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Re-Set Button

Happy Friday, friends!

This has been a good week, but a long one, for me.  I’m not really sure why, but I hit a wall of tired-unmotivated-and-feel-like-I’m-always-behind-the-ball.  Everything is going well, but this wall has just been right there frustrating and exhausting me all week.  I crashed in bed at 9:30 last night ready for a full night of hibernation only to lay there with my mind running for at least a hour.  

This morning I went for a 3.5 mile run, kept myself from giving in to self pity and letting the wall beat me, and I pushed through.  I ran it out, felt the breeze and the freedom and climbed over that wall.  My head is clear and I’m ready to end this week with a light heart and a positive attitude.

It’s amazing what a mind-clearing early morning run can do for me.  It’s like a re-set button, and, really?  We all need one of those from time to time.

What’s your re-set button?

 

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Love and Loss

I’ve spent the past few days in Florida with my family.  My maternal grandfather passed away suddenly on Monday evening.  He wasn’t ill.  In fact, he had golfed Friday morning and, the week prior, he played a 72 and a 76.  The 76 was a bad day for him.  He lived 80 years full of music, dear family, jolly laughter and a simple and sweet devotion to his Christian faith.  On Monday evening, he passed away peacefully as if he had just paused to rest. 

When I heard the news, I felt like I’d been kicked in the gut.  I lost my paternal grandmother nearly two years ago after a long fight and a slow decline.  That was hard.  The mourning seemed to drag on forever, even before she had gone.  In very different way, it’s just as hard when you don’t have the chance to prepare yourself for the impending end.  The sudden flood of emotion is so strong and truly caught me off guard.

It caught all of us off guard, and my grandmother has been struggling with the sense of feeling like she didn’t get to say goodbye.  It was a normal day.  Then he was gone.  That feeling that she’s experiencing – as close, but I’m sure inadequately, as I can understand it – truly is like being kicked in the gut.  The wind is gone.  Just suddenly not there.  

I know I risk sounding cliché in writing this, but that wind is like the breath of our lives that only flows because of the love in our lives.  The love we give and the love we receive.  And in those sudden moments of loss where we truly feel like the wind has been knocked out of us, it’s like the life breath of love created by that person we have lost is also lost.  There’s no more wind of love to give to or receive from that person.

That’s not to say that love and the imprints it leaves on us doesn’t live on.  But I write this to remind myself to bear in mind my parting words; to be sure that my cherished ones know my love and carry it with them; to act with love; to do all I can to create a wind of life that is full of love and to impart it on my dear ones as often as I can.

 

A Reunion

MaryBeth, Me, Charlotte, Kirsten

I’ve rekindled a friendship over the past couple of years with my dear seventh grade bff, Charlotte.  She and I were friends also at the beginning of high school, but we drifted apart, life happened, and, were it not for the oftentimes creepy powers of facebook, we probably would’ve never spoken to each other again.  This past weekend, we had a reunion.  It was a reunion for the two of us and also for two sisters that were our language arts and science teachers in seventh grade.  Charlotte and I both kept in touch with them over the years and, again, thanks to the powers of facebook, have managed to remain in touch even when we otherwise would have grown apart.  On Sunday night, the four of us met up for dinner and a bottle of wine – which was probably very strange for MB and K since Charlotte and I are still twelve in their minds.

It was a marvelous night.  The three of them are each such wonderful, genuine, beautiful-spirited women, full of delight, compassion and creativity.  I feel like I’ve changed the most out of the four of us.  I’m still processing that feeling, and I’m not yet sure what to do with it.  So for now I’m just going to let it be.  And for now I’m going to be thankful for the good friends (and teachers) that have shaped me.  I’m grateful for the blessings of joyful spirits and kind hearts, of belly laughter and silly memories, of friendships that pick up where they left off and lives that find ways to continually intertwine.

Brain – 1; Hormones – 0

I always have the big “P” word looming in the back of my head.  I guess it could also be the big “C” word or “K” word, but it’s the “P” part that scares me.  Being a PARENT.  I’m excited to one day have children (kids) and to be a parent, but the logistics of parenting – along with working and wife-ing and all the balancing that everything will require – really freaks me out.  Really, part of me would like to just put a big stop sign on the whole idea of it for another 5 years.  Usually that part of me only hangs around for about 2 weeks, and then biology kicks in for another 2 weeks and I’m like, “OH MY GOD. BABIES. NOW.”

I recently read Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.  I started to become aware of my I-want-a-baby cycles and how they coincide with a certain other cycle.  I was curious how the awareness of that would hold up against the hormone rages and whether, in the midst of the I-want-a-baby part of the cycle, I’d pull the whole this-isn’t-hormones-talking-I-feel-like-this-all-the-time thing and try to convince myself that it was true.  Interestingly, so far at least, it seems as though my brain is winning.

Brain – 1 ; Hormones – 0.

I’m pretty well into what would normally be an I-want-a-baby cycle right now and my current thoughts on being a parent (right now; not in general)?  Uh, not so much.  Sure, there’s never a right time to have a baby.  I’ve heard that from just about every parent we know.  But just because there will never be a perfect time doesn’t mean we need to jump into it right now either.  If it were to happen right now, we’d be fine.  We’d be more than fine.  We’d embrace it and jump in with both feet.  But when we feel hesitant, not sure if we’re ready to choose the changes and challenges that come along with being parents, then why would we?

