From One to Another

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August 22. Happy birthday Mom, Sue, Sue-sha, Momma Cherrettie, Traveling Gnome.  Once upon a time, like any good free-spirited mother would, you gifted me copy of the The Prophet. And now, for your birthday, I will give a piece of it back to you.

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weight your unknown treasure;

And seek not to the depths of your knowledge with staff of sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

~ Kahlil Gibran,The Prophet

Thank you for allowing me the freedom to live, define my own course and learn from it.  Thank you for teaching me that life is only limited by the boundaries that we place upon ourselves.  Thank you for being patient, listening and supporting me as I continue my own journey towards self-knowledge.

From one soul-searching-life-embracing-traveling-gnome to another, happy birthday.  May your celebration be measureless.

xoxo

Al

Lessons in Sisterhood

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Pange. Ang. Famgie. Angie. But not, Angela.  Happy birthday to you.  While you may be my little sister, I know that I haven’t always led the charge in our relationship.  Over the last 27 years I’ve observed you, I’ve questioned you, I’ve leaned on you, and as a result I’ve learned from you.  So here it is, in honor of your 27th birthday, 27 things I’ve learned from my little sister:

  1. Challenge your mind and follow your heart.
  2. If you fall whilst watering skiing, you’ll fair better if you let go.
  3. It’s possible to sit through hours of meditation without feeling bored, awkward or antsy.
  4. The only way to really move forward is to deal with the past.
  5. Apple cider vinegar can cure nearly anything.
  6. Two sisters, one car, thirty days, and zero deaths. It’s possible and an f’in blast.
  7. Life is better outside of your comfort zone.
  8. Embrace the child inside.  Even that means adding Double, Double, Toil and Trouble to the community Netflix queue for all to see.
  9. I should avoid every form of cheese on the planet. (I abide, mostly).
  10. Start and end with family.
  11. UV vodka and revenge don’t mix.
  12. Laughter yoga … ha … ha … ha …. ha … hahahahahaha.
  13. If you slow down, you can experience more.
  14. Perfection. Bullshit.
  15. The proper way to slice an onion (though I still cry when I do it).
  16. Things don’t always have to match.  In fact, matching is dumb.
  17. You can get high your first time (on a swing, of course).
  18. It’s okay to let other people catch you.
  19. Going commando.  Not always a wise choice.
  20. If I want to be taken seriously I should cry with my back to others.
  21. Not everyone parties like Yoopers, and that’s okay.
  22. Get out of your head.
  23. Amethyst crystals and years of bad habits don’t mix.
  24. Give freely, not with expectation.
  25. If you sniff every pine needle in the forest, you might find one that smells like lemon.
  26. Even in the most intense moments, laughter is always the best medicine.
  27. Birthday dessert sans candles makes things much less awkward (but isn’t necessarily better).

And the list goes on.  Happy birthday sissy.  May it be a year of growth, good times and bottomless mimosas.  I know I’m looking forward to the lessons that lie ahead.

Xoxo

Al

Okay, Wednesday

photo(1)It’s been one of those days. One of those days where you want to surround yourself with puppies, shamelessly crawl into bed with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or hit the road without looking back. It’s been one of those days where you would do almost anything. Anything. To. Make. You. Feel. Better.

I’ve been here before. In the past these days have gotten to me. They’ve crept under my skin. They’ve transformed my mind into a spinning vortex. They’ve caused me to forget. Forget. How. Awesome. I. Am.

Not today, bitches. Not today. I’ve come too far. I’ve learned too much. I’ve got too much to accomplish. Awkward puppy cuddling is not off the table. I may still indulge in a pint of coconut ice cream. I might even hit the road, only to turn back again.  Sure, I’ll still throw a mini-fit, but Wednesday, you sneaky little asshole. Wednesday, you can’t get me down.

Day 10,430. Who’s down for a hike?

Cherrettie

Remember what’s good.

