Monday, February 24, 2014

The Things We Do in the Name of Love

In case you were wondering what my plans are next Tuesday, I'll be driving five hours east to Denver to go see a basketball game.

Love works in mysterious ways.

Dev and I are counting this week as our one year anniversary. How people determine the exact date when a relationship starts is beyond me. The beginning of ours moved like a roller skating waitress slipping on a banana peel. It's hard to pin down.

In a moment of insanity, err, I mean heartfelt love, I bought tickets to see his favorite team play. I'm hoping to get a sushi dinner out of the deal--well worth a five hour drive and a year of monogamy.

I share my life with a person who shares my desire to live cheap, rugged, and deep--with the occasional splurge; who makes a genuine effort to wipe up when I complain about whiskers on the sink; who lives a life that reads more like an adventure novel than a resume; who pulls out the tape measurer and walks outside when I start scheming about the next big idea.

My sweetie sports a grizzled, square jawline, the fit frame of an athlete, and a ratty flannel jacket. He is one-half science wizard, one-half mountain man, one-half dumpster diver extraordinaire. Yes, he defies the laws of basic math. My sweetie listens with his whole body when I'm in the midst of launching my most poisonous verbal assaults. He built the quirky house we live in with his own hands and the help of many who love him. He fathers his daughter with all the tenderness that is due and then more.

Dev's a good sport-- he willingly folds the color coordinated towels and sheets just so when he could care less; he allows my shedding dog all over the house, though he prefers dogs stay outside;  he indulges me when I wrap my limbs around his like a boa constrictor for the entire night through. He would never do these things were it not for my influence. So, I'm ready to go to the stadium and experience overpriced hotdogs, unnecessarily loud buzzers, and sneakers squeaking against the hardwood court. I'm ready to watch muscular men sweat and chase one another around, all in the name of love.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

How to Screw Up Valentines Day

I've noticed Valentines Day looms as a harbinger of anxiety and disappointment.

Expectations run high and the stakes higher. With that comes a list of ways to mess up:
-you forgot to order flowers
-you receive flowers, but your fake excitement wouldn't even land you a part on day time TV
-you made your own card using crayons
-you bought chocolates when your sweetie gave up sugar months ago
-you failed to make dinner reservations and now the only table available is at Taco Bell
-you go out for a fancy dinner but wish you were in you pjs watching Netflix with a bowl of popcorn
-you thought a new dish rag says "I love you, " but they wanted jewelry
-you got jewelry and feel an overwhelming impulse to run out the front door

My sweetie carries Valentines anxiety, but lucky for him flowers or a dinner date on February 14 totally freak me out. The idea of doing what's conventional generally makes me squirm. When my emotions or behaviors feel scripted, I panic.

Yesterday, Dev and I raced full wheel barrows of manure through the mucky snow to the compost heap. We shopped for seeds and planted the greenhouse. We spent an hour digging in the half-frozen mud, liberating a rabbit hutch gifted from a neighbor. We walked the property talking ideas, plans, and projects. Over dinner, we looked at a poultry catalogue, munching on greens we grew topped with goat cheese and carrots from our friends.

Yesterday, without making any plans to do anything, we celebrated the life we share and the joy of being a team. I can't think of anything more romantic.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mercury in Retrograde? Planetary Retribution on my Inner Skeptic

I'm not necessarily a believer, but this morning basically shoved my face into a big, fat astrological pie.

Yesterday in yoga, as we were rolling up mats and straps, my teacher Amy said, "Make sure you confirm appointments ahead of time. Mercury is in retrograde." Basically, this means that the planet Mercury is moving away from the earth, and as such causes all sorts of delays and misunderstandings.

I planned to meet my running buddy Kerry at 8 this morning. Yesterday, the girls left the back hatch of my car open, so my battery was dead. Dev willingly helped me jump my car then locked his keys inside his. Oh brother!

I zoomed down our hilly single-lane dirt road. I hate being late. Snow banked up three feet high on either side of the road like a luge. 15 feet from where the road opens up to two lanes sat a Buick completely blocking the road. With all the snow I didn't dare risk off-roading it. The owner of the car was nowhere to be found.

There are six houses on our hill, and no one up here owns a Buick. Lighting bolts might as well shot from my eyes as I ran up the hill trying to locate this unknown person. I interrupted one neighbor in her milking parlor to share a string of profane adjectives I'd come up with to describe someone who leaves their car in the middle of an icy road.

20 minutes later the stranger returned to his car. I admit it wasn't my friendliest moment.

Among certain circles in Paonia, astrology is a second language. This rubbed me wrong when I first got here because people would casually drop remarks like, "You are such a Virgo!" I thought this was a thinly veiled way of saying "You're being critical and picky," but over time, I found that people who belonged to the astrology camp were talking about a complex system similar to acupuncture and I softened.

It's nice to have an explanation or an excuse every now and then, like PMSing, or taxes, or not getting your morning cuppa joe. And even though I'm using my morning as evidence to confirm that Mercury is indeed in retrograde, it sure is nice to let myself off the hook for getting swept away by a series of trivial events.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Surviving the West--For the Weather-Worn, a Lazy Girl's Attempt at Skin and Hair Care

I went back East over the holiday and spent a night looking through old pictures. What struck me most was how long and curly my hair was. Though I've tried for the last few years, living in the West has made it impossible for me to grow my hair long. It's beyond dry here. My hair hangs limp and lifeless and I seem to trash my locks every chance I get. In the winter, my hair freezes into white wisps from weekends of skiing and mountaineering in sub-zero conditions, and come summer, I spend my days under the frying sun and plunge in the dirt-filled ditch to cool off daily. My days sporting lustrous locks are a thing of the past.

I spent Christmas with my cousin, Kate, who's a total knock-out. I noticed that even with seven years on me, her skin is flawless. While I attempt to defend myself from the sun and arid clime, I already have wrinkles and sun spots--too many summers climbing mountains and pulling weeds without remembering or caring about a proper sunhat and a strong dose of SPF 100.

Even though I am resigned to my head of short, limp hair, save a tropical vacation or a trip East, when I'm feeling elaborate, I alternate between giving myself a coconut oil treatment, which involves rubbing coconut oil into my hair, letting it sit for 20 minutes, then showering like any other day, and a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse. I strive to do one of these every other week, but realistically it happens once a month... or season...or year. I'm hopeless! Generally, whatever I use on my body, I want to be able to eat it.

Before I get in the shower I rub my body down with sesame oil that I buy in bulk from the co-op. I don't wash the oil off with soap. I swear by this, not only because it feels so good, but because it really helps with my super sensitive, dry skin. In the morning, I use SPF facial lotion and at night I use a homemade toner I threw together topped with John Masters Organic Pomegranate Facial Oil. Also, in every bag, pocket, or coat I own is a tube of lip balm. I live by Desert Essence with shea butter or Alba Botanica Coconut Cream.

None of this comes naturally to me. I am the queen of low (read, no) maintenance as far as external self-care goes. Taking a shower usually feels like an accomplishment.  From a weather-worn gal who wants as little fuss as possible without looking like a mummy by the time I'm 40, you now hold every lazy girl beauty secret that I (sometimes) employ.