BestThings: Saturday Edition

Right now it's raining.  Yes.  That's right.  Rain. And it's kinda awesome.  We spend so much time complaining about the weather, I decided that is one thing I am not going to waste my time on.  Accept what is, and adjust accordingly.  So, I'm enjoying listening to the rain on the river and going to a movie a little later this afternoon.  

Weather.  Yesterday's weather was amazing!  I spent the evening out on the Willamette River with my brother and nephew, grilling up some brats and enjoying the beautiful sunshine.  Connor swam and we sat in Adirondack chairs watching the boats, kayaks, paddle boards and various other watercraft go by.  The sun blazed a golden path across the river, and once it dipped below the trees on the West bank, the weather got a little breezy and a little chilly.  I could spend every sunset just like that.  I did not see one single other person out on their deck.  If I lived in a houseboat, I would never get anything done because I could be out on the deck all the time.  It was an amazing gift, spending the evening on the river.

Wildlife.  I've seen a beaver two times now, just after sunset.  I wasn't sure if it was a nutria, or a beaver, but after looking at photos of both, I've determined it was a beaver.  And the heron.  Ever present on or near the docks closest to the river bank, below the ramp.  I took the dogs out for one last walk before bed and that's when I saw the beaver.  And of course, in addition to all the normal ducks, geese, swallows, and fish I always see.  I cannot help but feel alive with so much evidence of life around me.  

Driving. I sucked it up and signed up to drive with Uber yesterday.  Got my vehicle inspected and everything.  I found out after I am approved and have given 10 rides, I get a $100 bonus.  I was kind of bummed because I wasn't going to get to use my brother's referral code, for he and I to get a $300 bonus, but then they told me I would get a $500 bonus after 2o rides because I drove for Lyft also.  Awesome!!  So, once that comes through I'm going to kick back $300 to my brother because it was his prompting that sent me to get all set up with Uber.  I gave a few Lyft rides yesterday to some really nice people .  I am so very grateful to have a job where I can flex my schedule around to my liking.  And, why should I limit myself to one company?  I decided to maximize my earning potential.

I was thinking about what I was doing last summer.  Working my ass off, that's what.  Making tons of money, but no time.  The only day in July I half remember was my birthday, and then going to Harefest one night.  The interesting thing is that I am not making anywhere close to that amount of money, and I am just as happy.  I am having all these amazing experiences instead.  But, working that hard last summer put me in a position to be able to explore and figure out what I wanted to do this year.  I've applied for a bunch of different jobs, even tried some, but the doors were not opening. So, I got the message, loud and clear, that driving is what I need to do.   I make decent money, anywhere from $20-$25 for the hours I do drive.  And, if I can get away with working 15-20 hours a week to pay my expenses, why wouldn't I?  I'm not looking for a career.  I already know what that is.  I am a writer.  Until I monetize that, however, I do need a job that pays the bills.  And this is perfect for me.  Doors keep opening up for me for other options too, such as housesitting.  I've asked for adventures, and I've definitely got them.  

I am grateful.  For everything.  I did a meditation today explaining grace and gratitude have more to do with true success than the ego does, always trying to grasp and control.  I have found this to be so true. As I am grateful for what I have, though in the eyes of the ego world it does not seem like much, more abundance comes to me.  And in ways I do not expect.  As I expand, rather than constrict, the Universe or God, the Great Author or Creator breathes "Yes!" and gives me more.  And, I in turn can share that more with others.  It's so fun!  Life should be our greatest adventure, not a cage we construct for ourselves in order to create some false sense of safety.  The world is exquisite in all its' beauty and can be equally deadly.  But getting out in it is what gives us the knowledge to know how to navigate those potential dangers, not a reason to try to keep ourselves safe.  So get out there and do some adventuring.  Free your soul.  Trade things for experiences and really live, and then share that with others.  That's where the gold is.  Happy Adventuring!  

BestThings: Tuesday Edition

I'm sitting here thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for.  Every second, every moment there is space for gratitude.  I've been thinking about this lately as I've been doing a focused meditation about gratitude and how it relates to grace.  It is pretty true, and pretty amazing.  I think grace for yourself and others expands directly in proportion to your level of gratitude.  When I start constricting is when I am not grateful.  And when that happens, when I start feeling mean or small, I think about all the specific things I have to be grateful for and the constriction expands and I am right back into the openness and abundance of life.  Try it for yourself.  We could all use much more grace and gratitude in our lives.  Less things, more grace, more gratitude for what we do have instead of what we don't.  And just watch what comes your way once you let go.

