Attachment

Portland 1/18/15Tonight is my last night in this beautiful building, and as I look out the window and my glorious city view through the pouring rain… I realize, I have no attachment to this place as my home.  I never did develop a sense of solidity here.  

Its funny.  The more I learn through the teachings of yoga, we are taught to move toward non-attachment in many aspects of our lives, and I find myself being more able to separate from having a hope or desire for outcomes to be a certain way, yet … I almost feel that it is a very odd thing to not be somehow … perhaps, emotionally? … connected to the place where you rest your head at night.  To where you sleep, eat, keep prized possessions, and find sanctuary from the world outside.

Something in me never … bonded with this home.  This apartment truly is beautiful.  And it has this lovely, fantastically cozy bench in the kitchen with a radiator under it, so it is (almost) always warm.  And the view.  (Have I mentioned the view?)  I mean, really.  This is kind of unreal:

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And so cozy.

I will miss the vintage golden-yellow of the building that while standing in my kitchen made it almost possible for me to imagine I was standing in Italy…  Almost.  (I think it’s time stop almost imagining, and take a real trip to Italy).

I am excited about my new home.  I somehow feel grounded in that space.  I wanted it two years ago when I first discovered this building, and now I have achieved my home in this wonderful place, where I hope to find some peace and contentment.

with joy and happiness in being where we are…
~Alaina

The Best of Intentions, Rain, and A View

As I sit here in the nook of my kitchen, on the radiator warmed bench at eight o’clock in the evening on Thursday night, I know I should be packing.  My intention for the evening was to make at least one trip over to my new apartment (yes, to those of you who know me, I am moving again) to transport some of the little things that I can fit in my pint-size vehicle.  But when I got home from work, my stomach growling – reminding me I need to eat, I got out the leftover soup which is basically the last bit of food left in my refrigerator, and set it to warm on the stove.  Immediately, the desire to bake biscuits to go with my dinner hit me.   I found a recipe to reference, throwing together a mish-mash of different gluten-free flours to make this last-minute addition come to fruition.

This week at work has been a little overwhelming, and trying to spend my evenings working to move my home… It really brings up the urge to bake!  I get so much joy out of creating food, and somehow it is incredibly relaxing, so I tend to give in when inspired (last night I made cookies).

Now having eaten my delicious, purple soup (this is what happens when you throw all the vegetables in your fridge into a pot with some water and rice, and one of the veggies is a purple cabbage), and indulging in three gluten-free biscuits with lavender pear fig jam, I listen to the falling Splat! of the rain draining off the roof of my building, and the desire to go anywhere has vanished.

I really am looking forward to this new place; somehow I feel like this is some kind of “reset” button on my life, and I am excited to see what kind of changes come out of this new home.

I will, however, miss this view:

city view PDX

I guess I’ll have to go running uphill in the morning to find my own view!  Like this one: (unfortunately for me, the lot overlooking this section of Portland is now for sale – fortunately for the future home owner, there is an incredible city-scape laid out before the lot)

Pre-dawn lights from Tuesday's early run
Pre-dawn lights from Tuesday’s early run

So tonight, at 8:38pm, warm, fed, and pretty tired, although deterred by the rain, I will make my trek.  One small trip, if only because I promised myself that I would, and I know it will provide me a small sense of accomplishment (and avoid all those upset-at-self feelings).

How do you stay motivated when the rain has you down?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and welcome you to leave a comment below.

with joy,
Alaina

P.S. As I wrote that last line committing to venture out in the wet, it started pouring.
…Where are my boots…?

Saturday Evening Race to the Top

Saturday morning I awoke to the most colorful, layered sunrise sky I have seen from my new apartment (I apologize for not capturing that gloriousness in a photo – will do next time!).  For some unknown reason, I sat up with a start early-ish this lovely weekend morning. Perhaps because the time was 7am and my body usually experiences the 6am wake-up alarm of the M-F routine, or because Saturdays are reserved for the group run, which commences promptly at 8am, and a little worry may have crept into my sleeping brain that I might soon be missing something important.

Last weekend, Saturday’s agenda took an unusual path.  I was meeting my sister for breakfast in the suburbs, and going to a baby shower a little farther yet from home.  And I was nervous.  Why, you ask?  Because I was driving outside of the city…

To most people, this will seem a little dramatic.  But to tell you the truth, I was a little terrified.  I have only had my driver’s license for a little over a year, and a car to drive for less than three months.  (Yes, I am a grown adult and nearly 32 years of age – I’m just a little late to jump into the vehicle game).

and I had NEVER driven on the freeway alone…

I knew the easiest, and most time effective, method of getting to my destination meant driving on one of those multi-lane, 50 mph and faster highways with crazy people speeding, merging, and darting around me.  I was…

TERRIFIED!

