Bumps and Bruises

Rise Up!  By Andra Day

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I watched them love each other, an untouchable kind of loved. They could finish each other’s sentences, when one stepped the other stepped, when they laughed it was in unison, when they sat together, their bodies seemed to melt into one, I was envious of their love and connection. It seemed perfect.

We all know perfect isn’t real, it isn’t possible. I think, people can get damn near close to perfect for themselves, what they desire in their life but I do not believe in perfect. Whether we have lots of questionable friends, no friends, perfect careers, no career, great relationships or one that’s on the rocks, too skinny or too heavy, fighting a disease, or all the in-betweens of these things and so many more scenarios.  I don’t believe in perfect.

I think I did believe in perfect as a child. However, things change as you get older. You get wiser, you see people come together and people fall apart. You see people thrive and you see people die.  People succeed and they fail.  I don’t believe people would ever start any of these things knowing they would end in an imperfect way. Because why would anyone try anything knowing the outcome they wanted so badly would not happen.

So people try, believe, and act on faith that they will be successful but the outcome isn’t always so.  There is a time for everyone, for every person, and every place on this earth.  I wish I knew why things happen as they do, I would sure sleep more. I try to have faith in myself and mankind that we can get as close to perfect as possible with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

A Place of Comfort…

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A navy bench lines the wall with a chalk board of half erased cocktails and what’s “on tap” … covering the green and yellow wall.  The bank it once was only remembered, in the now as a game room complete with barred doors, a deadbolt and a dartboard at the end of the room.  In 1926 the vault held treasures, gold, wills, and secrets of plenty.

Stories whirl around me and I listen without listening.  Ease dropping, people would hate and enjoy the ridiculousness of their topics. Girls giggle and coo and a young man sits at at the same table texting and looking around the entirety of the bar. He looks bored but continues to listen as if he really cares.

A couple dines, what seems to be a Thursday night date. They eat, drink a beer, wine, food, napkins on laps and then breeze back through the ding of the door without saying goodbye.

The men behind the bar are bearded and sexy.  One, with slicked hair, with what looks to be a curling iron burn on his forehead (which can’t be right, in my mind), it goes on. He has a mustache for miles curled up in just the right way it looks to be cradling his nostrils just beyond his face.

Three in vests holding to a fashion piece in their closest but I think this maybe their only piece. But hey, does any man need more than one statement piece?  A suit jacket makes anything look good and a vest and tie looks good with any bottom…. maybe not whitey-tighties or boxers but the right lady, would love it!!

Oh, another shows up and waits behind the counter in a tweed vest, backed with maroon polyester running from here to there, douting on any person who waves their hand in the air.  Clearing menus, regurgitating the nightly specials, and running with plates at his shoulder like a marathoner without the number on his shirt but only the 100 meters and shorter – table to table, back and forth, back and forth.

Kindness, gentle, and a black paisley tie runs down the V of the owner’s vest, maybe needs his neck-hair trimmed…. the beard is very Duck Dynasty but somehow fits him.  It’s rugged and sexy.  Rough waves have knocked him to his knees lately but not to the ground.  How is that men can take so much more of an emotional mental beating than women? Are women not built to be as equipped? Quick to respond or just built from different materials?? Are men just better at hiding it??

Women are completely built to handle what men can, I say.  Strength is something I will not argue.  Sometimes it comes down to men being men.  I would like to be tough and rugged but I am not.  I am determined and committed to complete any task but can’t handle what most men can…honestly, no.  I am frank and I am honest about this.  I am who I am.

However, I would like to give a big shout out to four women: JMM, Utah, DJ, and BH.  These women can move mountains and if you put any of these women against any normal man…in a certain setting – ANY of these women would do some serious damage to any part of their body.

I know if anyone came after my kids, I do not know what I would be capable of. I would probably surprise myself! I would be kickin’ some serious shit. Woman, defending spawn.

This place, I have written four times now with the same people behind the bar. The same hi-backed chair, the same copper bar top, and the same “me” sitting at the end corner of the bar with a laptop.

I write well here, there is no explanation. Is it the ambiance? Maybe the way I show up? It’s quiet and then very loud as the hours pass. Expecting nothing but the blank computer screen in front of me?

Who knows, but I keep coming back to this place that I find comfort, people that I would say are “my tribe” and an evening of observing people.  Or at least, feeling comfort with my “words,” in this moment with these friends and another few moments pass as the minutes’ hand circles the clock on the wall.

Grandpa’s Orchard!!!

