Fear

What would you do if you
weren’t Afraid?

Someone I follow on Instagram posted this quote today.  Does a more loaded question exist?

Where do you draw the line between fearlessness and
stupidity? 

If I was not afraid of anything, I would quit my job.  I would take more photography classes.  I would open a knit shop. I would empty my
401k to buy a house and have a baby. I would study wine making. I’d become a sommelier.
I’d be a farmer. I’d burn my closet full of corporate holiday party dresses—except
maybe the blue one I wore a few years ago because it’s my favorite.  I would raise chickens and bees. I’d move to Lake
Tahoe.  Then to Alaska. Then Canada.  Then Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and
Montana.

Really though, when I really think about it, there isn’t
much that fear has held me back from. 
Everything in my life that happened or remained as a result of my own
fear has taught me a valuable lesson that can carry me through the rest of my
life.  Things have always worked out—even
when they haven’t.

And the list above? If I try hard, I can make that list fit
comfortably into my life right this second. 
I certainly won’t quit my job, but I can absolutely take a photography
class.  I can’t own my own knit shop, but
given the amount of yarn taking over our house, I sure can pretend.  The house and the baby are works in
progress.  The wine education? I’ve
already told my brother that we’ll do it together when he turns 21 (he’s only
19 now). Farming? I do that in my back yard every spring/summer. The chickens
and the bees aren’t feasible in L.A., but I can dream. And as far as moving
goes—there’s always travel.  We don’t
have to live somewhere to get a taste of something different.

So really, what would I do if I wasn’t afraid?  Not much. 
The better question would be, "What would I do if I had endless amounts
of energy?"  That would be a novel.

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Who Am I?

I am a thirty-something redhead.  By day, I work in marketing and design.  By night, I am mom to two basset hounds and wife to Catch.  I legally married my wife in 2008 during the brief window in which same-sex marriage was legal in California.  We were married on the anniversary of our first date.

I have been told that I have too many hobbies, but the truth is that I have a horrid attention span and so things capture my interest in fits.  Mostly, I dabble in:

  • Knitting
  • Cooking / Baking
  • Photography
  • Gardening
  • Wine
  • Writing
  • Listening to audio books

I have tried cross stitch, crochet, scrapbooking, and probably a million other things, but when it comes down to it, there are only so many hours in a day.

I live in Los Angeles and our back yard is larger than our entire indoor living space.  It’s hard on closet space, but wonderful for the garden.  Fortunately, this is southern California, and we can live outside year round as long as there’s a fire pit out back (there is.)

Life’s not all sunshine and roses, though.  I am an absolute tornado at home, destroying everything in my path and never pausing long enough to pick up my dirty socks. I’m not on speaking terms with the vacuum cleaner, and I’m pretty sure the dryer is not my biggest fan.  In a perfect world, I would have a cleaning lady—in reality, I have Catch, and if she trips over my shoes in the living room one more time she’ll probably wring my neck.

Commitment

So many people who are preparing for the insanity that is trying to conceive a baby start with the basics: Get healthy.  Eat right, cut out caffeine, exercise, take your vitamins.

But then, there are mornings like this.  Mornings where I take my prenatal vitamins with a BIG cup of coffee and a couple of chocolate chip cookies.

Is this an improvement over the days that I forgot to take my vitamins at all?

Maybe I should go grab a banana from the kitchen to balance things out a bit.

Photo

Getaway

My mom and I have been trying to find the time to get up to one of our new favorite wineries for months.  It's just a few hours outside of L.A., but we when we managed to make our schedules line up, there'd be rain in the froecast.  We were envisioning a picnic lunch with a bottle of wine in the sunshine, and a rainy weekend wasn't going to cut it.

Then, Saturday happened.  We left her house around 9:30, and by 11:30, we were headed into the rolling green hills of Foxen Canyon near Santa Maria.  We tasted wine until we couldn't stand it anymore, and then turned around and headed to our hotel room in Santa Barbara.  It was about 40 minutes away from where we were, and on our way, I took us on a detour through another canyon I had discovered while camping with Catch a few weeks ago.  

