Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: marriage

Malibu Creek – Hike and Climb

Last week, we had Tuesday off, and decided to head out to Malibu Creek State Park to climb the Planet of the Apes wall. After taking care of the dog and eating breakfast, we headed out. The park was simple to find and we didn’t hit too much traffic.

It was overcast which made the feeling of autumn and vacation sink in even more. I’ve had the camping / hiking bug for a while now, and it was intensified by our trip to Joshua Tree a few weeks ago.

We parked, paying $20 to the envelop system because we didn’t have any change, and headed down the Crags Road trail. After about 1.5 miles we came to the Planet of the Apes wall.

Another group was setting up a few climbs, but the bolts for the easiest climb were still open. We hiked to the top of the wall, the view was awesome. H set up our top rope anchor. (You can see him in the picture above – and the tiny people near his left elbow that show how high up we were).

The climb we set up, a 5.9, ended up being tougher than I’d hoped. Even though there are huge pockets for your hands the wall comes back at you, and it takes a lot of energy just to stay on the wall and not swing off. This was a type of climb I don’t normally work on. Plus, it is filthy. There is tons of dust and dirt in the holds, so it felt like reaching around in a cellar.

We didn’t last long. H melted out before the top of the 5.9 – I made it 1/2 way. We switched ropes with the group next to us so we could try the next route over. That felt more fun, but was tough as well. Then there was already another group of people waiting to set up their ropes. H felt pressured and I agreed. We decided to pack up the climbing gear, eat lunch and continue on a hike into the canyon.

We came up and around to the rock pool, which was prettier than it was clean. There were a lot of people there, including what felt like a bus load of high school kids.

The people were were originally climbing next to at the Apes wall had also packed up and made their way to traverse the rock pool to an additional set of climbs on the other side. You can see them in the two pictures above making their way across the rock wall of the pool.

We ate lunch at a picnic table under some coniferous trees, brown needles blanketing the ground. It felt isolated, quiet and just what I needed. The overcast made climbing feel really hot, but otherwise I was wearing my jacket and long-sleeved shirt.

Sitting there at lunch, eating a random assortment of food I packed, I told H I could sit there for hours. That I wish I’d brought a book and we had more time – I wanted to just relax there for hours. But we needed to get hiking to beat the daylight and we didn’t have all night to burn.

Down the path, H slowed. H was tired and probably not as into the hike as I was. We were headed to the M.A.S.H. site – I was using that destination as a reason to get him going. I’m all for hikes for the sake of hiking, but H likes a purpose to all the walking (this is pretty much the only instance where this type of “productive” role reversal happens haha).

 

After about an hour of walking, we made it. It’s not much, but it’s cute. I hadn’t been to this site since I first moved to LA. I don’t remember being that impressed with it then either, but it does make for a “destination” on the hike.

We took a few pictures, ate some snacks at the tables and then both took an Awake energy shot. That perked H right up. He was zooming along the trail on the way back and we were chatty as we kept up this faster pace.

We talked about camping, our Thanksgiving trip plans, the future of our homelife, the idea of kids and a bit of what we’d like 2015 to hold (travel, for sure). This is the kind of quality time I really love – being outdoors by ourselves, doing something interesting with H, and a good swatch of time to enjoy.

This whole day felt perfect. I’m so glad we headed out on this little adventure. Clearly both my day off alone and this day made for a super spoiled introverted me. Yay.

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Valuing My Life

For over a week now, I’ve been walking around gunning to create a scrapbook page.

I know – who am I?

But seriously, I don’t write about it much here, but I do randomly create project life pages. At times it can feel overwhelming to print photos & document my life, but I love the finished pages. Going back through the pages I made for the weeks of 2013 and the (very) few weeks of 2014 make me happy.

And I’ve been listening to a lot of Paperclipping Roundtable. So I assume that also has something to do with it.

Saturday we slept in as much as one can with the usual LA September heatwave. We originally planned to go to the climbing gym when it opened, but the heat + void moon had other ideas.

We decided to take Carter down to the beach path and eat breakfast at our new favorite place, Amelia’s.

