Best Things: Saturday Edition

It's been a week that I have been writing my "best things" blogs.  And I like it.  So I'm going to keep it up.  It's a good practice for me, and a also a very good reminder about all the things I treasure in life.  

Yesterday was a fun one!  I was up early again, which I love.  One of the best things was sitting at the cafe table on the back porch, listening to bird song, watching the squirrels run around the backyard and the bumblebees pollenating the bushes.  Nature has a natural rhythm and music to it if you can be still long enough to listen. 

After I finished yoga, morning pages and my "best things" blog, I went over to one of my very closest friends' house to support her as she got ready to audition for the Voice!  They heard her album, and called her in to sing for them.  It was awesome to be able to support her and share in that experience with her as she said yes to an amazing opportunity.  

Once we sent her off, I had a little time to kill before I picked up my brother to head back down to Woodburn for more baseball.  I ended up stopping in a store called Bandita that was having a going-out-of-business sale.  I had been looking for a baja blanket to put in the trunk of my car, and as I drove by, I saw the owner rolling some up for sale on an outside table.  There were a lot of cool things about that choice.  I ended up scoring not only the blanket, but also some cool beaded earrings and some awesome, cheap guy t-shirts for my brother.  $1 a shirt?  You can't beat that!  I then ended up seeing two people I know.  One of the guys from open mic, and his wife.  And then also my other friend, whom I had just been with over at Jen's house. She did Jen's hair and make-up for the audition.  The shop owner said "I felt like I should get you guys some beer or champagne with everybody knowing each other".  Super-fun stop.

I had a few more minutes to kill so I decided to go over to one of the thrift stores in the Milwaukie area, The Salvation Army. I was looking for one of those little Playmate coolers, but didn't want to spend $20 for a new one.  I figured I could get one cheaper.  Maybe for baseball, or maybe for my own upcoming adventures.  I intend to start getting camping gear so I can take a solo camping trip.  I walked in to the store, walked to the back, and there sat exactly the cooler I was looking for.  $5.79.  Boom.  

I picked up my brother and off we went to Woodburn.  The gist of the baseball story is that my nephew had two games yesterday. They lost the first one, so played immediately after it to compete for fifth place and to go to State.  I heard the first game was horrible, the umpire terrible.  The second game was pretty brutal for the kids.  They were down 11-3 and had one more at-bat, an open inning.  I think they had played so much baseball they were done.  And it was super-humid.  But, in that inning, they came back and scored 4 runs.  They finished the game strong and for that I am very proud of them.  I don't think any kid was sad the season was over.  The coaches gave a great talk after the game, and they played one of the best games ever in Milwaukie early in the week in order to get into the County tournament.  Nine innings over two days.  It was awesome!  No one even thought they would make it that far with 4 or 5 kids on the team, nearly half, who had never played before.  

I dropped my brother and nephew off, stopped and got a rotisserie chicken and potato salad for dinner, came home and stayed inside in the AC all the rest of the day.  I binge-watched Ripper Street, catching up on all the prior episodes.  I did get a little sunburned yesterday, so I was quite happy to get inside and stay there.  It was another awesome day filled with family and friends, unexpected encounters and blessings.  More opportunity for me to learn to trust in the abundance of the world around me.  And to share in that with others.  

One of my favorite things, one of the best things is to watch people going for it and pursuing their dreams.  Stepping over fear and into the unknown of possibility.  Finding their niche and understanding who they are and what they can do.  And it doesn't have to be huge stuff.  It can be little stuff too.  Sometimes you make one tiny choice and it changes the entire trajectory of your life.  These were pretty big best things, and it was a privilege to be a part of them. 

