Monday, December 31, 2012

A new year always marks a new age for me.  In 5 days, I will be 26. Remember that list I so ambitiously wrote last year?  I began it in September of 2011 in fact.  What was I going to accomplish and experience in my 25th year of life?  The list I mostly tossed out a couple months ago.  Yeah, that list.  I don't believe I ever posted it in entirety for you all.  Well, here it is.  I have 5 days left and I'm wondering how many I could get done before 26 hits me.  At this point, it's like a fun, frantic game.

25 Goals For 25

Go on a date. 
Read 25 books (5 from the Guardian's list)  So far, I've read 13 books.  Next year, I'll account for Beau in my reading goals. 
Buy a camera (Nikon D5100)   John has one... I suddenly had less drive to buy one. 
Pay off the Toddler
Submit a story  
Submit a poem 
Read more current authors
Run a half-marathon  Ha.  Ran a 5K and then fell into the worst shape of my life. I did run the entire 6 blocks to the bus stop this morning.  That count?  Because boy was my chest burning. 
Learn a real piece on the violin  Haven't played since I moved.  :( 
Start a 401K  
Learn 100 Italian verbs + 100 nouns
Move out
Visit a new city
Talk less (listen more)  I still have 5 days to get this one, right? ;) 
Go camping
Visit the Olympic National Park  
Go sailing 
Write one short story a week  I should have 52 stories?  I have 1 unfinished short story from this year. 
Prepare for the day before leaving the house  I think I have done pretty well at this the majority of the year.  And better the last couple months. 
Read through the New Testament  I spent most of the year in the Gospels.  
Get my concealed weapons permit
Ride in a hot air balloon  Dad? 
Learn to golf
Create my website/ online portfolio  Kind of... 
Ride in a train

I began setting 4 year goals a couple months back.  I will be 30 in 4 years and 5 days! (Weird.)  And I think I am going to set quarterly goals for 26.  I have 4 'to-dos' for the first quarter so far.  I think I'll aim for 5 per quarter.  :)  Besides that, this year will be less about "lists" and more about "priorities".  I have been spending the last few days thinking about my current priorities and how they should change or stay the same for this coming year.  I don't yet know... I'm still praying.  But my to-dos for this first quarter reflect my priorities as best I see them so far.

It's hard to plan for a year.  One person could walk in and change it all... and you could be forever grateful.  I'd aimed to go on a date in 2012.  A real date. I did in January. We played trivia at an Irish pub.  There were no sparks.  It was okay.  I marked it off the list.  And then, I was taken on one of the most wonderful dates... without realizing it at the time.  The rest, I hadn't put on my goals list.  But when it came to it, I'd rather listen to his story than read any of my books on the shelf.  

Friday, December 28, 2012

Oh new year, what in the round world do you have in store?  Not a clue. Not a tip what 2013 will hold.  I think I'll go crazy if a few things don't change in this next year, but I don't know where to begin.  I feel less like a writer than ever, less motivated to try, less envisioned about what my "dream" even is, or that it's real.  I feel stuck in my career.  I feel challenged beyond belief in my identity and character.  And I feel stir crazy - near mad.

Sitting in a ski lift in a cloud.

2012 was full of so many wonderful things.  I'm a bit terrified of 2013... like it could take it all away.  Or just keep me exactly where I am.... for a WHOLE year.  I have to move closer to my destiny - I have to see something realized, some desire sharp and clear again or I'll just ebb away.

I try.  I sound just like a penny plopping in a pool.  That's it.

Wishes drowning.

Dreams waiting at the bottom.

I don't have time to master what I love -  I spend my hours wasting at something I hate.  And it is driving me mad.   I know I am here for a reason.  I keep reminding myself that.  But I can't see where I go next, or how I get there.  I can't see how I stop spending the majority of my hours in a seat where I feel dead.....

Dramatic?  I know.  I know this will pass.  Just dear God, please let 2013 be at least full of glimpses.  Remind me.  What work will make me truly happy?  What was I meant to spend myself on?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guess who's on a plane home!?  :) 

I'd like a month, but I'll take 20 hours of
quality "Christmas" time with this guy!! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

carolling  present participle of car·ol (Verb) 
  1. Sing Christmas songs or hymns, esp. in a group: "we caroled from door to door".
  2. Sing or say (something) happily: "she was cheerfully caroling the words of the song".

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Sister

Who I

Roll with

Fight with

Drink with

Climb with

Dance with

Match with (?)

And always take a bow with.

Happy 30th Birthday to my literal partner in crime (and law).
So happy I've always had you to play with!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Like a Boss.  

What does "Like a Boss" even mean?  

"Delegated that."  [said with pride.]  
"Sure, I'll sign that check."

I guess it means you run the place.  Okay.  Except, I've never heard someone who "runs the place" announce  "like a boss" after an accomplishment. (I'd like to.  I'd count it among the best moments of 2012.)  I for one would rather do things like a Genie. You aren't the boss.  But all you've got to do is wiggle your nose and 'bam.' Done. With sparkles. No checks signed.  No projects delegated.  No ridiculous meetings.  

Like a Genie. 

Dear Friends,

Do me a great favor please?  Could you tell me two or three posts (of mine) from over the years that you most enjoy?  And a short reason why?  Humor? Perspective? Style? Voice?  Honesty? Terrible Grammer Mishaps?

