Tag Archives: Virgo

We’re not all going to Eat, Pray, Love our way through life, but we can try

9 Jan

When I was a child, my mother often read out loud to me. She would never start at chapter one—instead, she patiently read every single page, including the author’s name, the illustrator, dedication, and forward. The only exception was the library of congress page, although she did always note the copyright date.

For my birthday in 2015, she sent a book entitled Stressed is Dessert Spelled Backwards, written by Brian Luke Seaward with a forward by Joan Lunden; no illustrator this time. I brought this book on a flight to San Diego. I was already well into it, enjoying it thoroughly, but needed to put it down to do something…I can’t remember what. Maybe stretch. Maybe have a drink of water. While it was lying on my tray table, the pages curling upwards, I noticed writing on one of the pages—the title page—one I had skipped because I had read the title on the cover and didn’t think it was necessary. (Sorry, mom.)

She had inscribed it, “Dear Becky, hope this is a help when you become upset. Love, Mom. August 31, 2015.” My birthday. Tears instantly came to my eyes when I read this. I was four chapters in by this time, and it was blowing my mind. I could see why she was drawn to it personally. There is a lot of reflection on the power of prayer, something my mother believes in very strongly. Both of my parents raised me to have a close relationship with God, and, though it has changed, waxed, and waned over the years, that relationship remains inside of me. Call it prayer, call it manifestation, it’s all based on a spirituality that is incredibly personal, and it gives me a connection with the universe, love, and every person on this planet.

Right now in my faith, I have decided that God is a name for life-force. Existence. Love. So when I pray, it is not necessarily to an almighty power. I am praying to myself, to a drop of water, to a strand of hair, everything that holds a vibration—energy. When I think it, when I feel it, I manifest it. We all do. The power of energy is strong.

And now I’m back home, inspired. My muse is sitting on my shoulder. He is wearing a kilt, and has a glencairn of pinot barrel-aged gin in his left hand and a whip in the other. He’s tapping his foot impatiently. So, armed the wisdom of my new-agey knowledge, I decide now is the perfect time to do something I’ve been waiting all of 2015 for. Open my happiness jar.

 

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I’m not going to lie, I saw it on Pinterest. It was January 2015. I was feeling optimistic after a fantastic New Year’s Eve and thought, what a great idea! I find a jar (in my case it was a tall cylindrical vase), decorate it, and drop in memories and trinkets that remind me how blessed I am. I told myself I would read it on New Year’s Eve 2015, but of course I ended up going to a party; you know how those things go. So tonight, a few days into the new year, I am cracking it open to see what gems I experienced over the last year. Here are a few.

