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?

p8f1efd86-1f5e-4394-bc6e-11d974712cfc_8d3c97f0-1516-4341-8e5b-19bcf0f1a524_m1503580351.jpg

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 ❤

 

 

My most embarrassing moment happened at 8th grade camp.

I am a late bloomer in life.

Even though girls were having sex in 6th and 7th grade, I had not gone to second base yet and I was in 8th grade. My first kiss was in 7th grade. I know.

I got invited to go to camp during my 8th grade year. My home life wasn’t the greatest so any chance to get away was an opportunity I didn’t miss. Sign me up!

I wish I could remember the name of that place however it long escapes me. I do remember when we arrived our first scheduled activity was to divide the boys and girls into two teams for some competition. We were going to play games to see which team would get to sleep in the better of the two cabins. Even though the competition was fierce and we didn’t go down without a good fight. In the end, the girls did not win.

Our cabin contained barely the basics. It was one big room filled with metal bunk beds. The sheets looked scary to sleep on and more sheets doubled as curtains to cover the windows. The showers didn’t have doors and it was generally grimy.

After dropping our stuff off, we were required to meet back up to eat dinner together and discuss the activities for the weekend. The big event was going to be a dance. We all knew there was going to be one so I planned for it.

I wanted to make sure I would look cute. I had a boy to impress. A boy I heard had taking a liking to me and when I found out who he was, I liked him right back. So, I bought this two piece skirt outfit from Merry Go Round in the mall. It was black and gold. The top was just long enough to show 2 inches of skin between the skirt and the top. The skirt went just below the knee and fitted nicely. The top had gold circles down either side that held black ribbon that crossed between them giving it a corset feel. Now that I am a grown up, it was way too sexy for a girl in 8th grade to wear to a dance.

In the middle of dinner I snuck away to get a head start on taking shower / getting ready for the dance. I brought a friend with me to be the lookout. We almost made it through the process.

Since there were no shower curtains covering the shower stall, I moved through the process as quickly as I could. It was cold in there ( in the cabin and in the shower stall). I managed to wash and condition my hair, wash my face and body as well as shave. I was feeling good when an adult came down into the bathroom to scold us and redirect us back up to join the group. We weren’t allowed to be on our own without adult supervision.

I remember feeling a little self-conscious knowing I had to go back to where everybody was and face the group of popular boys. They can be cruel. My hair was still wet and I didn’t have a stitch of make up on.

Sure enough after a few minutes, I saw them glance at each other. There was whispering and giggling. My worst fears were coming true.

Eventually we were dismissed from dinner and given permission to retreat to our respective cabins to get ready for the dance. I couldn’t get back there fast enough to change into my outfit, finish my hair, and makeup.

I went to the dance. I was feeling cute. I danced with that boy Jay as well as a few others. I had a nice time. I don’t remember anything eventful happening at the dance. We were young and it ended early.

The next morning a group of us girls wanted to check out the boys cabin. We ran up there before it was time to get in the van and go home.

That cabin was so nice! It looked like a log cabin inside and out. It had beds that folded out from the wall. Clean looking sheets. It had several rooms. There were curtains. The showers had doors. You get the idea. Nice.

I made it into on of the “popular boys” rooms when I decided to ask him what all the snickering was a bout the day before. Was it because I looked ugly with no makeup? I couldn’t have never guessed what he was about to tell me.

A group of them ( including Jay ) had also decided to sneak away from the group during dinner to explore the grounds. They came upon the girls cabin and were peeking in the windows. It was easy to see through the space the “sheet curtains” allowed for.

When the peeped in, they saw a girl in the shower washing herself and shaving her legs. My backside was to them. I was bent over washing and shaving my legs. Boy did they get an eye full. I was mortified. He continued to say, they didn’t realize it was me until I popped up from the task and they saw my face. They were surprised it was me! I had no idea they were there! This “show” they got would continue to haunt me for the rest of the school year.

Can you imagine what that was like to have a group of the popular boys watch you shower when you haven’t even let a guy touch your boobs? Imagine the delight they took in their secret all night, at my expense.

I was reminded of the event almost every day at school from that moment forward as they took pleasure in looking me up and down with that “look” in their eyes, whenever our paths would cross.

I thought I was going to die.

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.

20180705_1022022004451586.jpg

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 :)

1ed166d02118c8ebd1ea11aec74f5524

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.

il_340x270.1209160863_id02

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!!

Unknown

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!

Where are you from? this seemingly easy question is not easy for me.

baby

When people ask me where I am from, I have to put on my happy face and ask some clarifying questions. Like- What does your question really mean? What information are you really looking for?

  • Did you want to know where I grew up?
  • What does grow up mean to you? childhood years or teenage years?
  • Where you looking to figure out where I was born?
  • Where did I move to Portland from?

Each one of these questions has a different answer. Language is important.

Usually I start by saying. I moved to Portland from Austin, Texas. Then they usually say- oh you grew up in Austin.

Austin-Texas-624x414

Wait? What? I said I MOVED here from Austin.

images-1

I grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Then they think I was born in Colorado.

Unknown

I was born in San Francisco, California

Spent half of the childhood years and 3/4 of my Senior year of High School in the Bay Area.

I realize this question is meant as a friendly conversation starter however I find it painful.

After all the answers- this question comes.

Did you move around so much because your family was in the military?

oh no… another innocent question is about to open a can of worms….

