yes yes yes!

around june 1st we started living in dragon house 2.0, and toasted our new home together with whiskey and cokes and organic peanut butter cups. although we are still finalizing details and sorting out technicalities in anticipation of actually closing the sale, and i hesitate to write much out of superstition, i have been strewing jars full of fake fireflies all around to illuminate it, unpacking one box at a time in stolen bits of time between our many summer activities, wielding a stud finder and hanging things on walls (all the while joking that i myself am a stud finder), and hanging star wars pick up lines on the fridge, for fresh inspiration to share with the one of whom i will never tire of asking, “do you come here often?”

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“i must be from alderaan, because you just blew up my world.”

“i can’t believe you’re from an ice planet, because you’re so hoth!”

“care to fly your milennium falcon through my asteroid belt?”

when i used that last one i was met with, “wow, i didn’t know you were into that, honey.” and that was when i, after an awkward delay, realized what it was implying. “you’re such a pain in the asteroid belt,” i responded.

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i am building a home with the man of my dreams, and life is so full. we spent a wonderful date weekend seeing a ben harper show at the edgefield, looking at each other as each song started, “oh i love this one!” like… steal my kisses: “i love to feel that warm northwestern rain….” ben substituted for the appropriate geographic region. hearing his new tunes we realized how in sync we are with how content and happy ben seems, from his demeanor to some of his newer lyrics like the song shine

we shine like a new tattoo
scarred on skin bright as day
across my heart
there is no other way

give me tomorrow
and i’ll give you today
in the end
there is no other way

we are like two roads
that lead to the same place
won’t leave a trace
there is no other way