  • I have two friends that, when we get together, jokingly call our group the Venus Flytraps. We occasionally have goddess gatherings at my place (or hen party, ladies night, etc.). At one of these gatherings, I decided to print out each of our horoscopes from Free Will Astrology that week on beautiful gold paper and present them to each lady. After the gathering I decided to stick it in my jar to see how it would manifest. My Virgo horoscope read as follows: It is always important to know when something has reached its end,” writes Paulo Coelho in his book The Zahir. Use this advice heroically in 2015, Virgo. Wield it to clear away anything that no longer serves you, that weighs you down or holds you back. Prepare the way for the new story that will begin for you around your next birthday. “Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters,” Coelho says, “it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” Thud, thud, thud, goes my heart. Letting go in the last year has served me incredibly well. I let go of tired expectations about relationships, old understandings about my sensual and sexual expression. Some of you know that my boyfriend and I parted ways (although I didn’t get rid of him entirely—he is still very much a part of my life as a dear friend). I let free my assumptions about who I am as a dancer, as a runner, even as a writer. I simply am those things. I look forward to seeing what fills the space of the things I let go in the coming year.
  • A Louise Hay Power of Thought card: I allow others to be themselves. This card was handed to me after a particularly snarly interaction with a friend of mine while camping. Now, I love my friend Joe, I do. He is like the brother I never had. But as all brothers do, he gets on my nerves from time to time. And on that day, he had gotten on my last one. I blew up at him in front of 6 others in my campsite. I don’t think any of those people have ever seen me do anything but smile; I’m a pretty positive person 98% of the time. After my little tantrum, I stomped around camp for a while, drank my coffee, and avoided eye contact with my fellow campers. Then, my friend Sarah came up to me and handed me this card. She said, if you love Joe, you have to love him for who he is…flaws and all. I was embarrassed at first, but I soon realized she gave it to me in friendship, not to put me in my place. I read the back of the card: I do not try to heal my friends. I do my own mental work and heal myself. This is the best thing I can do for others. I was so humbled and grateful for Sarah in that moment. It has never left me. Ever since then, every time someone grates on me for doing something that is, in my eyes, wrong, I remember Sarah’s kind offering.
  • In the first part of the year, I cultivated a strong connection with a man who became a very close friend. He has inspired me multiple times this year, and I’ve even used his inspiration in a few of my blogs. After reading one of them, he wrote me this note. “So I re-read your blog as requested. I originally felt touched by the part about the friend who talks about his son living in every moment as I saw a connection to me. Now, knowing you wrote that about/for me I am touched even more. Thank you Becky for your kindness and your authenticity. Your (sic) truly a special person and someone someday is going to be very blessed to have you as a partner. Happy New Year and on-on.” I close my eyes now, and remember the warmth I felt when I read that note the first time, and every time thereafter. It reminds me what special and amazing souls I have in my life.
  • I attended two writing workshops this year, both of which brought me great joy. In one of the workshops, led by Kate Gray, we were tasked to write a short fiction piece. I ended up writing something about belly dance, and loved it so much that I kept it around. It contains many parts that are true to my own life as well as musings of a greater sort. Here is a short excerpt: “Here, she danced for pleasure. For art. To see her hair fly in the air as she spun in a barrel turn. To see the man drop his pita into the hummus because her muscle isolations made it seem as though her hips were no longer connected to the rest of her body. To feel beautiful in stage makeup, and feel the pure delight of washing it off at the end of the night, watching the makeup and sweat and soap bubbles slink circuitously into the drain and flow somewhere else…She grew up with rhythms from all over the world. She couldn’t imagine a life without romantic harmonies, haunting vibratos, and razor sharp words. Music moved her.” HAPPINESS!
  • If you have not read The Four Agreements, I highly recommend it. I wrote each one down and put them in my jar, and they have served me incredibly well this year. You really must read the book, but here are the agreements, in short.
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
  • This is an action that has never come easily to me. A friend of mine gave me a deck of cards with meditation words on them a few years ago. Surrender kept coming up for me whenever I pulled this deck out. I decided that Surrender would be my word of the year. And so I have quite happily, and continue to surrender to whatever the universe brings me.

2015 was a year of growth for me. It was not without growing pains, to be sure. Most of these times I understood that there was a bigger message, a lesson I needed to learn. I have to hand it to the universe, it can throw some seriously cockeyed lessons my way, but I do feel strongly that I needed each and every one of them, no matter how painful at the time.

I encourage you to reflect on your 2015 and come up with some of the lessons you experienced, maybe set up a happiness jar for 2016. We’re not all going to get to the other side boasting the ideal job, the perfect mate, and a flawless life, but we can absolutely appreciate the path we’ve taken to get to where we are now—exactly where we’re supposed to be at this time and place.

The Other Side

6 Sep

Today it was dark. Rainy. Thickly clouded and cool with a light penumbra of humidity. The sun was nowhere to be found for most of the day.

Autumn is approaching. Labor Day weekend (also my birthday weekend) is generally the start of the turning point towards fall, though technically the equinox isn’t until the end of September. Sure, we’ve got another couple of hit and miss weeks, but fall is coming. And I love it. I love the colors, the burnt oranges, rich reds, plush purples, corporeal browns. I love the new, swift breezes, the overcast mornings, and even the rain. Autumn is my spring. It’s full of new beginnings and fresh promises. Maybe it’s because I associate it with “back to school” time or my birthday, but regardless of the reason, it is most definitely my favorite season, and a time to start anew.

These past three weeks, while I have been recovering from my car accident, have allowed me to reflect on all that is amazing in my life. It has also allowed me the displeasure of sinking far into the Dark Void. At first glance, it has been a huge drag. I can’t dance, can’t run, can’t party. What do I have left when I my body won’t let me frolic in free physicality? Everything else, of course. What, exactly, is everything else?