We drove up and up until we ended up high in the hills with a slightly hazy, slightly sunny, beautifully green view of the Pacific Ocean…

Refugio_view_1 copysmall

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When we'd had enough of the wind threatening to blow us right out of the hills, we headed to our hotel and found it situated across the street from the beach.

Our room was on the ground floor with a patio overlooking pristine grass, palm trees and sparkling blue ocean.

Santa_Barbara_Hotel_View_2 copysmall

I wish I'd taken some photos while we were wine tasting, but I was so wrapped up in the wine and the rustic scenery that I never took my camera out.  I did manage a few photos at the beach, though…

Santa_Barbara_Hotel_View copysmall

Santa_Barbara_Vintage copysmall

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I came away from the weekend with eight bottles of wine from Foxen Vineyard and a few more from Kenneth Volk.  It was a perfect weekend–the kind you want to try to tuck into a bottle so that you can take a sip and remember the feeling of the warm sun and the smell of the wine and the ocean anytime you want.

Good Morning, Monday

This morning is a good morning. 

I woke up feeling like I was ready for the day.  Sleepy, but not overtired.  Slow, but not immobile.

It was warm enough to leave the house without a jacket, although
I did have to crank up the heat in the car for a bit.

I am ready for the work day. 
Then, I am ready to go home and walk with my dogs and my wife.  I am ready to try to throw something together
for dinner despite the seriously lacking contents of our refrigerator (because
I was NOT ready to go to the grocery store last night.)

I am looking forward to blogging about a beautiful weekend
of wine tasting with my mom, and about our latest foster dog success with sweet
Buttercup.  For now though, I am going to
sit back with my coffee and a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies and
enjoy the sunshine pouring into my office.

Photo
Related articles

Foster #7

Babydaddy

Ever since we had the “serious” baby talk, I find myself
drifting to donor profiles in snippets of time here and there.  It’s a bizarre thing, when you really think
about it: Searching an online catalog to find the genetic material that will
someday make up half of our baby.

How times have changed.

Do we want him to have red hair?  Check the box.

Athletic?  Check the
box.

Height?  Check the
box.

Click that search button, and what do you get?  You get a sea of this:

Donors-01

And really, none of it means all that much.  I mean, my father was an amazing athlete, and
I can barely catch a ball.  He has no
real ambition, and my ambition is the only thing that keeps me going
sometimes.  How much of it is nature, and
how much of it is nurture?

Foster #7

We're picking up another foster tomorrow morning.  We just couldn't resist sweet five year old Buttercup, whose family dumped her at the city shelter after having a baby.

The rescue said she's terrified and anxious.  Who could blame her?  You go from a warm house to a concrete cage.  Poor baby has been through so much.  I can't wait to bring her home and show her how good it feels to be loved.

Look at this face…

Buttercup

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To the Dogs

An Anniversary

Today is Valentine’s Day. 
It’s a silly Hallmark holiday, but I love the silliness.  I love the excuse to open a nice bottle of
wine and make fondue at home by candlelight. 
I love the excuse to buy mushy, sentimental cards (or the ridiculous
rawhide cards I bought for Twix & Rolo). 
I love being in love.  I feel so
fortunate to have this incredible woman to share my life with.  I am so lucky to be married to my best friend.

All that aside, this Valentine’s Day is also the fifteen
year anniversary of the day I came out to my mother.

Fifteen years.

It feels like a lifetime ago—and in so many ways it was.

I didn’t come out by choice. 
It wasn’t some grand moment where I took a deep breath, sat my mom down,
and explained how I was feeling.  I had
only been dating my first girlfriend for two weeks.  I hadn’t even made sense of things in my own
head.  I had no idea what it all meant,
and there was certainly no way I was ready to sit down with my mother and talk
about it.

But she was suspicious and I was only sixteen.  That Valentine’s Day while I was at the beach
with my girlfriend, my mother read my diary and the shit hit the fan.

If I try, I can remember it all like it was yesterday, but I
don’t want to.  Instead of remembering
the hell I went through for two years as I struggled with my mother over my
place in this world and fought with her every minute of every day, I want to
focus on the mom I have today. 