When I think about scrapbooking, I usually feel overwhelmed with the decisions – which pictures to print, what sizes, what papers, what stickers, what’s the story I’m trying to tell, etc – and then I give up that idea and write a blog post or worse, do nothing.

But I really do want more creative actions in my life – and these supplies aren’t going to use themselves up – so as we went about our morning, I took a few pictures.

We got stuck in traffic on Abbot Kinney due to hundreds of motorcycles lining the street. We sang along to Jimmy Eat World on H’s phone. We parked, got the dog out of the car and walked him over to Amelia’s. We waited for a table, ordered food at the counter, and watched the parade of motorcycles go by. We ate our food and sipped our foamy drinks. After eating, we walked the dog down to the beach and out on this wooden path they put on the sand. At the very end is a bench we like to sit on b/c it allows us to be near the water and still have Carter with us on the sand.

Carter was howling away in frustration at us, restless that he wanted more exercise. We looped back up to Main Street and back to the car.

The whole little adventure took less than 3 hrs but it is the epitome of a perfect morning for me. Music, going out for breakfast, delicious chai, walking the dog, the ocean, wearing a sundress, and quality time with H. Each one of these days feels like a dream, but it’s my actual life.

And I know the whole only thing constant is change, so it felt important to me to capture this morning on a page. To print some photos, write a little story and have it as a reminder, as a reflection, of the awesome life we’re experiencing.

“We live 3 miles from one of the best beaches in the country and we have the time and freedom to enjoy it. Our little family, and my life, is pretty rad”

Making this page was a creative act, and allowing myself creative acts feels like the ultimate way to value life. Just in the way that I go for a run or take a nap because I value my energy, or say no to dramatic people because I value my sanity, creative acts are a way to value my being. To hold it in high regard. To honor what I’ve built as a creative person – my marriage, my awesome dog, my talents. Documenting is something I’ve always done, but I’m finally beginning to understand that telling my story is a way of valuing ME.

{More Info}

I started memory keeping with Project Life.

Some of my very favorite memory-keepers:
Ali Edwards
Kelly Purkey
Amy Tangerine
Shimelle
Pink Ronnie
Elise Blaha Cripe

 

On Being Married Two Years (a poem)

It’s probably still too early to tell,
but I think we’re jamming along just fine so far,
as husband and wife.

Our lives have picked up,
as they do around 30.
So many invites and obligations,
but we make the time to talk over really good coffee (because now we drink coffee, like adults)

(When did we become Adults
with bills and jobs and decisions like,
do you want to start a family?
And how much is too much money to spend on a gym membership?)

After two years, I know that your tone of voice is always caring,
your words truly never mean me harm.

After two years, I know that you think a lot more than you speak.
And I want to hear all of your thoughts.

After two years, I know you like my hands in your hair
and your back scratched
and when I hold your arm while we walk the dog.

They say it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Commitment.
And I feel how this works now, though it’s only the start.

It’s not about any one moment, but the string of hours + days + months + years.
That this one pile of laundry actually doesn’t matter because we’ll do it
and there will be more.
Again and again.
Wearing our clothes. Piling them up. Sorting. Washing.
What does it matter if I do this load and you do the next?
So long as our clothes are still mixed up together.
So long as you still help me carry it down to the laundry room.
And help fold it all.
Or go pick up groceries while I am busy. Because we have to eat and if I add
One more thing to my to do list, I will cry.

You know this.
Like that time I was working late,
and you had bought food and made homemade guacamole.
So it was there, in a little glass bowl, under that yellow fridge light, for me, when I came home.

It really is the little things.

Like that time you told me not to worry about whatever anxiety was taking up space in my chest because it would all happen whether I planned or not.

After two years, I now know there’s no reason to pick a fight,
that I’m probably just tired.
And I need a nap.
And you will nap with me, and we will lay there, with the dog between us
And the floor fan humming,
and the curtains swaying,
and the swish of cars outside,
in the late afternoon light.
And my frustrations will ebb and my love for us will flow.

It’s probably still too early to tell,
but I think we’re jamming along just fine so far,
as husband and wife.