Can-of-Worms-420x270

No, we moved a lot because I had a dysfunctional family – I say with a smile to ease the tension.

I don’t really have any family per se. I have never met my Dad. Well that’s what it feels like anyway. I did see a picture of him holding me when I was about 18 months, my only half-sister passed away and my biological mother is dangerous to my happy life so I don’t talk to her nor have I for a very long time.

I wish society would come up with some other basic questions to get to know each other. Pronto. It’s quite possible that this question serves to constantly remind me that I am not like everyone else and to be comfortable with that. I can relate to orphans more than anyone else. Next question please.

Airbnb: “Airbnb is for little people”

images

I have the nicest man for a guest at my Airbnb right now. He exudes genuine positive energy. It radiates. I imagine his wife must be equally cool . They have three daughters. He misses them and he has only been gone for a day.

He is staying for just a couple of nights. He came down from Washington State to work. He is an American professional football player. He is tall and a solid 315 pounds. When he arrived, he was wearing a boot around one of his feet. He has a torn Achilles Heal and I wondered immediately how he would do with the stairs.

It never occurred to me there might be a weight limit on the bed frame in the room.

Marci-pic

The bedrooms make up the entire second floor of the house. The rest is downstairs, including the bathroom. You know he will have to go up and down the stairs a few times everyday to shower and stuff.

I won’t enforce the shoes off policy with him since a persons health is more important than my preference. He should continue to wear that boot. My only request is to be careful with the bathroom rugs and the squishy ones in the kitchen.

Shoes off policy is not just about keeping the floors clean, or keeping all the things you have tracked in out of the kitchen where food is being made, it is mainly about Feet, Shoes, and Feng Shui.

He checked into the house around 9:30p.m. which is close to my bed time. There was another guest arriving at 10:00pm – I wanted to wait up for this guest since it would be his 1st time to use Airbnb. Stays just go better if I can meet and greet, give a tour and let them settle in.

Once everyone was settled, I got undressed to crawl into bed naked to sleep. Sleeping naked is the best and I highly recommend it. Benefits of Sleeping Naked according to Science. Not even 10 minutes later, I heard a loud noise that could be someone falling down the stairs. I got up, opened the door and shouted out ” Everything Okay?”

It took a second to get a response. The response came from the bedroom of the football player. He sat at the edge of the bed and the frame broke. Oh no! He was okay. He felt bad. I felt bad. It required attention and a makeshift solution. This is going to be challenging since I am a minimalist. Not much lying around.

Unknown

I went down to the basement and came up with two paint cans. Crossing my fingers they would be the right height. They worked :). As we were putting the cans under the bed for support, he was able to lift the entire bed up with one arm while laying on the floor. This is when he dropped the comment that Airbnb was for little people. I laughed and realized how small everyday things must be for him. He did use a beach towel for a shower towel. I noticed it when he was walking down the stairs because I have the same towel. I made sure to check in with him in the morning to make sure those paint cans were holding up. He slept fine. He was also able to relax and hang out on the bed.

As a Superhost, I feel like I should be able to provide comfortable accommodations to any guest that shows up. Although I do not have the funds right this minute to get another bed frame. It will be the next big purchase I buy for the Airbnb.

Airbnb: Please don’t ask me about the money I make from hosting.

Unknown

I understand that people are curious creatures. Humans have a natural instinct to understand the world around them. It is fun to travel and see how other people live life. You could find yourself asking questions to help gain a better understanding of the settings around you. Friendly reminder- there is more than one way to gather information, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

I find my financial details to be sensitive information and private. I am also willing to express my boundaries. I do not feel bad for standing by them either.

When two strangers meet, their respective boundaries are unknown. Maybe something will be said or done to reveal someone’s boundaries. When boundaries are expressed, it is important to respect them.

images

Whenever a guest arrives and proceeds to make conversation about what it must be like to be in the Airbnb business, what it must be like to be a host, what it is like to have strangers around, it seems the money question also comes up. What makes people think it is okay to ask a stranger about their financial situation? and make no mistake, you are asking about money and since I can only speak from my experience and I only know the intimate details of my situation and you are asking me- then yes, you are asking about my private business.

Do you know what it seems like. It seems like this……

Hi nice to meet you, how much money do you make?

  • Is Airbnb lucrative?
  • Are you able to cover the mortgage?
  • Do you have to have a second job?
  • How much do you get after Airbnb fees?

The answers to these questions are none of your business. When asked, I am put in the position of verbalizing my boundary, which sounds like….. Sorry, however we just met and I do not discuss my financial situation with strangers.

The gentlemen who asked me the lucrative question followed up my response with- Oh, I am not asking you about your money. We argued a little. Listen guy, yes, yes you are. Here is the definition of lucrative.

Some people feel bad after my boundary response, which puts me in the position of trying to smooth things out because they are guests in my home and I want them to feel comfortable. I have had to work really hard for this- a few times. My honest response brought an awkwardness to the situation that I felt fine about but I could tell my guest didn’t. They overstepped the bounds with their questions and now they feel bad because I responded honestly and shut down the conversation. Now I have to do the hard work to make it comfortable again.

In the future, think about what you’re asking, really think about it. If it requires divulging personal information then think twice asking a stranger about it.

The saying goes “Treat people how you want to be treated”. As much as I understand the lesson being conveyed, I think we should tweek it a bit to say- “Treat people how they would like to be treated.”