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My current location, St. John, USVI.  Thousands of miles away from my home. My dog. My job. The expectations. The stress.  Here I sit, thousands of miles from Denver, yet somehow … I can’t relax.  It’s been another tragic week in the world.  Bombs. Rape. Natural disasters. Religious conflict. Political turmoil.  The murmurs in the streets.  The images on the screens.  It’s easy to get lost.

In my hand rests a fruity cocktail, concocted by Poppa D.  My skin, leather with hints of crimson. The waves, crashing below me.  My company, supportive and loving. Here I sit. In this environment, you’d think that it’d be easy to check out. Relax. Escape. You would think, yet my mind continues to move … as fast as the island rum.

It’s been another tragic week in the world.  Wherever you are, I hope you are safe.  I hope you are able to see through the walls and remember what’s good.  I hope you know that there is still a lot of love in the world.  I hope you know that it will be okay.

Day 10,411. Sending love to the mainland.

Cherrettie

The music isn’t loud enough.

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Thoughts like jack rabbits.

Emotions running high.

Turn to the stereo.

Drown out the noise.

Your legs want to move.

Your mind craving escape.

The music isn’t loud enough.

You can’t get away.

Turn down the dial.

Look in the mirror.

Reflect on what’s inside.

Allow yourself to hear.

Your legs want to move.

Your mind craving escape.

The music isn’t loud enough.

With your thoughts, you …

Stay.

Day 10,380. Turning down the dial.

Cherrettie

Looking Forward

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It’s 12.20.2012. Some believe that tomorrow is the end of the world, as we know it. An apocalypse is on the horizon. Doomsdayers are stocking up on water, food and toilet paper. Many fear the loss of themselves, as well as the ones they love.

Fortunately for me, I don’t believe that my life, the human race or planet Earth will spontaneously combust when the clock strikes midnight. I plan to go to bed peacefully. I’ll rise early and head to The Yoga Mat for a Vinyasa infused morning. I will return home, eat avocado toast and listen to my “grassy” playlist on Spotify. I will shower. I will brush my teeth. I will go to work. After eight hours at the office I’ll unwind with a bottle of wine and a blank canvas. I will paint. I will dance. I might get tipsy. If you ask me, tomorrow will be … just another day.

From there, my future awaits me. I have decades to experience, continents to travel, people to love and time to understand. With all of this talk about the end, I feel fortunate. Fortunate to have escaped the wrath of fear. Fortunate to be looking forward. Fortunate to have the opportunity to live on.

Even in my state of forward thinking, with murmurs of the end swarming around us, it’s hard not to give a pause. Step back. Ponder. What if tomorrow really was, the end? My imaginative mind has taken me there more than once over the course of the year. I have no doubt that yours has too. If the end of the world was upon us what would tomorrow look like? Would I …

  • Abstain from expressing the thoughts and feelings stirring through my head?
  • Concern myself with the way I look, the cleanliness of my home and the stack of mail on my table?
  • Spend eight hours of my day trying to develop a solid Q1 marketing plan?
  • Tell the tatted barista to hold the cheese on my hummus sandwich?

Hell. No. Screw work, pass the cheese and throw those strategically placed pillows on the floor. Oh, and did I mention … I love you? If tomorrow really were the end of the world, there would be no holding back. Game on. Given my current location and resources, I’d imagine it would go a bit like this …

