Sunday, March 25, 2012

Snowflakes in Seattle

On March 17, 2011, I sat inside the house I thought I'd live in forever but has just signed off to new owners. All of my worldly possessions had been packed, sold or given away. I had a new apartment awaiting me in The Emerald City, but no job and no prospects. My savings account had less money in it than when I was in high school and Wells Fargo had just ripped me off of money I desperately needed.

To say the least, I was terrified. I knew the move to Seattle was the right choice, and it was something I'd wanted for most of my life. But to say I was about to leap out of my comfort zone was an understatement. I sat on my couch, staring out my beautiful bay window at the ugly Wal Mart across the street. When my couch was given away to the neighbor, I sat on the floor and did the same thing.

Early in the afternoon big, fat snowflakes began to fall. They dropped from the clouds and plop onto my car, the yard and the street. They didn't stick, but it sent off a whole new string of worries about the conditions of the pass and maneuvering the moving truck.

Great, I thought, watching the flakes  fall through a scowl. I don't know where we'll be next year, what our lives will be like or how much of this mess we'll still be in, but at least there won't be snow. At least these bullshit winters will be over.

I got excited then, despite my fear. I longed for a fresh start and decided to make a fresh start when it came to who I was as well. I'd been struggling with some traits I didn't like and some bad habits I wanted to change. I set an intention to change certain things about myself and maybe meet new people who reflected the positive qualities I wanted for myself. Moving at the cusp of spring made it even more beautiful… new city, new jobs, new life, new me. No snow.

Exactly one year later, I woke up in my cute little apartment on Alki Beach in the heart of my new life. I managed to drag myself to a morning hot yoga class up the street. I'm no stranger to hot yoga, but I'd never been to this studio. They offered a free class for first timers, something I wasn't about to pass up.

The class was intense. The little room was heated to 95 degrees and the male instructor showed no mercy. It was power yoga and we powered through it. I started sweating almost immediately and was dripping wet within 15 minutes. I love this part of class. It feels like I'm shedding more than water weight. It feels like I'm ridding myself of bad food choices, toxins and even bad habits. Each class is like a mini fresh start.

Halfway through class, I tilted at the waist and lifted my arm toward the sky in a perfect Triangle pose. I looked toward the sky and saw I was positioned exactly below the room's only skylight. And I almost fell over when I saw the big, fat snowflakes falling from the sky. Snow isn't unheard of in Seattle, but it's not common. And it's definitely not common to see big, giant fat flakes on St. Patrick's Day in the city.

"Is it snowing?" asked the woman next to me.

I smiled. "It sure is."

"I've lived in Seattle most of my life, and I've never seen snow like this so late in the year! This is crazy!" remarked our instructor.

Sorry, I thought. Apparently it followed me after all. The irony, the symbolism and the beauty of that moment did not escape me.

The flakes continued to fall, dusting the city in a beautiful white coating before disappearing as quickly as they came. I caught the final few moments of it as I stepped out of the studio, and the flakes felt remarkably refreshing against my skin after being in that scorching room for 90 minutes. I tilted my head to the sky and caught the flakes on my face instead of scowling at them through the window. Instead of wishing them away, I enjoyed them.

Later that afternoon, the sun began to shine beautifully and I walked with my friend down Alki toward our destination of happy hour at a seafood restaurant. As we talked, I took a good look at her (which isn't hard, she's a beautiful girl) and realized she's exactly the kind of person I was hoping to meet. She's got the good qualities I have been trying to cultivate in myself. And some of her "bad habits" are also ones that I share. But, as it turns out, those qualities are not things I am ready to give up like I thought I was last year. And put in perspective, they aren't "bad" at all. Instead of desiring to change them, I've learned to embrace them, just as she has.

We were later joined by other friends I've met this year, from work and life, whom I feel the exact same way about. We celebrated St. Patrick's Day at a Mexican bar together as if we were best friends who hung out every weekend. If I could have looked a year ahead as I sat in my empty house the year before, I know I would have been both pleased and relieved.

Life changes when you move locations. But who you are as a person stays with you. You can't run from problems, and you can't run from who you really are. But that's not a bad thing. It's a blessing. Because odds are, who you are is who you should embrace being. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sorry, I was busy living.

My blog has suffered from serious neglect. And it's not because I don't have anything to say.

Actually, I've got plenty to say. I've got something to say about this, a few things to say about that, and you can bet your sexy asses I've got a mouthful of things to say about this right here.

No, it's not writer's block that has kept me away. I've been absent because I haven't slowed down for five minutes since my 30th birthday. I've been working, playing and enjoying myself. Basically, I've been rocking this 30 thing

It started with my party on February 4th. The entire weekend was a beautiful blend of old friends and new friends, and having so many people I love around me was the most incredible gift I've ever received. People flew to Seattle for me. People took long road trips and spent money all to make sure I had a good birthday.