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Getting “nutty” waiting on my book, #grandpasorchard!! Here are some fun Hazelnut facts from the #Oregon Hazelnuts website.
 
Fun Facts
The hazelnut became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989.
 
Hazelnuts are also known as “filberts.”
 
Some speculate the name originated from “full beard,” which refers to the husk (or “beard”) that entirely covers the nut in some varieties. Others believe the name was derived from St. Philibert, as August 22 (a date that corresponds to the ripening of the earliest filberts in England) is dedicated to him.
 
About 800 Oregon farm families grow hazelnuts on 45,000 acres.

That’s one way to end a workout!

Poker Face by Lady Gaga (*the only song I could find to run too.)

FullSizeRender-8I am not a runner.  I would rather do anything else in the world to exercise than run.  The pounding of my feet on asphalt, joints in my knees slamming down into my ankles. However, if I was being chased, I think that would be different.  But I am determined to keep trying to like running. This morning I woke early and the fresh smell of rain drew me outside.

Today, I needed more than yoga. But I am encouraged to work out by my friend, her personality, dedication, and attitude is awesome! She makes me want to do better.  In my head, I am constantly challenged by her.  Every time I have taken her class I feel like I can take on the world when I leave.

However, I didn’t want to drive to the gym so as the boys got on the bus I took off with my old shoes (old Nike’s, Austin has adopted because he now wears my size shoes), these shoes have been through it all, with a 12-year-old running around in them rain or shine.

After the rain last night, the soil is moist under foot and I start with a fast walk.  The fresh air runs deep into my lungs as I inhale;  waking me from a long slumber. The sky grey – it could rain.  I start my run, really half run, half walk down the perfect isles of the hops that climb the twine to the sky. The row looks as if to drift into nowhere, I cannot see. Like looking out at the ocean – going on forever, you cannot see the end.

My shoes cake with moist soil and I keep lifting my legs and my feet get heavier. Running eight minutes and walking for 30 seconds – a goal I told myself I had to meet.

I am sure anyone watching me would think “what the hell, does she think she is running??” I feel less than graceful when I run.  I continue down the perfect isles – up one, down the other, up another, down the other, this lasts about five rows.  I walk toward the orchard.  Circle it once for a cool down and head to the garage for my own personal unorganized rendition of a gym instructor where I lift weights – arms and legs…sit-ups and push-ups and finally, lay back onto my yoga mat that I rolled out on to the patio.

My chest rises and falls, I feel slightly exhilarated, burning in my arms, legs, and abs, and I close my eyes. I look up to the grey sky and my to do list floods in. A few more deep breaths. I am calm, relaxed and without notice I feel Halo’s paw sharply jammed into my stomach, on my chest and a big slobbery kiss on my cheek. That’s one way to finish a workout! Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

I Choose You..

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Sunday, 9:27am

Husband outside, anxious and needs to check something off his list

Breathing in and out, green tea, and the sound of Kung Fu Panda dancing around the room

Lights off, grey light squeezes through the crack of the blinds and windowsill

Cole wrapped in his Seahawks blanket, daddy’s chair reclined, messy hair, lips curled upward at the edges

Austin giggles, lips and nose covered, a red weaved blanket covers him, bare toes peak out from under the blanket

I can hear them breathing, in the same room, and just being near them makes me feels whole

Our world has been shifting lately, where Dad has become the main attraction

Mom is the caretaker, while Dad can offer so much more on this farm, so many toys…who wouldn’t want to run outside before eating breakfast

But this morning, they are near me…in quiet, comfortable, laziness and I can breathe in for a few hours with them close to me

Both of my boys wanted to cuddle this morning. Curled up tight like a large breed dog…on a couch that can’t hold its size or weight

So uncomfortable but the body numbs after a while, anything to have them next to me

Six months from now, they will be 13 and oh’ where does the time go?

Engineering, experimenting, building engines, knowing the engine under every hood of car we pass, driving tractors, cars, stacking totes, welding, building a mini bike from plans, four-wheelers…the list goes on and on

My boys have so much ahead of them…

Today, I am content to be in this room with them, Austin now curled at my side, watching a cartoon…it’s been so long since they wanted to watch a cartoon

They are with me today, next to me, these moments are so simple and seem insignificant

Any moment with my boys I cherish…wrapped in blankets, cartoons, messy hair, and leaning on me

I will always be here.

