instagram and summertime…

It’s summer, July, my birthday… 2016 is HALF over, srsly??!! I have so much to accomplish before the end of December that I am not sure I can squish it all in. But I am having a hell of a time trying! =) =)

We had ferocious thunderstorms last night, Paul was on call so he spent half the night re-wiring Hartford. We had coffee before he went out the first time, Gatorade before he left the second, and by 0600 he was back in the truck again, coffee and lunch on the seat next to him, rain gear piled under hard hat and harness, cigarette dangling from corner of smiling mouth, one hand waving out the window as he hollered “Happy Birthday Baby!”

I’m sitting here in my impossibly cool living room, bathed in sunlight and thankful for the breezes that are blowing my messy hair about my head. I did some VERY light hiking this morning, not enough to hurt overmuch, but hopefully enough to burn off the Swedish Fish  calories eaten with abandon and zero guilt as the sun came up.

I finally got on the instagram wagon, a little late to the game in my particular fashion. I find it intimate, easy, fun, and LOVE to snap a photo and know that in less than 2 seconds, I have posted it, and can even zoom in or change the color! Please find me there, at:

@straitontillmorning

I have saved countless hours by not posting my photos here, and just popping them into my phone account.  A better representation of my days, no matter how truncated. =)

At any rate… Paul and I have been taking the yaks out at every opportunity, and this physical activity has brought a new level of intimacy to our relationship. Due to my knee injury, I cannot get them on and off the car or truck, so while I can “help,” this task is left to him. He is LOVING the maleness of taking physical care of me, lol. =) Not only does he take care of the on and off loading, but he makes an arm bridge for me, allowing me to get in and out without undue stress on my poor knee. Once in the water, he slowly paddles circles around me in his more streamlined boat until I get my bearings and manage to fight the current to head in the agreed-upon direction. He is WAY stronger than I, and after 6 months of no real workouts, I am a little less than I was a year ago. So though he ends up ahead of me regularly, he always comes back close to me, offering words of encouragement and smiles. This is the first time he has had a chance to really take this role of protector and helper, and he is flourishing under what I feared would be a mere responsibility.

Additionally, we went fishing, several times. Watching him throw out the line, play it a bit, then sit in companionable silence in the waning evening sun and just soak in the calm. Valium for the soul… so very much needed. =) The fishing thing is a HUGE deal, because he has not been in 5 years. His best childhood friend dies then, and he and this man fished constantly, flying down south to oil rigs and similar sites to real in the big boys of the game, marlin and tuna. Since he died, Paul has not been back out, and while our little excursions are not the same, watching the stress melt from his face as he relaxes makes my own heart sing. He is in his element on the water, beautiful to watch as a gracefulness that belies his size controls his movements. He smiles hugely enough to block out the sun, and comes home exhausted and sated in a way I have not observed before.

That he would chose now to return to this sport, and chose me to accompany me, is not small thing, and that fact is not lost on me. Our relationship is deepening, but rather than feel strangled, I feel buoyed by it all. He shared this part of himself with me, without reservation. Those of you with men in your lives understand the wow factor of that statement. =) So while my living room is littered with yaks, life vests, and the odd whistle and ePirb device, I am deeply satisfied in a way that is very new to me. I feel like I am trying on couture, but instead of being tight and scratchy, this lusciousness was made for me, and that realization stuns me. Looks like my general plan to move to the Keys and teach my college classes online should become something to more seriously consider. =)

At any rate, I have to go now. I love being here with you, but I love hiking in the rarity of a cool July afternoon even more. Catch you on the flip side, peeps… much love to you all who chose to share my journey. =)

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snow day…

Icy rain pelts the window panes, staccato beat making my feet twitch…

Wind rushes across rooftops and catches in the tree branches, eerily beckoning me from my cocoon of warmth…

Diesel engines rumble to life in the distance, sounding like ancient beasts, signaling the plowing will commence in short order…

Snow day, hunting day, day to stay under the covers for just one more kiss… gulped coffee, I’ll scrape the windshield if you shovel the steps. “Here, I got the mail little girl” and “Look, I packed you a dry outfit for the ride home”…

Textbooks piled comfortingly on the couch beside me, coffee steaming away, laptop open, word document started for Humanities and turkey roasting in the oven. Waiting for the wet, shivering man to reappear, I daydream of a hot shower and dinner on the couch, wrapped in robes, watching a documentary about tigers…

