Life is more fun with friends and if they don’t show up….

969205_10151468021046033_616595444_nYou go out and do things alone. Yes, all by yourself (with other people) (that you don’t know) so it’s like you are by yourself anyways.

Is it awkward at first? Yes

Does it make you interact with the world in a way that you wouldn’t if you had a friend with you? Yes

Do you get used to it? Yes

Will it eventually be something you look forward to? Yes

This alone thing is liberating!

I started small by :

  • going to the movies
  • shopping
  • Yoga, Pilates, Boot Camp, Boxing, you name the workout class
  • Then I worked my up to eating a meal in a restaurant alone instead of ordering it to go and eating at home.
  • After that came having a cocktail at a bar.
  • I have managed to go see live music by myself.

Why should I have to miss out on all the adventures I want to have because I can’t find anyone to come along?

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Recently I went white water rafting alone. It was such a fantastic Saturday that I feel inspired to plan more adventures to do by myself. Next will be the Downwind in Hood River on a SUP board.

 

Doing things alone this year is easier than it has ever been before.  Many events and meditations have brought me to my current understanding and comfort level for solo adventures.  In 2013 I had a major realization while I was in Maui, Hawaii.  I went to visit a new friend that was going there for the season to work on a boat.  The boat would give whale watching/snorkeling tours.  I would get to be on the island for 10 days. I had never been to Hawaii before and I was very excited!!

What I did not realize about this vacation was that she was in the beginning passionate throes of a relationship and I would be the third wheel. I am no stranger to being odd man out however I was not very practiced in the art of doing things alone and I was looking forward to some quality time with a girlfriend.  She had to work a lot during my time there. When she wasn’t working, she was hanging out with her boyfriend and me.  I did not like her boyfriend which added to the disappointment.  My first day there, I did get to go on the boat she was working on for a whale watching tour. I saw so many whales. Everytime someone had a sighting they would yell it out so we all could catch a glimpse.  Breach- 3 o’clock Jumping_Humpback_whale

Before the boat trip started, I should have followed my friends lead with the sunscreen. I figured I lived in Texas for fifteen years and I don’t normally burn so I didn’t need to slather it on. Hindsight revealed living in Oregon for 2 years was enough time for my skin to turn pasty white effectively making it sensitive to the Hawaii sun.  I did not apply enough sunscreen and got the worst sunburn EVER.  I was miserable for a week easy.  Being so burned made sleeping difficult. I had to take Oatmeal baths several nights in a row and by the time it went away there was only three days of vacation left. I was in paradise and I did not want to spend anymore time in the sun.

Maui is a small island and I did the typical touristy things.  Whale watching, snorkeling, Lunch in Lahaina where the Banyan Tree is,  Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area for disc golf, watching the fire dancers on Little Beach, the Road to Hana where we camped at the end to visit the Seven Sacred Pools.

My life changing realization happened the night we went camping, when we were at the end of the Road to Hana.  We decided to stay so we could explore the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning. I am an early riser, waking up between 4:30a.m. to 6:30a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Since there was a two hour time difference between Oregon and Hawaii at the time, I was up way too early.  Wide awake at 3:30 in the morning.  My friends were on Hawaii time and liked to sleep late. I would be up a full seven hours before they would rise.  What was I going to do with myself? I layed there for a bout an hour before I got up and went to explore. I knew I couldn’t go too far on the off chance my friends woke up early.  My exploration led me to discover a beautiful waterfall.  I spent some time here taking a bunch of selfies.  At some point, a small group of people came into the area.  They asked if I was alone.  That is when it occurred to me! Even though technically I was with other people, in reality I was alone. Being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.  I was just hyper aware of my aloneness.IMG_20130131_094657.jpg

Aren’t we always alone I replied? ( Lightbulb moment) I mean we are born alone, we die alone and the time in between we walk the path of our lives alone.  Here I was on this beautiful island for vacation, I had come to meet a friend and spend time with her but she was busy working and being with her boyfriend.  Technically I was with people. In reality I was alone.  I was on my own, even when they were around.

I could tell you many stories where I have found myself in a similar position.  It wasn’t always easy to be there.  Now I don’t mind.  I frequently choose it.  I also look forward to having it all my way since there isn’t anyone else to take into consideration.  Who doesn’t love that?

One of my favorite sayings is an African saying.

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together

I would like nothing more than to go far in life so until friends show up and stick around and until friends commit to joining me, you can find me on some adventure by myself having a great time ❤

 

 

Lifelong friendships can form in the most unexpected ways.