  • 6:00AM – Wake up, pass on reading the Economist, nothing is newsworthy today. Set my intention for the day while watching select clips from Pulp Fiction, The Big Chill and Harold & Maude.
  • 6:30AM – A little water, a little OJ and yoga class prep. I’ll keep the pants and sports bra, but pass on the tank top. Today, I want to feel free.
  • 7:00AM –Yoga for breath and challenges. Crow pose? Sure, why not?
  • 8:00AM – Return home, dig that hot black dress out of the closet and slip it on. Who cares that it’s 8AM on a Thursday. My end of the world story does not include a dress code. And, showering? What a waste of time.
  • 9:00AM – Brunch. I’ll take the benedict with extra hollandaise please. With the end of the world on the horizon, my intolerance to dairy is no longer significant. I should also mention that I’ve offered to fly in some of my favorite people for this part of the day … we’ll see who shows up.
  • 11:00AM – Quick change and off to the dance studio. One more opportunity to sweat it out at the barre, work towards perfect alignment and express myself in front of full length mirrors. I’m going to miss these moments. Actually, nevermind I won’t … the world is ending.
  • 12:30PM – To the mountains, exact location unknown but it’s high, it’s beautiful and the air is fresh.
  • 2:00PM – Summit. Breathe.
  • 4:00PM – Hop a plane. I know, I know … I opted out of showering to save time, and am now choosing to spend hours on a jet plane? It was a tough decision, but after much thought I’ve decided that there is only one place that I want to be when the world ends. The UP.
  • 5:30PM – Hiring a masseuse to join me on the plane was an excellent idea. Now if only the flight attended could grasp the concept of a stiff drink. First class isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
  • 7:00PM – Arrive in Marquette. Stop at Togo’s, Rice Paddy, Border Grill, Portside, Black Rocks and Ore Docks for all of the components that make up my ideal end of the world feast.
  • 7:30PM – Wetmore’s where friends and family have gathered for the last Yooper beach party. There is plenty of fire and whiskey to keep us warm as we reflect on the amazing life we have all experienced together. (Ang, just so you know … I flew you in hours ago. Hopefully this fits into your end of the world plan.)
  • 9:30PM – While I am not typically considered a recreational drug user at this point in the evening I would definitely be looking to secure some form of psychedelics. If the world is ending, I expect one remarkable show. Why not kick it up a notch? I think I know a few people at the beach party who can provide such goods.
  • 9:45PM – Quick stop at the wishing tree, “may my end of the world of experience be a memorable one”. Ironic.
  • 10:30PM – Arrive at the top of Hogback. Take some time to appreciate the sounds of Lake Superior, reflect on the places I’ve been, the people I’ve loved, challenges overcome and the experiences I’ve been blessed with. Reach contentment.
  • 11:00PM – Ingest previously mentioned psychedelics and prepare for the world to do what it must … end
  • 12:00AM – It’s over. No need to hike down Hogback in the dark (though it wouldn’t be the first time). Thank you world. Thank you life.

There you have it my end of the world agenda. Sarcasm aside, while December 21, 2012 may end up being just another day, it certainly will not be insignificant. Threats of the end surround us. Our minds are wandering. We are questioning ourselves. We are questioning others. Through all of this, December 21, 2012 presents us with a unique opportunity. Take a deep breath and reflect. Look back. Look forward. Identify what’s working. Change what isn’t. Ask yourself, would tomorrow be a perfect day to die? In considering the possibilities December 21, 2012 presents us with an opportunity to define, not the end, but the beginning.

Day 10,290. Looking forward.

Cherrettie

Middletown: 59 miles

The majority of our trip has allowed for daily exercise, dairy-free meals and sufficient rest.  The majority.  This past week, not included.  With the exception of one or two evenings, we’ve essentially been on a bender since San Diego.  For two sisters who are used their vegan diets, fresh air and yoga sessions, this lifestyle has not been well received. To put it simply, we feel like complete shit.

Tomorrow I’ll be headed back to Colorado and Angie reunite with everything that Northern California has to offer.  With only 24 hours of our road trip to go, it was time to change course.  Time to detox.  We headed towards Middletown where we looked to Harbin Hot Springs to save us.

When we arrived we lined up behind two men who resembled Jerry Garcia and Larry David.  Not a likely pair, but they seemed to get along just fine. The air, crisp. Raindrops, falling. Clothing, optional. It was the perfect environment for soaking. After an hour of hopping between the sauna, hot pools and cold pools we were starting to feel human again. Thank fucking goddess.

By 5:30PM our fingers were pruned, the sky was starting to fade and the presidential debate was calling us. One final dip in scalding hot mineral water and we kissed Harbin goodbye.  When we got back to Petaluma I scoured Angie’s car for my belongings.  I packed my bag.  I prepared to say goodbye to the open road. After nearly a month traversing across the country it’s come time for the Cherrette sisters to assimilate once again.

Day 10,232.  Back to reality.

Cherrettie