I missed last year! And the year before! Both drafts are immortalized as drafts. Things happen that way and I’ve found – as I age – it is often best to give in than to muscle through.
My birthday weekend began with a snowshoe into my friend’s cabin with girlfriends. We pulled our gear up a super steep hill, making that mountaintop beer so so delicious.
We came up in a few rounds, the first being myself and Amanda (my extraordinary co-worker who kept shouting “team-building exercise!” which never failed to make me laugh). At the very top, we were tired and happy and I unlatched my hip belt, let my grip off my sled just as the pitch turned downhill. All my stuff sailed down a near-vertical slope, off a huge rock and into oblivion. Amanda told me later that I stood there in total silence; I didn’t say a word as I watched all my clothes, food and gear fly down by the old mountain lion den.
We got it all back. There was no staying upright to get down there so I slid on my butt on the snow and mud, gripping tree roots and branches to keep my speed down. The hike up was exceptionally difficult because I didn’t want to do it more than once so I shoved each bag uphill inch by inch, involuntarily grunting at the effort. And regretting packing in a cast iron pot. Amanda tried to lower straps to help me but the whole ungraceful (and hilarious) fiasco couldn’t be helped. The avocado and apples were obliterated but the vodka and camera held up. Team building exercise!
Once we were all there, we cleaned the cabin, chopped wood, started the generator and settled in for two days of bananagrams, hikes, fabulous food and storytelling. My friends surprised me with a full length butter yellow chiffon ball gown to wear. It was a size 4 and the gaping space in the back just added to the energy of my immediate alter ego. She was a little bit Beyoncé and a little bit Fraggle. My girlfriends also each packed in sparkles and we danced and danced and danced in the tiny cabin in the middle of starry, moonlit wilderness.
I often think about setting the tone for an experience — to be thoughtful about what I hope to achieve. Not an outcome, but a vibe. Some people choose a word to guide them, I choose feelings. When we identify what we hope to feel, our actions will naturally support the goal.
Last week my yoga teacher asked us to set an intention for our practice that day. Immediately, I thought of the word success. It surprised me a bit, that word. But I quickly made sense of it. Success in that space, in my body; I sought to achieve a satisfying and rich hour on my rectangular mat. To feel successful without comparison or worry. To be. With my body, both corporal and spiritual.
On the mountain with friends I started the adventure with the intention to feel at ease and alive. On the hike out, I smiled at the fun I’d had, at the strength and connection to people and the planet. Effervescent, fallible, messy, successful in just showing up.
So I am here this year on my 38th birthday with 38 things I love right now.
- Flipping my pillow in the middle of the night to reveal a fresh, cool surface.
- Cooking with Ruby.
- My lover’s winter mountain man beard and his spring shaved face.
- My lips fit perfectly on my daughter’s eyelids.
- My new exercise routine. I joined a gym a few months ago and go to four classes a week (pilates, yoga, weight lifting). I feel strong and energized and tall and fast. I have stomach muscles again. Holy, I needed this.
- Taking heaps of stuff to the thrift store.
- Taking risks.
- Eye contact.
- Day old braids.
- Warming by the fire, inside and outside.
- Them, in their bedroom together in the mornings – readying, talking, arguing, sharing.
- Making our new kitchen messy with real life.
- Birds on our feeder.
- Working on my next thing: We are partnering with other makers and releasing a new online storefront called Dig + Co. Co = Company, Collaborators. The store will feature well-designed, handmade objects that support adventuring, homesteading and artful living. Have something we should know about? Tell us!
- My new essential oil diffuser.
- Walking to school with my kids.
- Ordering seeds.
- Ruby still, at six, wants to be held all the time. I felt frustrated the other day and she said, “Mama I just want to be so close to you.”
- My friend’s hand balm.
- Collecting eggs.
- Those two freckles on Margot’s left brow.
- Last fall’s cross-country adventure with my daughters.
- The books I made for them for Christmas documenting our trip.
- Dreaming about where we will go this fall. (Yes: I plan to do another October car adventure with my daughters!)
- This space. This time capsule, accessible with a click.
- Talking to Margot on the chairlift. She tells me every detail of everything in her world and asks the best questions.
- Planning for my husband’s dream concert that we recently got tickets for: two days, Pearl Jam, Wrigley Field. It all makes zero financial sense but when he was losing sleep over wishing so badly it could happen, it all made 100% financial sense. What do we work so hard for? I asked him. Let’s do it.
- Tumeric Twirl tea.
- Our pets.
- Teaching art in my kids’ classrooms.
- People who try hard for betterment in this world.
- This gift from a friend: an antique cake pan full of dirt and grass seed. The most hopeful thing.
- Jeggings from H&M.
- All the jumping rope that happens around here.
- Learning new things with my kids.