I have moved around a lot in my lifetime which makes it hard to keep friends. The kind of friends that add value to your life, that you can turn to when you need support or a favor.  You know, not the fake kind, not the acquaintance kind, or the kind that turns out to not really be a friend.  People don’t seem to take the time to keep up with long distance friendships. There are the kind of friends that you don’t see for a while and then you pick right back up where you left off when you connect with them.  This kind of relationship takes time to form.  As the years go by, I feel less inclined to put so much work into the people who don’t put work towards sustaining our friendship.  I used to not mind doing the heavy lifting, since I seemed to be better at than most (thanks to all that moving).  Now, I want the same effort in my direction that I put towards others.  I know it’s possible because I am doing it.

I have known my friend Kim for 23 years now.  We will know each other until one of us dies. We met in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 1994/1995 when I was a mere 20 year old girl.  Colorado Springs had 3 military stations at that time;  Fort Carson Army Base, Peterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy.

UnknownMost girls growing up in Colorado Springs have an Air Force boyfriend which really bothered the civilian guys in town.  I can imagine how frustrating it must have been to be a regular guy having to compete with the appeal of pilots and the military uniform.

My Air Force Academy boyfriend’s name was John.   John had best friends that were fraternal twins – Jim and Steve.  Steve’s high school sweetheart, Tracey,  moved to Colorado Springs when Steve got accepted into the Academy.  Tracey lived in an apartment with a girl named Stacy.  I became friends with them both.

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One year Tracey moved away.  Turns out she had some kind of bone cancer, went home and passed away within 5 years.

Stacy got a new roommate named Kim.  It seems that every time I called to talk to Stacy, I got Kim.  Kim and I chatted a lot.  One day, we were chatting and I mentioned I was going to the gym.  Kim said she works out and would also come to the gym so I invited her to go with me. We were to meet at my apartment and go from there.

There was a knock at the door and when I opened it up, to my surprise, I didn’t recognize the person standing there. Hi, Who are you?  “I’m Kim” she says.  Wait! What? We have never met?  Nope, she says.  Well alrighty then, let’s go workout!! We have been friends ever since.  Twenty three years and counting…

Kim and I went to Europe together for 16 days despite the fact that we had not seen each other in over a decade.  We were both 40, we both were single, we both had never traveled to Europe.  We had a blast in Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. It is hard to decide where to go next since we plan to see some more countries together in the future!

20180630_175430988211987.jpgI finally went to visit her home in Michigan this year, where she has been living for the last 19 years.  I have talked about coming to visit so many times over the years.  It almost happened (twice) when she was going to marry her son’s father. I was supposed to be a bridesmaid however he ended up marrying someone else and having another child.  Kim lives down the street. They spend Christmas together as one big family.  I like it when people are able to genuinely get along.  Kids benefit from that type of positivity.  Can’t fake it though.

20180630_141924402575061.jpgThe reason for this years visit was because her son was graduating High School. They were having a big party to celebrate – all the friends and family were invited.  It was so great to meet her son, meet her friends from second grade, and meet her mom and dad!  It made my heart so full. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

 

 

Thanks Kim, for being the kind of person you are- Fun loving, generous, sweet, caring, and one hardworking Momma.  I am proud to call you my friend.

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite Vegan Cookbook. You will hardly notice the vegan part :)

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I have not been a big meat eater for most of my life. I dabbled with being a vegetarian one other time and I made it five years before my body asked for a turkey leg. I was at Pecan Street Festival in Austin, Texas, where I was living at the time. There were all these people walking around with them and I couldn’t help myself. Yes, I got really sick after a few bites.

Currently, I am working towards being a vegan. I gave up red meat about 5 years ago. Chicken about 3 years ago. Bacon was the last thing I needed to give up and that happened the beginning of 2017 . I still eat wild caught fish maybe once or twice a month. I gave up dairy about 4 years ago (although I cheat when I’m hungry and it’s too challenging to find dairy free food). I try to make it goat’s milk at least. I know I know. Animal milk is for animal babies. Doctor’s shocking recommendation about drinking Milk!

Eggs seem to be the most challenging to give up. I don’t mind using a flax seed egg substitute or a chia seed egg when baking. There is just no good substitute for eggs when it comes to making French Toast or Breakfast Tacos.

Being Vegan doesn’t mean you can’t eat the most delicious food. I have discovered that the way to maintaining a successful vegan diet it to replace all the things you are giving up with new options. Lots of new tasty options. You will not feel like you are missing out.

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and your heart and soul can feel happy for all the ethical reasons too!

I did not receive any money for this recommendation. I bought the cookbook since I had been following them on Facebook. I had already made several of their dishes and really really enjoyed them. I was stoked to see this cookbook come out! I have already made several dishes and served them to non vegan friends. I have received nothing but compliments. Even the first time you create one of these recipes -it will turn out delicious!!

