from early morning mountain trails -- complete with redwoods and oaks and eucalypts and dirt and bicycles and dogs and red cheeks in cold air -- to beach by harbor -- complete with sailboats and sailors and paddle boards and dogs and palm trees ... this is the northern california i know and love. the northern california i praise in my quietest moments, and my happiest moments.
that i can wear flip flops on a late november afternoon? i love norcal!
and not just because i grew up here. i've also lived in socal, and oregon, missouri, michigan, florida, france, greece and the lovely island of martinique.
but weather-wise? it just doesn't get any better than this. we get all four seasons, but nothing extreme. the atmosphere feels just right to me.
choosing new fabric. reupholstering. redecorating.
all in the name of change. wanting to remake the outer (in case that will help change the rest).
but i know that inner change takes more than picking out a new pattern. it means holding on to that pattern. and it especially means letting go of old patterns. and so, my new chair is a symbol, as well as a new resting place.
thank god for my friend P. she reminded me today, in the middle of a meltdown, that everything is not all good or all bad, not all light or all dark. there are always always always a myriad of things happening for us humans, even when it seems like sadness is all there is or will ever be.
and then tonight another friend called to tell me the exact same thing.
grateful for friends who take the time to listen, to buoy me.
and come to think of it, that's what this gratitude project is all about.
my neighborhood is halloween central. hill people come down to these flatlands for easier access to many homes close together. others come for the especially yummy treats: punch bowls for the adults and brimming candy bowls for the children. it's a costumed multi-block party. parking is tight.
in years past, i've hosted parties and given out candy for hours, decorated the front yard with frightening masks and eerie lights, all in the name of joining in the fun.
this year, i opted out.
a friend's child's jaw dropped when i told them i went to the movies on halloween. she must be an alien, her eyes said.
turns out, i merely did what i really wanted to do, gave myself permission to be different.
but i will never shy away from a gourd with a good stem.
these avian beings remind me of the rightness of coupledom. although not in a conversational mood, they still know they are tethered to another, their mate right nearby. noah was right.
single now for several years, my mind of course goes straight to the beginning of coupledom. and to that heart melting scene in the movie "eat pray love" when felipe can't stand another second without loving liz. he beholds her reading across the room, goes to her, removes the book from her hand and says matter-of-factly, "it's time."
i recently met a woman who, after her divorce, said she would not settle for anything less in her next partner than someone who "completely sees me." and she found him.
calling mr. soulmate man ... come see me. it's time.
that feeling of rest after, or in the middle of, working really really hard reminds me of what i'm grateful for today.
not for the resting. but for the working. for being completely engaged in what i'm doing for hours and hours. for waking before light, for leaving after dark. for the will. to work.
i always wanted to be a bonne vivante, someone who excels at dolce far niente ... the sweetness of doing nothing. but that's not me.
me? i love a good project. making a movie. preparing for an art show. moving house. hosting garage sales and big parties. starting a business. building a bar. anything that requires full-on, hardcore work for a finite amount of time until completion.
i was surely a peasant farmer in a former life.
and an italian aristocrat who expects to be served foamy lattes in another. but that's another story.
my parents gave me one of the greatest gifts ... the love of travel. i always loved how alive i became when travelling, all senses open, soaking in the wonder of a new place.
i realized quickly that my camera gave me that same sense of awe and interest, and i decided on a career in photojournalism because i knew it would offer me the opportunity to keep alive my interest in the world.
today i am grateful for that gift from my parents, and for what really sustains me and feeds my soul. looking. seeing. discovering. a face on a wall!
two days in to a four-day workshop on digital photography workflow. ingesting so much cutting edge technical information. and able to do so. very grateful for having the capacity to learn and grow. and unlearn what i no longer need. for knowing that, even at age fifty, i can still shift gears.
brand-new at this endeavor, sometimes it feels quite painful to aim my camera at myself. and i lose the learning.
still, i am grateful to have learned of this potentially very powerful tool, self portraiture. and i am grateful for my willingness to continue, even when i can't get beyond my own fearful thoughts.