My morning progressed slowly, meaning by the time I walked out my door, I was running late, and since the back roads were going to take about 26 minutes, I needed to save myself ten minutes and take the highway.  So I sucked it up, got in my car, and drove right onto the highway ramp.  I drove my little car down the big, scary road, and you know what?  It really wasn’t that bad, after all.

Also, I am eternally grateful for the little voice in my phone that tells me where to go.  (Thank you Apple!)

I had a lovely breakfast with my sister, we discussed baby shower details – Yes, I am going to be an Auntie! – and then we decided to wander and shop at a surprisingly nearby mall.   (There is a possibility I have missed this from my teen years).  It’s incredible how close things become when you can drive to different locations in mere minutes.

New adorable flats in hand (the Jeffrey Campbell “In Love” flats – a la Miss Meers, my favorite shoe boutique from the college years), I hugged my sis and was off to a friend’s baby shower.  We played games, munched on some delicious food, and guessed if the baby was a pink bow or a blue bow.  They had been keeping their little one’s gender secret for many weeks… and the reveal came just three and a half weeks before baby is expected!  I picked a pink bow to pin to the board, and … I guessed right! Woohoo!  (Yes, I am very proud of guessing correctly – two of three recent births… one still TBD).  I am very excited for this little person to join the lives of my good friend and her husband, and can’t wait to meet her!

After all the congratulating and asking to be notified of when and how it goes, we all left in our vehicles… I was excited to get home and get to my run!

I really wanted to catch the view of Portland before the sun set, and since I was heading out the door after 5pm, I knew I had little time.   Choosing to take the most direct route to my favorite overlook of the city, I went straight up the hill… as fast as I could without making myself sick, that is.  And the view was lovely, of course.

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On my way back down the hill, and toward the waterfront, the sky turned red…

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Once I reached the waterfront, the sun was fading from the sky, and night began to envelop the city.   A blue hue fell over the water and clouds.  I was greeted by a very large flock of birds floating near the water’s edge.

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The night was beautiful.  Dry, quiet, and water so still; a mirror reflecting the city back upon herself.  Dazzling even to those who hadn’t just run eight miles, I’d wager.

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In the next few weeks, I will be increasing again, training for the Newport Marathon.  It’s crazy how quickly these dates catch up to us – this marathon at the end of May will be my “longest run” (or one of my longest runs) in preparation for a 50K in July – The Siskiyou Outback.  Part of me can not believe I have chosen to challenge my mind and body in that race, the other part is thoroughly excited.  🙂

A shorter race is upcoming before these two long races. In March, I’ll be tackling the Shamrock with a bunch of friends, running the 15K.  I have never actually run in this race, despite having registered on two separate previous occasions.  I look forward to finally running amidst all the green attire and silly Leprechaun get-ups.  Thinking about this race, I’m wondering if I should have some kind of strategy for race day.  I’d love to hear from you – how do you plan for race-day?  What is your strategy?

All my best to you out on the trails, roads, puddle jumping, and sliding through snow…
Happy running!
~Alaina

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Find this and other motivational quotes Here (credit Runnersworld.com)

New Beginnings

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Dreamy View

As I shuffle around my apartment, the one I found five years ago with the stunning view and immediately idolized as absolutely perfect, wrapping beloved trinkets, boxing up a mish-mash assortment of stoneware, and removing art from the soft, grey walls, I stand at the brink of a huge shift.  Leaving the home I always dreamed of, down-sizing and moving into the unfamiliar, my understanding of what my life looks like in the future is changed to a blank, forcing me to simply be present, here and now, knowing I am shifting.

For years, it has been my habit to turn on Sex and the City (on perpetual repeat) as “background noise” while I putter and clean or cook, and today is no different.  The episode currently playing “I Heart NY” is the one where Big leaves New York, leaving Carrie without her good friend, and the man she has loved.  I reminisce of my Big Love, years ago, my college flame… my Chad.  My best friend.  My biggest critic, and simultaneously the most encouraging person in my life.  When I was with Chad, I learned that I had a capacity for creativity that exceeded anything I ever dreamed possible.  And he knew it was in me.  

I do not think I would have finished my degree in Apparel Design if Chad had not been in my life.  Changing from Meteorology to Apparel Design was a huge leap – and I remained uncommitted to the field entering my senior year.  I really felt like I was goofing off – going so far as to say to others that I was majoring in “arts and crafts”.  yikes

What I didn’t notice while I was taking these Apparel courses was that I applied myself. I found myself thinking that the work was easy, silly even, but throughout each new class I chose to do the work.  I enjoyed what I was being asked to do, felt like I was good at it, and consequently, excelled.  When I was taking Physics and Calculus,  you would be hard pressed to find me with my nose to the book completing the mutli-variable story problems.  While enrolled in my Patternmaking class, you could find me at the studio classroom past midnight completing assignments, listening to Top 40, and singing my heart out.  I found joy in this path, and I only stumbled upon the idea of this as a career because of Chad. 