Snow day, off day, relaxing day. Happy day, slow day, snow day…

Namaste, peeps… =)

this man… sigh…

Mmm… I am in the weeds here, folks. This man just consumes me. He distracts me, he envelopes me, he complements me… I am awash in feelings that I really thought were not in the cards for me… I am not the kind of girl one marries, or commits to… but he says “Oh yes you are, that dumb bastard was flat out wrong”…

It was raining last night when he “got home”, and after removing his work boots, he came into the kitchen, calling for me… it had been days since he left, and I felt every moment of them disappear as he grabbed me and spun me around the kitchen. He snitched slices of eggplant and pea pods and chicken as I was preparing them, prompting me to swat him with a spatula, which in turn created a full on chase sequence, complete with tickling and falling on the floor… He told me he was a few minutes late because he drove slowly so he could look at a rainbow down the street. “And guess what’s my pot of gold at the end… it’s you !” “Did you really just tell me I’m a pot of gold?” “Well, hell yeah… you’re even better, actually”… and there went my heart. As the tears welled up in my eyes, he softly said “Aww, none of that now… I’m here.” Yes, he was. And the night was perfect.

My alarm went off this morning at 0715; light wind sounds and violin-type strains curling from the nightstand as I opened my eyes to a sunny bedroom. Half covered by a blue wave printed sheet, arms still holding me tightly was Paul, his chest hair crushed against my back, fingers caressing my cheek as he says “Morning, little girl, you gonna shut that noise off?”

Scooting out of his embrace and reaching to pound at the phone, I slid back in with a giggle as he grabbed me and I ran my fingers thru his sandy-cinnamon locks, curls twisting deliciously about my fingers. We had “accidentally” stayed up past 0100 again… =)

In our usual fashion, we managed to remain horizontal for another hour, after which the typical morning race began in earnest. He headed for a much needed shower and I brushed my teeth as I assembled a pot of french press coffee and his morning place setting of vitamin, yogurt, water and spoon, a couple of blueberries thrown on his napkin. 15 minutes later, into the kitchen walks my man; clean, delicious smelling, fully clothed, even with bandana tied on and sunglasses sitting atop head… well done ! He was yawning hugely and all puffy-eyed as we gulped our coffee and chatted about our respective days. He mentioned that I’m gonna be the death of him, and he always comes over feeling like a teenager but leaves feeling like an old man.=) When I told him that he’s the perfect old man for me and I’d rub his back when he gets home tonight, his face erupted into the biggest grin and I found myself back in his arms, nuzzled close as he whispered sweet nothings at me…

Lunch packed, slushified Power-Ade and to go coffee waited on the desk as we said goodbye. As he was pulling out of the drive, I raced to his truck to hand him the forgotten coffee and one last kiss. I spritzed him with my Evain atomizer and he laughed and told me “You’re right, I do feel refreshed”, and grabbed it and sprayed me, too. =) He is off in a bucket or up a telephone pole right now, and I am sipping the dregs of my coffee pondering the twisty-curvy nature that is life. How one seemingly “wrong” turn can lead to the most beautiful detour, one you would totally have missed if you stayed the course. How loss and pain are coins that really do have a flip side, and unless you are willing to dig deeper, you will never have the opportunity to unearth treasures. How one goodbye can lead to a chance hello at a coffee shop. How being kind to a stranger can lead to opportunity. Thinking outside the box has become my mantra, and with Paul, I feel there simply is no box. We are just us, together, under the vastness of the starry sky… anything is possible when you break down walls and borders, be they physical or metaphorical. He told me a month ago that he really thought the last time was his one last chance, and that now there was no one for him, no one who would get him, or truly accept him for all of himself, messy bits and all. “But then I met you”…

Yup, he certainly did. He met me, and took a chance, crawled out on that limb, jumped off that cliff. And while we are only a little way down the path, with my hand in his; I feel nothing but happiness, joy and a curious sense of calm as we walk forward. I realized today that I have no regret, no sadness, nothing but a smile when I think of what might have been, and what can still be. It is not relevant whether or not this lasts. What matters is that it IS. Something came from nothing, and I had a part in creating this. If that is not miraculous, and beautiful, and awesome in the true sense of the word, then I don’t know what is. Namaste, peeps… =)

 

for Punky, and Alice, and CB, and Rob, and Peaches…

Ok, for all you all really… my readers, far and wide. You are always there with kind words, cheers and support. Laughter and jokes, recipes, even pet suggestions… =) I know that due to my unannounced absence, I can probably count you all on one hand now, but that makes you lovely stragglers and hangers-on even more special to me. =) I am here, I am well, and I am contemplative to the Nth degree… but I digress. There, comforting that SOME things never change, bwahaha ! =)

