Sitting in perfect weather and The Flow

I’ve spent the better part of this year learning how to let go of life’s expectations. It seems like a simple thing to do…you know, don’t expect things to be handed to you. Don’t expect my kids to finish their homework on time. Don’t expect to be acknowledged for my _____. (*work, deeds, beauty, whatever). And it’s pretty cool to see what surprises I stumble upon as I live this way. I’ve internally and with a few of my friends have termed this notion, “The Flow.” 

The Flow includes other personal pro-tips like letting go of control. Whether that be relationships or vacations or my day-to-day tasks, part of the joy of The Flow is how things fall into place just as well with little to no effort as they did with moderate to great effort. For instance, as we left for the airport I had not yet booked a stay for San Diego on Wednesday night. I was too busy and distracted and my intuition never really kicked on to say, “Get this done right this minute.” By the time we arrived at the airport my best friend (with whom I am traveling) and her husband remembered that they had Marriott points. By the time we reached our layover in Denver we had a place to sleep that was way nicer than the hovel I would have booked and it was free. That’s not even the best part! The best was that I hadn’t spent hours and hours and hours wasted trying to find the perfect place. I do that. It’s ridiculous. 

The reason we flew into San Diego (2.5 hours away) instead of Palm Springs was because I have a Life List item that I chose to start last year. Put my feet in the ocean every year for 5 years. Last year was San Francisco and I figured Palm Springs was close enough to the ocean that this trip would the perfect opportunity. That right there is where the planning stopped. 

Yesterday morning we woke up and I searched Yelp for a place to eat. We discovered that our favorite breakfast spot in the country, the WHOLE REASON we planned a 6-hour layover in Denver on Monday, had a location in San Diego that was 12 minutes away from the hotel. The Flow. At breakfast I was zooming in on a map of La Jolla beaches and found the La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that was walking distance to the beach. We ended up spending equal or more time at the art museum than we did at the amazing, post-card-like beach that we’ll revisit on Sunday. This wasn’t planned. It was The Flow. And it was perfect. 

Two bennies. One heavenly breakfast.

Feet in the ocean, year 2. Check! #gomighty #mightylifelist

I saw an exhibition called Lost in the Memory Palace that shifted my perceptions of what art is. It was immersive and mesmerizing. Fascinating sounds, textures, images, light and whatever else that thing is that I can’t put my finger on. The art-ness, I suppose. I wanted to spent the whole day there. 

I’m in two art shows in the next two weeks. Have I mentioned that? If you have seen me in person I’m sure I have. It’s exciting and a direct result of living in The Flow. Something looks cool, my intuition says yes and I jump right in. It’s exciting and different. Working on the pieces is a meditation for me. I’ve been chasing meditation for YEARS with little success because, apparently, I was chasing it. Wanting to control it. I must sit down and light this candle and wipe my mind and meditate for 15 minutes every morning. LIKE THE BOOK SAYS I SHOULD. 

Or.

I pick up a paintbrush and move my hands. My mind melts empty as I focus on the ever-so-immediate now-ness. My tweezers pinch rhinestone #300 and place it in the glue. I’m only concerned with filling in the rhinestones and singing along to the music on the radio. The Flow is a gorgeous experience. 

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A grand adventure in a new city

Check!

At the beginning of this year my friend Tracey demanded I submit a list of 5 things I wanted from 2013. That conversation had to have been in January, before anything much had happened in my life. When I could feel that 2013 wouldn’t be normal but I had no real idea why. I told her I already had 5 things to work on. I had my Mighty Life List and the 5 things I chose to accomplish in 2013. 

She said that wasn’t good enough. She wanted a fresh list from me. I obliged. 

One of the 5 was, “Have a grand adventure in a new city.” 

I’ve had my eye out for this item to present itself all year. I’ve had grand adventures. And I have been in new cities. They have been mutually exclusive until a week ago. 

