Timing

As I turned to you face you, your brown eyes glowed amber with the light of the moon.

“But why couldn’t you have realized you loved me before? Why now?”

“I always knew I’d love your forever, I just never knew I’d fall in love with you.” you said.

We sat there on the street curb beside my car, whispering our words in in the pale moonlight. Each word spoke only a whisper, but every word echoed deeply in my heart.

“I was in love with you, but now I know I’ll love you forever.” I replied.

As the word “was” hung heavily in the air, a single tear drop fell down my cheek.

Timing is everything.

Summer Camp

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Last weekend I participated in one of the most beautiful social experiments, Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults. I’ve been trying to put my experience in words, but I fear I am not doing it justice. After some deliberation, I’ve decided that my mission is not to do it justice, but to give you some understanding of my experience. The letter, below, is to my past self.

Dear Erin,

A few words of advice for the adventure you are about to embark on…

Camp Grounded is an overwhelming, unfamiliar, scary, exhilarating, inspiring, intoxicating, warm, welcome, and magical experience. As one moment falls into the next, take it all in. There are no schedules to tell you where to be, where you need to go, or who you need to be with. The first few hours will be overwhelming and constrictive not knowing.. but you must let go.

Let go. Be in the moment. Be in the place. Be the person. Be you. Because right now, you are exactly where you should be.

Be in the moment as the beautiful voice of Aloe Vera bounces off the rock walls as you and your collection of new friends, CoolJello, Lyn Winn, Pie, and Belly,  sit wiggling their toes the swimming hole. Feel the sun fall down the redwood trees as the energy of the group remains intoxicated by the songstress and her original songs.

Be in the moment as you find your place to rest in the yurt. Engage in the quiet and energizing conversation while sipping tea that smells like Christmas.  Talk to the Snow, Willy, Repeat, and Tzing like you’ve known them for years.. and feel like you have.

Be in the moment as you eat kale for the third meal in a row. Appreciate where this food has come from, the people who prepared it, and how it nourishes your body.

Be in moment in your playshop: Learn Islamic Folk Dance. Look at the faces around you and smile at your sweaty selves as you learn these new dances. Feel the hands you hold and trust they will help guide you into the next step.

Be in moment as you play a game of roshambo with 200 new friends… all to determine the honor of raising the camp flag that morning. Realize you do not need caffeine to function in the morning, but you do appreciate the way it jolts your mind and body into the new day.

Be in the moment as you dance to 80’s music in your neon green tulle skirt. Appreciate that you can do this without alcoholic beverages. Know that you didn’t because you snuck a few sips of bourbon with Gingerrr, making you feel 19 again.

There will be a lot of moments to cherish. You will probably not remember them all but you will remember the feeling and that is the most important.

You WILL remember one of the last people, Toes, that you met as you were checking out of camp.  He’ll ask you how your camp experience went…

You’ll have no answers for him. Your answer will be a hug. You will explain that the feeling of a hug is the best way to explain your camp experience and you’ll say…

“Thank you for being a part of my experience.”

Because sometimes there are no words.

And your optimistic self will shine as bright as it once was and you’ll be happy.

Safe travels Erin. You will have a blast,
Taloola E. Mazing

P.S. More eloquent words, by another camper:  Into the Woods and Away from Technology

Y U no Wifi?

Dear Alaska Flight 25 from Boston to Seattle,

Y U no Wifi?

Seriously?!? A five-hour flight with no wifi? That’s like.. like… living in 1985!

Oh, well. Thank the stars I had my Kindle. And double thank the stars I had a book loaded.

Sans Wifi, I got the chance to start reading Jay-Z’s Decoded. It was glorious reading without the constant distraction of text, Facebook, Email, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (again). I learned four things during that cross country flight.