Best Things: Friday Edition

Yesterday seemed like one long baseball game.  And it was awesome!!!  My nephew scored his first home run of the season (the County tournament is the perfect time for that), played catcher for five innings in the brutal 95 degree weather, and still had energy to talk, after eating, for the entire hour car ride home.  And you know what, that is one of the best things right there.  Seeing him learn how to dig deep and play through some difficult conditions and to be able to share in that experience with him.  Oh, and they won that second game.  Lost the first one, but won the second.  So now we are on to County Tournament day two.  They have a legitimate shot to go to State.  And you know what, I have a feeling they will, even if it is as the fifth seed.

For the first game yesterday, I brought my oldest nephew and his girlfriend and the baby with me.  It was pretty fun having them at the game to cheer Connor on. With a 9am game time, we had to leave around 8.  We all managed to get there right as it was starting.  Canaan, the oldest, played baseball too, so I've been a baseball aunt for about 10 years now.  And, if I'm being honest, I love it.  I love to watch them play.  I don't miss a game if I can help it.  I got to see their mom's parents, at the early game also, which was really fun.  And everybody got to love on the baby.  After the 14-4 loss, everyone else headed home.  I headed back to Portland from Woodburn to get my brother, and then we came back for the 2:00 pm game.  Jason (my brother) and I both used to play baseball and softball and I remember those tournament weekends.  Could be brutal, but oh so fun!  It's what you live for as a ball player.

Connor decided on Subway for dinner on our way back from the game, so we wandered around the Woodburn Outlets until we found it.  Pretty hilarious to watch my brother locate it on his phone via GPS.  I finally got home sometime after 7.  I was a hot, sweaty, sticky sunscreen mess and all I really wanted was a cool shower to clean all the grime off.  And that's exactly what I did. I don't know if I've ever sweat so much.  The great thing about staying hydrated in the heat and sweating it out is your skin looks awesome!  Soft, glowing and tan.  And, none of the kids passed out with any issues from the heat at the game, so that was another best thing.  They played their little hearts out.  It's so fun to be a part of and to watch.

I don't have any kids of my own, and most likely won't, unless I adopt or become a step-mom.  My nephews are two of my greatest joys in life and I could not love them anymore unless they were my own.  I am lucky I get to be part of their lives on a daily basis, lucky that I have such a good relationship with their dad (my brother) and their mom. Maybe not lucky.  Maybe it's that I cultivate and invest in those relationships, and take the time to make myself available to them, because I realize they ARE one of the VERY best things. I remember when Connor (my youngest nephew) came home from the hospital, and I held him for the first time.  I had never held a human being so small.  I put him on my shoulder and my heart flip-flopped and I was lost with love for him.  And that might be the ultimate best thing.  

Best Things: Tuesday/Wednesday Edition

I am bursting with energy!  Probably the iced venti caramel macchiato I had at 4pm today.  That IS one of the best things I did today.  But first, I need to roll back to yesterday.  

Tuesday Best Things:

I started out the morning and did my AM yoga program with Rodney Yee.  I felt so good I decided I need to add that in to my morning routine.  I was in a great mood all day long.  I got a few blogs scheduled, uploaded some photos and then headed to work in the afternoon.  The best choice I made there was just to be easy with my shift, accept it instead of resisting it.  As a result of this, 5:30 came soon enough.  My brother met me at work and we headed off to my nephew's second baseball game of the week out in the Gresham area, which they had to win in order to get to County this coming weekend.  They already had to play a game Monday night, which they won.  These kids dug in and played an incredibly good game...except they could not finish it due to encroaching darkness, and the game was tied. brother says "what are you doing tomorrow night?" I said, "I guess I'm coming back here."  Of course I was not going to miss this!  My nephew got an incredible out at home (he was playing catcher).  They had to finish the game Wednesday night, until someone won. Most likely an inning or two. 

After the game, I was starving.  I decided to stop by Whole Foods and get some gluten-free powdered donuts.  After a long day of working and baseball watching, I decided I deserved a treat.  I blame my mom for this.  She was always and forever after getting "treats".  Sometimes I hate being gluten-free and really crave a donut.  That was a best thing because I didn't give in to my craving for a gluten-full piece of pizza or any other bread-related item, but stuck with gluten-free.  It's always a win when I take care of me.  I knew I had to work this morning and wanted to be sharp.  