At first it didn’t look like much, but when I took a breath, was patient and allowed the universe to bestow its knowledge on me, I realized it was actually a whole other world that I had almost forgotten. It’s what’s in between. It’s the pauses in life, the breaths we hold onto when singing a song, a millisecond of complete silence inside of a piercing glance. There is as much, if not more, to appreciate, in these gaps.

I’m finally seeing the true gift of it, and, just in time for the turning of the leaves and, yes, the rain, I welcome this new season and change of heart.

Photo credit: Padraic, via Flickr

Photo credit: Padraic, via Flickr

Questions in the Stars

11 Jun

My Free Will Astrology for this week:

It’s prime time to promote cross-cultural liaisons and interspecies relationships, Virgo. I encourage you to experiment with hybrids and facilitate the union of diverse interests. You will be working in alignment with cosmic trends if you strengthen the connections between influences that belong together, and even between influences that don’t know they belong together. So see what you can do to facilitate conversations between Us and Them. Negotiate peace treaties between Yes and No. Look for legitimate ways to compare apples and oranges.

I’m trying to figure out what this means in my life. Am I going to invent a salsa-running(TM) workshop? Bellydance to Latin music? Discover a way to combine hiking with putt-putt? Finally find someone who is the yin to my yang-y crazy life? Who or what is the Them to my Us?? Ok, Universe, I’m putting it out there! Let’s see what you’ve got for me!

Free Will, Sisters!

8 Mar

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Numerous websites on the Internet allege that Greek philosopher Plato made this statement, which I regard as highly unlikely. But in any case, the thought itself has some merit. And in accordance with your current astrological omens, I will make it your motto for the week. This is an excellent time to learn more about and become closer to the people you care for, and nothing would help you accomplish that better than getting together for intensive interludes of fooling around and messing around and horsing around.

This is my Free Will Horoscope for this week. I’m a Virgo, in case you haven’t caught that in a previous post. There are two reasons I love this VIRGO horoscope today.

Number 1: Virgos find it incredibly hard to simply “play.” First we analyze what all the possible outcomes would be if we did play, then we figure out the intensity of play we should be participating in based on multiple very important factors, and by the time we’re done with the calculations, we’re too tired to actually play. Much of the time we end up doing a default comfort-zone activity instead. But! This week, I, Virgo Extraordinaire Becky, have done exactly what my horoscope has ruled that I should do! I’m having a great time straying far far away from my comfort zone. I’m not branding my source of fun, I’m not analyzing it, I’m just doing it. It’s exhiliarating and awesome! (Why don’t I do this more often??) 

Number 2: (Notice as I’m writing about not taking life so seriously, I’m still making lists about it—Virgos RULE!) It’s International Women’s Day! I’m torn about this day, though, because before today, I was under the impression that every day was women’s day. I mean, I know the system is patriarchal, but really? We get ONE day? Huh. Foregoing the negativity, I have decided I will embrace International Women’s Day and will make my mark by doing something that is considered out of the box for me! 

One last tidbit before I send you off to do some fooling around of your own. I love that when I’m doing something right, the Universe is never shy in giving me a sign/patting me on the back, saying, Good job, Becky! That’s the spirit! There are times when I think there is no higher being or consciousness, but days like this I can’t deny that there is an “entity” that brings everything into my world precisely when I need it. Thank you, Free Will Astrology! Thank you, International Women’s Day! Thank you, Universe! Most of all, thank you, BECKY! Now go and play, friends.

Circle of Friends

23 Sep

Warning, this post is going to be extremely raw and honest and might be about YOU. I will not be adding names to this post, though many of the people cited have been highlighted in this blog before. If I have mentioned you, please know I am telling this particular story because it has helped me work out some of my own issues. It is not to hurt or expose anyone.

I’ve noticed that many of my friendship statuses have been fluctuating this year. What I mean is that throughout the year I have noticed that my previously ever-steady close circle of friends has expanded and shrunk, and gone through a metamorphosis. It’s a very good thing…and of course it all happens for a reason.

My mother always said it’s better to have 75 good friends than only a few best friends. I have always disagreed with her. I feel if I have those 75 “outer circle” friends and I can’t count on one of them to check in with me every day, make sure I get my morning coffee, or know to ask for the full name and phone number of my blind date, then I may wind up with many acquaintances, but no one to make sure I came back from that blind date in one piece. I have a small circle of friends that I talk to every day or near enough, and they always take priority. I have a larger set of friends who I acknowledge at least once a week, even if it’s just on Facebook. The outer ring of the circle are the friends who I can go weeks or months without talking to, and I know that once the link is reconnected, it will be like no time has passed.

