Friday, August 17, 2012


I've really felt the urge to be connecting with people lately. I always feel best when I'm with  my close friends or family and really connecting. Everyone is present, sharing what's happening in their lives and listening intently. There is an easy, relaxing flow of back and forth.

I grew up with a community like that around me all of the time. As a young kid my mother and I* lived upstairs from her best friend, Sharon. Sharon had 5 kids of her own and it was a smorgasbord of fabulous kid fun growing up. My mom's other best friend lived across the street, and there were always parties, pot-lucks and gatherings. Us kids spent most of those gatherings doing serious spy-work, reporting back to command and conducting secret missions to swipe more cookies off the dessert table. We lived in a world that felt fully independent, completely our own for the making and endlessly fun.

It's this kind energy in a group that makes me feel most at peace and happy. Everyone is together and at ease. No one is overbearing or dominating the conversation. People flow in and out of conversations with each other. If there are kids**, they are running around with the collective group's eye on them, but no one parent hovering.

I've always been after this elusive community feeling. In my 20's I started "church shopping." This was not so much because I wanted to find God, but I because I felt like church offered a sense of community that can be so hard to find these days. In college, I loved coming home to the knit shop my mom, aunts and grandmother used to go to. All of the women would sit around the center table, knitting, talking and laughing. Even now, I go to regular yoga classes and yoga retreats to see the same smiling yogi faces and feel a part of a community.

I'm starting to toy with the idea that instead of looking for community and finding it in something else, that maybe I should start creating it myself. I'm not sure what that means or how to do it, but I'm thinking I'll make it my secret mission - perhaps I can enlist some serious young spies to help me out...

*My mother was a single mom, but don't worry, my dad is the bees knees and rocked the whole dad thing entirely. In fact, I have an abundance of amazing parents. More on that another time.
**For the most part, there aren't many kids at my friend gatherings right now, but I have a feeling that is going to change soon and fast!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Me + coffee

I drank a small cup of decaf coffee at work yesterday and felt crazy jumpy. I kept alt + tabbing through all the open programs on my computer, never landing on one decided plan of action.

Coffee and my personality don't mix all that well. This is too bad, really, because I love coffee. I love the cozy, comforting smell. I love how artful it looks, especially those beautiful lattes you get at pretentious coffee shops. There is something relaxing and luxurious about the idea of drinking coffee.

This is not my reality of drinking coffee, however. I get super jittery and so anxious to do something that I can't actually decide on what to do. Therefore I get nothing done which makes me more anxious. I get impatient with co-workers and start cutting them off to get to the point faster. (I generally feel guilty about this snippiness later and curse that gorgeous cup of coffee!) My former roommate used to say she could tell by my emails during the day whether I'd had a cup of coffee.

The funny thing is if I am on vacation these angsty side-effects of coffee disappear. I can drink multiple cups in a day. I can have a fully caffeinated cappuccino after dinner and still sleep. (The explanation for this may be multiple glasses of wine before said cappuccino).

coffee + me + work = jumpy mess
coffee + me + vacation = relaxed lady of luxury

I suppose this is just another reason to look forward to vacation. Italy, here I come!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is it local?

I recently read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. She is a wonderful writer. I've read her fiction but this was the first non-fiction of hers I had read - just as readable and engaging! In this book, she and her family vow to eat only locally for one full year and she documents that experience. It is very inspiring and surprisingly doable.

Now, I'm super focused on buying local when I can. I've started going to the farmer's market on Saturdays. I buy everything I can there and then head to Trader Joe's to pick up the staple items you can't get at the market.

Not only does it feel good to be eating well, but it's also just a fun experience going to the market. It's always packed with people. Everyone seems so happy. The vendors are happy customers are there. The customers are happy they are making good choices. And everyone is outside and chatting! It's an old-fashioned community experience that is so rare these days.

Of course, one must be careful not to go too far with the local thing. Sometimes I fear I'm getting a little too close to this Portlandia sketch. Enjoy!