Wednesday Best Things:

This morning I got to work.  MY LAST SHIFT AT PIER 1!!!  I was super-excited about this.  One of the best things I did was to decide to work out my posted schedule and not call out of any of my shifts.  The awesome thing is they want to me to come back and work over the holidays.  Not that I will, but I like the option.  I never say never.  After an awesome morning of sales, I left just after 1:30.  Off I went to the credit union to deposit my last check.  I thought I'd have to wait, but it was awesome getting paid this week!  Making today my last day was a best thing I did a few weeks ago.  I never let money sit, it always goes straight to my account.  I keep my mind on my money and my money on my mind.  I had just enough time to get home, take an ultra-quick shower (best thing because I felt refreshed and washed the dirt and grime off me) and change into more suitable attire for the game (a sundress).  

I headed off to get my brother and nephew for the game, and this is when I got the venti macchiato.  We got Connor there an hour early and headed off in search of a 711.  That was not necessarily a best thing because that place was cray!  But, on the other hand, I did feel a tiny bit better about myself.  Okay, back to the game.  My nephew had been talking about pitching all day and was ready for it.  He's like a total secret weapon. The other team was at bat first, and we had one pitcher who got two on base, and two runs came in.  Now we were down by two.  My nephew came in and shut the rest out, and up to bat we go.  

WE NEVER EVEN GOT A HIT, but we got out speediest base runners on via walks and they both got home.  Game is tied.  My nephew gets walked on to base, gets around the bases to third.  When he slides into third, they overthrow it and the third baseman cannot find the ball. By the time he gets it home, my nephew slid in, jarring the catcher enough that any chance he had of tagging him out ended.  And so at this little elementary school field in the middle of the Centennial district, my nephew scored the winning run.  We erupted!  The kids were so excited and we made a tunnel for the kids and the coaches to run through.  It was so cool to be a part of. The coach bought all the kids a Slurpee from 711 in Milwaukie, their sponsor.  We felt a little bit better about it because at least we were back in a familiar hood.  It was just awesome.

I dropped my brother and nephew off and drove home in the setting sun thinking about how blessed I am.  And those were most of my best things.  Now, I'm sitting out on the back deck, drinking a glass of Vermentino wine from my favorite winery in Napa, Castello di Amorosa.  The lights are on, and the sun has set. The night is still pretty balmy.  I am excited I get to wake up tomorrow and do not have to go to Pier 1.  I am also excited that I get to go watch my nephew play in the County tournament this weekend.  Oh!  And I decided to return my Redbox movies tonight by walking, instead of driving.  So, I managed to squeeze a good 20-minute walk in.  I don't think I need to tell you why going for a walk is a "best thing".  I think you probably get it.  I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings me!  

Best Things: Monday Edition.

Too many fun things yesterday.  I didn't have to work, yay!  Deciding to block out Mondays as a no-work day is also one of the best choices I made.  No Pier 1, no Lyft.  Well, after tomorrow there will be no more Pier 1 at all. That is another best thing.  But we already talked about that.  Mondays are my "creative work" days, to catch up on things like posting photos, extra blogs, reading, etc.  I did have to go get a mandatory fire extinguisher from Lyft yesterday.  Who requires a fire extinguisher in your car?  The City of Portland, that's who.  

So, on to the other best things from yesterday.  I did morning pages.  Always keeps me centered. That's one of the best choices I try to make every single day because it helps me get clear on things.  I decided to cook myself a real breakfast, and made gluten-free pancakes with a mix from Trader Joe's and some bacon.  I even made enough to have left-over breakfast for the next day.  Well, today.  Tuesday.  After I went to get my mandatory fire extinguisher I decided I needed some summer clothes.  The next best thing was going to H&M.  I don't know why, but their clothes always work for me.  I intended to get some summer dresses, but that wasn't working so I came out with a romper.  A tank top and shorts, all in one, for grown-ups. Yup, it surprised the hell out of me too that it looked the best.  I got leggings, some basic tanks, 4 pairs of shoes, new shades and even a jacket/shawl thing with some fringe on it (H&M Coachella edition) for under $90!  It is amazing what a new outfit will do for you.  Or outfits, I guess, in this case.