 

I Choose You by Sara Barilles

 

 

 

 

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I have seen this quote before or different forms of it. It sends a slight nervous feeling down my spine, an uneasy feeling in my stomach, and a quietness in my mind.  Memories flood back. Something flawed and something I regret, something that would probably cause people to judge me. I know I could make a difference…even if only, to one person.  Raise awareness…

I am considering speaking about something in my life that happened. I am so worried about what people will think if they hear me speak…maybe, not that I am worried but worried about what it will make my family feel.  I don’t want to embarrass  anyone or have this be a reflection of others around me.

I know I have something to share, a point of view, something that will “split me open” and I don’t know if I am ready for it.  It often floods in and out of my mind, my writing and I always erase or delete it…I keep telling myself, let it go.

I wonder if speaking would set me free?

 

 

Places Inspire Creativity

 

  1. In the grass, Greasy Creek trickles next to me (sometimes toes in the water)
  2. Just about any old picnic table anywhere
  3. Anywhere the sun is setting
  4. Any time or place in the rain – secluded
  5. Mt. Hood after a hike
  6. Multnomah Falls on the trail
  7. Silver Creek Falls any where
  8. In a quiet or busy pub (love the noise but also the quiet)
  9. Imagine Coffee on Philomath Blvd.
  10. My writing nook at home (no boys allowed!)
  11. People watching in PDX – great writing prompts come from this!
  12. Did I say in the rain?? I actually have waterproof paper!
  13. Any trip I am on with my sister
  14. After, seeing Aubrey, Darcy, Christie, or Ricky (when I was much younger)

 

Perfect Imperfections

Family is Family by Kasey Musgraves (humorous song…does not depict my family. I love humor!!)

I used to think so much about my childhood, (I still do just not as often) I held it to a higher standard than everyone else’s. I thought my family was pretty awesome.  I held my parents on a pedestal for being high school sweetheart’s and still being together and in love, for being just great parents, they loved us all, and supported us, taught us right from wrong and when it was time for us to step out on our own they allowed that with much support.

I think it was the most difficult on me (among my siblings). I came home every weekend from college never wanting to go back but I did. Every weekend my mom would come get me my freshman year, it was the best feeling getting back in her car and feeling safe, I was a part of my family and I was going home.  I made it through the year and eventually ended up back at Oregon State, closer to my family and friends.

I still hold my parents on that same pedestal. I love them both so much…with all my heart, I know I don’t say it enough but I hope they feel it.  I am, who I am partly because of my childhood with them. So many many memories of Happiness-I remember being taught lessons for mistakes that I had made as a child and I know now, why I was punished and the importance of that punishment.  I understand because daily I now face the same situations with my own children.

There was a certain time in my life that I started taking steps without them.  They may not have liked all of them but they did support me. There were disagreements along the way but I kept pushing forward. I needed to find me, who I was without them but still needed so badly to know they were there for me…and I always knew they were.

As I have grown, I know that families come in all forms, it no longer is just a mom and a dad… and I value the diversity that my children now see and are living through.  What once seemed like the only way when I was very very young, is now history.  Letting my children see that there isn’t just one way to make a family, that diversity is good and normal, and that my children respect everyone for who they are. This is something that is so important for me to teach my children.

Many of my friends have parents who live outside the United States, outside the state they live in or don’t speak to them, or just only see them for holidays.  I feel I am lucky because my parents were just that, my parents. There were always there and still are.

I don’t claim life is perfect, I don’t claim my childhood was perfect, and even now family situations happen but I try my best to move on and push past things that have brought me down, caused pain, and sometimes loneliness. Life needs to move forward, keep going, and not looking back helps!

There is this strange thing that happens when you marry and create your own life. We have chosen our paths, all have children who we now are trying to show them our way (our beliefs), we are making our way in adulthood with the foundation our parents built us. We have made our own choices that might not have been what our parents wanted for us but we chose and we were allowed that freedom. At 39, I am just going to throw this out there-I still worry about what my parents think of my choices.?!?! I still seek their approval?!?!

I have been married 13 years and there are ups and downs but I always find my way back to my family.  My parents helped show me that, always go back. My husband and children keep me calm, keep me laughing, challenge me DAILY, keep me level, and give me the world and some days are just rough days for me and those are days, all three of my family show me a million little ways they love me.

I am not perfect; I am perfectly flawed. Thank you, Dad and Mom for always having my back even after 39 years.

Ode to Cushman

Alan Jackson, When God Paints

Many sleeps in the A-frame of our family cabin I dreamt …the comfort of the hustle and bustle below. Hearing Grandpa and Grandpa chatter, Grandpa sitting like a silhouette in front of the wall of windows rocking in a chair, coffee in hand. Every morning I would make my way down that steep ladder like stairs. The wooden beams I counted when I couldn’t sleep. The slamming of the screen door, the totem on the deck, the enveloping smells of comfort food, the view from that wall of windows to the lake, the crackling from the fire place, and Louis L’Amour paperbacks lined a shelf at the end of the room.