First, I wanna say if you think your relationship with your loved ones or your shrink could use some work, watch a few episodes of HANNIBAL… that should put things back nicely into perspective for you. Seriously tho, do not watch this show unless you would like more than a couple of sleepless nights. And you’ll never eat meat again…

So other than scaring myself silly with crappy telly, what have I been up to you ask with bated breath ? That was a reference to Opus there, and Punky. You remember, when write Berkley Breathed had our favorite flightless cynic talking about “baited breath”… ?! Maybe I am the only one who finds this particular phrase hysterically funny, all I know is anytime I hear that, I dissolve into pearls of laughter. Terrifically appropriate, when at work for inservice, say. Yours truly manages to make even work amusing… at least to those observing her. =)

I have been thinking. Small thoughts, large ones. Contemplation and reflection, revelation and speculation, cogitation and meditation… most all the good “tion” words, really. I am tanner, a little blonder, a teensy-bit smaller. Thanks to yoga, I am even a quarter inch taller, and can now reach the coffee grinder on the top shelf all by my big-girl self, sans step-stool. I am sleepy, sated and dare I say, a bit more me with my lineman than I was without him. In spite of myself, I am blooming into the creature I always could have been… I found my muchness. I am the real Alice again, and I know who I am, as I ought.

This newfound, or rather rediscovered, sense of self has been happening slowly over the last 2 years. It began as an unfurling, ever so gently as I crawled out of the chrysalis that encased me for so many years. The warmth of Mike, the sweet reemergence of The Soldier, the numerous never made it to a second cup of coffee dates, and finally that willy, nilly, silly old Bear. The all contributed in some small way to me remembering who I was, what I stand for, and how much possibility there is still along the millions of steps I still have to take.

I was rifling thru my make-up bag this afternoon after a long cool shower, discarding one rollerball of parfum after another. JUICY COTURE ? Nah, too sweet and heavy, in your face and typical. MARC JACOBS DAISY ? Nope, too floral and fruity, not refined enough. BLEND #9 OCEAN ? Pretty, but not quite right. My fav, ISSEY MIYAKE ? Mmm…, as I twisted off the cap and brought the tube up to sniff, I was assaulted by memories… of that aforementioned Bear. This was his fav too, and I heard thru the grapevine that he and his new girlfriend got into a HUGE row after he told her to start wearing this particular scent. No, I do not miss him, or even mourn the loss; that all has been satisfactorily dealt with, and all parties willingly moved on. But there was enough of him swirling around the glass bottle to make me set it aside and reach for my backup, REPLICA BEACH WALK. There, nothing but clean and happy visions attached to this one. A large, calloused hand holding mine as we walk in the hot summer sun. Kissing on the beach, wind creating a halo of my hair. Eating frozen yogurt and boba in the twilight as we laughed on the rare day off together… yes, this one will do quite nicely. He will be home in less than 2 hours and while I spend time with you all here, part of my mind is on his smile, that dimpled grin flashing as he calls out “Hey there, little girl, how’re you doing?”…

My past is not present in my today, and while it does ebb and flow thru me, it does not define my future. Only what I choose to bring with me can do that. And I am happy to report that I choose him. My lineman, my boyfriend, my partner. I share his days and nights, am slowly being introduced to his family, and now I want to share him with you. His name is Paul…

Paul and I have been spending time together since April. That sounds like such a small shred of time until I realize this is almost August. The time has not flown by, per se, but is flowing. As if we are floating in an inner tube down a huge and calmly winding river. Beautiful, soothing, happy water carries us as we dip the occasional toe into the cool balm. Being with Paul is a joy, and as you know, I make it a point to fill my life with joy and beauty. He provides these things to me in spades…

He falls asleep each Tuesday-Thursday night holding me close, and pushes my hair off my neck gently before he tells me in his sleepy-grumbly voice “I love you”… and much to my surprise and delight, I am accepting that love, in every facet and with bliss as I realize how utterly encompassing and real it actually is. Without rhyme or reason, and with only hope and good intention, something is growing here. Something pure and bright, something thatI didn’t think I was missing and something I wasn’t even sure I wanted until it was placed so gently before me. Something I want to cherish and nurture. Something I want to last. And as I brush my hair and plan our vacation, I realize that this is exactly where i want to be today, and there is literally no one I would rather be with…

Thanks for sticking around, peeps… I missed blogging and am completely back and trying to find my rhythm before another school year begins. See you all soon… =)

words for the day… take 17

“How we show up for our partner is how we show up for ourselves, there is no difference. The more we can integrate this concept into our living and feeling experience, we will see how much of our struggle is for nothing.”     Tina Fossella

So very true…

As we meander thru our lives, we brush shoulders with beings who may end up with any of myriad roles to play in our unfolding story. You never know, as you are reaching for your tall, decaf, soy cappuccino, if the cute person who flashes you that irresistible grin will remain a stranger, or the one you end up spending years with. If the mechanic gave you that discount because they are interested, or if your kid’s teacher was merely being kind when he suggested another coffee together. You just never can tell… and that is what makes it all so interesting.

