A BEER AND A MESS

The Astoria trip started rough.  The drive over was peaceful enough, my parents headed over earlier with H.  I drove separate because I had to work.

We checked in and walked over to a local pub/restaurant to eat, we were all hungry.  H included, I sat down in a chair next to a plastic skeleton (seemed it was not a waiting area as I had thought at first, but a beer display of sorts) to feed him and managed to knock over a large beer, what I would call a 40.  It crashed and sizzled majestically, every eye in the place peeled over to me.  My, what I’m just trying to feed my baby impression didn’t go over smoothly.  Only the bar maid sent to wipe up had a kind word, “It happens all the time.”  Much irony over the embarrassment of the alcoholic spilling beer.

An hour later we were seated.  We had to remind the server of the soups we ordered in between his rude jokes and long chats with the table next to us.  We had no salt and he tried to argue with us about it while clawing through the condiment holder before grudgingly handing us one.  More stuff happened, but hey it was the end of President’s day weekend, the place was a zoo, of course the service would be harried and spotty.  The whole ordeal just made me feel so itchy in my own skin in a way I haven’t for so long.  Those stares.  The idea in my head that the server was just being shitty because I was the one that caused that beer to drop.  The humiliation in front of my parents, two people’s opinions of me that sometimes weighs heavier than a sack of gold on my shoulders.   My step-dad asked to pay for the beer multiple times.  Each time my ears burned.

I’ve done a lot of work around not saying sorry for everything, and especially not sorry for things I’m not responsible for.  If I don’t know the line I will stay silent until I do.  I was afraid after it happened that me not making a big deal about it or over apologizing would be interpreted as snobbishness or entitlement.  Or, worse than that:  I wasn’t sorry that I had created a mess in the middle of a busy restaurant that would cause someone to clean up after me.

It staggers me to witness other human beings creating messes or making mistakes without feeling overly bad about it.  Why? These individuals are no doubt far healthier than I.   Why did I have it so ingrained within me to be sorry for my very existence?  I have gotten better at it, detachment.  It seems that I have much more work on this to do.

The trip was a dream after that.  The pier next to our hotel housed my favorite spot, a coffee nook called, Coffee Girl.  Since H still loves to wake up at 5am he and I were the lone customers at Coffee Girl when they opened at 7.  Me being too bleary did not take my camera either morning.  It was magical, the sun was out both days and made the water in the Columbia a pinky-blue.  Coffee Girl is on the end of the pier so you have the feeling that you are in a boat when you look out their windows.  The coffee and snacks were amazing.

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We hiked up The Column which was a, er, well column.  The views at the top were gorg, it was very windy so we stayed for only about 5 minutes before heading back down.  You can buy wooden planes in their gift shop and watch them float down.

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The Column. Creative name, eh?

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The views from up top:

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See The Column’s shadow?

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The weather was truly amazing.  The whole place has such mystical connection with so much water, whether it be the Pacific or the Columbia.  Everywhere you look and everything you see seems to just be an accessory to the great blue.  We passed by one sign that read, Cape Disappointment.  My parents said the area was known for bulk shipwrecks.  My step-dad said Lewis and Clark wrote about being depressed here because it was so gray and cold all of the time (paraphrasing with much liberty there!).  We crossed over the bridge into Washington.  The Long Beach Peninsula is a theoretical death trap, if the big tsunami hit everything would be destroyed.

It was uncanny to tour around such a supposed perilous area in such bright dreamy weather.  Besides a chilling bite in the morning and at night it might as well be San Diego.  Okay so that’s a little stretch…

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A shipwreck’s remains.

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I was glad my parents stayed a long time the first day (they just stayed one night, H and I two).  We went back to Astoria to walk around, visit the Clatsop County Jail that now houses the Oregon Film Museum which was in the beginning of the movie, Goonies, and for a late lunch.  Goonies!  Best movie ever.  It is our time.  Our time down here…

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We ate (much better experience this time) at the Silver Salmon Grille.  What beats good food, crayons and white paper tablecloths?  Very fun.  They have an annual coloring contest and professional looking pictures of past winners line their walls.

So Astoria was a beautiful mess of life on life’s terms.  On our way back we stopped by my step-sisters house to pick up more party decorations.  I can’t believe H’s birthday is in less than two weeks!