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You can get this fabulous cookbook for yourself on Amazon for about $20. Click here to go directly there… Bosh Cookbook

I tell everyone I know about this and even people I don’t. If you are already vegan and looking for new dishes to make, this cookbook is for you. If you are already a vegetarian, this cookbook is for you . If you are just starting to explore being vegan, this cookbook is for you. If you like to eat delicious tasty food, this cookbook is for you.

It took them three years to put it together. Get it while it’s hot!

Portland, OR is the biggest DIY town I ever met.

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and I am smarter for it.

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I was born in San Francisco and grew up between Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Bay Area. At 21, I decided to leave Colorado Springs and move to Austin, Texas, where I will spend the next 15 years of my life (minus a 3 month stint dealing Blackjack in Vegas). I moved to Portland, Oregon from the ATX.  I have been living in Portland for eight years now and counting. I will move again.

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I don’t remember much about the way things worked in the Bay Area or Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs, at that time, was small, conservative, and surround by the military.  People were probably friendly enough in both places.

 

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Living in Austin taught me about “Southern Hospitality”.  There is something to be said for living with constant sunshine and hanging out outside all the time – it makes for friendly outgoing people.  People who are ready to take the time to answer your questions, call someone if they don’t know or let you follow them because they happen to be going in the same direction. I loved it.  Help with a smile.

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Living in Portland has taught me to be even more resourceful. It is not as sunny around here and it makes me wonder if it contributes to the mentality.  Not many people outside and not many people willing to help you do what you could do for yourself. I hope you have access to the Internet.  You need directions some place? … look up the address, and put it in your navigation.  Don’t have that… Use a compass and a map. There is a gear store nearby where you can purchase those items if you don’t have them either. Figure it out. Solve your problems. No one will be phoning a friend or escorting you around here. It forced me to be even more resourceful.  I have an abundance of gratitude for that.  It is a nice skill to have.  Waiting on other people sucks.

Is it easier for people to just tell you every detail of how things work ( insert anything you have questions about)? yes.  What about the long game though? Teach a man to fish…..

I like to say that the lessons hardest learned are the ones not easily forgotten. People don’t learn from other peoples mistakes.  You have to get your hands dirty, get involved with life and learn from your own mistakes. Mistakes are great teachers. Knowledge = Power.

After all, Life is either the greatest adventure or it’s not.  You choose!

 

 

 

 

 

Airbnb: The Bright Side

Fun can happen any minute of any day – if your open to it.

Have you ever seen the Jim Carrey movie where he has to say yes to everything?

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Well that was my life on Tuesday.

What started as a regular day for me, turned out to include spontaneity, cocktails, and new music.  I got up, ate breakfast, prepared food for work and left on my bicycle for the day. There was one guest scheduled to self check in around 3:00p.m and the other room was free.  Of course, I was hoping someone was going to stay…. I just had no idea how awesome she would be and the adventure that awaited me.

 My day changed at 10:21a.m.

This fun girl sent me this message :7685ae60-b366-402c-bd07-03a6a79abb53 “Hola, Julie! Wanna go to Washed Out tonight? I was a bit bummed I missed him in Seattle last night, but there’s no point wallowing in regret when you can move your butt and run down your dreams. My dream is to dance to Eyes Be Closed. With a new bud. Tonight. If it seems suspicious that I’m a new Airbnb member, yes I did make that account 10 minutes ago. But there’s no time like the present. So if you’re down, I will hop on the 2:20 Amtrak and see you a little after 6. PS, long time bicyclist here too, is it worth the extra $10 to throw my roadie on the train to get to your neighborhood (don’t have much of a grasp on Portland’s scale) or better to walk from the train station? Anywho, hope to meet you soon. And not kidding, will totally take you to this show if you got the inclination. ”

How perfect is this message? How could I possibly refuse?  I said yes before I knew anything about it!

Then I began to research.

Turns out Washed Out was playing at The Wonder Ballroom , one of my favorite venues, which is 2 blocks from the house. No need to worry about parking or anything since we can walk.

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The set was exactly one hour long.  They were entertaining, they did a great job with their visuals ( I was impressed). I danced almost the entire time.  I didn’t realize they did the Theme Song for Portlandia!!!!! After eight seasons the show is ending and let me just tell you that the people in Portland are okay with that. portlandia_dvd_release

The band has a new fan.  I have a new friend. Goodbye Portlandia.  My new friend and I have an annual date together to see Washed Out when he comes to Portland and those times she can stay with me for free ❤

Gotta love Airbnb.