Words to Save for a Rainy Day

I went to a fantastically fun media event on Wednesday (actually, there have been several this week…my head is spinning!), but at this one awesome lunch at Safeco Field, I was given one of the most fantastic compliments I’ve ever received. Seated in between the head of the Washington Beer Commission and the lovely, adorable couple who own one of this city’s most popular, longest-running breweries (Pike), after a particularly wonderful and flowing exchange, one of them turned to me and said:

“I can tell you love what you do.”

I feel like it’s been a long, often-bumpy road getting to where I currently stand, and recently, the pavement has been feeling a bit smoother (and my engine revving up at sometimes frightening speeds). I feel like I’ve graduated onto a new highway or something. I am grateful for it all—and delicately holding onto those moments and these kind words that make it all worth the ride toward the vast, unknown horizon.

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Coast2Coast Redux

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I am just back from D.C., which means it’s time for yet another wordy, cryptic ‘Ode to Transitions’ blog. It’s practically tradition now. There’s something beautiful in the predictability of such things, eh:)?

I thought the torn-ness I feel between the two coasts (my two homes) should dissipate with time. Logically, the space between should feel like less of a big deal, right?

And yet, for some reason, this time when home, I sometimes felt off-kilter and conflicted, not able to easily, gracefully, maturely deal. I know in my very being that I am in the right place out here. (I sense it in my bones, and amazing signs/”coincidences” upon my return last night confirmed it loud and clear. Thank you, Universe.) And yet… why does the distance sometimes feel so glaring? Why do tinges of guilt remain for living so far? Why can’t I say “see you later/soon” stoically, without feeling like my heart is being wrung out like a goshdarn washcloth?

When I am back east now, the passing of time feels apparent—the city has changed, people have changed, people have moved on. The flood of memories—mostly good, a couple less-good—hide in every crevice of the beautiful, historic, highly-electric and often-stiff buttoned-up city I for so long called home. Ghosts of the past dance on unexpected street corners; joyful recollections jump out from the least predictable spaces.

I cannot help but think of the me I was and the me I am (and the me I aspire to be), and I am so grateful for changes and leaps and fed-up-ness and bravery. I look at it all with a new, fresher lens, and I see how I listened, successfully moving toward happiness and a more authentic me. But of course, part of me also longs for those sacrifices that come along with the change, and I pine for those moments in time that were wonderful and magical—and cannot ever again be replicated in just that way.

Today, I’d like to be wrapped up in warm fleece on my parents’ cozy couch, because there is something nourishing and incredible about *home* that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. But instead, I’m a million miles away—on the other side of the country—having a pleasant, back-to-reality, ease-in day, in a place where the people are so dang kind and the pace is just. so. much. more. ME.

l ate lunch at one of my favorite cafes, where the bright-eyed server asked about my morning, and then I came to my favorite coffee shop for a quick meeting; here joyful baristas mix expensive and tasty coffee concoctions as they bop along to overhead tunes. I’m seated across from funky, feather-bubble fixtures that dangle in the window, looking out at clouds rolling across the lake, the bobbing masts of sailboats and the edge of a cityscape now happily imprinted on my brain.

Maybe the transition back will never feel easy, and maybe I will always leave behind pieces of my heart wherever I roam. Today I will try to focus on the gift of having two homes and the eternal gratitude I feel that—in two (very different Washingtons)—I love deeply and feel deeply loved.

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Sechelt Surprise

Few people are more surprised than me that I live in the Pacific Northwest. Some days I look around in amazement, barely able to retrace the winding path that brought me here to this green, damp land of friendly, easygoing people who thrive on all things local and outdoorsy and coffee-fueled and casual.

And I certainly never suspected I’d “vacation” so often in Canada—that I’d get to know North American border-crossing and ferry-travel protocol so well, that I’d be so familiar with the cadence and verbiage of the distinctive way our neighbors to the north speak, that I’d get to have interesting, educational conversations about totem poles and reservations and elementary schools that teach  youngsters the languages of their local tribes of American Indian (or First Nation) residents.

I mean, who knew Canada even HAD a Sunshine Coast? I sure didn’t. I do now, though, since that’s where I spent this past weekend  with three wonderful chicas.

All of this is a good reminder that we. just. never. know.
Things I’ve learned (and continue to learn): Stay open. Keep moving. See what evolves. Trust.

On a regular basis, I am awed by the beauty out here.