I like these definitions. The three rings of friendship give me security. And like a good (and single) Virgo, they give me comfort that someone will notice if I dip below the radar in less than 24 hours. Please see Sex and the City Season 2 where Miranda chokes on her food and has to save herself by heaving her upper body over a chair. Right afterwards she calls Carrie in a panic that no one will know she is dead for days, except her cats, who have, in the meantime, eaten her eyeballs. Have I had these fears? Oh yes. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that Miranda is a Virgo.

There are several accounts that I will share that back up this theory of friend fluctuation. This year through life’s trials and tribulations, one of my closest friends and I became almost completely estranged. She moved a half-hour away and was in a bad situation with an extremely controlling partner. This was someone who I used to speak with every day, who I could count on to be there for me whenever I needed her. Then the friendship I had known for seven years just stopped cold turkey. When she dropped off the radar, I felt feelings of panic well up. This was my go-to for all the crazy ideas I had that no one else would take part in. I knew I’d always have a date with her any time I had the urge for salsa dancing. In addition, and most importantly, she had two children who I considered family. I was having withdrawal symptoms for them most of all.

Another situation was with my former roommate. We lived together for three years, and then separated, citing a potential friend break-up and the desire to live on opposite sides of town as solid reasons to get out while the going was good. Almost immediately after moving, she met her soon-to-be fiancée…and dropped off the face of the earth. When I did see her it was almost always as a duo. I felt like our interests and commonalities were drifting at a rather alarming rate. After what seemed like no time at all, she and her boyfriend became engaged. My mind was absolutely boggled when she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I was at this point feeling pretty distant from her, and in addition I had just spent a lot of money on another friend’s wedding and was starting to feel resentful and frustrated about all my friends with their stupid weddings. I began having feelings of incredible unhappiness about this long-time friend and former roommate, when I should have been nothing but elated for her. I knew I would eventually have to tell her I couldn’t be in the wedding for financial reasons, but I was terrified she would hate me. So I did what any normal person would do:  I avoided her and the situation completely.

My last story is about my trusty hiking friend. We had been hiking together for two years and were always close, no matter if one of us had a boyfriend or girlfriend. Then, he met Her. Suddenly he was always too busy to hike with me. They had plans to go away for the weekend, or they had a function with Her parents. He fell off the map! The three of us hiked a few times but it was pretty clear that she was now the priority and I would have to work around their schedule. I admit it, I was jealous. Not only did he have a great partner, he found someone who liked to hike. I wanted someone who liked to hike!! The worst part of all? I actually enjoyed this girl. The night I met Her, he brought Her to my birthday party. He was clear he wanted me to meet Her and he wanted to know exactly what I thought. I really wanted to not like Her, because that meant he would be free to hang with me any time. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. As I have grown to know Her more, I hate to say it, but she is awesome. Grrrr…

Because of these estrangements, I had an awful lot of time on my hands. My brain understood that all of this extra time I now had was partially the cause and effect of people growing up, getting married, moving across town, etc. Though I may be single and childless, I can comprehend the need to focus on one’s family, but from my standpoint it can really stink when everyone else has different priorities and I am stuck alone, partnerless, and without family in the immediate area. While I love being an independent woman who chose to move away from her hometown eight years ago, sometimes I feel a little sad, knowing that most of my friends have a partner to run to or a kiddo to cuddle when they feel this way. This is exactly why I chose to have the close circle of friends. But when they aren’t making me a priority, who is left? I wasn’t sure what to do. I hadn’t been faced with this situation before.

Instead of crying (much), I opened my up my contact list. I went through the list, noting people who I hadn’t talked to in ages but who I still very much wanted a connection with. One in particular stood out. We hadn’t seen each other in the flesh for over 4 years, but somehow we always stayed kindred spirits. We linked up on social media websites, talking about how we should get together, but we never actually did. So when I saw an opportunity one day, I took it. I knew she loved belly dance; she took classes from me when I was teaching a few years ago. There was a show coming up that I knew she would love, so I invited her, and she said yes! On a whim, I also invited my estranged salsa-dancing partner-in-crime as well, hoping she would bite, and I was so pleased when she decided to go! My evening was filled with catching up with the old and creating bonds with the new.

