I grew the world's ugliest tomato! I'm so proud.
it's huge. you can kind of tell there how big it is in comparison to my hand. I honestly can't remember where I planted the two heirloom varieties, so this is either a dr. wyche's tomato or it's an ananas noire. only one of the two heirlooms has begun to ripen so the jury is out. plus I think they ripen into the same color. this one didn't seem quite ripe but, well, look at it. it needed to be picked. I'm making homemade tomato sauce later tonight, once it cools down outside a little.
28. brave the nude beach
(in the new dress my sister sent me as a present last week, which I never want to take off again, especially since it perfectly matches my fabulous hat)
yup. I did it. I've been talking myself into it all week. I was going to go yesterday but I chickened out, and also was sort of mentally overwhelmed by work stuff, so I ended up going into the office instead. (I know. ugh.)
there are two clothing-optional beaches near us: rooster rock, out in the columbia river gorge, and collins beach, on sauvie island. I've gone to the beach directly adjacent to collins beach before; there's a little wooden sign in the sand that denotes the line. I remember it wasn't too crowded that day but in the distance I could see a dude standing idly, naked.
I got there relatively early today -- about 10:30 -- because parking can be a complete nightmare and I didn't want to talk myself out of it again. when I got there, the air was still chilly and there were few cars in the lot. I wanted there to be enough people that I wasn't the only naked one around (or topless -- I wasn't sure which yet), but I didn't want it to be PACKED either. I had no idea what the vibe would be.
oh man, YOU GUYS. so I got there and there were maybe 20 or so people on the beach, all in groups, almost all totally naked. most of them older. it was like the safest group of totally naked people ever. I set my chair and towel relatively far from the water, away from everybody, and slowly put sunscreen on, trying to ease into the concept of taking off my bathing suit.
and then I took off my bathing suit.
just like I discovered when I stripped my shirt off during the naked bike ride, it turns out to be no big deal to be naked when everybody around you is also naked. after the initial leap of faith required to strip down, it was all cool. no big deal. except I can't find my good sunscreen and accidentally brought SPF 15, so I spent most of the time worried about my poor pale butt.
this is as close to proof as you get, internet:
some notes on this experience:
- naked people are friendly!
- the nude beach -- or at least this section of nude beach, which I picked specifically because it's considered the 'family' section -- is super unsexual
- it was like a freaking sausage fest out there. I'd say male/female ratio was 80/20.
- naked beach volleyball is surprisingly less hilarious to watch than I expected
- by the end of the day it turns out to be no big deal to stand next to a naked dude and have a conversation about snowboarding
- pardon my vanity, but wow, I really have it going on.
I did have a guy hit on me in the river -- in a very low-key way, thankfully. there definitely is a whole new level of discomfort when someone awkwardly hits on you and you're both naked. no thanks.
when I got back out of the water (which was so cold my nails had turned blue), a group of younger twenty-somethings had set up shop right next to me. all of them were in regular bathing suits. I found this rather odd, and even a little offensive, and had to tell myself, 'hey, you're not the weird one here, they're all clothed at a nude beach.' then one of the guys came over and said, 'we're going to set up a slackline here on these pilings, do you mind?' the pilings were right next to me. I had no idea what he was talking about but I was like, 'it's cool.'
do you know what slacklining is? I didn't, but it turned out it's something I've run into people doing a couple of times. it started with climbers and then branched out. it's essentially tightrope walking with a line that, rather than being taut, is just slack enough to be a little bit bouncy. the guys were AWESOME at it. I watched as they gave a tutorial to a friend, who himself could not get up on the line to save his life, and then after a couple other people tried it, they invited me to give it a go. as with most things, it was ridiculously harder than it looked. one of the guys kindly lent me his shoulder to hold once I was up, although I only managed to get up once (and take one step) before I yielded the line to the folks who'd brought it. SO. FUN.
just so we're clear, I did put my bathing suit back on for that experience. because tumbling in the sand + being sweaty + being naked + being really close to strangers = also no thanks.
indian summer at the farm stand
at kruger, there is almost nothing left to pick. SO. SAD. I was hoping there'd still be blackberries but they were nearly gone. I was really happy to find figs, though, because I just missed them at the market. figs + ricotta + honey = love forever.
I stuffed my basket full of figs, peaches, beets, and gravenstein apples, and then the lady in front of me had a beautiful bundle of flowers she'd picked, and I LOVE FLOWERS! so after I paid for my produce, I went back out and traipsed through the flower field.
I have decided that it is scientifically impossible to be sad, regardless of what you may have gone through in the past four weeks, if you are standing in a field full of flowers taller than you are.
