Jolie Guillebeau

Archive for December, 2009

Full Moon Dreamboard: The Blue Moon

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

How appropriate that the full moon falls on New Year’s Eve this year. So this dreamboard is not just about this month, but all of 2010.

Last full moon, Chris and I were flying from Portland to Vancouver, B.C. on our way to Barcelona for our vacation and goal setting retreat (more on those goals soon, I promise). The sun was setting just as we took off and the sky was completely clear. The full moon was rising behind Mt. Hood as we taxied to the runway, and once we were in the air I had an even better view as we flew over Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier.

Chris was trying to read, but I kept elbowing him to say, “Look, now!” Finally I just got the camera out and attempted to capture what I was seeing, even though I knew there was no hope of really doing it justice with my tiny little Nikon.

I took 43 pictures before it got too dark and my reflection got in the way. This was the best one. The moon looks terribly small here, and the colors are faded, but it’s close. That night, on our way to a new adventure together, with such a beautiful sight just out the window, the world seemed full of possibility for the first time in months. I started expecting something wonderful.

I want to keep that feeling of expectation alive this month– and all year. Here’s to 2010.


Friday, December 25th, 2009

This year has been a topsy-turvy one for sure, but I’m still grateful, of course. A small and not inclusive list of people and things that I’m grateful for.

Portland, Oregon. My new home. Filled with hippies and hipsters and  creative fun people. There are too many dogs in this town for my taste, but other than that, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Kiana. My friend who came to visit and talked to me for hours and hours this year. We had a goal to see each other once a month, and it worked. She came down or I went up and we managed to keep each other sane all  year. Yay for friends.

Mondo Beyondo. I took this course in August and it inspired me to dream big again. I’ve made so many wonderful connections and I’m so grateful for Andrea and Jen, who put it together.

Kelly Rae who shared brunch with me at Julia’s in Wallingford and gave me lots of good advice about prints. I was making things much too complicated and she showed me how simple it could be.

Powell’s and the Multnomah County Library. Because I read 104 books this year. Thanks for being so close, to support my habit so easily.

Rachelle. In March, when I was sitting in my new living room, mourning Seattle and moping to myself, I got an email from Rachelle inviting me to a SoulSisters Retreat. It was one of the highlights of my year. Shari, Becky, Jen, Emma, Rebecca, Lisa, Jess, Jenna, and, of course Rachelle are much more than just Facebook friends now. They’re SoulSisters. :)

Having my own Christmas Tree for the first time since 2001.

My little sister, Tera. Because she inspires me. And makes me laugh.

The rest of my family, who don’t have an internet presence.

Tsilli, because she’s a genius. And she’s generous. And she’s a woman of action. And she’s fun.

Trader Joe’s. Because how can you not be grateful for a place that sells soy ice cream sandwiches and decent wine for 3 bucks?

People like Mccabe, Jenica, Pixie and Denise, who encourage and inspire me with their words and images.

Most importantly, my Non-Conformist. We don’t write about each other online, so I won’t link to him, but I can’t make a list of gratitude without including him. He’s super.

And that in the midst of a topsy-turvy year, there is still so much to be grateful for.

Crème Brulée and Transatlantic sailing…

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

I’m home.

But then again, I love the sea. It feels like home to me too.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have someone ready to accommodate your every wish. For example, if you decide to have crème brulée for dessert every single night. Not that I would do that. I would only have it 12 nights of the 14 night cruise. The other two I chose Chocolate Fondue and a Lemon Sorbet, but both times I secretly wished for crème brulée. Because it was that good.

But I digress. You probably want to know where I went and what we did other that eat crème brulée.

On December first, we flew from Portland to Barcelona (via Vancouver and London). Our flights were perfect, it was gorgeous, and we got lounge access in Heathrow thanks to my husband’s airline status. (All his travel does benefit me occasionally.)

We arrived in Barcelona late on the 2nd, got completely lost getting to the hotel, but did manage to get there without a complete meltdown. We’re getting better at traveling together, I think.

