random olio 2014

It has been a full year. I traveled to Shanghai, Chicago, Oakland a few times, to LA, Bend, oh the list goes on. I went to a few weddings, luckily no funerals. I worked countless hours in the office, and at home on my couch. I visited my niece, Facetimed with her and my sister, and missed them in between. We saw family, friends, and played on our own a bit in other parts of the country and the world. I went No Poo in 2014, and then started using loo poo shampoo and wash my hair a lot less often.

We tried new things, thought about the past, and planned and brainstormed the future. We laughed, cuddled, giggled, listened, gave advice, learned a lot, and cherished each other more. Like I said, it was a full year. Here is my list of favorite random olio posts of 2014. In no specific oder:

  1. No Poo
  2. Ten Things About My Dad
  3. Giggle ’til you pee your pants
  4. Want to Laugh Today?
  5. He is My Person
  6. Listen More, Talk Less
  7. My niece is da bomb
  8. I heart SH: Food Nostalgia
  9. She flies with her own wings
  10. A little dabble in wax…

Most read posts on Random Olio in 2014:

I hope you enjoyed all you read on random olio this year. Be grateful for all that you have done, all that you have, and all that you have learned. Life is good, we just have to see what is right in front of us. Thank you for continuing to read random olio. Here is to a full, alive, and adventurous 2015!

Moment by moment

It is wedding season. So far we have already been to two weddings this month. I have to confess: weddings are just not my thing. However, I have to share about a wedding I went to on Saturday.

We were in Bend, Oregon at a ranch in the beautiful countryside. There were horses out in pasture as we drove up to the ranch (the location of the wedding and reception). It was a gorgeous day, in the low 80’s, dry, and from sunrise a clear blue sky day. If I woke up as the bride, it would have been the perfect day for a wedding. Until a forest fire broke out. Yes, from what the news said, there were two forest fires, and from the sounds of it they were not controlled fires. As we were driving into the ranch, this is what we saw. I was hopeful that the bride would still have the perfect day.

Let me back up a bit. I kept having the intuition throughout the day to text the bride and tell her I was thinking about her. I know how often mother’s and mother-in-law’s and other family can jump in and think they are helping during a wedding, but are actually overwhelming the bride. Not knowing what her day would be like I was going to text her the following: “Remember your wedding is about you and [insert name to keep it anonymous], only the two of you. It is not about anyone else. Know that I am thinking about you today. Do not think for a second about anyone else.” I never sent the text. We met friends for lunch, we got iced coffee, we walked around town, I went for a run, and yet I never sent the text. Part of me did not want to bug the bride, as I knew it was a busy day, and part of me just did not follow through.

Jump back to the time of the wedding. We were told upon arrival to get something to drink and to take a seat (the ceremony was near a pond or river of water and in direct sun). The groom and groomsmen walked down the green to the front, and moments later we hear a siren, and listen as it comes closer and closer to us. It parks in front of the house where the reception is at, and the bridesmaid and bride are standing on the porch on their way down to the ceremony. A firefighter in a yellow slicker stops at the porch, and we all turn to watch. We all wonder: “will we be able to stay or will we be evacuated.” As well as: “What must the bride be thinking at this very moment.” Later I heard that the groom mentioned: “I just want to get married.” A perfect comment for the moment.

After a few folks run back and forth to us, and the bride’s father, we are told we have to evacuate, then moments later they tell us, we can do the ceremony as long as it is quick, and we must leave immediately afterwards. The precious flower girl (with a white dress and cowboy boots) runs quickly down the aisle, followed by the bridesmaids and bride, the perfect wedding happens, short and sweet and just right. All attendees are told to go to Drake Park near the Deschutes River near downtown Bend for the reception. Everyone pitches in to take something from the reception, beer, wine, flowers, food from the caterers. A bittersweet moment for the bride.

We each make our way to the park. As we leave the ranch, police and firefighters posted at different points along the way, and as we get farther and farther away from the ranch, more and more firefighters are going towards the smoke in the opposite direction that we are heading. All hands on deck, and all guests pitch in to try to recreate the reception for the bride and groom. Flowers are set out in the perfect way, folding chairs have been brought from the ceremony, all the food from the catering, framed photos of the bride and groom, the wedding cake + cupcakes, a table especially for the bride and groom. We all together decorate that portion of the park. There are even speakers and music. Such a sense of community after events that the bride and groom could do nothing about even if they tried.

My heart goes out to the bride and groom. Such a precious way to start a marriage. Flexibility, compassion, community, and adventure all on their wedding day. For all those days and months of planning that perfect day, in the end your friends and family were there as part of your celebration, regardless of location and it was perfect. You will have such a story to tell for years and years to come. Best wishes and so much love to both of you as you continue on your adventure!

Strength, Courage, and Resilience

A few days ago I finished reading a book that just came out: “Bend, Not Break” by Ping Fu. It is about a woman who grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China, raised herself from the age of eight (as well as her four-year old sister), was later forced to leave China, went on to start a 3D rendering company, Geomagic, and has invented amazing technology that continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

I was fascinated by her story, the perseverance she showed in life, to come from terrible circumstances and educate herself, and go on to create software products that impact the lives of so many. We do not even realize the impact Fu’s products have had on us. She created the software technology that makes Invisalign, can scan a plane to determine what issues it might have, can create replica’s of the Statue of Liberty in case it needs to be rebuilt. The list goes on, and I encourage you to read her book to learn more about Geomagic. I was fascinated.

Her life story has inspired me to realize that we can always do more. With each hurdle in her personal or professional life, she creatively found a way to get through it all. It might not have been the right way from the perspective of those around her, but they were her decisions and choices. I love an idea that Fu shared called “Three Friends of Winter.” It is often found in art in China. She speaks of this idea a few times throughout her book. It was told to her by her Shanghai Papa (more details about him when you read her memoir). This is a stream of a conversation with Fu and Shanghai Papa (I have put all the ideas together to make the conversation shorter):

“There are three friends of winter: the pine tree, the plum blossom, and bamboo. Pine trees are strong. They remain happy and green throughout the year. In the unbearable heat of summer and the severe cold of winter, they stand unperturbed. The crimson petals of the plum blossom gleam brilliantly against the white snow. The ability to bloom in the midst of misfortune suggests dignity and forbearance under harsh circumstances. Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back from even the most difficult times.” page 10

So the pine tree, plum blossom, and bamboo are reminders to us about staying strong, courageous, and resilient. Thank you Fu for sharing your strength and life story.