This place was like no other, built by hand by the Carroll James Martin family, a labor of love. A piece of heritage that some day would be steadfast long after the love it was built upon….the marriage that made it through the hammering, nails, windows, injury, cement, and wooden beams. The rich family history seeped from the walls when you entered.

Frequent trips to this magical family cabin; love, laughter, tears, joy, and the feeling that we were this tight knit interwoven family that nothing could break us.  This place I always felt love in…felt everyone within those walls loved me and I them.  Yes, I got in trouble within those walls, probably broke a glass or two, the time I spilt milk across the dinner table….despite my youth and at 39 now, the memory of our cabin burns like fire in the corners of my mind.

For me, Grandpa was strong, sometimes short tempered but so kind. He would melt every time he embraced any one of his grandchildren.  “Hey girl, how’d you sleep?” He rubbed his cheek against mine, coffee on his breath and squeezed like he’d never let go.

Grandma in the kitchen buzzing like a bee, her light blue night dress and slippers, I would always go to her next. Hugging her was like being wrapped in a warm soft cloud.  Sunny days were always special lake days.  And oh, that long wooden dock.  I miss the way it felt under my feet, slivers and all. Long days drew large appetites with a table fit for kings, mini bagels, orange juice, toast–there was so much food everywhere…filling our bellies full with tasty treats and a lot of love. Grandma’s smile will always be easy to remember.

Today, nearing publication of my first book. Her letters and encouragement for me to write and never stop writing make the tears flow. She wrote, “Tom had that gift too. You have so much to share with the world. Keep writing,” those words rest on a card in a box with most of the cards she wrote to me, in my night stand. An old grey shoe box that holds grandpa’s letters too…written a long their travels, handwriting hard to read, but stories and stories of different places they visited in their airstream.

This cabin, still feels like our cabin…I have visited too few times as I have gotten older and I can feel myself still there. Laying on the couch sun shining though the windows  carrying me to a warm cat nap. This place is a home because of the people who are in it, I need to go back, let my kids feel what I felt there.  Show my husband it’s beauty and bring them to this magical place filled with family, happiness, and hertiage-aunts, uncles and cousins that have carried on and kept our cabin alive. Rich in love and memories, a tall A-frame steadfast love still bleeding family deep in the wooden beams.

 

 

 

 

Expected the Unexpected

How do I tell you when I started loving you….it was long before you noticed me?   I wanted you to see me and not her.  I wanted and waited for you to kiss me and you didn’t. I know you wanted her.  We talk on the phone for hours but it was usually about her. I finally got a card tossed on the maroon seat of your car that said “expect the unexpected”.

Younger; I loved that you were older, stronger, always so kind and your soft skin with a foreign smell.  After years of knowing you… the scent of Curel lotion.  Years later, I still buy it.  No one knows why, but me.  I suppose, a silly reminder of the past.

I always found myself watching you when I saw you, I would sneak a peak…I memorized all your smiles.  I could tell when you were up or down. We both leaned on each other…. we should have been better together like we planned-we would have been, if things were different.

Your smile is hidden in my memory…. its strange after year’s you forget a lot of the bad and remember the good.  It doesn’t change anything. We have moved on.

My happiness for the place you are in now is unmeasurable.  It didn’t work with us but things do find a way of working themselves out, in time.  I respect our choice, in the end of it all. It needed to happen.  Years and Years later, we are here separate.  Living our wonderful lives. But I can still remember you.

I harbor no hatred, no judgment, but a sense of clarity and a bit of happiness in my soul that we have made it to the places where we once wanted to be, together.  Separately now, with the people I believe we were meant to find.

We tried to meet at times after the relationship, very few times but it was distant, we had hurt each other equally and I could never apologize for some of my choices.  They were simply to awful and selfish, I am so sorry for what did to you.

I was too young and jealous, so jealous.  I own that I helped ruin us…but I also learned about true love.  Real love, forgiving love, and how to love someone unconditionally.

I hope that you love your life, your struggles are few, your joy is plentiful, that you have found IT!  Your one true love!

My mind finds you quietly every once in a while-Curel lotion, a certain song, a certain movie, and specific street sign.

In my head, in that moment, I wish you well, send a blessing your way, happiness to you and your family.