Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Rituals


The moment I wake up in the morning, I recognize the song in my heart - remnants from the soundtrack of last night's dreams. I drink water, a Diet Coke, and prefer not to speak.

Every time I hug a friend or touch a stranger in greeting, I love how the shadows of the embrace linger after the release. Always fleeting, it is one of my favorite moments.

Before bed, I always wash my face before I brush my teeth, never the other way around.

Books surround me- mundane, seemingly meaningless bits of nostalgia mark pages read. Quotes of big and little significance are written in the notebook always nearby.

Hot teas in dainty cups settle the soul.

At night, I light candles and think about people I love. The quiet thoughts before sleep. Silent prayers.  Words said and unsaid sent in a hopeful wish, closing the day and ushering in the evening.

Our rituals. Make us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slow and Steady


Today changed the moment it began.  What started in an inward frenzy, quickly turned quiet. Slow.  Snow days have a tendency to do that.  A little mid-week gift.  Wrapped in quiet, sparkling whiteness.  

Today is a gift of productivity - for the first time in my memory, I woke up before the alarm clock.  Rested.  Restored.  Ready for the day.  Also for the first time in my memory, recent or otherwise, I could not go back to sleep.  Like the day had too much for me to let me sleep through it.  With the wealth of snow-blowing and napping and movie-watching and NPR listening, I cannot complain.  It has been a blissful day.  Slow and steady.  As it should be.  

Brewing:  a fresh pot of Earl Grey to sip slowly after dinner.  Forcing me to slow down, savoring the moment.  Reflecting on the day.  

Creating:  bringing ideas for upcoming Oscar festivities to life.  Smashing the inner voice between pages for preservation's sake.  Making a general mess of the living room. 

Listening:  Lena Dunham's "The Girls" makes my heart happy.  In a squirmy, awkward, ohgodwhatintheworldaretheysaying/doing/wearing, yet somehow intellectually stimulating kind of way.  This interview does much to explain the hows and whys.  

Craving: crostini and cross stitch.  

Reading:  My Berlin Kitchen.  Slowly.  But delightfully.  

Noshing:  Ungodly amounts of Amish Friendship Bread.    

Feeling:  Happy.  Despite the longing for places and people missed.  It is inexplicable and unexpected.  Much like the snow.  It is, indeed, a cold and broken hallelujah.  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yes.and.Yes.

Because the world is full of loveliness... 

{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14}

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Samson


Today, for completely inexplicable reasons, I am not enough.  Independent though I try to be at all times, there are just some moments where the desire to be part of a two is stronger than expected.    
And for this moment, I completely and wholeheartedly blame Regina Spektor.  

Samson was the first song I ever really fell in love with in the sense that it completely explained the feelings of my heart.  The best relationship I've ever had.  Still a damn good friend.  We were not meant to be.  I was not a good girlfriend.  I wanted to be.  But for reasons beyond me, I just... couldn't.  Somedays I wonder why.  Somedays I wonder the what ifs.  Most of the time, I just wish I could look back and know I'd given it everything I had.  I wish I had an ounce of the perspective and hindsight I have now.  

I wouldn't change the way things ended for us, in the end.  He is one of my nearest and dearest.  And his wife is lovely inside and out.   

But none of this changes the fact that this song has crept onto my playlist on three different occasions today.  And gosh, wouldn't it be lovely to feel that way again... 

"Beneath the stars came falling on our heads/ but they're just old light/
your hair was long when we first met..." 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quote of the Week


"Every Friday night they go out on the town.  They wear strapless dresses to show off their tattoos, they fling their everyday cares out the window.  They split a beer at the icehouse.  Their grandchildren wonder what the neighbors think..."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

These Days...


Ah Janurary... cold and unforgiving, laziness and relaxation producing... 


*  These are days for soaking in the early semester, no-need-to-grade-papers-at-home-ness of it all.  

*  These are days when that extra glass of wine (or the one glass of red) calls my name and says, yes please... come drink me. 
*  These are days when new jobs and new people start to feel normal. 
*  These are days when a cuddle fest with the kitten seems just too good to pass up.  
*  These are days when a comfy chair or couch or blanket calls out... please.  Relax.  Come sit a  spell and be still.  
*  These are days when the Earl Grey is refilled often and a hot mug soothes a comfortable soul.  
*  These are days when even the book on the table calls out, and the sleepiness becomes dire, watching that next episode of TrueBlood seems all the more important.  
*  These are days of fighting the plague and winning.  
*  These are days of reconnecting with friends.  Missing and not missing the hours shared under a common purpose.  
*  These are days of renewal and rejuvenation.  When ideas come forth and plans begin to hatch.  


Perhaps not as active as I'd hoped.  Perhaps not as organized or disciplined as I would have liked.  But good.  These are good days.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Silver Linings.


Every now and again, a movie comes along and explains everything....