As for my former roommate, I finally got up the nerve to tell her I couldn’t be in the wedding. It was only fair; I couldn’t leave her in a lurch without a bridesmaid at the very last minute. I cornered her (figuratively speaking—it was over email) and got her to agree on a solo dinner. I hemmed and hawed during the entire dinner, only able to speak about my situation after we had paid and walked out the door. I don’t know what I was expecting: a slap in the face, tears? No, my friend was cooler than a cucumber and, as I should have known, hit the nail right on the head. She told me she wanted me to enjoy the wedding, not be pressured by it in any way. She said she didn’t want me to resent the financial burden that being a bridesmaid can bring upon someone. I was so relieved. I was also thrilled when she told me I would still be completely involved in any part of the wedding I wanted. The weight that lifted off of me was palpable. It also opened me up to wanting to spend time with her again. We have since completely renewed our friendship and are closer than ever. The grace of honesty in a relationship is something that can never be overemphasized. Even though we still live across town and have different marital statuses, we can be as close in spirit as we want.

Because I was left high and dry without a hiking partner, I was grumpy. I am used to getting dozens of hikes on the books each year, and I was at a loss. The Universe must have been working overtime because I gained two brand-new hiking buddies this year, completely by coincidence! One of them, as I have previously mentioned, took it upon himself to invite himself on one of my already-planned hikes. The other I had known for a while, and it just seemed natural that once we established our mutual love for hiking, we would do it together. What makes me really happy is that I have gotten all my hiking buddies, new and old, on the same hike. Thanks for listening, Universe!

Does this mean my mother was right? I don’t want to say she was 100% correct. I still want to be confident that my cats won’t be eating my eyeballs because no one checked in on me, but it’s nice to branch out and let some of the outer circle in a little closer.

When one door closes, another one opens. I swear I have read or heard this mantra hundreds of times in my life. No matter what, it always ends up being true. Life can really be painful, but I have found that once I get past the clouds, I can see the sun shining through. It really is a beautiful thing.

 

 

BIRTHDAY POST!

31 Aug

It’s my birthday, so go ahead and take this opportunity to celebrate the day of my birth in any way you wish! And don’t forget my twin; it’s Sarah’s birthday too!

I want to give you a recap of my Portland to Coast experience, but I also want to share the more intimate inner workings of my mind when it comes to my philosophy on running/walking.

The 2011 Portland to Coast Relay Walk was exhilarating and terrifying! (I have not built up the nerve to the full Hood to Coast Run yet, but I’m working on it.) This year was my sophomore year as a part of a speed-walking team. I was a little apprehensive before the event began. There were a lot of unknowns on my team—I had never met three of my new teammates, who would be squished in a Suburban with me for 30 hours. As Captain, I had made every effort to communicate with them, to make everyone feel at ease with the journey to come, and to let them know I had everything covered. Only I didn’t feel like my efforts were much appreciated. Most of my brain knows that just because some of my team members didn’t respond to my (well-written and thoughtfully-crafted) emails, it doesn’t mean they weren’t read. Being a Virgo, I wanted immediate responses from each recipient upon receipt of every email. Ok…I’m being a little facetious here…but I wanted to be assured that my efforts were being acknowledged, and also that I wouldn’t have to read all the rules and regulations to the team once we’d all gotten together. There are a lot of things to remember in this event, and I knew we’d be busy enough with the task at hand.  

Can you tell I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to things like this? Have you ever been in charge of something and be absolutely terrified that things will fall apart, and everyone will turn and blame you because you stupidly volunteered to be Captain and Team Scapegoat? I have those fears. I bet a lot of us do. My chest tightens just thinking about it. I must remember to breathe.

In the end things went pretty well. They definitely weren’t perfect, but we didn’t forget any supplies, we never missed the baton handoff, and no one injured themselves, aside from the usual muscle aches. While observing hilarious costumes and team names, I also noticed was that there was so much love and support coming from everyone in the event. Yes, my teammates cheered me on when I killed that 8 mile leg in record time, but in addition to that, many strangers rooted for me as I passed their vans, stood beside them in the 2:00 AM chill, and moaned about the lack of sleep with them. I felt such a kinship with the thousands of people walking and running beside me, all of us reaching for our best selves.

