Get Out of The Way, It's Coming.

Thanksgiving is barely over and already here it is...Christmas everywhere. A little too soon for me, but since I have no say in the timing, go there I must.

Each year we bundle up with friends and watch the Elk Grove Christmas Parade and each year I am so happy at how old school and small-townish it is...girl scouts dressed as Christmas presents and angels, vintage cars festooned with snowflake stickers and sparkly lights, a float celebrating folks who raise seeing eye dogs, firetrucks, a high school marching band followed by concentrating-hard baton twirlers. It's our own miniature Disney Light Parade. We bring our folding chairs and a thermos of coffee and cheer each group as they pass by. Chloe and her friends sit on blankets chattering in between forays to scurry into the street after tossed candy; I take pictures and watch quietly, thinking of the memories being created, childhood unfolding.

Plus, there are dogs wearing lights running in a circle. How much better could it be?

NowThisLife.com - Elk Grove Parade Car


House Fantasies

Yesterday, Ron and I rode a rollercoaster ride of house fantasy...living close to Chloe's school, a short commute, a smaller, easier, less expensive house with hardwood floors and a front porch and a garden in the yard. We toured model homes in El Dorado Hills (which has absolutely nothing to do with what we would be looking for but was where we were waiting to pick up Chloe from a sleepover) and talked about what it would be like to drive less and garden more, to be so close to everything, to not pay all the maintenance and upkeep that our big suburban house requires. We perused smart phone apps searching for available houses and then came home and computer blitzed the same. We found some nice prospects, with some open houses to visit today, and we managed to freak out our poor daughter with even the idea of moving. We facebook messaged for an hour after we both went to bed and it was so fun to have a little adventure together. To not feel so settled; to see possibilities still open to us when at this stage of life it's so easy to feel a bit like the doors are all locked and the directions chosen.

I seem to do this every year when the days get short...I start imagining a different life, a complete upheaval, a fresh start. And then, right on cue, I wake up.

Just to let you in on my fantasy, here's some houses I picture. None of these, mind you, would be in our price range in the neighborhoods we would like to be in...of course.

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

photo | David Sawyer

Predictably, after I finally closed up my lap top and turned off the lights, the reality started setting in and I couldn't sleep. How to leave behind Chloe's wonderful friends next door where she skates back and forth so easily, squealing with happiness in both of our back yards, and out front, in the park, cartwheeling and climbing trees. Leaving Therese and our walks and talk therapy. Goodbye to our park and lake and field just across the street for Teddy and I each morning, my favorite moments of the day. No egrets or goslings or baby turtles or muskrats and beavers swimming. No white goose, no glimpses of skinny hipped coyotes moving away from us in the field. No neighbors to wave to that we've known for seventeen years, and farewell to all the neighborhood dogs I know by name. No bonus room for Chloe and friends to escape to with their noise and their tween secrets, or for Ron's Jets games. No office for me; where would my piano go, and how about my much loved just-remodeled-four-years-ago kitchen? My mom miles away instead of just down the street, her trampoline and support much harder to visit. No pool filled with laughter and rising voices in the summer.  How about the squirrels in the back yard and the birds that we feed? How about my collection of green and blue vases or all of my seasonal wreaths and stakes for the front yard? No staircase where I kneeled in labor with Chloe, no backyard where Ron and I said our vows in front of our family and friends and we danced with KD the magic dog and Kayla the puppy. How about those same pets buried under the roses?

How could we possibly leave all of this?

For a shorter commute and some money saved?

Maybe someday there will be some place that could pull us away, that we all will walk into and say, yes, this is it, this somehow calls us. There would have to be some powerful magic there to make me say goodbye to this place where my family, and my heart, live.

Today, we'll enjoy the open houses and most likely come home happily grateful for all that we have here. Bruised and battered by dogs and humans that our house is, located in Elk Grove where maybe the property values aren't going in the best direction long term, it is home. It truly is beautiful in the spring when all of my roses put on their very best show. This picture was taken a few years ago when the paint was fresher, the slate path newer, the landscape a little less overgrown. Still, today, it is lovely.

Deliciously, that doorway of beckoning possibility, of the unknown, is open. And that, in itself, is a gift.


Elk Grove Farmer's Market | Fall Edition

Such a perfect fall day...sunshine, a bit of chill in the air in the morning and evening but warm during the height of the day, blue sky, time to spend as we wished. So nice.

