Prioritizing and Sea Pigs

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On my list to do today:

Barre3 workout (10-30 minute workout I am trying to do at home as an experiment)

Grocery list making

Costco shop

Orthodontist appt

Write something (literally, that is what I put, but I didn’t mean for my grocery list to count)

Swim team

Pilates class

Post office drop (crap, I REALLY can’t forget to do that)

Dinner plan/shop

What I’ve done today:

Ortho appt ($300 FREAKING dollars for retainers I can’t see lasting a week! I’m CRYING!)

Created a Gravatar (my online profile for…something)

Talked on the phone with Lulu (tried desperately to convince her to move. Preferably here.)

Ate a piece of toast.

Checked my Facebook (okay, this is an ongoing thing, it is open on my desktop. Slap me.)

Read some blogs.

Washed my bedding (didn’t have the foresight to put that on my list)

It is now, let’s see, 11:03 and I have done all of two things on my list. I cannot forgo Pilates at 1:00 and the rest of the day after that is dedicated to picking up/dropping off/watching kids. Being the creative time manipulator that I am, however, I believe I will be able to sneak in a post office drop during swim team, and perhaps come up with a grocery list, though it would be better if I did that in the next 5 minutes so that I could leave early for the gym and hit up Costco…of course, that would require that I pack a cooler or else be late at the bus stop so that I could drop all of the food off.

Costco is hereby moved to tomorrow’s list.

I am, however, writing. I spent all morning, even at the orthodontist and while eating my toast (not while on the phone, however, I am not that obsessed — or talented) trying to compose my profile. I like it, it was fun to write. But I don’t think it sounds like me. It sounds more like what I want me to be, but it definitely doesn’t sound like me.  Here’s the thing though. I believe it IS me. I do have an unbound obsession with the ocean. While I am no mermaid, I’ve never scuba dived or surfed and it wasn’t until just over a year ago that I was ever so far out on the water that I couldn’t see land, I truly believe that it is THE cornerstone of my life. I can’t put my finger on why, really. In my profile I think I blame my dad and his career in the Coast Guard for my life being so closely tied to the water. Again, it wasn’t like we were a fishing family, a sailing family, or even a family that owned a beach house.  His job was policing the waterways and thus we spent half his career living within driving, if not sight distance, from some form of it.  I am so incredibly thankful for that! I think that the combination of the years where we lived almost on top of it (Astoria, Novato, Astoria, Astoria, Seattle) balanced by the years when we did not (Washington DC, and uh, Washington DC) are what cemented in me the desire to always be near it. My years in Walla Walla onion country were…not torture. I survived the wheat fields and dust storms, and even remember them fondly as adventurous days and beautiful vistas.  But I always had home to go back to with access to the Puget Sound, or Grays Harbor or, in California with that awesome drive out to Stinson Beach.  Corvallis, Oregon and the Willamette Valley were a great few years, and there was the river always nearby, but there were those weekends when we HAD to make the drive out to Newport, ostensibly for a bowl of chowder, but honestly, I think it was the wind and the saltwater smells of fish and sand and seaweed and tides that really pulled me back. It certainly wasn’t the search for sunshine! Jacksonville was the only time I was content with just knowing that the ocean was there, I recall very few visits to the beach but I was kinda busy being a new mom just then. Pensacola….a whole different story. I am not a person who likes to do stuff by myself. But I remember quite a few Sundays when Gary was on duty, and I went early to the beach by myself, before church services got out and families took over the sand. Those were beautiful, calm mornings of reveling in salt and sand with nary a wave or a ripple on the water. Corpus Christie? Not the prettiest beach, in fact, I remember being quite depressed by it with the tar balls that would wash up from the off shore rigs, the litter and desecration left behind by the campers and vehicles allowed on the sand —and it wasn’t the most pleasant smelling as far as tidal flats go, but we lived RIGHT smack on the bay, and I can forgive quite a lot when I live right on the water. Then there was Hawaii. . .

. . .

. . .

. . . oh, sorry.  Where was I? Oh yeah, Hawaii.