Cheers To Two Years

Photo by Seba Photography

 

Celebrating two years of marriage today and I am still smitten by this guy. In the past year he’s cooked me dinners, walked Carter so I didn’t have to, let me nap all afternoon without judgement, learned how to make a mean omelet, graduated grad school (team effort), supported my dreams, stood up for me when I wasn’t standing up for myself, misplaced his wedding band and bought a new one (whoops) and took me to a rock climbing class that now has me hooked. He calls me honey, picks up the groceries and doesn’t expect me to do everything for our home life myself. He knows my style so well that if he picks clothes out for me, I am sure to buy them. He laughs at my jokes, doesn’t bat an eye at how neurotic I can be, and plays any song I request on guitar.

Oh, and I did I mention he put new floors in our apartment… by himself? #marriedagoodone

He is the calmest, smartest person I know and I’m a better person because of him.

Love you HJW. xo

Up

That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.
~ Russell from the movie “Up“.

Sunday we celebrated H’s 30th birthday (which is actually today) with a surprise lunch at a beer tavern and then hanging at a friends’ house, watching the dogs swim in the pool, learning line-dances and singing along to H playing guitar.

It wasn’t the most eventful birthday considering it’s a milestone one, but we’re not great at making extravagant deals out of things. In fact, I’m very under the radar and he’s not really a planner, so that makes for less-than-exciting celebrations… but I think this day, of spending time with friends basically doing nothing special but having drinks around a pool for someone’s birthday, was not only exactly what we needed, but *exactly* what it’s all about.

Like the hokey-pokey but with margaritas & line-dancing & two giant dogs sopping wet with pool water.

When I snapped this picture, I was delighted – it reminded me of the movie “Up” (my dad thought so too as he shared an image from the movie on my FB status). And then I found the quote above…

Because, yeah – celebrating a 30th birthday as if it were any other Sunday hang with friends does sound boring… but I think it was perfect.

I’ve been with H now since we were 18 and just starting college. This year we’re 30, living 3,000 miles from where we met, with our jobs and apartment and dog… together 12 years, married 2. Time freakin’ flies and I can’t seem to do anything to hold it – capture it – brand it into my brain.

We’re different people than when we first met. Better. Watching him play along to 90s songs, jamming out on an acoustic guitar, laughing about the similarities between a Rage Against the Machine song and a Jason Aldean song – my heart just swelled. Like it does when I look at this picture.

I don’t really have the right words to sum it up, so I’ll just say this… the “boring” stuff is what I remember but it’s also what I cherish. If I could live 100 years of just spooning in bed, or taking the dog to the park together, or sitting side by side at a bar counter, eating melt-in-your-mouth burgers — I would be the luckiest.

And I am the luckiest since we’ve gotten so much time already…

Happy Birthday – cheers to many more. xo

 

How Many Of These Do We Get?

Last week, I had coffee with a new friend. This was only our second conversation, but it was long and deep. Her mentor passed away suddenly at the end of January, and so instead of our original plan of co-working, she spoke about the shock and absorption of this kind of news. Of losing someone so important without warning. And while she didn’t cry, I could see tears well up when she looked away, or her lip quiver on certain words. I sat quietly, holding space for her to speak out loud about her loss.

I listened to Merlin Mann on Back To Work, talk about waking up at 5am, not able to sleep. He spent that morning slower than usual, reading comics with his daughter while his wife made muffins. His pointed out he could talk about sleep issues or time management, but the reality is this – what is happening to us in each moment is our life. And “how many of those times do I get?” he asked. How many mornings of reading comics with his young daughter will he have the privilege of experiencing?

Friday night, H and I drove around trying to decide where to eat dinner, find a parking spot, and wait for a table to open up. The drive felt frustrating, I was super hungry, the first restaurant sat us at a very small, noisy table. We got up and left. We walked over to another place we like to find all of the patio tables full. As we waited for a spot to open up, he asked me if I wanted to stay. And I said yes – we may as well wait – because this was going to be better than wandering around for another option at the prime dinner hour. I stood on a step so I could be taller and leaned my face into his neck.