I told my friend Nathan, who I knew was playing Rocky Mountain Folks Fest, that I was jealous he was going to be there. And that I had played around with the idea of going. Like a good little hint-reader he said, “Well, if you decide to come up I’ll be sure to put you on the guest list.”

!!!

I let that whim roll around in my head and heart for a few hours. I worked a little, then I looked at flight prices. I worked a little more then texted friends for advice (fly? drive?). I worked more then thought of all the reasons I shouldn’t. Then of all the reasons I should. Rinse, repeat. That night after an hour of yoga, I thought I had gotten clarity. I texted Tracey and told her my decision and she agreed it was the right one. I was going to stay home, not be wrecked on Monday and get things done. Help a friend pack. Go help my dad with his printer. Clean my house. Be practical. Save money. 

The next morning I woke up, did my daily meditation (more on that later) and found a great passage I shared on Facebook. 

“To cultivate the light of awareness, pay attention to the clues and evidence that miracles are unfolding in your life. Notice the unexpected opportunities that come your way, the flash of insight, a sudden feeling of peace or joy, a chance meeting, or a spontaneous creative experience. You may want to keep a list of daily miracles in your journal. Whatever we pay attention to expands in our experience, so as you focus your attention on miracles you will begin to notice more grace, happiness, and love.” 

To which Tracey replied, “Maybe you better go away this weekend after all. Be wrecked Monday. You’ve been worse.” We took the convo offline and I told her all the reasons I could not go with a list of wonderful things I’d accomplish if I stayed home. She said, “We are all going to die. Eventually. When you look back this will be one of those things you did right. You won’t remember the tired. You will remember the good vibes of music in a mountain town.” To which I replied, “Fuck.”

She was right. So….I went. I got my inbox to zero, texted a lady in Colorado I’d found the day before on a festival forum about a place to stay, ran home for 10 minutes to pack and started driving north. After 4 hours I turned left, then drove 6 more. I stopped three times for less than 10 minutes each.

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I-70 from Salina to Denver should have been soul-crushing boredom, but I was giddy. I saw so many places and things I wanted to stop and photograph: Cool/weird billboards touting Jesus or chimney sweeps or odd museums; wind turbines placed right along the highway like dinosaur-sized daisies; a small clapboard church sitting in a green, planted field (of what?) whose steeple contained a brass bell; a gradually darkening smokey blue sky containing no other color or shape but a perfectly round sun that turned from brick red to crimson and slipped beneath the wide, flat horizon. But I did not stop, because the 10 hours I had planned to travel could easily turn into 14 hours of chasing rabbits down holes and I was headed towards music — nothing else. 

Upon arrival to Lyons, CO, I felt like the biggest fucking badass that ever existed.

Ever.

Despite crawling into bed around 12:30am, it was still an hour before I was able t wind down enough for sleep. I was awash with joy and gratitude! My home stay was lodge-like and walking distance to Planet Bluegrass, which are both the festival grounds and the home of the family of festivals I adore. Driving in during the night meant that when I walked to the festival that morning, I was treated to completely spectacular scenery. 

On Saturday I was on the guest list courtesy of Seryn, my friends from Denton, TX. Those guys who crashed on my floorI arrived at the ranch with just enough time to get my wristband and watch the annual running of the tarps, a tradition that happens at most or all Planet Bluegrass festivals in which folks line up to stake their claim on prime real estate every morning. Sometimes in costume. 

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The festival without the music is so cool. Lots of laid back hippies mixed with really awesome people. There was a guy handing out bear hugs. There was the St. Vrain river that runs by so close to the stage that lots of people opt to watch from a low-slung chair sitting right in the cool flowing water. I decided that what I had packed impulsively was going to murder me slowly under the blaring Colorado sun, so I stopped into a vendor tent and bought a tye-dyed sundress. Then wore it.

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 I watched a TON of music. If you go to Flickr you can look at all the photos I managed to catch with my iPhone. Amazing day. Uh-ma-zing. 