First stop, Elk Grove's Saturday morning Farmer's Market...every Saturday, rain or shine, all year. I haven't been in a while and it was fun to see how much the selection had changed with the season. Fall in full force...squash of every variety, bok choy, so-fresh-the-leaves-squeak lettuces and kales, plump little carrots, beets and radishes, walnuts, huge ruby red grapefruits, persimmons, deep red sliced open to show the seeds pomegranates, broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro. And, sunflowers.

Plus, a new booth of organic, humane certified, cheese from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese. With samples. The State Fair Gold Ribbon Winning Sage Cheddar? The Firehouse Jack with its fabulous bite? Yes, please.

NowThisLife.com - Bok Choy

NowThisLife.com - Broccoli

NowThisLife.com - Carrots

NowThisLife.com - Fall Bounty

NowThisLife.com - Spring Hill Cheese

NowThisLife.com - Spring Hill Jersey Cheese

NowThisLife.com - Winter Squash & Lemons

NowThisLife.com - Radishes & Beets

NowThisLife.com - Sunflowers

NowThisLife.com - Walnuts

NowThisLife.com - Farmer's Market Stall

NowThisLife.com - Hiding Pumpkin

Such a nice start to the weekend.


On Stillness and That Small Voice

The weather has turned...dark at five o'clock, today the first rain arrived. Not that cold, but definitely time for boots and cardigans and a scarf looped around my neck. With the dark comes a change in my mood, always. A reflective change, a going inwards, sometimes to places that feel dark themselves.

This year though, I am trying to find the light inside through whatever means I can. Yoga is helping...Therese and I go on Sundays now to a much loved class, which is a mixture of Yoga and meditation. Last week we did twenty eight sun salutations and I felt so amazing when I made it through all of them, with a vibrancy and a fullness in my heart and body. It was challenging, yes, but also wonderful. Then stretching and that lovely final reward of Savasana, my legs propped up on a bolster, a woven blanket over me, my mind finally quiet.

Also, of course, books. Ed Bacon has written a book, The Eight Habits of Love, and I am reading it slowly, trying to take it in instead of just buzzing through it like I tend to do. He writes of finding the stillness, in whatever way you need to get there, of its rejuvenating power, its necessity. And I do find it in yoga, in my walks, in my writing. This is the first time I've sat down to write in ages, a gift I am giving myself. An iced tea, a grilled cheese sandwich with spinach at Old Soul at the Weatherstone, sitting on the well worn leather sofa with my macbook in my lap. My feet are up on the bottom rung of the coffee table and my soul is at peace. Surrounded by music and people, still. It is truly lovely. Chloe is in acting class and instead of going back to work, or to Bernado or Tower, I came here, to somewhere that truly feeds me.

I've not written on my blog in so long...scared away by GOMI and fear of revealing too much. Busy with Teddy and all that he has brought into our lives, tired at night. But it's feeling like the window is opening again in a small way. I am feeling a little touch of sunlight sneaking through here, beckoning me. I know it's not about writing for other people or growing an audience of readers. Somehow it's about this, right here, finding my center and maybe sharing that.

Also, gratitude. I've been needing to go there so badly, to focus on what is working, on being kind to people, to myself. Teddy is really doing so much better, and there are moments on our morning walks around the big field when I feel transcendent when I look into his eyes in a watch me. When I see him frolicking in such apparent and overwhelming joy and I am allowed to witness, to share in it with him. Or when he curls up next to my body at night, pressed tight against me. When sometimes he puts his big head on my shoulder or on the pillow next to me and I can feel his breath. Happiness.

NowThisLife.com - Teddy

I am wanting more soul time in my life. This morning I heard a radio show, just a snippet of it, where Cheryl Richardson suggested writing out questions...what do you want, which of those are things you think you should want, what does your soul want? I need to spend some time pondering those things and finding a way to fit more of what I truly want into my life and filtering out some of the other. I spend so much time shopping and picking up our house, commuting and being worn out at the end of the day that it isn't conducive to how I really would choose to spend my time. I think it's just a click here and there that will make it better, not a whole life overhaul, although heaven knows my mind likes to go there. To that fantasy of my little house downtown and growing my organic vegetables and fruit trees and volunteering with dogs, of living with much less. And maybe there is some of that I can incorporate, while still valuing the things that I do have, the people who I have chosen to love. I just need to spend some time thinking on it, give myself some space to go there.

This, tonight, is a start. There can be more of this. More time to write and reflect. A choice is all it is. A choice to take care of myself, to value that small voice inside of me, to let it out.

It feels wonderful.
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