if you were all i had
i would have it all

sitting around the campfire over the weekend of the fourth, one of the topics i discussed with sister friends, as women will discuss when the men and kids are all tucked into their tents, was wedding ideas (i think maybe there’s a little flat bride in each and every one of us). my joke the past few months has been that i think he is trying to have the shortest engagement on record. we have already spoken about setting a date for next summer 2017 for our wedding, having remained “practically engaged” all the while. i was saying to my girlfriends that i wondered if he was waiting to choose a rock for a ring at his mom and dad’s when we went there in the fall (we plan to go to oklahoma in november after he finishes being in one flew over the cuckoo’s nest in october; i know, isn’t he cool?) but i also told them, the main thing is, i won’t see it coming, he will surprise me and manage to be unpredictable somehow. he is just a mysterious guy and he’s gonna find a way to be mysterious about it. (at the end of the post you can comment on whether i called it!)

~~~

i talked to rich on saturday night and figured out when to leave home to get to oregon country fair by 11 on sunday when it would open, and he said to meet outside the gate at the dragon. i was trying to remember exactly where that is, which is hilarious because it’s obvious when you are there, but i get fuzzy after a year goes by. the phone call was all logistics and happy anticipation of seeing each other in the morning, after his annual week away doing his thing. fair was once upon a time an event i associated with hurt and betrayal, but ever since i’ve known rich, and in just the 5 times i have watched him go there, and had him conserve his phone battery for an entire week so that he can call me each and every night, i have gone from nervous reluctant acceptance to joyful anticipation of each year’s fair and the one day i spend there at his side.

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ohhhhh, you mean this giant dragon?

everything went smoothly driving there on sunday. i had not really put a lot of thought into my “outfit” this year (last year i went all out, with dragon face paint and a flower crown.) saturday night i finally settled on an ocean theme and paired my fish sarong with my blue ruffly sweater. i wore an abalone shell necklace i’ve had for a long time but haven’t been wearing and finally reclaimed for myself (also because of negative associations i needed to let go of and finally did).

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not this dragon. or this one. or this one.

i got my ticket at will call and walked into the area where the dragon is, just inside the fence, but not inside the actual fair entrance yet… oh, duh, that giant dragon, where we end up meeting every single year. looking for rich in his usual colorful shirt made it take 2.2 seconds longer to see him because he was in a light colored long sleeve shirt. it was cool and drizzly (about which i was happy because it meant there would not not be as many overwhelmingly crowded people moments and i got to park really close). he saw me first and just waited by the dragon “pretending” that he didn’t see me. he lowered his hat brim and i followed suit by “hiding” behind little sapling trees “sneaking” up on him. then i finally got over to him and we laughed and hugged for about 5 minutes, to make up for 5 days of no hugs.

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this dragon is the one!

he had our broom in his hand! i exclaimed excitedly about how he had gotten us a broom for our house. last year we had been eyeing the brooms because these brooms are really sturdy pieces of artwork hand made out of real stuff and like tree branches, and the bristles are pretty colors (i overheard kids calling out to another kid who carried an orange broom, “hey, kid with the firebolt!”) rich had a beautiful dark blue one in his hand. we had said we’d get one for the new house so i thought it was wonderful he’d gotten it, but logistics like whether to take it to my car before walking around the fair were my initial preoccupation. but then he held it out and began making a little speech about how he had gotten me this broom, at which point i switched from logistics to wait, he’s being weird, is this it? is something up? then told my brain to shut up and listen.

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he told me how it’s symbolic because it’s for our new house and represents new beginnings, but also because one of the things that’s good about us in our relationship is how we keep our “house clean” and keep the cobwebs out and keep the space between us clean, and free from the dust bunnies of our past, (this is a paraphrasing of his actual words, because shortly thereafter my brain turned to mush) and so the broom symbolizes us continuing to sweep out our cobwebs and keep this good thing going. and we joked about sweeping each other off of our feet, of course. by this time i was totally thinking about how strangely he was acting, but i said thank you for the broom and hugged and kissed him and turned back to whether we should put the broom in my car while we’re still out front, so we don’t have to carry it around, and he agreed, “but there’s one more thing.”

then he pulled a ring out of his pocket and said, “will you marry me?”

i think my eyes must have gotten really big, and i said yes! of course! and more hugging and kissing ensued.

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~~~

the original ring he gave me was also a silver dolphin ring, but was too big and we ended up exchanging it for this one.

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he joked that his jedi mind trick about me wearing ocean clothes must have worked.

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last selfie before becoming engaged

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rich got the ring from a guy we know locally, who makes and sells jewelry at fair, and is part of the family who owns the restaurant where rich and i went out on our very first date. he also built the school room addition on our living school, his grandson went to ols with quinn, and i could go on, but you get the idea. both rich and i transplanted here. i make no bones about how i set my intention right away that i planned on putting down roots here, getting to know and adopting the locals for my own; rich jokes that in 1996 he came here to try it out for a year, and that he’s still trying it out. we are very interconnected with the community here. case in point: i got my man, my job, my vacation house, and my dragon house all from connections made in yoga class.

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so we took the broom to my car (phew! i’m sure you were all impatiently awaiting the outcome on that, i know i was) and took a couple of selfies by the dragon on our way back in and then walked around a little bit, exchanged the ring, and got coffee. he asked whether i wanted a peanut butter brownie or an espresso brownie with my coffee; i chose peanut butter. we were being dorks and “practicing” feeding each other cake while we shared it. right after that he said, “well i’m glad that’s over with, i hadn’t had coffee yet because i was so nervous and jittery and…” without missing a beat i snorted laughing, “and were you also pretty full of shit?” and he laughed. we all know who does all of the overthinking and fretting in this relationship, and it’s not him.

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i had already been set on, in the moment, saying yes, whenever if ever that moment occurred. i wasn’t going to joke about that, not even given the latest story he’s been telling that “i’ve asked her but she keeps saying no.”

however, immediately afterwards we could joke!

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~~~

we went and listened to a band (the deer, from austin texas, very fun) and mostly stood there hugging and swaying and enjoying the music. he got us lamb souvlaki for brunch and we saw another band we really liked (the hill pigs) and for that show i was standing in front of him with his arms wrapped around me, also dancing, swaying and reveling in the wonderful atmosphere of fair.

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we got him a matching broom for keeping by the wood stove for sweeping up ashes and wood chips while tending the hearth. rich also learned from the broom maker when he bought the broom, that it’s good luck to buy a new broom for a new house, and that you should never bring an old broom to a new house; we also laughed about jumping over the broom at our wedding. we got a couple of hooks to hang the brooms up from the blacksmith (after we watched them being forged, which was so cool) because hanging up the brooms should make them last longer.

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a band we love (taarka) but who weren’t playing on stage this year were playing acoustically just sitting on the path, so we bought their cd and sat and listened for a while to them. their son is about quinn’s age and had his pokemon cards laying next to him so i chatted with him about kyogre mega ex, as you do.

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we spent the better part of the day just walking around, sitting on benches together holding hands and hugging and talking and people watching and taking pictures. he fed me afghani food, indian food, chai, and a blintz. we saw a few people we knew, but we agreed not to tell anyone our news until we had told our families, and just enjoy knowing it for ourselves for that day. we took pictures of ourselves with the “yes yes yes” signs. they are all over the fair, and i’ve always loved those signs in general but now i love them even more!

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~~~

we go there every year, so now we have a built in day to celebrate our engagement every year. a fun place we will go back to, close to the date, and spend an amazing magical day there together, one where i don’t have to cook or do things for people, it’s just fun and celebration there, and, um, we got engaged beside a giant dragon. and he got my ring and broom there. just so good.

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it goes beyond that. one of the cobwebs we originally had to sweep away, from my past, had to do with country fair. 4 years ago i had to consciously try to enjoy myself; and now i super look forward to it, and even still sweeping out old cobwebs like hangups about a necklace i want to wear but wasn’t wearing, and finally wearing it. we could have done just fine building a relationship without healing those particular things, done our separate things when fair time came around, but instead, we swept out the old junk, made it a place where there is only love and more love, and now my only thoughts about fair will ever be happy happy happy thoughts.

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briefly, on the word fiance. it is growing on me, as we make a point to use it with great frequency since it will only be valid for a year-ish. at first, though, it made me want to introduce him as richard, because it sounds so formal:

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“this is my fiance, richard.”

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yup, there he is again. my sweet fiance.

i asked him if he was bummed i didn’t go on saturday instead, because it would have been the 9th and his number is 9 so i asked if it had crossed his mind. it had, but he said that 10 is also a great number, that it symbolizes completion. (aww.) later on i was singing 10, 10, 10, 10 is for everything, everything, everything, everything!

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and there’s pretty much a little of everything at fair!