I have decided too that I need to step up my contrary action game.  The whole mind spiral after spilling the beer was not cool, I have to make AA more of a priority.  I’m meeting with my sponsor on Tuesday and I went to a meeting yesterday.  I felt such a peace when I was there, the dude next to me showed me the page they were on in, As Bill Sees It.  He didn’t have to, he doesn’t know me, but that’s what AA is.  I just have to do the opposite of what I want sometimes as far as my sobriety is concerned.  It’s not about feeling or looking good.  It’s about not drinking.  I made a pie chart at a home group I go to and showed it to my friend.  It was not cool.  Most of the pie was family, H, and work.  A tiny slice was yoga and an even tinier slice AA.

I managed one yoga class last week since we were on the trip.  I had a magic moment while lowering down from plank when I felt super human.  I remember that yoga super human feeling!  I look forward to more.  I signed my work trade agreement and submitted for full payment for teacher training.  Work has surprisingly gotten much better, they asked me to stay two days a week while I go through the training and then we would evaluate what to do when I complete.  The Higher Power works all things out, the best of both worlds for now.  I almost walked out on the job a couple of weeks ago and I let my sponsor talk me down from that ledge.  I’m grateful today that I listened to her.

I am grateful for my sobriety, H, my family, and life.  I have an overwhelming feeling nowadays that I want to grab opportunity and shake it to see what pops out.  Before AA I never had even the shadow of a feeling like that.  I know that if I just continue doing the deal that everything will be okay.  Maybe messy, but okay.

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SINCE HE CAME

This time last year I was pregnant.  This time last year I think I lived a very luxurious lifestyle, sleeping in until 8 or 9, venturing into Portland for prenatal yoga classes, stopping by various french or vegan bakeries after yoga.  My biggest decision was whether I wanted the vanilla cupcake or the chocolate chip cookie, or both?  The month before he was born we watched the Olympics every night.  I crocheted a chevron blanket in aqua and gray.  I’ve hardly touched that blanket since.

There was no I have to get back to, or I need to pump, or oh no I’ve been gone an hour already, or what can I fit into my day that’s fun in the tiny window between H’s two naps.

A friend had her baby the other night and it brought it all back seeing that tiny squinched-in face, the slitted eyes, the not quite ready to face a world outside of the uterus face.  The hospital hat and blanket (why are they all the same, is there some universal hospital baby garb emporium somewhere?), the adoration on the mothers face.  I remember tripping out on all of the pictures of H and I after he was born, I couldn’t tear my eyes off of him.

I went in on 3/3, my due date, for a check.  They said I had no fluid left and I would have to be induced.  I had no idea that the night before would be the last time (ever?) I would sleep a full 8 hour stretch.  I had a birth plan, no inducement, no drugs, no epidural.  In the end I had them all.  I went all night without pain relieving drugs while they pumped me full of pitocin.  My contractions got stronger and stronger.  I took a shower.  It didn’t help.  I was admitted on 3/3 and they began pitocin at noon.  I last until 6:30am the next morning before I asked for pain relief.

After it happened, after he came out, after I went home, I remember thinking I would never heal.  I couldn’t sit, not even on the couch.  Going to the bathroom was an agony.  Something had happened to my lower back.  Those tears and fissures took months to heal.  I could feel the echo of the birth when I walked.  It reminded me as it stung, you gave birth Just not that long ago you gave birth.

And all of that was a strong second to having him here.  It was a equal mixture of wonderment and what the f*&% am I doing.  Is the diaper on right?  How often do I change it?  Has he eaten enough?  Why is his poop green?  Has he slept enough?  What kind of pump do I get?  Why isn’t the pump working?  The daycare needs more milk.  How can I get more milk?  I’m so tired.  Can I just go to sleep?

There are so many things they tell you and so many things you just have to learn on your own.  Did you know that newborn finger nails grow at light speed?  You can’t cut them right away, you have to cover their hands with mittens.  When you can cut them expect to do so twice a week.  Did you know newborns get acne?  I didn’t!  The plastibell ring from H’s circumcision was supposed to fall off in 3-6 days.  It took 15 days.  The first time he had a fever I called the nurse in a panic.  At one point I had a Google breakdown, I had to stop looking everything baby up because I couldn’t take all of the different opinions anymore.