"There's always going to be a part of me that's sloppy and dirty, but I like that. With all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself...? Can you forgive? Are you any good at that?"

Most of the time, I feel like I'm kind of clumsily flowing through life... nothing I expected to happen when I was growing up has happened.  But none of the bad or unexpected or challenging stuff has left me worse for wear, either.  I'm odd and challenging and have a bit of a stubborn, independent streak.  Sometimes I wish it wasn't so. But it is.  I can be so loud and brash on the outside, but internally, I feel pretty meek, and quiet, and nine times out of ten, remarkably calm.  Sometimes I wish it wasn't so.  But it is.  I do not have smooth porcelain skin.  I am no size 6.  Sometimes I snort when I laugh and sometimes I just can't be bothered to take a shower.  Sometimes I'm lonely and sometimes I'm strong.  I've made pretty damnable, selfish decisions at times, and have sometimes given so much of myself I have let my needs and desires fall to the wayside. 

But for all of it, the twists and turns, the nonsense and the goods... the only regrets I have are for not being more confident - or at least pretending to be.  Not going for it.  Not risking a bit more.  Not getting out of my head and getting vulnerable and taking chances.  Not allowing myself to be foolish.  I can't think of anything I wish I hadn't done... and to be honest, there's also not much that I'm dying to go back and do so differently.  Just... more.  


I am flawed and a mess and excitable and cranky and such a strange mesh of clean and dirty things...  but I'm kind of good with that.  And that's the good stuff.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quote of the Week


"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark." - John Muir

Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm More of a To-Do List Kinda Girl... 31 for 31


Every new year, people make resolutions like it's going out of style.  I've totally done this.  Last year, for example, I'm rather proud that I made really good progress toward accomplishing them.  But they can be so vague.  

I heard a report on the radio yesterday that said that gym memberships, fostering the cliche' of all resolutions, make something like 75% of their annual revenue during the "resolution season", while most people who commit to using the gym's services in the new year usually fizzle out in less than 3 months.  I've so been that girl.


So this year, instead of doing the all-purpose, easy to forget about or just ignore, grand notions of improvement... I'm making a concrete list.  These are the things I want to do during 2013.  


31 things for my 31st year...


1.  Get a Tarot card reading. Look at life through different eyes.  Bring optimistic skepticism and enjoy the 

       moment.  
2.  View Virginia through tourist eyes.  Visit friends.  Acknowledge the loss and embrace the good. 
3.  Visit at least two amusement parks.  One of these must be King's Dominion.  It is the happiest place 
       on earth.  
4.  Go on at least 5 good-to-great dates.  Open up to new opportunities and seek the good without 
       settling.  
5.  Picnic in the park.  Bring a blanket and homemade food to share.  Soak up the sun and relax without 
       hesitation.  
6.  Reclaim Valentine's Day.  To accept love,  it is first necessary to acknowledge and give love openly and 
       without expectation of return. 
7.  Cook, eat and share food that nourishes body and soul.  Embrace more whole foods and get rid of 
       unnecessary, processed, or nutrient-lacking products. 
8.  Reclaim the workout. Find solace and healing of body and soul.  Claim time and space for rejuvenation.  
       Reap the rewards.  
9.  Sleep under the stars.  Embrace the nature, find connection to the quiet stillness.  
10.  Complete Project365.  One photo for each day of the year.  Pay attention to little changes.  
11.  Read at least 35 books.  Find, use, and learn to love the library.    
12.  Blog at least twice a week.  Take photos and record the moments that make life special.  Find the good 
          in life's icky moments and avoid turning into Negative Nancy.  Nobody likes her.  
13.  Go skiing.  No one should wait years before doing things they love.   
14.  Go back to the mat.  Find a studio, share respect for self, body and soul.  
15.  Drink more water.  
16.  Attend Groundhog Prom.  Embrace the ridiculous, dress up and have fun. 
17.  Play with the kitten every day.  Because she deserves it.  
18.  Create a usable space for life and studying.  Keep it clean.
19.  Pick apples from an orchard, choose pumpkins from a patch.  Make pie from them.  Because it 
          is delicious.  
20.  Complete SmashBook.  Take time.  Reflect.  Look back at moments past and never ignore the truth that 
          surrounds.    
21.  Cross stitch something frame-able.  Preferably something that isn't embarrassing or ridiculous 
          should it be seen hanging on a wall. 
22.  Successfully navigate three courses towards certification.  Get good grades.  Complete papers.  
          Ignore fact that these classes have already been taken.  Grumble.  
23.  See something at the Orpheum.  Dress up.  Drink champagne and eat cheap food.  Celebrate the joy 
          of an evening out.  
24.  Make homemade jam.  Give handmade gifts filled with love.   
25.  Plant and tend a garden.  Get dirty and bond with the earth. 
26.  Eat a hot dog with the works at a ballpark.  Seventh inning stretch optional.   
27.  Climb to a mountain summit.  Soak in the grandeur of the moment.  
28.  Take dance lessons.  Swing or ballroom.. something with technique and magic.  Find freedom in the 
          structure.  
29.  Volunteer in a soup kitchen. Give back.  Strike up a conversation with a stranger.  Find beauty in the 
          struggle.  
30.  Buy a sewing machine.  Use it to create something lovely and practical. Mend clothing.  Avoid looking 
           homeless.    
31.  Laugh every day.  There is nothing better.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Magic In The Air