See below for Exhibits A, B, C, etc….

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Flatwarming + Home Sweet Home

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Last night, I played hostess for the first time in a long time. It felt good. I was due a wee flatwarming (since I moved in here last July!), and the festive holiday season felt the perfect time to arrange one.

I’d forgotten how much work hosting can be, but I also forgot how much I love it–welcoming others into my home, sharing my space, connecting people, seeing all my various worlds intertwine. I love learning about unknown connections already there, seeing who (sometimes unexpectedly) clicks with whom, and what conversations are born out of first-time meetings and years-later reunions.

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I’ve also been reflecting on where I was at this time last year–still freshly new to this place, finding my footing, feeling quite wobbly on an unsure path, living in someone else’s home (as wonderful as that was) and jumping at any ole invitation I received (feeling that I couldn’t afford to not take people up on each and every offer to hang out). People said it would take a year (at least) to truly make friends and to feel settled into a new city. I reckon they were right.

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Tonight I’m feeling very grateful for this cozy home (my own own home) that feels very much me and for the still-expanding community I’ve gradually built here consisting of awesome, funny, thoughtful, unique, quirky, varied friends.

Wishing you all cozy Sunday evenings in your homes, wherever they may be.

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I’m loving this quote these days. It’s a wonderful reminder, non?

“Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.”~Frances Hodgson Burnett

When it’s time

I dreamt that my dad asked why I was leaving D.C., challenging me to list all the reasons. I spouted them out systematically, confidently. I take this as a good sign.

“When you come to the edge of the light you have known and take the first step into the darkness of uncertainty, you have to believe that one of two things will happen. You will find something solid there to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” ~”Paul Overton

“Colorado called”

Written June 23, 2011:

Often, deep within us, there’s a leap we know we must make. And sometimes, it’s the least expected events at the least expected times, that finally nudge us off that ledge.

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I dreamt that I was at his family’s “Colorado home.” His mom and grandma putzed around the kitchen among a gaggle of wee dogs, seemingly unaware that I was even there. I looked out the window at the distant peaks and announced, “It’s a Rocky Mountain high!” I rolled over the next morning in my D.C. apartment to share my subconscious vision. We laughed. “Why Colorado, I wonder?” he asked.

Weeks later, on May 23rd (an auspicious number that seems to follow me throughout life), his text came while I was at work: “Colorado called.” THUD—my heart plummeted. An out-of-the-blue job offer from the previous week had come through, and the wheels were set in motion. The kind, playful companionship we’d shared over recent months was suddenly draped in a heavy, real-life cloak. He was leaving. My premonition had prevailed. (For better or for worse, I’ve inherited an on-again-off-again sixth sense from an amazingly attuned mom.)

The whirlwind days before his departure were sad and surreal, accelerated and decelerated all at once. We sifted our way through a murky haze of attempted smiles,  genuine belly laughs, BBQs and beers, the rehashing of shared tales and, ultimately, a trail of tears.

On a sticky Sunday morning in front of the Seville, he hopped on his bike one final time, streaked cheeks under tough-guy sunglasses, and slowly rode alone down the street we’d so often walked together. “It’s going to be ok, I promise,” he repeated softly over his shoulder, the sadness in the air stealing away my breath as the distance between us grew.

He pedaled to the end of N Street and paused, turned back and weakly waved. He rounded the corner and slipped away. With all my strength I fought disintegrating into the hot city sidewalk. I walked and walked and walked, circling the neighborhood, terrified of returning home, petrified of standing still.

I’ve been on the move ever since, clinging to the days and surfing the waves of change, some days more gracefully than others, a roller coaster of aches and angers (especially when the kind companion in tough-guy glasses quickly revealed some not-so-lovely colors, again knocking away my breath).

He left in his wake a shaken, unbalanced girl, revisited by burning questions of where and what and why and how. A season of goodbyes marked by several more departures (not only his) brought my daily motion to a grinding halt.

Am I living the life I’m intended to live?

Regarding him, were we truly meant to be together? Likely not (something increasingly apparent with the passing of time). Will this rocky period soon appear as merely a blip on my life’s radar screen? Likely so.

Yet, all the same, it’s set something in motion. It’s set me in motion. Toward what, I don’t exactly know. But I am on the move, and for that I am grateful.

On the 23rd of June, I gave notice to both work and my apartment. And so I coast along, riding the wave, trusting  that when it’s time, I’ll land once again on solid ground.