Day One of 2016: Dogs and The Moment

Today is the first day of a new year. Usually I find it to be a reflective time, a time to look back and assess and look forward and plan. But I was so immersed in today that I didn’t really look forward or back.

Doggie Day

katara rescue dog

It was mostly a day filled with dogs. I’ve got my own pup now, Katara, and I’m watching Golden Retriever Lucy for a few days. Between the two of them, that’s more than 150 pounds of dog, dogs that are usually used to having my undivided attention, so it required a lot of focus and energy, but it was also pure joy.

katara rescue dog

Katara really just gives me so happiness. I love watching her play. I love watching her enjoy life. I love watching her try new things and explore her world and learn what it’s like to be in a loving, safe environment. She came from such a tough beginning and she’s doing so amazing now even though she’s only been with me a short time. I’m sure it helps that we’re basically together 24 hours per day and she’s come to know that she can trust me.

I took her to the park first, where she was able to play off-leash with another pup. They were well-matched in size and play style (a rough body-slamming kind of style) and had so much fun. She has this ridiculous horse-ish gait that just looks so amusing when she plays. Cracks me up.

golden retriever lucy

Then we picked up Lucy and met up with my beaux and all went to a different park together. I’d forgotten Lucy’s ball and she was so irritated with me because all she wants to  do is play ball. Luckily we found one for her at the park and all was okay :)

Later the two dogs and I went back to the first park and had more play. It’s odd how that can end up taking up so much of the day, but by the time you get there and back and play and do that two or three times, the day has been filled!

And Other Things

When we came home from the park the first time, I went back out and ran some errands. I bought some hair dye. I’ve been dyeing my hair for more than fifteen years, and I rarely see my natural color. I hadn’t dyed it in quite awhile and actually see my regular color now. It’s fine, but it’s not what I love, so I got some more dye to make it more what I’m used to after all these years! I didn’t actually get to the dyeing part yet but the box is here and ready to go :)

I picked up a burrito. Okay, two burritos. And let me tell you, no one my size should eat two burritos in one day. I’d gotten the second one in case my beaux wanted something but he didn’t. So I had the first one for brunch and the second one for dinner. And that’s not an exorbitant amount of food but burritos are heavy and it’s definitely more than I usually eat. I have this theory (that I probably picked up somewhere along the way) that you tend to look like the food you eat. People who mostly eat celery look fit and lean. People who mostly eat meat tend to look like meat. And let me tell you that right now I feel like I look like a lumpy overstuffed burrito. Not in a hating-myself kind of way or a self-critical kind of way; just in a tummy-feels-like-it-should-be-in-pajamas-not-jeans kind of way. I have a bunch of farm food so hopefully tomorrow I’ll have the energy to actually prepare some of it!

furniture pet bed

Furniture Pet Bed

I did a few things online today. I have a lot of work and writing I want to get to but I probably won’t do much of it until I return Pup #2 on Monday. In the meantime, I caught up on some emails and social media. I also ordered a bed for my pup; an adorable pup bed that looks like her own couch. It was a complete splurge (although it was bought with a gift certificate my bro generously gave me for Christmas) but I couldn’t resist. It looks cute and will be a better place for her to sleep than my bed but still luxurious; and it looks a lot better in my home than a bunch of blankets on the floor, which is what she’s currently using.

word of the day

Finally, I really enjoyed sharing with others about my Word of the Year, particularly as it applies to crochet. The word is heartbeat, which just means so many different things to me, in life and in crafting. It relates specifically to my creativity work and my new book, Hook to Heal (which received an amazing first Amazon review). I posted this on Instagram as my first #crochetquestionoftheday for 2016 and received some really amazing comments about other people’s words and intentions for the new year. It gave me a lot of great feeling to look over those and connect with my creative community in this way.

crochet365

I also decided to join in on #crochet365, which is a daily photo challenge. It’s actually the first one I’ve participated in, which is odd because I’ve seen and promoted so many of them over the years. Who knows if I’ll end up posting every day but I think it’s a great thing to aim for and it will hopefully inspire me to take more unique pictures from what I typically take; it’s always good to break out of a rut in small, easy ways.

Overall, it was a good day. Tired but in a good way, happy, and mostly present in the moment. I didn’t do any reading today, although I’d like to and might do some before bed. I watched a little TV (caught up on Project Runway Jr. and watched some Drugs Inc.) I texted with my family, missing all of them so much since we all parted after Christmas. Good things. All good things.

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Moving into a New Year with Changes Here

Ah, this blog has gone through so many changes over the years. In the last few months, it’s drifted into something else yet again. Prior to that I was doing a lot of photo-rich posts for most of the year. However, I joined Instagram in 2014 and that seems to be a more appropriate place for massive photo-sharing. At the same time, I’ve been regretting that I’d gotten away from the lengthier, more conversational and chatty posts that were at times a part of this blog. So in 2015 you can expect fewer photos (although the posts will still have some, just the best of the best and most appropriate ones for that post!) and more thoughtful words.

My intention (although it may shift, of course, as long-term blogging goals often do) is to write about once a week and that post will be a long post, something more like a true journal entry about the things that I’m doing and thinking about, things I’m reading and watching and the things I’m musing on. I’ll still share the various things from around the web that catch my eye and so on and so forth but the main bulk of the posts will be all about getting to know more about me and what is going on in this head of mine. It’s become important to me to give more attention to higher-quality writing and do less posting just for the sake of posting.