But, fair warning: I may change my mind – er, hormones – on all of this tomorrow.

Twelve in ‘Twelve

Welcome to 2012, y’all!

I love starting a new year.  I like the fresh start, the clean slate, the time to reflect on lessons learned and goals still to be accomplished.  Since I was in high school, I’ve made it a point around the first of every year to take a mental assessment, linger in thankfulness for the moments of growth and joy in the previous year, and set out challenges and plans for the coming year.

This year, I’m still working on the reflection-on-the-past-year part.  I think the fact that it’s not coming easily to me is a reflection of a double-edged sword: one on side, I’m solid and comfortable enough in my own skin that I don’t feel the need to constantly reflect and re-assess who I am in order to feel grounded and purposeful; on the other side, I’m letting life get the best of me at times, and I’m not allowing myself (giving myself?) the time to disconnect from the world, reconnect with things unseen and create room for myself to grow.

So I’m starting with my goals for Twenty-Twelve.  And I’m hoping that in working on these, I’ll make the time and space for myself to reflect on a regular basis throughout the year.

Twelve

The Twelve in ‘Twelve:

1. Work out at least four times a week.

2. Learn to sew.

3. Pump up the jam on this blog.  It’s boring and has no sass.  That will change this year, people.

4. Post on the blog at least once a week.

5. Dedicate “me” time twice a week.  Working out doesn’t count as “me” time.

6. Re-do my Etsy shop.  New, uniform, better pictures.  Descriptions with some thought in them.  And?  Branching out from jewelry.  Hubs’ photography, home decor crafts, Christmas ornaments, maybe some fun antique and vintage items (because our shopping problem needs an outlet).  Lots of fun things up my sleeve, but I know it’s going to take lots of discipline on my part to make the time and put in the effort to do it and do it right.

7. Research modern parenthood.  This one is vague, yes.  Don’t really know where I’m going with it, but I’m starting by reading this book.  It arrived in the mail today, and the fact that I’m a little nervous to read it tells me that I probably really need to read it.

8. Take more pictures.

9. Order wedding photos.  Make an album.

10. Arrive at work before 9 am every day.

11. Do a 10-minute pick up every night before bed.

12. Cut credit car debt in half AND conduct Operation Down Payment.  These are some seriously saving and debt-reducing goals


New Years’ Eve Menu

We’re hosting our monthly dinner club this month on New Years’ Eve.  Instead of making a full sit-down dinner, I’m going to go with nosh-your-way-through-the-night apps.  Our dinner club “rules” are that another couple brings dessert and everyone else brings wine.  Here’s what I’m thinking I’ll serve:

DIY Ham Sliders.  Hubs got a nice frozen honey smoked ham from a client for Christmas.  I’ll slice it up and set it out with rolls, cheese, spicy mustard, mayo, and some fun random jellies (raspberry jalepeno!)

Chili Cheese Popcorn.

Cheese Tray.  Assorted aged cheese, artisan crackers, salamis, golden raisins, capers, olives, red grapes, mango chutney, and local honey.  My kind of heaven.

Bacon-Wrapped French Green Beans.  Wrap em’ up, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake to slightly crisped perfected.

Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Chips and Garlic Tomato Salsa.

Cowboy Caviar.  Texas-style black eyed peas for good luck in the new year!

Crunchy Romaine Salad.  A delish family recipe that I’ll share in the coming days.

Rudolph’s Tipsy Spritzers.  Complete with a festive ribbon tied on the decanter, of course!

What are your New Years’ Eve plans?  What traditions do you have to ring in the new year?

 

Our Tree

Our Tree

 

We always put up our tree on the weekend following Thanksgiving.  It’s a big to-do shifting boxes in our basement storage closet and carting our Christmas boxes up to our home.  We turn on old black and white Christmas movies, drink egg nog/hot chocolate/red wine, pick up dinner from Eatzi’s, and decorate the tree.

We use colorful lights and assorted, non-matchy ornament.  I used to be a fan of white lights and simple, gold ornaments.  I let hubs bask in his colored lights and collection of whimsical, eclectic ornaments for the first couple of years we were together thinking that one day we could have two trees (in two different rooms, of course): a formal, simple tree of my liking and a colorful, variety-filled tree to please him.

Now?  I love our colorful tree.  It’s full of treasures and fond memories.  The ornaments in our collection now include a first Christmas ornament from my father in law, ornaments we picked out on our honeymoon, ornaments we’ve bought for each other that reflect things we’ve loved together throughout the year, ornaments from places that are special to us (the historic cemetery across the stress from our building, Santa Fe, Washington state), and ornaments that just make us laugh.

Our tree used to be his tree, full of ornaments from his childhood.  Now, our tree is ours.  It’s colorful and fun and full of memories.  I hate that hubs leaves the tree lights on all night, but I love walking groggily into the dark, quiet living room every morning seeing the lights dancing on the wall.

Life has been so busy and crazy and blurry lately.  My hope for this Christmas is that the little moments with my family – and the traditions that stick and become like family themselves – will linger.  I hope that they warm all of our hearts and remind us to stop and be thankful for the love and light in our lives.