I took stuff to my storage unit and organized it, clearing my car out.  I am in the process of moving the things I had stored at my brother's out of his garage and into my unit.  I think I have a unit at the oldest building in Portland.  I get to use a freight elevator and everything.  It's awesome!  Plus, I found my coffee grinder so now I can grind the coffee from Galway I got from the Celtic Corner.  Bonus!  I cooked myself the most amazing lunch, having another steak/tomato/avocado/feta salad.  Super-good!  The best things about these eating choices are I'm not going out and I'm getting in my veggies.  And it was pretty delicious too.  I watched part of the movie "Wild" and then had to pause it to finish later because time to go!  

One of the last best things about yesterday was my youngest nephew's play-in game.  Meaning, regular season is over, so his team has to play two games to get into County.  Last night was the first.  It was a beautiful night, so watching baseball and especially my nephew was a bonus.  The whole team played very well, and ended up winning the game 9-8.  My nephew played catcher and third baseman, hit an awesome double and then got a hit and out on another at-bat but hit a run in.  It was so fun seeing those kids get so excited about winning that game.  I love watching them play.  Tonight we have another game.  If they win this one, they are in to County this weekend.  One of the best things was watching him win.  I came home and finished up watching "Wild".  That was one of the better movies I have seen in awhile.  So that was another best thing, deciding to watch it.  Another day in the books.  Can't wait to see what today brings!

Best Things: Saturday Edition


I intended to write this last night, but, well, I had a little too much wine so came home late and promptly went to bed.  I started this little exercise on Facebook as a daily reminder to me about all the great experiences we can have by making one choice.  This is all about gratitude, but it is less a list of what I am grateful for and more about "look what happened because I made this choice".  And, as a result of a choice, all the other wonderful things that happen after that.  I realized these lists were getting a little long for Facebook, and I wasn't getting them to my Twitter followers or anyone else, so I'm taking my "best things" list live and to the world.  Here's what happened Saturday:

I decided to go spend some time in the afternoon with one of my besties after work, instead of going home to take a nap.  As a result of that choice, I got to listen to the songs she is going to perform for her Voice audition.  We went and had margaritas and chips and salsa, once her husband got home, out on the patio at Cha Cha Cha in Sellwood in the warm, afternoon sun.  Then we wanted to check out the sales at this cool store called Bandita in Sellwood that is closing.  They were closed, so we ended up checking out Real Deals.  I got a clock for $2.90, and a cool, block wood sign that states "What You Love, You Are".  Exactly. And then, as we were checking out, the ladies told us we had one more surprise, and offered us lemon vanilla ice cream bars!  Who does that?  And it was awesome.

Fast forward to the evening.  It was around 6pm, no plans for Saturday night.  Out of the blue I received an unexpected message from an old friend and asked if I could join them for dinner and drinks and live music back at the Muddy Rudder in Sellwood.  We shared a pint, some dinner, got caught up and had a lovely time. We talked about them coming to open mic, and getting to know the community of musicians and writers there.  And, I forgot how awesome that place is! I stopped back over at my friends in Sellwood, watched the end of the Matrix and had a glass of really good red wine, which they had bought from Monks Gate Vineyards a few years ago when we were there together.  

What a rich day.  I could have decided to have a nap after work, because I was tired.  Or I could have decided to stay in Saturday night, and watch yet one more episode of Ripper Street.  But I said yes.  And out of those choices, came a myriad of wonderful experiences I would have missed if I would have said no.  I spent a lot of time saying no to people to define my own boundaries.  Now, I am all about saying yes.  I cannot wait to see what today brings!