And then, a rhythm.  Those question marks lost their bite.  I stopped freaking out if I didn’t know the answer to something right away.  I would find it eventually.  The latest has been milk.  As in my milk, or lack of it.  He has been sleeping more and my milk has lessened (from day one until now he’s at least wakened twice every night).  I’ve fed H religiously by the breast since day one, it was really important to me not to supplement or stop breast feeding.  Until the other day.  I just couldn’t anymore.  I went and bought some organic formula.  I ordered organic powdered goat’s milk online (supposed to be more easily digestible).  I’ve almost made it to the one year mark that was my goal, and I still want to breast feed.  I just can’t do it exclusively anymore.  I feel a lot less sadness over this decision than I thought I would, and a whole lot more relief.

Being a parent is hard, and for me it’s only just beginning.  But every tear, every anxiety, every moment of frustration is eclipsed by just one smile.  Just one crooked smile and it’s all wiped away in an instant.

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In yoga news, there has been scant news, this sickness has held on longer than I thought and seeped into other members of my family.  No bueno.  I did manage to do some asanas while packing last night.  It felt good, those poses, just not long enough.  I can’t wait to start again next week.  I signed up for another month at Escape to Yoga in Sherwood.

And packing, yes!  We are going to Astoria!  I’m very excited, the parents are staying tonight, and H & I for two nights.  I’m glad to spend time with them (and have their help with H!).  H does not sleep too well when he stays in the same room as me.  I’ll get the port-a-crib again this time and see how it goes.

I think there is lots more to write about spending this last year with H and the revelation it is to be a mother.  It will be interesting to see how much more nostalgic I get as his first birthday approaches.

Last week marked my one year mark in Oregon.  It came full circle, I went to my home group (my only AA meeting per week, I am praying that changes soon!) and my sponsor was leading the meeting just like she was doing when I walked in a year ago, pregnant, scared, and not knowing a soul.  I do finally feel comfortable in that meeting, it takes what it takes, one of my favorite (and hard to understand at first) AA sayings.  Like I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to see what my Higher Power will do as far as finding other meetings that I can be accountable to.

YARDS AND YARDS OF BUFFALO PLAID

I made a thing!  It’s H’s first birthday in a month and I decided to do a lumberjack theme.  It was easy to find most of the components, even his outfit, but hard to find something his mama would want to wear and feel comfortable in.  I’ve been wanting to make a shift/dress/shirt ever since I gave birth, and finally decided to try it out.  Did I find a pattern at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics?  Did I search for a tunic DIY on Pinterest?  Oh, definitely no.  I patterned it over an over sized tee I had cut the sleeves off of.  I honestly have no idea how it came out so well, I forgot to allow for seam length and had to cut out two extra panels for both sides.  I tried it on pre-panel and it was too tight so out came the seam ripper (he and I are bff’s).  Then it was too boxy up top (due to the panels) so I had to sew some makeshift darts.  Thank Gods the darts are under my arms because they are make shift.  I was confused about what to do with the sleeves and neck line and found some gray ruffle.  I hand sewed those on, I wasn’t about to try to machine sew them.  So far I do best with straight lines with the machine!

Here it is:

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Still need to sew the neck line.

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Please. Lets be good friends someday.

It looks way more flattering on.  I’ll probably wear it with a long sleeved black tee underneath, jeans or leggings, and boots.  C O M F Y, which I will be happy to be the day of the party.

I really hope to get into sewing more and more.  My mom sewed, she was taught by her grandma.  It is so easy to buy a shirt for 10 dollars, but so much more satisfying to create something yourself, that can’t be bought in any store.  My biggest challenge with the sewing machine is threading it.  I can’t stand threading it!  And why does the thread keep getting stuck in the bobbin area?  I have YouTubed videos over and over.  I hope I will get better at it someday.  I think I just don’t want to follow the rules (see tunic pattern example above) and want to muscle everything out myself.  You cannot always get away with that in sewing.  It’s like cooking, sometimes you have to follow a recipe to get the best results!

The neck line above still isn’t sewn because H got sick on my second day off.  It kills me when he gets sick, I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.  He was attached to me at all times.  He likes to go play by himself a lot normally.  He likes to cuddle and just lay on me when he’s sick.  We watched Lilo & Stitch, laid in bed, and I nursed him a lot.

My first day back to work I felt my throat getting scratchy and I came down with it too.  I gave my notice.  A lot happened.  I feel like I want some time to go before I write about it.