<insert Koko Head-sized, plumeria-scented, sand-dusted, warm-water floating, island-longing, don’t-even-care-about-the-monster-bugs sigh>

ANYwho…I think it is sufficient to say that I love my briny ocean water.  So why does my profile feel so foreign? Maybe because it is the first time I have ever really explored this part of me. Anyone who knows me knows that I carry the beach theme around in my back pocket or around my neck like a scarf. I can’t get enough of the turquoise blue to bottle green color scheme. I feel a bit passé these days as it seems like it is a passing trend nowadays, but I’m afraid I will always have blue walls in my house, jars of sea glass on every flat surface, and random shells and rocks on the kitchen windowsill (okay, and the bathroom window sill, and the living room window sill….)  The funny thing is that I hardly even think about it anymore other than to note that it is what I like. I don’t consciously think that these things I love pull me in because they remind me of Lanikai Beach, or Hood Canal, or that island in the Bahamas. It is, happily, more visceral than that (whew, that was an ugly word to spell, thank you Spell Check).  I will admit that it is a pleasure to come upon something I have collected (most recently a pasta dish from Ikea that I bought three years ago) and realize that it is the exact color of the water as you enter the Gulf Stream.

I love that.

But what about the rest of my profile. Do I really have salt water in my veins? Do I really carry within me the ability to refresh someone like jumping into the REALLY cold water at the canal can? And man, that water can be cold –  but despite rendering me breathless and perhaps a bit panicked upon first entering, there is nothing like the feeling of it fizzing up around me. Almost like jumping into an icy glass of seltzer water, only wilder and with stuff in it. Some of it I can see, (which has the ability to gross me out, I will not lie) and some of it which I can’t, (which has the ability to scare the bejeezus out of me if I let it.) Most of the time I try hard to concentrate on what I am feeling when I am in the water, and not just the lack of blood flow to my brain and other extremities, but the buoyancy, the depth, the sense or recklessness that it inspires. This water isn’t captive. It isn’t still or recycled.  It moves. It’s been EVERYWHERE. There is salt in it that has been carried around for millennia and originated in the antarctic. There is dust in it that has blown in from the deserts of Africa. There are objects in it that have been brought over from Asia. It is a literal soup of everything that makes up the world. And here I am, just floating in it, a little cold, a little grossed out, but part of it.

Amazing. As much as I am in it at that moment – I want it to be in me.  I want to be a brew of everything that I have experienced, touched, heard, loved, hated, seen, tasted. I want them at once to be a part of me, but also I want them to be noticed for their ipseity (I fell in love with that word, I hope I used it correctly!) I wand those things to be cherished and noticed as amazing pieces of the whole. As you look at the ocean, it is just that. It is The Ocean. But upon closer inspection, even in a glassful of water dipped from the shore, it is so much more. And it is all beautiful (well, maybe not the sea pig (thank you so much, Lisa Curtis for that revelation today) so much, or the sturgeon…okay, even the sea pig and the sturgeon, I’m feeling benevolent today), without being strictly pretty.

Here is where certain people will go “WHAT? The ocean is full of pretty! Pretty shells, pretty fish, pretty sunsets, pretty beaches!”.  I grew up mainly on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. Ocean beauty here consists of surf with the power to eat you, and if you are lucky, spit you out. Beauty has to be found in the near constant storms that blow in and the grey, mildly depressing days in-between them; the pebbly, or flat out rocky beaches; the sluggish schlumping and aquatic farm-like stench of sea lions and seals on the beach; the smell of salt water tidal flats and fishing nets and rotting piles of sand flea infested bull kelp at low tide, and the tidal pools harboring horny-fleshed starfish and pouty anenomes, and if you’re lucky, a sea cucumber or stranded nudabranch. Beauty here is that which makes you shield your eyes on a sunny, blue-skied day and feel like it is all TOO MUCH sugar. Others would say that it makes you truly appreciate the “beautiful days when the sun shines”. I love those days, but for me the real days are the ones when the sun hides and you have to be a little creative to find the “pretty”.

Image

. . .Gosh, I got a little carried away there, I can’t exactly remember where I was going with this reverie… see people, this is why I need to practice at writing, I’ve completely lost my train of thought (oh! and just like that a squirrel runs across the back fence! Hey, Floki!)

Oh, so I believe I was trying to justify my profile description. Searching for the saltwater in my veins, the dynamism of my existence, my personal effervescence.  Maybe my words were just too fancy.  Perhaps I should have stuck with my hope that I am wilder than I appear, that I am hiding something beneath the surface that will surprise you but hopefully leave you with a positive feeling, if not giddily sweet aftertaste, once you get over the shock.

I think I can manage that. ImageCare to take a dive?

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2 thoughts on “Prioritizing and Sea Pigs

  1. dkbink

    I was hoping to see if anybody had asked you for the defination of your new favorite word so I wouldn’t be forced to look it up myself. Oh, well. That’s why Al Gore invented the internet, right? Lol

    Good job, of course.

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