After I wrapped up a night of crying to Shane Koyczan and Patty Griffin followed by going aaaalllll the way down to boogey town with the John Butler Trio, I sat down in a chair backstage and took a moment. Had a breath. Looked around and experienced my gratitude. Gave it to the Universe. Namaste and all that. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this guy. 

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I had spoken to him earlier in the day to compliment him on his dancing. Josh, as his name turned out to be, had looked like the happiest damn guy in the whole wide world. Completely uninhibited. I don’t remember exactly why I went to talk to him, I just did. I am soooo glad I did. We got to chatting and I told him that I was having the best damn day ever. He must have asked about my excitement level for Sunday and I told him I didn’t have a plan or a ticket. He mentioned that he had just given away his +1 media pass because he hadn’t found the writer for which it was intended and didn’t want the ticket to go to waste. I mentioned I was a writer. He groaned. I groaned. So! Close!

Josh caught a festival organizer walking by and told him of the situation. He said he would try, but made no promises. I had zero expectations. He would text Josh in the morning. Josh and I talked a while longer and, maybe because I was drunk on Colorado air, festival love and a teensy bit of New Belgium products, I followed Josh into the evening.

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We went to song circles and in the morning I got a text. I would be attending the festival with press credentials.

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Later in the week, I published an article for Marquee Magazine. The editor said that anytime I wanted to write for them, I was welcome. Please take the time to let Josh’s photo galleries roll as his talent is almost as enormous as his heart. Many, many thanks to this new friend of mine. I hope to be writing alongside him again very soon.

Bonus: This is how Dancin’ Josh enjoys music festivals.

Then, this happened…

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Then I took a shower and went to work. For lunch that day I had a nap. I napped SO HARD, you guys. 

Best! Weekend! Ever!

As I was leaving Lyons, Tracey sent me my texts from Friday morning along with a note. “Just a reminder of how lame you almost were.”

 

 

A month, huh?

It’s been a whole month since I didn’t just totally phone in a blog post? Eh…it happens. Life happens. Life has happened. I’ve had a fun month, though. 

1. I took the kids to Dallas for part of a weekend. The whole reason we really went was to see Seryn. You remember them, right? Several months ago they played a show in OKC and we took the whole band home afterwards. Those guys (and girl). They played at a charming venue called The Kessler that is situated near the Bishop Arts District, where we had spent that afternoon dining and shopping.

Enjoying @serynsounds

My daughter captured a lot of video in which she moved her phone a lot, flipped back and forth from portrait to landscape and stopped and started filming several times during a song. It’s cute. This was the most continuous one. 

My son slept through almost their entire set and only awoke when Trent and Nathan came up to where we were sitting to say hi. Yeah, the rock show didn’t wake him but the two people in the empty room did. Third graders. Sigh. I found a nice quiet place for him to chill out while his sister and I hung out with all the friends and family after the show. This is Seryn’s hometown venue in a way, so lots of people mingled after for hugs and stories into the wee morning hours. I think we finally gave up and left the party at 1am. 

The next day we slept in and I took the kids to breakfast at Spiral Diner, a restaurant where everything is vegan (except us) and most of it is house-made. 

The Lumberjack

Then we had an afternoon at Klyde Warren Park. What a cool public space.

Dogs. Fountains. Yoga.

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2. I started running. I don’t know exactly why I want to run so bad, but I do. And I am terrible at it. But I keep trying because I feel like there is an athlete in me that I have buried under toffee and self-doubt. The reason I feel this is because during times of stress I want to run or kickbox or swim or do hot yoga. My body doesn’t know how to do any of those things but I get serious cravings for them and those cravings go unrequited. No, I don’t replace them all with food but I do replace a lot of them with regret that I’ve not treated myself better. How healthy is that? Feel stress, then feel bad because you aren’t some kind of magician. Instead, I’ve opted to teach myself to run (with the aid of a couch to 5k app). The good news is that I can run for 10 minute stretches. The bad news is that I strained my left calf because I don’t do enough 10 minute stretches after I run. Super frustrating, but now I am doing a little bit of yoga while I wait for the calf to heal. Attempting to listen to my body all the time, is what this seems to be. If I need running, give myself running. If I need resting, give myself resting. 