The next day I explored the city while Chris drove to Andorra. I went to the Sagrada Familia, walked down Las Ramblas, and bought a couple of bottles of Rioja in preparation for the next couple of weeks.

Chris returned from his quest for another country checked off the list and we found dinner. Can I just say that warm goat cheese has magical properties? And when you put it on a salad with fresh spinach and candied almonds it takes on mythical proportions. Yes, it was a salad. Yes, I’m still thinking about it three weeks later. I think I need to buy some goat cheese this afternoon.

We boarded our ship the next morning and began our 14 days of retreat. On a ship, I do my best planning. My biggest desicion every day is what to have for dinner, so I have brain space to reflect and plan. Plus, there’s something about looking at water and sky that offers a sense of perspective and space. I find a quiet corner and doodle, think back over the year and think ahead to what I really want for the next year. And this year I had two whole weeks for just that.

We sailed along the coast of Spain,  visited the Barbary Apes on the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, and made our way slowly across the Atlantic with stops in the Canary Islands and Madeira along the way.

We edited the book, planned for 2010 collectively and individually and  I triumphed at Daily Team Trivia. (My greatest success was Name That Tune– the songs of Billy Joel, where I singlehandedly defeated two separate teams, each with more than 8 members. I’d also like to point out that Piano Man came out in 1973, four years before I was born. Not that I’m gloating over my ability to retain mundane and useless information.)

And we ate crème brulée. Or maybe I mentioned that already?

2009 in Review

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Chronologically: House flood * camping on the living room floor * healthy friend (yay!) *  no water in the house * unhelpful landlords * let’s move to Portland * Chris to Southeast Asia * find a perfect place in Portland * move * miss Seattle desperately * discover Waffle Window * Kiana comes to visit * ask for a job * show at Mash Tun  * Mary comes to visit* explore new places in our new city * birthday of blah * Seattle visit (yay!) * mini-break with Chris * Pam Slim workshop where I meet Tsilli *  trip to Utah * wallet stolen * Stitch group * Mom comes to visit * berry extravaganza * SoulSisters Retreat * wallet recovered (yay!) * massive heat wave * Chris to Saudi Arabia *  bought a bike *another mini-break * trip to Huntsville *  book edits * show at Powells * year end planning vacation

Books Read: (a partial list) I met my goal of 104 books, but didn’t record them all. Thankfully, the Multnomah County Library system keeps up with everything I check out from them, though that doesn’t include books purchased, borrowed from friends, or read in the cafe at Powell’s.

Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama * Ramona the pest by Beverly Cleary *
The women of Pemberley : a companion volume to the Pemberley chronicles : a novel by Rebecca Ann Collins. * Netherfield Park revisited by Rebecca Ann Collins *Ramona the brave by Beverly Cleary * The ladies of Longbourn by Rebecca Ann Collins * Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by J. K. Rowling * Mr. Darcy’s daughter by Rebecca Ann Collins * Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling * Ribsy by Beverly Cleary *Otis Spofford by Beverly Cleary * Suite française by Irène Némirovsky * The zookeeper’s wife by Diane Ackerman * Three cups of tea: one man’s mission to fight terrorism and build nations– one school at a time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin * Salt : a world history by Mark Kurlansky * Sister of the bride by Beverly Cleary * The thirteenth tale : a novel by Diane Setterfield * Socks by Beverly Cleary * People of the book : a novel by Geraldine Brooks. (Best book all year!) * Mary Thomas’s knitting book by Mary Thomas * The audacity of hope : thoughts on reclaiming the American dream by Barack Obama * Snow Flower and the secret fan : a novel by Lisa See * The gathering by Anne Enright * The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer * Loving Frank : a novel by Nancy Horan * A fine balance : a novel by Rohinton Mistry * Pie & tart recipes and text by Carolyn Beth Weil * Steering by starlight : find your right life, no matter what! by Martha Beck *The Gardner heist : the true story of the world’s largest unsolved art theft by Ulrich Boser *The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows * Nights at the circus by Angela Carter * Outliers : the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell *Vegan brunch : homestyle recipes worth waking up for– from asparagus omelets to pumpkin pancakes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz * Home : a memoir of my early years by Julie Andrews * Food matters : a guide to conscious eating with more than 75 recipes by Mark Bittman * Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary * Bright evening star : mystery of the Incarnation by Madeleine L’Engle *A girl from Yamhill : a memoir by Beverly Cleary *My own two feet : a memoir by Beverly Cleary * The space between us by Thrity Umrigar * A Yellow Raft on Blue Water * Identical strangers : a memoir of twins separated and reunited Elyse Schein, Paula Bernstein *Netherland by Joseph O’Neill *The enchantress of Florence : a novel by Salman Rushie * New and selected poems. Volume one by Mary Oliver * The glass castle : a memoir by Jeannette Walls * I feel bad about my neck : and other thoughts on being a woman by Nora Ephron * White pine : poems and prose poems by Mary Oliver * Those who save us by Jenna Blum * The perfect wife by Shari MacDonald * The madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean * The maternal is political : women writers at the intersection of motherhood and social change edited by Shari MacDonald Strong *The wishing year : a house, a man, my soul : a memoir of fulfilled desire by Noelle Oxenhandler * Stardust by Shari MacDonald * Cycling fit by Jamie Baird * Zinn’s cycling primer : maintenance tips & skill building for cyclists by Lennard Zinn *The forgotten garden : a novel by Kate Morton *I’d rather be in the studio! : the artist’s no-excuse guide to self-promotion by Alyson B. Stanfield * The art of cycling : a guide to bicycling in 21st-century America by Robert Hurst * Every woman’s guide to cycling : everything you need to know from buying your first bike to winning your first race by Selene Yeager * The practical cyclist : bicycling for real people by Chip Haynes * Bicycling magazine’s cycling for women : savvy advice from the sport’s leading women writers edited by Ed Pavelka * The help by Kathryn Stockett (another Best Book of the Year!) *Sarah’s key by Tatiana de Rosnay *The elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (loved, loved, loved it.) * The lace reader by Brunonia Barry * The 19th wife : a novel by David Ebershoff *The calligrapher’s daughter : a novel by Eugenia Kim * The noncyclist’s guide to the century and other road races : get on your butt and into gear by Dawn Dais *Pedaling revolution : how cyclists are changing American cities by Jeff Mapes *The house at Riverton : a novel by Kate Morton * How to live well without owning a car : save money, breathe easier, and get more mileage out of life / Chris Balish. * A homemade life : stories and recipes from my kitchen table Molly Wizenberg * Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout (loved loved loved it)

What went well: Moved to Portland * 2 shows and a few sales * good visits with friends * bought a bike and actually ride it more than 30 miles regularly * got a real  website that I’m happy with * SoulSisters Retreat * Building community in Portland * new friends * successfully vegan for 4 weeks * Fully recovered from Ankle Surgery * Significantly less freaking out when Chris leaves * Mondo Beyondo * Maintained an exercise program all year (for the first time ever!) * learned more about my self and the idea of self-discipline

What didn’t:  plummeting self-esteem due to uncertain job situations  and income (mainly lack thereof) * feel like I spent a long time recovering from abrupt Seattle departure * not fully owning my issues

I proclaimed 2009 as the “Year of Self-Discipline.” And it worked. I’ve never managed to keep to a regular exercise program for a whole year. But I think maybe I was a little hard on myself. I did a lot of thinking around the idea of  self- discipline and maybe that was the wrong way to approach it. I kept beating myself up because I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing everything I should be. But once I actually looked at my goals for the year, I realized I had accomplished much more than I originally thought.

Moral of the story: I need to cut myself a little slack.

As for 2010– stay tuned. More to come.