How are you? How was your (holiday) weekend? What’s new? What are you most looking forward to in the next month? I missed telling all of you my ‘stories’ last week. Let’s catch up!
I can’t remember exactly what we were up to early last week, but these are the highlights. I know that we successfully went to the DMV (and enjoyed a relatively pleasant experience), and that we took advantage of a grey day by spending the morning driving and walking around our favorite Santa Cruz spots and taking a billion pictures. Seriously. I still have to go through to edit, but here’s a cursory preview of 5 of the, like, 567 pictures we snapped between the two of us:
I also finished my puzzle. Can you believe that this is 1000 pieces? You could probably tell me it was 400 and I’d believe you.
You know what’s funny? See that light colored part of the wave meeting the sky? Yeah, they all just looked like dozens of plain white pieces when they were separated, which made the last 100 or so pieces seem reallllllly difficult. Now that they’re together, I don’t think any piece looks white at all. There’s some sort of life metaphor in there.
I also wrote this on the board in our room. Did I share this already? I can’t remember. But I love it!
We also baked this cake together. Usually, we take turns cooking, but this was a lot of fun to do together. The cake didn’t come out perfect-looking, but tasted good, if not overly decadent and sweet. (Truth: it was three days before either of us even thought about eating it. So.much.sugar.)
Thursday and Friday, we picked up a job helping a lady who lived on the top of Mount Madonna in Watsonville, an area well-known for its spectacular views, a yoga retreat, and a Buddhist temple. When she told me where she lived, I was pumped that we’d have an excuse to explore up there. Her property was on 5.5 acres of redwoods and boasted a big house, a jacuzzi, a chicken coop, a horse, a large library, four cats, two dogs, and a large teepee. She gave us a tour when we first arrived and it’s pretty much a dream; her property is a quintessential example of why people love Northern California. A few quick picks from the foggy drive up:
Our task was to help her clean out her (large) garage, which was filled (FILLED; I think she may have had an obsessive shopping compulsion) with boxes from two intercontinental moves in the last six years. She had originally posted that she wanted one person for 1-2 days of work; it ended up taking both of us working at a steady pace for 7-8 hours each day to finish. Oh! And she had a rat and mice infestation, so thank GOODNESS that D was a champ, disposing of the EIGHT dead rats that he found while I literally hid my face.
Totally worth it, though. Stella was easy to work with and extremely generous. The first day, she tipped us $30. At the end of the second day, she said, ‘I only owe you about $100 [for gigs on CL, we always negotiate a low rate when we work together, for two reasons: 1) increases our chances of getting picked (we’re a deal!), and 2) leaves them room to be generous. And people like to be generous.], but I wanted to give you more, so here’s $280. It’s all the cash I could find.’ Naturally, we thanked her profusely for her generosity, and told her to please call if she ever needs our assistance again.
Manual labor has a lot of benefits, and is also extremely tiring. My desire to see fireworks rapidly wained to zero on our drive home, and we spent the night with our feet propped up, rubbing IcyHot into our sore muscles. I stayed in the same position pretty much all of Saturday as well; the downtime was necessary for the benefit of both my physical and mental health. (Let me be more honest: I could barely lift my arms above my head. Upper body strength is no longer my strong suit.) I was well-rested by the time I went in at 8PM to work with some anxious teens.
Sunday was spent running several errands and then deep-cleaning the apartment for three hours. I took care the kitchen and half the living room, and actually got down on my hands and knees with a sponge and spray to spot-treat each stain. I’m fairly certain this is the first time in my life that I’ve cleaned anything so thoroughly. And enjoyed it!
The key to my newfound enjoyment of all things menial/manual/domestic is to focus on the benefits. D has been talking about Odiyan since we met, and I only researched it recently (and now LOVE the idea). Odiyan is a work retreat at a Buddhist temple. Basically, you can volunteer there with a minimum six-month commitment, and you spend your days working for 8-11 hours. The idea is that the work can be used as a therapeutic/spiritual/meditative time for contemplation, and that the work has a myriad of other physical and emotional benefits. I would actually *love* to go and we’ve talked about it, but now is not the right time. So, I’ve been trying to incorporate as much of the Odiyan principles into my daily life as possible, which has made things like scrubbing the cabinets even more productive.
Alright, that’s enough of an update for now. I’ve got more to share this week but want to keep the length of my ramblings somewhat reasonable.
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Hope that you all have a wonderful week!
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