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3. I almost lost my MacBook Pro. One day I turned on my laptop and it was whirring hard. And the battery indicator had a weird little ‘X’ on it. I couldn’t leave it untethered to a power supply and the fan only stopped running when I powered the computer all the way down. After running disk ulility I had an “Oh shit.” moment. It said my hard drive was corrupt. ::fuck:: I sent some panic texts to my nerd fleet. I used to be a bit of a nerd but let all that knowledge crumble with time. And I hadn’t backed up my computer in three years. Yes, you read that correctly. After buying a new external drive and clinching all of my body for a weekend, I fixed my own computer. LIKE A BOSS. It really wasn’t fixing as much as it was doing a ton of grossly overdue maintenance. At the end of it all, I even downloaded the lastest operating system like a victory lap. 

4. I bought a car. The Accord needed to be replaced last summer. The transmission went belly up after some grossly overdue maintenance never happened (do we see a pattern yet?). At the time I was fuh-freaked out about 10,000 other things and rather than calmly assess the situation, I just panicked and threw THOUSANDS of dollars at the problem. Like a moron. Flash forward to this spring… The transmission wasn’t out yet, but I could tell that it was only a matter of time. Too much shit was hitting the fan this spring for me to do much about the car, I just crossed all my fingers and toes that it would live a litte longer. Liiiiiive, dammit!! And it did. In the last month or so I took two road trips and rather than be risky, I rented cars. I have another road trip planned for Saturday and last week I thought, “Oh, I guess I’ll rent a car again.” Then I died a little on the inside. Then I thought, “I’m just gonna call my bank and get a loan.” So, while waiting for a table at lunch a week ago today, that’s what I did. Two days ago, after much online searching and Twitter whining, I found the one I wanted from the dealership I wanted to support. 

 

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5. I let Rick Bayless make me dinner. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you letting Rick Bayless make you dinner, too. Sure, there were 100 other people there and his hands didn’t likely touch every single plate…but damn was that a great meal. I’ve had a lot of great meals, his was definitely in the top 5 “event” meals I’ve had. Specific dishes were so good I don’t want to eat them again if he isn’t making it. Ceviche, I’m looking at you. This was part of a series of tornado relief events in Oklahoma City called OK Chefs’ Relief.

Insane ceviche & plantain chips. #latergram #okchefsrelief

Glory be! #okchefsrelief

Oh, just hanging out with Rick Bayless. Like I do.

 

6. The fourth of July happened. I found ways to occupy myself as I was alone. For the first time in what feels like forever I had no boyfriend (long or short term), no husband, no kids and no family to work into my holiday weekend. I could just go and do and be. It was glorious. I did spend a fair amount of time with friends, but only made my plans last minute. And when I finally said, “Yes, I will come to your cookout,” I first laid down and took a two-hour nap first. Just because I could. In the latter part of the weekend I spent a holy shit ton of time alone, mostly at home. Again, glorious. My honey-do list shrank, my sleep deficit decreased and I got quiet. I wish I could say that I had some sort of epiphany, but really I just piddled around. I never do that. It taught me that I need to do that at least one day a month. Piddle with no real intentions other than baths, books and staring at the ceiling.Somewhere in there I bought a case of peaches and went to Food Swap OKC with mason jars of cobbler.

7. My kids are growing up. Before they left for summer vacation, they put in two weeks at a theater camp. It hurt my heart to see them so very on their acting game. I mostly added this in so I could share the pics. 

Show time!

Now we’re all caught up. Wasn’t that fun? :-)

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