And I did. The party started on Friday the moment my best friend since junior high Yennifer stepped off the plane. "I'm the stunning brunette standing under the Horizon sign," she said when I called from the car. We had Mexican food and margaritas on Alki Beach and stayed up too late putting together a picture collage and reminiscing about the amazing times we've had over the last decade.

Pretty cool, right?

 Saturday's party started with cupcakes and lemon drop shots at the sexy Barca Lounge on Capitol Hill and ended with the remaining partiers belting out Garth Brooks' "Calling' Baton Rouge" at a karaoke bar in perfect harmony (at least, in my mind) before one of my good friends passed out and barfed everywhere, just like old times. It was glorious. We were back at it again on Sunday, watching the Superbowl from a classy sports bar before the last of the lot flew home with angry livers and empty wallets.

We had a makeshift photo booth with props.

I barely had a week to recover from the festivities before hopping on a plane with my other best friend Sydney and her other best friend (my bff by association, we decided) for a much-needed weekend getaway to San Diego. Holy shit. San Diego is America's finest city. It's gorgeous, it's clean, it's classy and it's warm… even in the cold seasons. Though the weather wasn't as warm as it was supposed to be, it was a tropical paradise compared to Seattle in early February. After a brief workout, we donned our swimsuits and enjoyed happy hour by the pool before putting on our dresses and eating sushi at a restaurant with a DJ. Seattle is my life partner, but San Diego is my sexy little mistress.

San Diego also has a place called Pacific Beach that is home to some of the cheapest alcohol in California. I'm not a day drinker, and on our second day in the city I remembered why. I indulged in some mimosas with brunch, a glass of wine at happy hour and champagne while getting my hair blow dried that led to a roughly 13 hour bender, luckily with plenty of breaks and coconut water—but still. I was trying on an impractical, too tight, and too short dress (just for fun) at a boutique when I learned about the untimely death of Whitney Houston. I rushed out of the dressing room to tell Sydney.

"That dress is hot, baby, dang!" said the flamboyantly and fabulously gay owner of the boutique. "You totally have to get it! It was made for you!"

 I looked at the price tag (cheap). I looked in the mirror (cheap). Screw it, said the alcohol. I bought it. This is what drunk shopping got me, a dress I never would've dared to wear at 25:

Clearly I'm the sluttiest one in this pic, and that was fine with me.

After dinner we went to an incredible high class rooftop bar where I met up with my Days of our Lives friend William from LA and his friends. The long island iced teas dulled my memory of the rest of the evening, but pictures indicate I had a great time. And the best part was, I woke up on Sunday feeling OK despite having shocked the crap out of my normally healthy food, moderate-levels-of alcohol- consuming body. What can I say? 30 agrees with me.

Note the vacant look in my eyes. Thankfully William is a professional and a gentleman.  He now knows all my secrets, too.

I'm even handling bad news better. Mr. W has had a hell of a time finding good work since we've been here. In the Spokane/North Idaho area, he found plenty of work while I struggled. Our skill sets are totally different and mine are simply more suited to this area…his, not so much. He finally found something, but it's something that means opposite schedules and tons of time apart for awhile. Unfortunately, we're not in a financial position to be picky right now, so he accepted.

We've done this before, and it wasn't easy. This time? We're totally rocking it. Don't get me wrong, it breaks my heart seeing so much less of the love of my life whose company I enjoy so much, but it's made us realize just how strong our bond is and appreciate the time we do have. We've come so far since we've last been apart, and we've totally got this.

I believe in fate, and I believe the Universe's timing is perfect. I've recently gotten closer with someone here who is in a similar spot in life (in a long distance relationship with a man she loves) and it's been a blast.

I keep the prettiest company ever.

She's smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and loves many of the same things I do. She has introduced me to so many things that I never knew existed in my own city, such as chocolate martinis from Dilittente's which are the best replacements for sex ever (sorry Mom):

This changed my life.

And about my city… have I mentioned lately how much I love living here? There's so much to do, I have not been bored for one second since I arrived. I've been meaning to get back to Spokane to visit people and places I miss, but it's so hard to pry myself away from The Emerald City. I love the nightlife, I love the people and I love the beauty. Yes, it has its downfalls, the traffic sucks and Belltown is a bit heavy on the crackheads. But it's still my home, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else—except maybe San Diego, but I need to sell millions of books first.

I'm going to try and blog more. But I didn't slow because I ran out of topics. I slowed down because for the first time in a very long time, it feels like I am living every single day. A year ago I felt like I was "missing it" but I couldn't quite explain what "it" was. Now I know.

It was this.

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