Who else yearns for family-free alone time?

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It’s clear to me that a huge part of a Simplicity Quest is letting go.

This summer, with a house full of “teen scene” and girls who would rather walk across hot coals than be seen with their mother at the local pool, I am experiencing a bit more freedom. I’m letting go of my roles as Julie McCoy (Love Boat cruise director for those of you under 35) and chauffeur extraordinaire. Stolen moments alone have been popping up much more lately, to my sheer delight. I was at my dad’s place this past week and I wrote about how it felt. Strangely, just having time to sit quietly and write felt decadent (and necessary).

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How many times have I sat in this same sandy dune, sparkly silver granules blowing in miniature tornadoes around my ankles? It’s an unusally warm day on the Oregon Coast and my shoulders soak in the sun like thirsty plants. I turn my head one direction and the wind blows past my ears, hair whips obstructing my view. I feel a complete part of this beautiful scene. I turn my head the other way and I’m deafened by the whipping gusts reminding me of the difference between California and Oregon beaches in July. As if  this beach is whispering, I’m still a rugged coast, water chilled and erosion beaten cliffs. Pointy beach grass shadows pave the way down to the hardened sand where I wiggle my toes, diving deeper, water seeping up to the top–future makings of drippings for a child’s sand castle trim. I am reveling in island time with no mom duties or schedule bending to fit the whims and desires of beach companions. Me, the steady white noise of the waves and a serenity trickling into my neck and shoulders stand in the center of this summer day, a deliberate release of seasonal frenzy and lingering to-do lists.

A steady gait leads me down the sand, tailwind propelling me with a promise of struggle when it’s time to turn and head home. It’s worth every step towards open, wide beach filled with kite boarders, family football games and shell-collecting children.

I love all of it.

This is my happy place, full of our family’s memory collection of 4th of July parades, 10 foot wide sand castle compounds and naps stolen against resting driftwood logs. It’s such a different experience on my own. I slowly play a movie in my head of all four seasons where I partake in this coastal luxury solo…thinking, writing, creating. Maybe it’s my recent finished read of “Gifts From the Sea”, Anne Morrow’s beachy answer to a “A Room of One’s Own”. There is zero guilt of taking this time alone and I feel free to fully embrace all the magic and nostalgia the coast can bring. It settles in my chest like a heating pad, dial turned up, tingling warm and comforting. Words like rejuventate, recharge and rest (r words are my favorite) pop into my head like a free association game I’m playing with the sea. Is it the crashing waves that drown out all worry and heaviness? Or is it the sand drifts, rolling in vast, airy space that allow me to breathe deeply? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. Once again I reach for the invisible mason jar to bottle it all up so it can be poured out on my desk in February when the daydreams start…small coastal town ice cream shops, picnic-bound bicycles with baskets, and of course, my beloved Manzanita receding tides.

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Hoping you have time to think in a beautiful place ~ happy August!

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Small House ~ Big Style Part III

I think I’ve found my favorite tiny house. 

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Can’t you just see this little guy soaking up the sunlight in the high plains of eastern Oregon? Ahhhh…someday my scrub yard will come to fruition. No mowing!

Tiny home owners Andrew and Gabriella Morrison know a thing or two about design.

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See more of this home here.

Somehow this house doesn’t seem so small—could it be the photography? Or does it really look like I could hold a small yoga class in here?

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I’m so drawn to modern design with these little homes….like this one.  So crisp, bright and clean…yet, where in the world would I put my giant windmill in my kitchen?

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I’m also a bit obsessed with small houses that involve the BEACH of some sort. Small house + hammock + sand = YippdedeeHappiness

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via.

 

Two things for tiny house obsessed peeps like me:

1) Tiny: A Story About Living Small is out and rentable from Vimeo. ‘Been waiting for this as I usually don’t like to pay 20 bucks to rent a movie.

2) Tiny House Nation is new and looks promising. ‘Got good reviews too!

 

This was my view from our little “drive-thru window” in the Twinkie this week.

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It was a hub/wife trip and we had the best time riding our tandem around the Olympic Peninsula, taking ferries from island to island. ‘Magical time!

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I have to say that I’m totally addicted to living in a small space in the summer. Everything’s within reach and it takes 3 minutes to clean. More time for adventure! I’m thinking that’s what the tiny house folks experience as well.