We cannot be narcissistic enough to imagine that everyone we walk beside will be at the same point in their journey, that their compassion and selflessness is a perfect foil for your own. We will find ourselves sometimes following, and at times walking beside, or even surging ahead as the path winds us thru our lives. We can even decide to step off the path, into the unknown and uncharted parts of ourselves to transcend the old and rise as yet another new being, that process we practice across the lifetimes and millennia.

Sometimes, we find a partner who is aligned with ourselves in a way that feels like coming home. Similarities and shared desires wrap you together in that ease, a familiar dance, an extension of yourself. And sometimes, we touch a soul that stops in our tracks. A good, kind, caring person who can recognize the faults within themselves. A person who has so much potential, you can fairly see the possibility swirling around them in colorful waves, beckoning you with promise…

How can someone who has so much good intent have so little love for themselves ? I am not talking about abusive behavior, but simply that they chose not to see the wonderful foundation that is there, and instead focus on all the cracks and crumbling spots. We all have this renovation to do in our houses, beginning with really seeing the not so beautiful bits, and then identifying ways to remodel that will serve our purpose. Our collective purpose, in reality… which is simply to love; to spread that balm of loving-kindness to every creature we come in contact with, and create a world of beauty and peace.

I am a girl who sees the sunshine and possibility in even the darkest of storm clouds. I know that everything is acting according to its nature, and that it would be cruel and unrealistic to expect otherwise. I am empathetic and have learned to surround myself with beings that do not drain me to the point of causing me to behave unauthentically at my core. As I meander my own path, I have learned to look for nothing, and instead accept with gratitude those who grace me with their presence. And every now and again, someone comes along who makes me want to reach out for their hand, and embrace it while we walk together for a time. And if it suits our mutual purpose, holding onto this larger hand as we explore life together is an amazing, unexpected development that merely highlights the gift we are given each day that we wake to the rising sun… the chance, the opportunity to  live, and love… to share space and time and breath with one another.

I am rambling this morning, my thoughts meandering as much as my feet are wont to do. I leave you with this thought… the next time you are interacting with the one you love, notice what you are doing, saying, implying. If there is less compassion and love in your actions than you would like, you know where to turn… inward.

 

by the numbers…

0… number of pounds lost this week… should be furious with myself, but am too tired to care much, and I did not INCREASE, so that is something. July not yielding the numbers I want thus far, so am committed to getting 2 extra workouts this week. Does not sound like much, but with the schedule I have right now, there is no way I am penciling in more than 6 days of training this week. Have these fantasies about thru-hiking the Appalacian Trail, should take just one summer if one is motivated enough… ! =)

$11,961… the amount of debt I now owe… yes, that skyrocketed fast ! Am seriously freaking about the balance, as the car is now making weird noises and feels a bit wonky. I am hoping against hope to get another year out of her before she completely blows up…

$159.65… total I spent on gas this past week. Madness !

9 1/2… how many hours this past week I spent driving in the car…

14… number of pages in the Student Handbook that LS sent to my foxling !!!! =) Interesting stuff, very cool opportunities including clubs, pen pals and onine communities she can join. She is so gonna love this ! =) =)

510… how many calories I have eaten so far today.

2,000-3,000… how many more calories I am planning on eating later while indulging in a “Six Feet Under” marathon. Just kidding; well, mostly… =)

31… blissful minutes spent soaking up the sun on a blanket, listening to New Order and smiling.