1. I have a short attention span.
2. I need to beef up my vocabulary.

Jay-Z claims that a good rapper is story-teller, but above all a poet. I am inclined to agree and was amazed at how many SAT words peppered his memoir. Throughout the book, he places lyrics to songs weaving the story of his life. Seeing these lyrics leads me to the final two points:

3. I have been saying some lyrics wrong for years.
4. The correct lyrics actually change the entire song.

My mind was blown.

So, thank you Alaska Flight 25. You gave me the opportunity to do some reading and blow my mind.

Sincerely,
Erin

P.S. The top 250 most difficult SAT words.

A letter to my 30 year old self

Dear 30-year-old-Erin,

Two things:

1. Happy Birthday!
2. Buckle-up, Buttercup.

This will a tough year. You are  going to challenge yourself in work and school far beyond your comfort level. Your confidence will waver a bit and you are going to stress yourself into a rash. Take the time to figure out why you are stressed into a physical condition – you will probably realize that you are stressed out not because you are falling short of expectations but because you are only falling short of your own standards. Figure out why your standards are so flippin’ high! Some times, you’re going to need to chill the F out. Remember, a rash is never sexy.

Go on that vacation! See your old friend, Rhenee, in Florida. You will enjoy spending time with an old friend that you knew when you both rocked the cuffed jean shorts the first time. You will not only enjoy spending time with an old friend and her new family, you will also have those reflective conversations with someone that that you can only do with someone you consider family. Plus, the beach. You need some sun, girl!

This year will be chocked full of feelz. Embrace them. You will mourn the loss of a friend that touched your heart so quickly you thought you’d know her for years. You will watch a strong souled, co-worker battle cancer with a smile. And though all the tragic events, you will celebrate the union of two friends and watch the the growth of many other friend’s families. This change will seem like it’s happening all at once – but that is life. Sometimes things do happen all at once. You can not control that, the only thing you can control is how you react to it. Above all else, make sure to take it all in. You can not be a spectator in your own life.

And, Erin, please realize that you have surrounded yourself with awesome and wonderful people that care about you very much. If you need help, ask!

For gosh-shakes, remember to have fun! If it’s not for fun or love, what’s the point amIright!?!

Love,
Now-31-year-old-Erin

An Object of Beauty

Hey you,

Have you ever started reading something, just because you read something interesting about the author? Well, in my case it was prompted by this picture.

Oh, Steve Martin. You’re so silly.

And then I started reading An Object of Beauty. It was one of those great reads that you couldn’t get through fast enough.. even though you secretly despise the main focus, Lacey. Reading through, you’ll be exposed to some art history, sex, deceit, ladder climbing, and “Mean Girl” capers.

You’ll want to see a train wreck, but you’ll have to read to the last page to see if you actually get one.

Sincerely,
Erin

Holy moly, it’s almost spring!

Well, technically the Spring Equinox has already passed but we’re a little behind in the spring feels here in Seattle.

Good thing, because my behind has grown more than a little over the long winter months! It’s almost time for shorts, summer dresses, and tank tops. Eek!

Here’s the super delicious, colorful salad I’ll be chomppin’ on this week to get me in the spring mindset. And/or summer dress ready 🙂

Kale, Cranberry, Chickpea, and Edamame Salad
Adapted From: Shockingly Delicious

Dressing: Add all ingredients to mason jar and shake-shake-shake.

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tbs EVOO
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp  dried Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Salad: Add all ingredients into large salad bowl. Toss.

  • 4c Tuscan kale (remove ribs, they’re tough!), cut into long thin, strips
  • 1/2 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c edamame beans
  • Carrot shreds

Instructions:

  1. Add dressing to your salad bowl. Toss. 
  2. S&P to your taste

Notes:

  • Original recipe calls for mint and basil but I had neither and the salad was still tasty! I ate with a cup of peppermint tea instead.
  • Kale is super resilient and holds it shape even after after being dressed. I jarred a salad and ate it the next day and it was just as lovely!
  • Optional topping: grated parmesan.

Hooray for Spring!

Sincerely,
Erin