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This is a “nighty night” from the silver bullet. ‘Hope all you friends are having a fabulous summer wherever you may be.

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5 things from 1989 to better my life

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Is it a bad thing to constantly want to turn the clock back to 1989?

It’s not the cool high bangs look or the colored leather that brings such longing. Nor is it a yearning for synthesizer-heavy tunes, a livin’ large attitude or step aerobics craze. For me, it was the beginning of my “adult years” (ahem, the big 1-8 that year) when I was ready to take on the world and the world at that time was filled with face-to-face conversations, the beauty of being unavailable by phone (no email yet!), written correspondence, rerun city on the boob tube in summer and a general sense that a solid resume and a winning attitude could get you far in a possible career.

What has happened to us?

Yes, I’m a user of the internet. Heck yes, I’m a believer that it makes marketing and making a living easier (especially fabulous when done in PJ’s from your kitchen table). This is a very exciting time to be an entrepreneur in the making. Yet, there’s a flip side too….Who needs Christmas holiday letters when we can keep up with our friends’ dinner plate photos and party plans on Facebook all year round? Why mess with sending thank you cards when a short email will suffice? Teenage breakups are even easier when one can text a jilted lover that it’s over.

I’m beginning to feel that it’s all too much.

My heart is caught between a vice of the digital keep-up and a wedge of comparison to others’ lives. Lives I didn’t even know much about (which turns out was a good thing) before social media parachuted violently into our laptops and smart phones. I feel sheepish for yearning for the days when my home phone would ring and no one was there to answer it—I simply was not reachable. I hate to admit it, but I really, really like being unreachable sometimes. What does it take now for folks to render us legally unavailable? Balancing atop Mt. Everest? Gawking at penguins in the Artic? Somehow I’m thinking these two places might even be candidates for emergency cell service and it makes my head hurt.

I’m also keenly aware that I am part of the problem. I haven’t holed up in a cabin J.D. Salinger-style. I haven’t shunned social media with peacock-like pomposity and a drive to communicate with every person I know over coffee instead of Skype. I’m sitting directly in the center of this lovely glass house, arm raised, stone in hand. Yet there are days when my 80’s nostalgia rears it’s ugly heavily made-up eyes and wants it be different. I know I’m not alone because my spouse and I lament about this like two old ladies regularly over our morning coffee. My teen daughter was overheard saying to her sister, “It was so great that our summer camp outlawed phones. We were all happier for it. There was no FOMO going on while playing Capture the Flag or hanging in the lodge.” Ah, that one made me open my eyes wide, wide, wide. What have we done to our kids?

It got me thinking.

 

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1) Communicate clearly that I’m unavailable.

Hello vacay email and voicemail message. I’m not reachable when I say I’m not reachable, right? Of course, easier said than done for folks who have their superiors breathing down their necks all the time. For a teacher, I admit this one is a little bit easier. But this is my time capsule, yes?

2) Call a cease fire on social media

I’ve gone round and round with myself on this one and finally landed on a happy place of tweeting and FB’ing blog posts only. I don’t lurk or dwell, yet I do want people to read (like you!) about this message, because I think it’s important.

3) Adhere to at-home digital sabbaticals

We’re still working on this, but I’m loving it when we are committed. All phones go in a basket by the door when we have company, too—love that one.

4) Stop the hustle of trying to be heard

As a past photographer who did all marketing through social media and blog posts, I have had to wean myself of the proverbial tap-dance of self promotion. I think this hustle was a huge reason I left my entrepreneurial life for my teaching job. Frankly, I’m was done with trying to get my squeaky voice to rise above the din in the noisy lunchroom that is online networking. I just want to write and then hope that my words are read by and matter to someone. I’m officially subscribing to the JUST DO REALLY GOOD WORK mantra in this cyber world of horn-tooting and me-glorification and hope that it will be what it’s supposed to be. On this topic, I loved this article about more doing, less promoting.

5) Two words: Down time

I love the Italians for their phrase, l’arte di non fare niente, the art of doing nothing. I used to suck at this. I always had to have baskets and baskets filled with the fruits of my labor. And for what? Burn-out and anxiety. No longer is this something I feel guilty doing—it’s my weekend currency and I’m trying to spread this hang-out-in-a-hammock pixie dust to everyone in my clan. It’s important and I want my girls to know what it feels like.

Will they long for 2018 when they’re older? I wonder.

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