of a “redemption” trip for us on the west coast. He had come out to visit in May of 2017, and we had a few barriers to a good time shared. This time around, we had many heartfelt connections. I brought him to *drumroll* BLUE LAKE (third time this year!) and he admired the beauty of the North Cascades alongside me. At the lake, I ran into my friend Jason who I had met at the Delightful Pursuits La Push Photo Workshop in 2017. At the lake, we realized we’ve had a lot of similar life experiences as of late, and we’ve stayed friends since meeting up for bouldering and heart-to-hearts.
We stayed at the lake longer than planned, connecting with Charlotte, Josh, and Kyle as well! We found secret pockets around Blue Lake I hadn’t seen before, and I took the opportunity to snap some photos of Charlotte @charlottelittewolf and Josh @joshstaygold.
While Jason and his crew continued west to the city for Olive Garden, Kenneth and I headed further east towards Winthrop! We ended up getting Mexican food at Carlos1800, then playing pool at Three Fingered Jack’s saloon. And, of course, we stayed at my favorite North Cascades Mountain Hostel.
In the morning, we enjoyed the fall fare around Winthrop, including the most amazing cinnamon bun EVER.
We began our route to do a hike along the PCT and drive the highest road in Washington state, and the two small dings in my windshield transformed before our very eyes! It was a cold morning in Winthrop (~30 degrees), and when I turned the heat on in my car, the temperature difference must have stressed my windshield just enough for the small ding at the bottom of my windshield to go “OH SHIT” and split ACROSS MY ENTIRE WINDSHIELD. It was audible and visible. We turned my car around and drove back to town to see if I could arrange windshield replacement surgery, all the meanwhile running my car on my battery, and therefore killing my car battery. Thank you, gas station man, for your jump.
Anyways, we found out there was nothing to be done on a Sunday in Winthrop about my windshield and it’d be safe to drive… so we decided might as well make the most of the day and still head to that hike! And gosh golly, am I glad we did!
(It was a good thing I picked up the bright orange hat for a friend, because turned out it was the FIRST weekend of hunting season, so we needed to be visible! Safety first. Plus, got to break in the hat…)
On October 31st, I was gleaming in all my sparkly, colorful, unicorn GLORY!!!! Best costume ever. Thank you Jane for sewing my tutu. Thank you Haley for Joe the unicorn (my stuffed animal who lives in my car and keeps me safe and company), and thank you Lucky Charms leprechaun for loaning me a rainbow to wear on my legs.
Uhm, yeah, I guess I did a lot in October.
In November, I explored Southern Oregon as Kevin showed me his stomping grounds. There, I finally made it to Umpqua Hot Springs. They are just as magical as they appear in photos. They’re quiet, remote, and right above a river. It was raining just enough for the rain to feel refreshing upon my face while indulged in nature’s spa.
I also learned some more about guns and went shooting. I am going to choose NOT to make this political, as I don’t really know where I stand on my “gun control” opinions, and I know it can be a loaded conversation. I just wish children and families were safe… we’ll leave it at that.
We also attempted to go to Crater Lake, but it was totally socked in. This is quite similar to the first time I went to Crater Lake!
It was fun to meet new people, have a 1920’s themed party, and just have FUN. We also made a backpacking trip to Northern California! It was cool to be in three states in ONE weekend (WA > OR > CA!).
Thanksgiving was spent with my roommate’s family, which was simple and delightful. I did really miss my family this year. I think my only memorable Thanksgiving without my family was in 2018, where my friends and I ate our turkey dinner in our bathingsuits after being in the hot tub in a cabin near Crystal Mountain. It was pure ridiculousness. But, different times call for different vibes!
On November 25, Greg and I summited Mt. Dickerman! We didn’t put on our microspikes, but totally should have earlier because the snow was pretty hard packed and slick and we were fighting to stay atop it for the last few hundred feet! It sure was a lung and leg workout. Conversation flowed freely and deeply, and the scenery was something to admire.
In December, I had my first REAL Christmas tree! We went a little overboard (NOT) at the house and had THREE Christmas trees! Our captured tree was a little weak (but so cool), and therefore could not hold heavy ornaments. So, Haley bought two more to hold ornaments. Plus, I had one REAL one in my own room. Okay, so we had four Christmas trees. Oh, wait, Haley had one in her room too. So… I guess we had five in the house…
The best part of Christmas was seeing my family and friends in New York, of course. This time, I had a long trip planned because I intended to have a revision of my PRK eye surgery as my vision is not currently 20/20. However, my eyes were too dry to operate on, so I am doing a drop treatment that my doctor called the “Jennifer Aniston eye drops.” I asked if they’d make me look like Jennifer Aniston, and my doctor didn’t respond. Not sure if it’s happening, but I’ll keep you updated 😉
Not only did I get a TON of quality time with family and friends, but also snuck in a country night with Zac Brown Tribute Band with my New York line dance crew. Gosh, I missed these people. Plus, seeing Danielle and Bobby dance to “Free” brought heartful tears to my eyes. Gahddd I love them.
I am so grateful for quality time with Marissa, Karina, Theresa, Colleen, and all 27 of my family members that made it to The Illusionists on Broadway!
My heart was swimming in grounding joy. I am so grateful to have such strong rocks to lean on: my family and friends who will be there for me, no matter what. I love nights of board games with my brothers, going out to see movies with my whole family (INTO THE SPIDERVERSE!), just listening to my Nonno talk, hugging and kissing everyone I love. It’s hard to tell how much I miss them sometimes, because I think I cope with being so far by doing all kinds of work on myself… but, I just can’t help but feel like I am too far sometimes.
2018 was quite the year, and I really feel like I finished it off the right way. I embraced all chances for opportunity, revitalized my creativity, built & rebuilt connections, strengthened relationships, let go of toxic relationships, and learned even more about myself.
I love you forever, Nana and Nonno!
Thank you for sticking with me through all the memories. I would love to hear about some of your 2018 highlights 🙂
1. Reference is from Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.