The mom I have today took in that same first girlfriend when
she was kicked out of the house.  (I was
eighteen, then.)

The mom I have today fought openly with her brother over
Easter dinner about my right to marry the woman I love.

She paid for half of our wedding.

I think she prefers Catch over me half the time.

She nags us about when we’re going to give her
grandchildren.

She is not the same terrified mom she was fifteen years ago
when all of her dreams for her daughter’s future seemed like they were going up
in a cloud of smoke.   I am not the same terrified
teenager afraid to talk about my life.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to that scared
sixteen year old.  I wish I could let her
know that it’s all temporary and that everything works out in the end.  I wish I could give her a glimpse of the
happiness that awaits her. 

On Knitting

I go through phases with my knitting.  Sometimes I'm obsessed, and sometimes I have absolutely no motivation to pick up my needles.  One thing's for certain, though, and that's that I rarely travel without some form of knitting.  It goes on planes, in cars, on camping trips and business trips.  

(Hotel knitting)

Hotel_knit

(Camp knitting)

Camp_knit

Frankly, I also knit a heck of a lot more before I discovered the iPhone and iPad, which is pretty shameful.  I read more books then, too.  Hmm.  May need to give that some more thought.

I love yarn. I love needles.  Love knitting bags. I love winding up a ball of new wool on the dining room table with my swift and ball winder. I love everything about knitting except a) projects that I have to pay very, very close attention to and b) finishing.  I HATE weaving in ends.  Hate it.  In fact, I added fringe to my most recently completed scarf just so that I wouldn't have to weave in the ends.  I don't make a habit of this, but still–it happened.  (OK, so it's not quite 100% complete–it still needs blocking.)

Photo 2

My love affair with knitting tends to be a December-May romance. I prefer knitting in the cooler months.  Once we start hitting the 90s in Southern California, I really can't stand the thought of sitting with a pile of wool in my lap.  And wool is my favorite fiber to knit with, so there we go–needles back in a cupboard until I find myself holed up in an air conditioned hotel or lounging in front of a campfire in the mountains.

I also have a short knitting attention span.  I have never knit a sweater.  Not because I don't posess the skill, but simply because I don't posess the patience.  The shaping, the charts–I just don't have it in me.  I'm perfectly content with my hats, fingerless gloves, scarves and occasional odd bits here and there. 

Actually, those fingerless gloves in that top picture were supposed to be a gift for my MIL two Christmases ago, but they still need a thumb.  Just a thumb.  It would take me no time at all to finish them, but I haven't.  In fact, I'm pretty sure the needles from those gloves are already in use on ANOTHER pair of gloves.

I can't be the only knitter out there who has such an extreme form of knitting ADD, can I?

Dreaming

I’ve had two dreams about my grandfather (Pappy) over the
course of the past 3 nights.  It’s pretty
random.  Pappy has been gone for a few
years, now, and I wasn’t terribly close to him in the few years prior to his
death. 

In one of my dreams, we were swimming in a lake.  He was old and frail in the dream, and all of
a sudden, he plummeted to the bottom of the lake and made no attempts to bring
himself back to the surface.  I panicked
thinking we’d lost him, but the next thing I knew, I was under water with my
eyes open staring at him on the bottom. He was sitting in a wheelchair. Then,
he reached his arm out to me and I pulled him to the surface and to the
shore.  And he was fine.

Then last night, I dreamed that I was in the woods somewhere
camping with my father and Pappy.  We
were in a grassy clearing and it was dusk. 
I don’t remember much, but in the dream, I spotted some sort of red
beetle.  It flew toward us and landed
behind me.  Pappy reached over to stomp
on it with his foot and it flew up behind me and got caught in the area behind
my neck that was covered by my hair.  I
woke with a start, as if I was jumping away from the beetle in my dream.

It’s odd.  I’m not
sure why my dead grandfather has been taking the stage in my subconscious.  I wish he was here, though.  If I focus, I can still hear him greet me
with a booming, “Hi, baby!”

Hi, Pappy.