A table did open up, near a heat lamp, and the waitress let us quickly put in an order before the clock struck seven and happy hour ended. We sipped our drinks, chewed warm bread, and ordered steamed clams and a seafood pasta to split.

We talked about our jobs, our hopes for us as a family, our week, our loved ones. And it’s just magical to think how far we’ve come since we first met at 18, neither of us knowing anything, really, about what we wanted in life, or from each other.

And I thought again about my friend’s loss and a man reading to his daughter, and us sitting there at what is becoming our favorite happy hour spot – the patio’s twinkle lights and the good music mix smoothing over our moods from the workweek and allowing us to come back together as us.

How many of these do we get?

Us in San Diego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, I asked H if we could go to San Diego for a one-night trip. He obliged, and with a credit, he bought us a night at the Andaz Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter.

We left Saturday morning, and with a stop at Starbucks, we were on the road by 10am. The drive was easy as we listened to comedians on Pandora stations and OK Go’s Oh No.

We parked at the hotel, checked into our room and headed back out to tour the USS Midway. I’ve never been on a navel ship, but H’s dad was in the navy, and took him on a ship when he was little. He was as excited as a nine year old with each turn saying “Oh, I remember this!” multiple times. He even said it smelled the same, which his dad later explained was the paint they use that can withstand the salty sea air.

Of course, I was geeking out at how similar many of the areas of the ship were to Battlestar Galactica (which we binged-watched this summer) I even snapped a picture of the XO’s chair in the Ready Room. It was awesome! I’m pretty sure I also embarrassed H a bit.

The ship is 900 feet long, so it took us a few hours to make our way around and see it all. Once back on land our feet were sore enough to hop on a pedi-cab to take us back. Our driver (biker?) played 70s r&b tunes and talked to us about how he recently moved to San Diego from Wisconsin. We surprised him with a huge tip. Felt good to think we made his day.

Lunch was apps and beers, sipped on the patio as H scanned his Zillow app to see if we could afford anything in the area (short answer: No).

Slightly buzzed, we walked to a few stores. I tried on a bathing suit in Roxy, which H assured me looked hot and in which I felt gross (haha) and then he almost lost his wallet there when it slipped out of his pocket. Up the street, we found ourselves at The Tipsy Crow, a place my sister recommended for happy hour, and landed us a seat right at the bar.

Their happy hour consists of a “drink exchange” in which the prices of certain drinks go up & down based on their popularity – like a stock market for bar flies. This totally promotes mixing, so with the acoustic band playing songs by Of Monsters and Men and taking shots themselves, we drank on for a long while. This was my favorite part of the whole day ❤

We somehow decamped to our hotel room just in time for me to take a nice nap, shower and get ready to head back out for dinner. H picked La Puerta, which turned out to have a 90 min wait for a table. Because he is a genius, he asked the bouncer if we could order food at the bar, and just as we walked the perimeter, two seats opened up. It was perfect. The food was delicious, our bar tender was spot-on and we didn’t have to wait at all.

From there we went back to The Tipsy Crow for dancing (which didn’t work out), a bar with a zoned-out 80s cover band and weird crowd, and then to Double Deuce, which had country music and no one upstairs. Sold. We had a few more drinks, watched the bartenders dance and pour shots into the crowd below and took advantage of the photo booth.

The next day we slept in, watched some football, showered and packed up. We had breakfast comped at the rooftop restaurant, where we ordered eggs and coffee and baked in the sun. The service was slow, but the view was worth it.

Unfortunately, there was no time to lounge, as we wanted to rent bikes and head back up to LA.

Biking from the Gaslamp to Balboa Park was harder than I planned (all uphill) but there is seriously nothing like touring a city by bike (like that time I went to San Francisco by myself). I love it.

At the park we saw the outdoor pipe organ, artist paintings, and gardens. We ate pretzals and people watched. And then we biked back down to the hotel to leave. Right before we got back to the hotel, we stopped in an Urban Outfitters, where I serendipitously found the tarot cards I’d been coveting since October. And H bought a rad backpack that looks like a boarding school bag.