Chad was an Apparel Design major from the start.  Well, he also planned to major in German, added minors in Russian and Merchandise Management, and finished with another Bachelors in International Studies.  He was focused, driven, extremely intelligent, hilarious, my personal lecturer, and my best friend.  I adored him. 

Because of some personal differences and ideas, we went our separate ways, yet always remained friends. He went out-of-state to pursue his Masters in Apparel Design, and then moved even farther away to get his Doctorate – Graduating Doctor of Philosophy, Apparel Track: Product Development Emphasis.  Chad always did want to teach, and this summer after graduating he secured his first ever Professorship in Louisiana.

He came to town around the fourth of July this year, and I was fortunate to get to spend Wednesday evening over dinner with him.  Since it had been over a year since we last got together, there was a lot to catch up on, but his first order of business was going to the hat store.  He had been on a mission to get a hat for a while, insistent that I go with him to pick it, and schedules not aligning previously made this the golden opportunity.  We stopped at Goorin Bros to get the perfect “teacher” hat.  It looked like the kind of hat my Grandpa used to wear.  It was adorable, a fact I quickly reassured him of when his sister taunted him saying it was a “newsie cap”.  We went to a nearby restaurant for some food, and each had burgers and enjoyed the summer air at our little bistro table on the sidewalk.

While I sat with him listening to the all he has achieved over the years, and with the finality of reaching his goal, seeing how happy that made him, I found myself smiling and congratulating him.  I was so proud of him.  He had a tenacity that was contagious while we worked side by side in college, but it was not something I have ever had on my own.  Such a thirst for knowledge and the desire to help others in their learning, plus the skill to apply those two things together was truly admirable.  Chad was an incredible teacher, he taught me so much.

We said our goodbyes early that evening, ending with a big hug which I did not want to end.  It was so good to see him after so long.  There are those people in our lives who when we are with them, we feel at home, and Chad was definitely home to me.

The next day, he sent me a video of his nephew playing with his dog – so sweet.  I remember feeling bad that I couldn’t respond properly since I was out with friends for dinner on the fourth of July.  I still feel guilty for that.

The following Monday, I got a call from Chad’s oldest sister letting me know that he had passed away on Saturday of a heart attack.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  I was at work, furiously taking notes about where the funeral would be while blinded by tears, talking with a sister I did not know, and hearing that my friend was gone.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and speaking from recent experience, I know this to be true.  Chad and I dated for six years off and on throughout college, and he has become the man I have compared all potential suitors against for the last seven years.  I have not experience the same kind of relationship I had with him since ours ended.  And in July, I learned that I hadn’t given up on the idea of someday.

I was still holding on to the possibility that maybe we would be together again, and it would all work out… and as long as he was still in the world, I could imagine living on campus somewhere, teaching art while he teaches design, a vision of the life we could have had.  But here I was, forced to accept it could never be.  And it made me reassess some of my own beliefs and values.

Sometimes, I think, as single people, we get caught up in the specific things about what a person does.  We may have different habits, careers, or hobbies which make us logically incompatible, and we put less emphasis on how we feel when we are with someone.  When I was with Chad, I felt loved, cared for, appreciated, encouraged, and feminine.  In my later experience, I have gone on dates with other men with whom I have much more in common, yet in the end I end up feeling no connection, empty, belittled, and awkward.  The question becomes not what does someone do, but how are they with you, and how do you feel with them?

Lesson 1: Spend time with people who make you feel good being yourself, and for whom you do the same.

Lesson 2: Always make time for people you care aboutAnswer the email from Grandma, call your sister back, send a text with more than a ” 🙂 ” to the man who was the love of your life.

Because you may not have the chance to send another message.

These days, I’m learning to make time for friends, family, and myself, and I have seen a true shift in perspective in my own life and how I spend my moments alone or with others.  Quality time is certainly a priority.  And lastly…

Lesson 3: Spend time doing what you love.  Not all careers or hobbies sound practical, and the truth of the matter is, if something brings you joy, it will feed your soul and give you a sense of purpose that simply pursuing “making money” cannot fulfill.

Chad will always remain in my heart; the man I loved, whom I saw myself laughing with much later into life.  His dedication and enthusiasm will inspire me for the rest of my time on Earth to do my best, remain true to myself, and to always go after my dreams.

As I step out of my “dream apartment,” move across the river, and take stock of my life, I know that all will be well, as long as I continue pursuing my passion, and keep moving forward.

with love,
~Alaina

Thank you, Chad, for all you have given me.  You are dearly missed.

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Chad and I, Freshman year.