~~~

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one of the best parts of leaving fair (besides looking at everyone leaving through the sunlit gate and taking pictures and people watching) is walking back past the dragon. we realized that we can reenact our engagement every year! and we started right away. he hammed it up much more for the reenactment with lots more words, will you, mary beth rew, etc…. hilarious. just like picking each other up in the laundromat whenever we go back to it (not often lately, now that we’re washer and dryer owners) only like a million times better.

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candy pink? baby pink?

already, since we’ve been home, i’ve asked him to tell me the story of our engagement, and i offered, “you could start with ‘once upon a time.'” i know he loves me because he indulges silly, playful things like that… the ones that increase the love, you know. “once upon a time, a long, long time ago, i was at oregon country fair. i went to the dragon, and i waited… and waited… and waited…. and waited…. and waited some more…. and then i had to find a dry spot to sit down… and i waited… and waited…”

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~~~

frequently asked questions:

q: have you set a date yet?

a: nope! but sometime summer 2017 is looking likely.

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q: candy pink or baby pink?

a: we’re more into rainbow these days. i think rich and i agree we like things not all matchy matchy.

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q: do you come here often?

~~~

now that it’s been over a week,  (on the one week date, we celebrated “one week engage-a-versary”, which quickly devolved to “dorkaversary”) the telling of the news to friends and family itself has been incorporated into part of the story… i called my mom the next morning, then my bff, then did a swing by before work to tell camp boss the live version. there was an amazing freak attack by sister camp boss, who abruptly set baby z down, and after we hugged, i picked z up and he proceeded to puke from excitement. camp boss (who now also answers to “wedding boss”, and a few other friends have had amusingly joyous and borderline tearful reactions, while others have had more nonchalant reactions such as, “oh, we thought you were already engaged/married!” when my sister in law texted that she was barfing (a common reaction to warm fuzzy overload) i told her i had the puke situation covered: baby puke on ring, check. it hasn’t been all puke, either, i also bathed the ring in clay while throwing my first bowl with a friend who pointed out that the two dolphin tails represent “the two shall become one,” and still another friend invited us over for a dinner of italian wedding soup to celebrate! it has been wonderful to be carried along on a wave of shared joy as we spread the news to friends and family.

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~~~

i think rings are supposed to symbolize eternity, the circle going around forever, but i see this ring as more of a spiral. the whole eternity aspect of this journey we’re on is a no brainer “love you till i die meet you on the other side” and so on and so forth, but we live in the right now, here in the present moment. i see the spiral as a symbol of beginning again from right now. let’s wake up and be in a wonderful (clean, swept-out) space together and love each other today. new beginnings, fresh every day. it’s just like meditating: go back to your breath, start again when your mind wanders… stay with it, keep your attention on it, always come back to it.

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the morning after our day together at fair rich texted me “morning my lovely fiance.” his choice of the word lovely coincided with these lyrics from the taarka cd that had been the soundtrack to my drive home along the foggy dark coastline, so i texted him back:

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shall we rise up my darling and greet the new day with open arms

and shall we be strong my lovely and never give up on heart and song?

 

 

(a: yes yes yes!)

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