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 This year, like so many that have come before, has gone by with such flourish it is nearly impossible to believe it.  So much has transpired, so many new beginnings, so many goodbyes, so many moments of simple beauty and bliss.  It's hard to keep track of it all.  

This was the reason I decided to start a blog.  This was it.  This meager attempt to not only carve space for myself in my own life, but to remember.  To document.  To cherish.  Not just the major moments, but little ones, too.   
It's sort of worked.  A start, to be sure, and definitely something I'm excited to continue.  Like most things, hindsight brings all kinds of clarity.  Looking over the posts of this past year, I feel quite good about it.  The process.  A cleansing of sorts.  And that's been pretty amazing.  So many moments I would otherwise have not remembered... the little day to day bits that make the passing days special. 

I started this year with four simple goals.  But while no resolution is really every 100% complete (in my world, anyway), 2012 has brought so much more.  

In 2012 I:

* Spent a ton of time at the dentist prettying up my teeth... and lost control of my face as a result.  Twice.  
* Corrected the world's ills with tasty borshchbanana bread, and chicken soup.  
* Restored a ragged soul with clogging treks to parks and battlefields.  Smelled the earth and sky.  
* Attended more than 35 middle school sporting events, struggled with coaching purpose, and ultimately celebrated a long fought victory with my cheerleading lovelies.  
* Hosted my very first mother's day brunch with amazing friends.
* Read more than 30 books - some truly life altering, others... not so much. 
* Saw the Hunger Games 11 times.  In the theatre.  Felt more centered and connected to my true self.  
* Soaked up loads of kitten cuddles.  Craved more and more all the time. 
* Made life-altering decisions. 
* Waited for certainty.   (still waiting....)
* Lost weeks of sleep and struggled with the worst nightmares of my adult life
* Drank champagne with hard-earned friends on Georgetown rooftops. 
* Planned, decorated and celebrated the end of an era Hollywood-style.  Lost camera in process.  
* Said goodbye to amazing friends, coworkers and students. Cried many ugly, heartfelt tears.  
* Moved across country to start over, at the ripe old age of 30, in every way possible. 
* Greeted grand expectations with harsh realities. 
* Watched loads of fireworks, listened to loads of jazz, drank lots of wine and beer. 
* Found creative, livable solutions to strange situations
* Wore white to a wedding. (whoops)  Remembered why I love Seattle and my dearest long-distance friend. 
* Celebrated birthdays with Ukrainian friends over the world's best vodka, salat olivia, and homemade pickles.  Found bliss.   
* Reaffirmed college friendships and connections with organization and city.  
* Joined the Sea of Red as all good Huskers do.
* Dressed like a damn fool in the name of school spirit.  
* Sang broadway and Freebird at a funeral.   Struggled to decide whether it was more appropriate to cry or giggle. 
* Graded more than 1000 middle school essays.  This is not an exaggeration.  
* Started my first Smash Book.  
* Re-mastered the art of Victory Rolls. 
* Decorated pumpkins and fireplaces and trees. 
* Found my inner feisty, developed a bit of a crush on one of the smartest ladies around, and re-elected a President in the process.  None of this is very surprising.  
* Celebrated my 31st year with a spectacular bout of food poisoning.  Awesome.  
* Successfully completed the first of many courses on the road to certification.  Nearly suffered a stroke from the boredom, but lived to tell the tale. 
* Drank enormous amounts of diet coke.  But of course.  

Looking at this list brings back so many things... so many emotions and memories.  So many accomplishments... so much good.  It's easy to feel a bit hum-drum in the moment.  It's easy to loose track of the positive bits, those little moments that really do make your heart happy.  There are bits of this year that I didn't record here.  I kind of regret this.  There are posts I've made that when I look back just ooze the Negative Nancy I don't want to be.  I kind of regret this, too.  But what a gift it is to look back.  To take note and remember the little bits of time and space that made you who you were this year.  To record the growth.  The changes.  The minutia.  They may be idiosyncrasies, but that's the good stuff.  The stuff that makes us interesting.  The stuff that make these days worth living.  
  
So here's to saying goodbye to a strange, tumultuous, joyous, and overwhelming 2012 - and hello to a wonderful, adventurous and oh so exciting 2013.  I've got a feeling about this one... it's going to be great.  
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