That feeling is like a song that makes me fill up with joy every time I hear it. The one that comes into my head right now is “Iwoya” by Angelique Kidjo and Dave Matthews. Whether or not you like or understand the music, you can’t not be happy when you hear it. I feel this song gives the listener a gift of love with every play. And that is exactly how I feel about running and walking. It’s a gift I’m giving my body, and it always makes me happy. I have never said to myself after a run, “I wish I hadn’t done that!” I love running…and I hate it too. It makes my chest burn, my legs ache, and my everything sweat. But the most commanding feeling I have about it is that it makes me feel like a total rock star. I have never been so proud of myself as a physical being. Besides bellydance, no other activity has ever made me feel so alive. I also recognize that it’s starting to make a serious impact on my body. I’ve gone from hating my body to embracing it, thanking the Universe every day that I am able to do these things, and do them well. I wish that everyone will find their love of life the way I have. It’s a beautiful thing.

She's a Walkstar!

The Urban Garden of Eden

22 Aug

Because it has been requested, because I scored about six pounds of free blueberries this week from a friend just itching to get rid of her backyard blueberry surplus, and also because I just found the coolest website on a similar topic, I have decided to write this week’s blog on Urban Gardening—The Becky Update. I’ve found the idea of urban gardening to be so much more absorbing than I thought it would be. It seems simple, the concept of growing your own food. It costs less than buying at the grocery store, and you know exactly where your food is coming from, but, like I said before, up until a few months ago I had never even consider growing my own food to be a realistic option. So why now? Recession, a new hobby, the inarguable rise in awareness of the important of knowing where our food comes from…urban gardening has definitely been a new and fruitful (ha ha) experience for me, and I’m excited to share more about it.

My garden has been blossoming! Back when I began, I had my lone tomato plant, Bernardo, and a few other herbs and leafy greens. Now I have three tomato plants, a cucumber, a planter of beets, two types of peppers, cilantro, chives, oregano, and lavender! I’m pretty impressed at my fine gardening skills too, which include watering when the sun is low (Plants can get sunburned too!), clumping like plants together so they can compete and grow larger, and whispering sweet nothings to them from time to time to keep up morale. My plants don’t reside in the most beautiful garden, after all, but they have certainly brightened up my life and my alley! Note:  I moved everything that needed major sun to my little alley. The front patch was just not cutting it, sunshine-wise. Not all of them are ready for consumption yet, but I’ve been able to pick some of my cherry tomatoes, which makes me so very happy. The herbs of course are continually giving; I recently made a delicious enchilada dish with my fresh oregano. What a difference fresh makes! The flavor really popped out.

My gardening interest piqued, I was reading my usual Portland community blog on http://www.livejournal.com when I came upon a post asking about the availability of wild-growing blackberries in the Portland area. One of the answers led me to an intriguing website called Urban Edibles: http://urbanedibles.org/. It is a guide to finding all the produce that’s free to pick, whether it’s behind a Fred Meyer or on a median strip in the middle of a street. The tag line across the top of the home page reads “A Community Database of Wild Food Sources in Portland, OR.” Below, “Urban Edibles is a cooperative network of wild food foragers. By creating awareness about what is available in our neighborhoods, we hope to re-establish the connection between people, environment and food.” Right above it are the links to get you started. I noticed an “ethics” link, so I clicked on it. One may consider most warnings to be common sense (Don’t pick on private property without asking first!), but I was glad I read it for their take on urban foraging etiquette. On the website, you can search by location or item in the greater Portland area. I typed in my address and saw that there were at least seven different food sources within walking distance of my home. This kind of website is exactly why I love Portland so much. Many people are eager to share the resources that keep them in good spirits during a less-than-happy economy.

The website led me to another idea to share about obtaining food outside the grocery store. Besides growing your own produce, ask your friends about a trade. A friend of mine has a considerable backyard garden, but she also owns chickens. When the going is good, she has more eggs than she can handle. Being the great friend that I am, I always volunteer to take the surplus off her hands. When I have something to barter, I offer it. What a fantastic and frugal way to get my groceries!

The urban garden experiment so far has been really pleasurable. It gives me a sense of heightened environmental consciousness and presents me with an activity where I can see the direct results of my efforts (a Virgo MUST). When more crops are ready to harvest, I hope to write another update. If you live in the Portland area, maybe we can do a veggie exchange!