Our ride home was quiet, with a pink and purple sunset over the ocean.

It was the perfect overnight trip for us to have fun together and not worry one bit about all of the work pressures piling up the next few weeks. I’m so glad we made the time and I really want to make trips like this a priority. We’re lucky to have the time and each other.

This Is About…

This is about a sushi dinner with the husband. After rattling off a few dinner options to make at home, he says, “Can’t we just go out and spend money?” Why yes, yes we can. Because I need that quiet, quality time with him – away from electronics,  the dog, our home which becomes distracting in its boringness.

This is about forgetting to refill my birth control prescription and the epic fail by CVS to transfer it. So, I guess I’m off the pill now…? And while this is a decision I was going to make early 2014, I didn’t plan to make it sooner. And I certainly didn’t want it made for me. #waytogoCVS

This is about being sad, more sad than I’ve felt in a long time, due to the above transition.

This is about transitions in general.

This is about missing my husband because he is so busy busy busy.

This is about having my parents visit – so good to have them physically near and also exhausting in its own way. Having everyone in my apartment makes it feel so tiny, and the chaos is beyond raucous compared to my quiet days alone.

This is about aching for (more) quiet days alone.

We visited the Getty museum. It was glorious. We only saw 1.5 exhibits and the gardens and left way too soon. I wanted to stay all afternoon.

This is about trying to decide if I want to purchase a used DSLR off a friend or wait.

This is about good old Mercury Retrograde.

I hope you’re well reading this mid-week post by me. I want to mention how grateful I am that anyone comes here for some words and hope it keeps you company in your neck of the woods.

How’s mercury retrograde going for you? What’s new? Would love to hear in the comments xo

 

 

Sundays Are For (Week 31)

 

Yesterday, I told H that, even if he hasn’t meant to do it on purpose, I see that he’s making our home life (and his personal time) as much of a priority as he can. Work is crazy this year for him – he’s teaching multiple classes, one of which he’s never taught before. He’s planning on the fly, during prep periods and before school starts, and also still attending grad school classes one night a week. While he’s super Type-B, you could not find a more diligent and organized teacher, so this whole schedule is a major upheaval for him.

I see his exhaustion and his determination to just grade one.more.class… and I’m doing what I can to help. So far, I think this is the best back-to-school transition we’ve had, but that may have more to do with my own self-care and less to do with how it’s really going for H.

But I also think it’s his intention to, as he put it, “have a real life” that is creating a bit of relationship reserve for us to draw on as the busy weekdays go by. Last week he brought the vacuum in to be fixed, helped me clean the apartment and continues to cook a few meals (omelets on the weekends and that delish chicken dinner this evening – above) I appreciate the attention and support, and I make sure to tell him so.

This morning we took the dog down to the beach path, grabbed hot drinks and sat on the sand for a bit. H graded and I journaled. It was H’s idea, and I know it’s because he’s trying to include me in his time, and make sure we’re relaxing some, even though he’s so busy.

H is grading yet another stack of papers with Carter Cash laying in his lap, and I’m here writing to you. I think we plan on splitting a small apple pie and watching some Breaking Bad before an early bedtime. (No BB spoilers, we just started Season 1!)

Hope you had a good weekend and will get some sleep too xo

Sundays Are For (Week 30)

Starting Week In The Life, creating an insert for my One Little Word class, slow-cooking sausage and peppers, eating chili cheese dip, hanging with my sister who came over to watch the Giants’ game (they lost). A trip to the dog park where I felt good and then breaking the vacuum somehow battling the fleas, and having a meltdown. Taking a hot shower and relaxing. Feeling insane and then so good. Walking outside in jeans, feeling the breeze and no more heat wave. Being thankful for H and his calm, for his new skill of making us omelets, for chai tea and saying ‘no thanks’ to alcoholic beverages. For getting enough sleep but still being so sleepy. For Amazon video so we can finish season 1 of Homeland and cookie dough ice cream and creating. For days off and weekends and life.

See more Sundays Are For.