5… number of chipmunks that ran across the yard while I was sunbathing… they chittered at me in a scolding manner, and I think I was reclined smack in the middle of their trails. =)

2 1/4… number of peaceful hours I spent with The Professor, The New Girl and all the kids today. Was a spectacular visit, grilled some food and just enjoyed laughter and relaxation. Refreshing to the mind, body and soul… perfect way to spend part of a sunny Sunday afternoon !

a billion-kazillion… how many facets of love and happiness are inside me right now, how many ways I love our new relationship… us all, enveloped into this particular time and space, growing separately but together at the same time, our lives twisting in and out of contact; a living, breathing entity that is being nourished and is nourishing me at the same time… =) Pure, quiet contentment… a balm that is washing all the doubt, fear and nervousness away and leaving in their place me. Just pure ME. =)

I love this day, I love me, I love those kids and those imperfect adults… I love the sunshine and the cool breezes, I love those 3 lumpy strawberries that are trying their damnedest to grow… I love the keys on this computer that The Professor bought for us, so smoothly they depress and how light the laptop is… I love trashy telly and painted toes and popcorn and friends who read my blog faithfully… I seriously do not think I could muster up any discontent right now if my life depended on it !

that hammer gets us every time…

I was texting this morning with The Professor for a few minutes. My foxling is a huge fan of the “Divergent” series, and is understandably excited about watching the movie. She and I had made plans that instead of going to see it in the theater, we are going to buy it when it comes out on video, and make a day of it. A snack, do our nails and watch the flick… just a relaxing day for us two bunnies. =)

The Professor was thinking about taking her to the movie today, but when I told him our plans, he immediately said they would do something else. He is really good that way, never stepping on my toes. So… I got up this morning feeling happy and acquiescent and texted him that he could take her, it would be a special treat. He very respectfully told me that they are just going to rent the new Hunger Games movie and that he wants us to keep our plan, because he “understands what it feels like to have your thunder stolen”… He is kind and treating me with respect and it put a smile on my face to realize that we are getting there, slowly but surely; getting to that place where we can just be happy. =)

So I bumbled around the house for a while, eating and paying bills, making the shopping list. Music blaring, singing along, I did my chores and headed upstairs to grab some jeans. Then it hit me, and I laughed out loud, laughed long and hard, until I actually had tears in my eyes. Once again, he hits the nail on the head,without even knowing it. =) His thunder comment apparently got me thinking…

I can finally put words to this weirdness… who I feel like, in our little family… Loki! Like I am there, but don’t really belong. The one who does not fit in, and stands at the edge of the group, smiling but not really part of it all. And he is Thor; swooping down with his hammer, dazzling everyone with his wit and fun ideas. Of course, you have Jane; pretty, young and stuck to his side… pleasant enough but don’t provoke her. The friends and family, the laughter and good times… I am sometimes invited, can sometimes observe, but always from a distance, and always knowing that I am merely tolerated, for his sake. Like the golden child that no one can bear to say no to, he gets his way amidst indulgent smiles by those who love him so much… so I am still here.

DO NOT for one moment read anything into my words here, I am highly amused and so should you be. =) No sadness, just a realization that happens to mirror one of my fav movies. I mean, seriously, don’t you just LOVE the Bifrost ?! Blows my mind every time I watch it. =)

Ahh… this language we have at our disposal is so imperfect. There is such a huge gap between seeing words, comprehending their literal meaning and actually KNOWING what someone is trying to convey… we focus on everything around us, then try to explain it with words. The reality and ideas of what we see and what we know can’t ever be perfectly aligned. We are incapable of looking at just one thing, we are constantly looking thru the relationship between what we see and ourselves. =) So, what is said and seen is really only presented to us as we are. So, in effect, there is no reality, it is all just perspective. My perspective here is not one of sadness, simply of amusement that I somehow created this for myself, and I am bemused at my child-like attempt. My Buddhist philosophy is serving me well here. 3 months ago I would have been typing this drunk and crying. =) I have discovered within me an unlimited capacity for growth and have to admit to being downright interested and somewhat excited at the prospect of what may be coming to greet me around the corner ! =)

Photo prompt of the day is “evening”… which is why I am posting now. =) I went upstairs to my foxling’s room, where the evening sun is the brightest. I wanted to try out my new nail polish, which by the way is a TOTALLY different blue-glitter shade than the one from last week. =) I sat in the window seat with her hula-girl pillow on my lap and a face towel to protect from spills. Suffice it to say that Tish + glitter = one hot mess. Happily, I can report that no pillow cases were harmed in the making of today’s post. Hula girl lives to sing another day. So… can you see the deep turquoise in the bottle vs the pale glittery stickiness on my nails ?! FALSE ADVERTISING ! I called the 1-800 number and was told it looks darker under a black light. Erm, ?! I am off to apply another 67 coats and see if I can get some real color on my hands. Luckily the open windows allow me to breathe thru this long, chemical-filled evening. I am SO going out for steamed veggies later… if I am conscious. See you tomorrow… =)

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