The river.  This morning I took my tea and my notebook out to the public dock and wrote morning pages while watching the river go by.  For me, I am so soothed being near water.  I don't always have to go in, but I love to be on it, or by it.  Last night my nephew and brother came over and my nephew spent some time swimming, doing flips off the dock.  And around sunset we were up on the ramp from the houseboat to the parking lot watching the fish jump for bugs.  I had one jump right in front of me this morning when I was on the dock.  The world is simply teeming with life, all the time, and there is so much beauty.  I find myself wanting to be outside as much as I can, to experience this great and amazing world.

Lyft.  I will be getting a paycheck from Lyft this week for the first time in two weeks.  Now that is something to be grateful for.  The awesome and totally scary thing, all at the same time, is I am completely responsible for how much money I do or do not make.  I can flex my time, take off whatever days I want.  I don't need to run on everyone else's schedule, I can make my own.  And for me, that might be the most important thing right now.  My freedom.  And that makes the uncertainty of what my paycheck will be worth it.  It comes down to trust again.  If I make myself available, then the rides come in, I get to meet some amazing people, and my rent is paid.  The things I need or want have been reduced to a very small amount.  I am about experiences vs. things, totally.

Relationships.  Last night I got to spend some time with my brother and nephew.  I am seriously so blessed in the relationships I have with my family.  My brothers, my dad, my extended family. But not just with them.  With my friends, and with other people, the world at large.  I have been doing a lot of re-connecting lately, as well as welcoming new people into my life.  It is awesome to have the space in my life to do that.  I just came back from a trip to see my best friend, her boyfriend, her family and my Dad.  I find as I open up to the world, the world opens back and reflects back to me the love I have for life.  I still don't know exactly how or why that works, but it does.  And as I look over at my still sleeping nephew, I realize, again, how very blessed I am. 

This year for me has been about letting go.  Letting go of the things that might be good but not great and making room for the amazing things that are coming.  Adventuring, exploring, people and opportunities that come my way.  That's also letting go of fear of the unknown, and embracing it wholeheartedly.  And don't have to live your life the way someone else thinks you need to.  Go find your own adventure!  Be the author of your own story and fill the pages of your life with magic.  Trust me, you will not regret it.  Don't be afraid to free fall for a little while.  It's kind of awesome and utterly freeing.  Happy Adventuring!



BestThings: Wednesday Edition

Yay!  Today we are off to the Stanley, Idaho area for a few days and the Sawtooth Mountains.  I am super-excited about this as I have never been.  I am salivating at all the amazing photo opportunities I will have.  But first, yesterday.

Jump Creek. Chris and I got up relatively early and decided to head over to Jump Creek to check out the falls.  She had never been and obviously neither had I.  The morning was already very warm.  It took maybe about 15-20 minutes to drive back into the hills, after we loaded up in the truck.  Very easy little 1/4 to 1/2 mile hike through a narrow canyon, next to the creek bed back to the falls.  It was awesome!!  A perfect swimming hole.  I could not resist and so I waded in and swam out to the falls fully clothed, shoes socks and all.  It was so cool. I'm so glad we ventured over there.

Jump Creek Canyon.

Jump Creek Canyon.

Jump Creek Falls.

Jump Creek Falls.

Starbucks.  I am nowhere near any kind of store, let alone a Starbucks.  So, on the way to Chris' mom's house, we stopped in at Fred Meyer to pick up some things and I got an iced grande non-fat caramel macchiato.  Delicious.  And, since I have not been having Starbucks every day, it was a real treat.  The funny thing is I don't mind being away from towns.  I kind of like it.  I don't care if I can't have a Starbucks every day, or go shopping.  I feel like there is so much more to see and do than that.  

Birthday Dinner.  Chris and I went and met her mom and step-dad at their home, and then we went out to dinner at Gino's, an Italian restaurant in Boise.  The service was exceptional, and the food was very good.  It was her birthday yesterday, and then my birthday is on Saturday and her sister-in-law's birthday is on Friday.  It was good conversation and a great time to just be with them.  

Barn Cats and Cowboy.  Chris and I were tired all day so we called it an early night.  We went outside when we got back to her house and I went out and played around with Cowboy.  I tried to convince Chris to get on him bareback, but she just would not do it.  Oh well.  Chris has three barn cats that stay outside.  Bristol, Rascal and Baby Girl.  They killed a few more mice, so that was kind of interesting.  I finally got to see all of them.  They wouldn't let me pet them, but that's okay.  I can see why sometimes people prefer the company of animals.  There is something very soothing about them.  

Rascal, one of the barn cats.

Rascal, one of the barn cats.

I love being here.  This morning we are getting ready to go on our journey, so more adventures await.  Can't wait to see what happens today! 