I got the yoga blogging scholarship!  I submitted my application!  I’m so excited about this new upcoming season of CHANGE.  I cannot believe I will be immersed in a yoga teaching program very soon.  I haven’t been able to go to yoga in the past week due to being sick and I feel like I will get behind.  I know it’s silly, I just look forward to doing it on such a regular basis that my arms don’t burn.

It was my sponsor’s lucky #13 sobriety birthday yesterday.  I went to eat Chinese food with a group and then a meeting after.

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Note crumpled kleenex at lower left.

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It felt good to go, like I used to back in Long Beach.  Not hardly a weekend went by without being texted or invited to this birthday or that meeting in CA.  Some of the people at the restaurant started talking about some meetings, why they were named so and so, or how a meeting died because it moved locations.  I immediately felt sorrow.  It’s all new to me here and it’s scary.  I participate in one small slice of the AA culture, I can’t wait until I find some more meetings I feel more comfortable at.  6 or so months ago I called central office here in a panic.  I just can’t find a meeting like my old home group in Long Beach, I said.  Whoever I was talking to said something powerful, you won’t find that here.  There is no other meeting in the world like that one.  But I pray that I find one kind of like it and I know that’s the jumping off point.

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More lumberjack swag. And a donut.

WHEN THE RUBBER MEETS THE OUCH

I went to my first hard yoga class in the new year.  Like it was, hard.  It’s been so long since I’ve gone to a really challenging yoga class, it was like getting doused with cold water.  But it was good.  My mind achieved quiet because it was too busy focusing on not collapsing into the millionth (slight exaggeration here) chaturanga.  And it felt good to M O V E.  My body is slow and sluggish.  It remembers the movements and the poses, it just needs time to achieve less effort.  Days later, my body is still on fire.  But it feels good and I can’t wait to go back.

Work paralleled these physical challenges.  I came in from my days off to be told that they were doing away with my position and they were not sure when that would be.  One of my supervisors had taken another job, they encouraged me to apply for it, and if I did not get it they would find another position for me to do.  Ouch.  There aren’t very many departments there, so it’s a mystery to me what other position that would be.

There are many pros and cons behind this decision.  If I was offered the job I would also absorb my current duties which would make for a very stressful work load.  It would greatly advance my career.  It was a great opportunity.  On the flip side I had just take H out of childcare, this would mean putting him back in 3 days a week.  I would spend WAY less time with him.  And I would have to put my yogic longings on an indefinite hold.   My mind buzzed for a couple of days.  Staff came in and out of our office, gossiping and plotting. Normal work was hard to focus on.

Circumstances and life spin me out of control, based on how firm a grip I have on that control.  As the dust settled I realized that I was silly for getting riled up.  Wasn’t I planning on giving my notice as soon as teacher training was set in stone?  I have the finances to sustain us job or no job.  This spin may have just been meant to be.  Perhaps it is the final kick in my behind out the door.  One past yoga teacher used to say to never get too attached to one pose and to try not to hate any poses.  I see the wisdom in this on and off the mat.

I meant to make a pros and cons list about applying for the job.  Then I thought of the biggest con, not spending enough time with my son.  For me this was the only factor, the con that would outweigh any pro.  I’m not sure how or when I will tell my supervisors, but I’m sure it will work itself out.

I love Escape to Yoga in Sherwood so much.  I asked the lovely owner, Annette if I could take some pictures of the space, and she graciously agreed.  Interspersed below are some outdoor images that reminded me of that awesome tree mural.  My favorite spot in the room to practice yoga is right next to the tree so I can look at it when we do twists.

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Ballet rail!

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The space is 1,700 square feet which is nice, many people can fit into a class.  It was formerly a ballet studio and was built in 1916.  Read more about it here.  There are many different levels of classes to choose from and there are great specials.

Lastly, on an unrelated note, the coolest thing happened to me during work in the midst of all of the hoopla.  Our support is outsourced to India.  They are a nice, succinct, orderly bunch.  They don’t make small talk though, why would they?  At the end of this lady helping me to re-install my printer to my computer, she asked me what my hobbies were.  “Yoga”, I replied.  She said, “I like to dance.  Hip-hop and some Indian pop music.  Would you like to know some names of some artists?”

It was such a pleasant, human interaction in the midst of such drama, I was taken aback.  With all of the strife in the world right now, the bombings, the shootings, the injustices, it was so refreshing to have a human reach out to me across so much space and such vast cultural differences.  We are really one, I guess if we could just realize that.