I hope that you like these changes as you see them develop in the new year! A happy, creative, fulfilling, wondrous 2015 to you all!!

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Happy New Year and My Hopes for 2014

Happy New Year!

fireworks

2013 turned out magical in ways I couldn’t have anticipated although they make sense looking backwards. I started the year by diving fearlessly into the ocean with my sister, setting the tone for a year of taking chances on doing things that scared me by seemed good for me. I found a new relationship. I started grad school. I set to work on my next book. I started plans for the book after that. I flailed and I stumbled and I soared and I skipped. It was a big year and yet a lot of it seemed to be spent resting between burst of activity, re-centering, re-finding myself. And that makes me wonder curiously what 2014 holds for me.

Here are some of my hopes for 2014:

  • I hope to re-focus on my own creativity. It’s not so much that I want to create specific things but that I want to re-establish a solid daily ritual of honoring and practicing my creativity. Creative practice can be a form of spirituality and I want to treat it as such in this new year.
  •  I hope to re-connect with my closest loved ones. I did experience some terrific bonding in 2014. I had some great conversations with a close friend. I developed a new romantic relationship. I created unique connections with my new classmates on both the individual and group level. But now I’m kind of missing some of my other relationships that fell to the wayside a bit. I hope to talk more regularly with my immediate family members. I hope to resume the monthly dinners with friends that I’ve always done but let slide in 2013. I hope to have some good friend time with my few close friends here in the city, more than just text messages!
  • I hope to read lots. I recently re-discovered my love of reading. Not that I’d forgotten it exactly but I was doing so much reading for work and for school that I had stopped considering reading to be a good relaxation activity. I want to take hours each week to just read for pleasure.
  • I hope to celebrate life. It’s easy to get lost in the difficulties and the details but I hope to keep remembering to celebrate what is right here in front of me each moment.

Mostly I hope to be open to all of the surprises and possibilities that the new year may bring to me that I can’t even imagine right now on the first day of the year.

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Diving Fearlessly Into the New Year – Literally

My sister is visiting this first week of January. When she got here, we got online and looked up free things to do during her visit. One of the things we saw was an invitation from some folks at The Riptide Bar near the ocean to come out at noon on New Year’s Day and run into the ocean with whatever group of people showed up that day.

This is exactly the kind of thing my sister would love to do. It is exactly the kind of thing I wouldn’t ever do. We both did it.

The ocean here is pretty much always freezing cold. There was one time a few years ago that I went down to Half Moon Bay on a really warm day and the beach was lovely but as soon as I went into the water my feet cramped up in terrible pain from the icy cold. I don’t particularly like being uncomfortable so I don’t go into the water here. Heck, I only even go to the beach here about once a year.

Still, there was something a little bit compelling about doing this. I can’t really define what it was. I suppose it is because I tend to always be that person hovering on the beach in the cold, watching others do things that I’m 100% certain are uncomfortable, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to be the person running into the ocean even though I was terrified of the discomfort, the riptides, the pain of cold.

Do I think that I will stop being fearful of scary new experiences because I ran into the water with a group of people on New Year’s Day? Maybe not. But I know that I felt some sort of weird pride for having done it, for starting the year doing something that I normally wouldn’t do it and finding it not altogether terribly unpleasant.

I should add something here. Right before we went to the ocean, we stopped at a house where I am petsitting. I was having trouble getting the door unlocked so I stepped back to let my sister try. I stepped back while I was on really steep stairs and although I caught myself I nearly tumbled backwards down the steps. I’d spent half an hour or more jittery and nervous about the cold and trying to decide whether or not I was going to run into the ocean and then I almost cracked my skull open doing something as simple as opening a door.

That’s how life is – what you are scared of is rarely what hurts you. It’s what you don’t expect that gets you. Which is one of the many reasons 2013’s mantra for me is to be active and present in this moment, instead of fearfully anticipating the next one or mulling over the last one!

Note: The event we were a part of was a separate event from the 2nd Annual Polar Bear Club run into the ocean, which happened just up the beach from us.

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2013 Intention: Be Present and Active in this Moment!

 

Sister and I watching Life of Pi 3d 

There are a million things I want to do this year, both small and large, but in talking with my sister about our New Year’s plans I realized that my resolution or goal or intention (or whatever you want to call it) boils down to one thing:

I want to be active and present in my life.

I feel like I did many amazing things in 2012 and accomplished a lot personally and professionally. But it also kind of feels like I slept-walk through a lot of that.

I numbed myself from pain and risk in a variety of ways throughout 2012. It was necessary, helpful … it was fine. I watched too much TV but I actually got something out of a lot of that. I drowned myself in work but I needed to do that to get my career more stable as I launched into writing for myself instead of doing so much work as a contractor. I took too much Ambien for my depression/anxiety-related insomnia.

Those things were right for 2012. But there’s been a stirring of change in me in the past month or two. An awakening of sorts. A desire to not simply do more but to be more fully involved in the doing of things. It’s manifested in small ways already as I’ve noticed myself reading a lot of books about contemporary Zen Buddhism, noticed myself drawn towards less drinking and less anti-anxiety medication, felt myself needing to change my work schedule to allow for more in-the-moment creativity instead of completely planned out times.

So instead of the list I was planning to write here about all of the things I want to do and see and visit and try and accomplish in 2013, I’ve just got one overarching goal – the goal that no matter what I do in this year I want to be completely involved in it and aware within the actions of doing it.

What is your big overarching goal for 2013? What do you need more of in this year for your life to feel more right, more comfortable, more yours?

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