(I love how the dark ones look so emo. "we are sad sunflowers," they seem to be trying to say, but it's hard to take them seriously)
(see? they're like the flower equivalent of suburban white angsty teenagers)
all the sunflowers' attention is elsewhere:
I decided I'd spend a few dollars on flowers, despite having tons of flowers in my garden. there was a price list in the U-cut booth but having no idea what any of the flowers were (save, of course, the sunflowers), I just went out and cut a couple of stems and hoped I had enough cash. I ended up with a bunch of zinnias and marigolds and a single sunflower, at a whopping cost of ... $4. the marigolds smell so unbelievable I just want to curl up with them for the next few days. why do I not have more of these in my garden? I love the hot-pink zinnias too.
almost four day weekend
it turned out OK. I had contemplated, as I mentioned earlier in the week, doing something grand with my time off, like traveling somewhere nearby, but abandoned the notion when I realized it would all likely make me sad. in the end I got a lot of the trite, but nevertheless satisfying, around-the-house things done: cleaned my car, made homemade salsa, weeded the crap out of the garden, bathed the horse. my upstairs neighbor came down and introduced himself, and without prompting offered to move his car in our lot so I could maneuver better (I've been parking on the street because my assigned space is so close to the building, I'm afraid I'll get in and won't be able to pull back out). I've seen him outside a few times since then and he's so friendly -- it's nice to have a nice neighbor.
I also ran four miles in my vibrams. I meant to just run two, but it felt really good so I just ... kept going. which I shouldn't have done, because in the vibrams I have a different running style and now my calves are crazy sore and I'm walking like a 96-year-old. oops.
my last words on the subject. maybe.
I'm doing better. no longer crying every 15 minutes. I wrote a long, long blog post about the breakup the other day, but I lost the heart to publish it. it's really not fit for public consumption anyway. writing has always been the cheapest therapist I can find, which is why this place is inundated with my grief.
I feel like I may finally be able to emerge from the cocoon. it's hard. the difficult truth is, happiness feels like a betrayal. it's not that I think I don't deserve it; it's that I waited so long for it, and made scott wait so long for it, and now if I can lay my hands on it, it makes me feel very sorry that I can't share it with him. I really want to. but I don't get to choose.
here is an interesting truth about this breakup. in my darkest moments I found myself grasping for anything that would help me feel better, and often googled things like "how to get over a broken heart," "the worst breakup I've ever had," etc. what I discovered was that people get dumped and their overwhelming feelings are:
a) I'm afraid of being by myself
b) I need somebody around so I'm not lonely
c) the person who loved me has left me, so I must be unlovable
d) no one will ever love me again because I'm [ugly/stupid/whatever]
I found this fascinating -- and frustrating. none of it applies to me at all. people, I could win olympic gold in solitude. there is no struggle at all in being alone; on the contrary, for me the challenge is to continue being open to others. as for loneliness: sometimes you need something horrible to happen to you to realize how much you are surrounded by people who love you. I only need to shout (or cry) "help?" and ten people are there with candy and blankets and hugs. people I am, for the record, intensely grateful for.
I suppose I could feel, in rejection, as if it must be my essential nature that's rejected, and yet I know that's not so. to be honest, I feel pretty and athletic and charming. after all, the breakup gave me running back. (why? why now instead of any time in the last eight months? because in these past few weeks running has been the only thing that has consistently helped me feel like I wasn't going to die of a broken heart. so now I will do anything -- truly, anything -- to keep my injury from getting worse.)
I say all this because I want to be clear about my sorrow: it's not the sorrow of a person who feels that the future is hopeless. no. it's the sorrow of someone whose best friend has left the building. I don't know why this differentiation matters so much to me -- wait. yes, I do. it matters because I continue to feel nothing but love for that best friend, and it's important to me to be clear that what I feel isn't about fear or a lack of self-confidence or whatever makes people cling to bad relationships. it's about caring for someone tremendously important to me, with whom I have had an enormous share of beautiful moments. and missing that person, tremendously, in his absence. now, when I experience a slice of happiness, I'd like nothing more on earth than to share it with him. I constantly have the urge to kidnap him and take off on an adventure, because we needed so much more of that in our life together -- so much more wild joy, unfettered happiness, unbridled playfulness. the sadness I continue to feel comes from the wall between us that keeps me from being able to drive over and give him a piggyback ride or go get a donut or run through the woods or stay up all night. good lord, I wish I could do those things. it's hard to suddenly find yourself with a gift to give, when the hands of the one you love are closed.
blog, this is why I write. the gift's gotta go somewhere. we're going to try and move forward now, okay?