BestThings: Late Sunday Edition

I'm writing this morning...well, really it's afternoon here...from Homedale, ID.  I'm off on my 10-day adventure around Idaho and Montana, coming back home probably on the 13th or 14th.  I slept in and so here we are.  I hope everyone had a good Independence Day, whatever you may have done.  I chose to celebrate my independence by driving to Idaho. 

Driving.  I love driving.  I do it for a job, and I do it for fun.  I never feel more free than when on a road trip because I am on my own schedule.  Even with planes or trains or buses, you are at the mercy of their schedule.  I like to make my own rules.  I had a pretty easy 7 hour drive over here.  I was proud of myself because I did not use AC for 5 hours.  But, once I hit Baker City and the temperature hit 100 degrees, I decided it was time to turn it on.

Family. I wasn't with my blood family on this holiday, but family comes in all different forms.  I spent it with my best friend, her daughter, boyfriend, mom, step-dad and various other assorted people.  These guys are like family to me.  Chris is the sister I never had biologically, and her mom, Linda, and Dave, her step-dad, are like second parents to me.  Linda put on an incredible spread, with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads (including potato) and even made a watermelon/cool whip cake and gluten-free brownies for me.  It was delicious!  Chris and I played a lengthy game of pool downstairs and we made about one shot in for every 5 shots we took.  Eventually Chris won.

Home. Dave and Linda moved into a new house in the Boise area a few months ago, and from their upper deck we had a view of the entire Treasure Valley, from Boise all the way South.  We could see fireworks for miles!  It was awesome, and a beautiful night to watch.  Their home is beautiful, and perfectly suits them. I am so happy for them in their new place, and so happy that I got to visit and see it.  This is the first summer they have not worked in I don't know how many years. 

Last 4th of July I was working for Dave and Linda at their blackberry-packing plant, and I don't even remember the day.  I think I might have actually just gone home and gone to bed. All I craved was sleep.  It was hard work. 33 days straight last year.  I was a zombie.  I never want to experience that again.  But, it got me to where I am today, which is in a place to take off for a 10-day open-ended road trip with no one waiting on my return. And now here I was, celebrating Independence Day with Dave and Linda in Idaho when we were all eyeballs deep in blackberries last year.  Crazy how things can change so much in a year, but they always do.  I feel so blessed, every day.  Which is why I write these "best things", to reflect on the goodness in my life and the abundance I live in. 

Top 5 "BestThings" of last week:

1. I got asked out for a beer by a super-cute Lyft passenger.  

2. I took off on a road trip for Boise and Montana.

3. I received this awesome feedback from a Friday Lyft passenger: 

★★★★★ Top review

“Jennifer is amazing, and her infectious laugh is sublime. Thanks for the welcome to portland and ride to the airport!”

4. I spent the 4th with one of my best friends.

5. I had lunch with one of my friends in town from Denver that I have not seen in a year.

BestThings: Early Saturday Edition

Every great adventure begins with trepidation -Freelance Adventurer

There is only one reason I would be up at 4:30am on Saturday morning.  Yes, traveling.  That's it.  So, by the time you read this I will have been on the road for awhile.  It's now 6:30am and the car is loaded and I'm ready to roll.  Traveling is definitely an all time "best thing" for me, and I love road trips.  But before I go, here's some of the best things from yesterday.

Brothers. I love my brothers.  There, I said it.  I am honored and SO grateful they are not only my brothers, but some of my closest friends.  I know I can trust them with my life.  Benj lives in the Bay area, and we talk almost every day.  Jason lives here, in Milwaukie, and we got together for an early dinner of Thai food last night before I took off on my next adventure.  


Next Adventure.  Speaking of that, I visited this outdoor store today in search of some water shoes. Something a little better than flip flops, and not so sturdy (or expensive!) as Chacos.  I found these amazing Teva flip flops that have a velcro strap that goes around your ankle so you don't lose them.  The "Original Mosaic Orange", but mostly in turquoise. I was sold! I love the bargain basement where you can find unique clothing items for $5, just $5!  They have all the outdoor gear you could imagine.  Visit Andy & Bax too, while you are it, since they are on the next block.  Amazing camping and military stuff.  

Lyft.  Yesterday was a quiet day, I did two short rides and one ride for a couple out to the Airport.  I'll be off duty for the next 10 days or so while I am traveling.  That's the beauty of this job, I work when I want and if I don't want to, I don't want to.  Right now I think it's working out pretty well.  I'm still figuring out the best days/times to drive, and that will most likely be an ongoing process. 

I hope everyone's Saturday is awesome.  This is short and sweet, but the road calls to me and I have a few hundred miles to cover today.  Yippee!!!!  I'll see you on the flip side where more adventures await!