(That was on purpose. It's okay.)

It would be a great help to me in a current project.

Thank you. :)

I feel like I've missed Christmas.  Already.  I have no lights on our tree, no real decorations.  I haven't done one Christmas craft of all the fun things I've seen and imagined.  I've yet to get to do many "christmasy" things with the people I love (with the exception of a quick run for a tree with Meg and my Christmas date with my Mom).  The Christmas season is half over.  I have one week left until Meg & John both go home.  :(  I don't like this.  Not one bit.  This girl, who goes by "Christmas Spirit" among family members... has yet to really enjoy the Christmas season.  And she's starting to get worried she'll miss it entirely.  [Breaks into Where Are You Christmas?]
Spotted on Pinterest (from Bonte)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thoughts thoughts thoughts.

There must be a reason why I still am, where I am.

So much has changed this past year that the things that remain the same, despite how hard I work to change them... perhaps are for a reason.  I changed jobs in January of 2012.  I met a guy that month too.  We washed dishes at a common friend's house until 3 am.  (My dad gave me a talking too.  You were in BEACON HILL until 3 am?! Whoops.)  But Becky had a clean kitchen.  And I had a new friend.  I moved. I started attending Bethany - with said new man.  I paid off my car.  My sister moved.  My cousin moved.  My roommate moved.  My boyfriend moved.  My sister quit her job, started law school and a new part time job.  My roommate too started a new job.  So much change.  And yet, the one thing I keep trying to change about my daily life... won't budge.  [Grrrraw!]

It dawned on me this morning for the first time:  I moved and switched churches at the same time this year (roughly).  The last time I started attending a new church, I was 5.  We moved that same summer.  Twice in my life I have moved. Twice in my life I have started attending a new church.  Both times they corresponded.   And they were almost exactly 20 years apart.  How odd?

Just a thought.

Other thoughts?  Beau flies out today.  :l  Yep.

He has no choice in it this time, and I actually feel worse for him than I do for myself  (great girlfriend, right?  Typically I just feel bad for myself.  Okay, and I usually feel some happiness for him).  He's been traveling like mad this past month, and after something like 15 hours of flying last weekend, he's done too.  Yet work insists, and so he goes.  He timed it to be back before our date on Friday.  And for that, I am incredibly grateful. :)

Last thought?  I spent 45 minutes curling my hair this morning.  There is no evidence of this four hours later, so you will just have to trust me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I am a bit behind... I'll start with that.  You, being my faithful blog-readers, already know about the Blueberries.  You also might remember me mentioning my sweet friend Kim who is currently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  She started a blog for us all to follow along... and I have neglected it the last couple months.  I signed in today to catch up and discovered what she's been up to.... buying chickens.

Kim has decided to start a chicken coop in her village in the Congo.  And the more I read her argument, the more I wanted to help.  Kim is no ordinary girl (in case you'd failed to catch that by the fact that she's serving in the Congo). Her family has a bee farm.  Her brother is an engineer at Microsoft, and owns more water color painting equipment than Bob Ross.  Her little sister is just one of my favorite people ever. I just like them, and I believe she really does  have the skills and the heart to grow something like a chicken coop into a successful business and life-altering resource for her village.

So I think I'll buy a chicken.  And I'll name it.  And I'll watch to see how it affects Uvira.

How to Buy A Chicken:
1. Click on the The Purple Button to the Right of Kim's page (link above) ($50 suggested purchase) Credit Card or PayPal accepted
2. Join the CongoClucks FaceBook group to Name your chicken and to hear updates!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Something you all must have missed on my wish list last year... so I'm trying once more. 

1. One "small" owl (live). 
2.  A new job. 
3.  WKA Cookbook
4.  Hot Curlers


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Goodness gracious there is a lot going on, in my head.  Amazing how weird fears can capture us, isn't it?  I'm finding a trend in my dreams even - some terrible thing will happen to me that I'll feel I'm somehow complacent with and have to tell John, and I'm terrified.  It's odd.  And I've had several.  At this point, I feel all my dirt is already on the table so I'm not dreaming about some real life loot either.  In the days, I'm somehow terrified of "moving forward" and equally afraid of the thought of walking away.  I definitely don't want that!  I  got to have lunch and dinner with Beau yesterday, and I  missed him all the hours in between.  So why the worries?  Why the fears?  Why the absolutely no-making-sense to myself even!?  I don't want to publicize the deep details of our relationship here - but I've always been vulnerable about where I'm really at... there seems so little purpose in writing if I'm busy drawing up walls.  Being in a relationship, so many new things are surfacing in me, good and bad.  But with another person involved and a relationship so dear, I  can't quite write it all so freely here.  But I don't want to go silent either.  Everyone seems to go silent.  And then you end up like me, starting a relationship and realizing you've been told for the past 10 years how to be a great wife, and for the past 20,  how to be a great single, but you have no idea how to be great in the in-between.

So here is the truth I want to point out - how nonsensical we can be in our fears, how dangerously they could stop us from great gifts in our lives.  And how much they seem to grow when we we begin to care.  I can't trust my feelings.  Half the time they aren't even what I want them to be, they're over here or way over there or taking a mid-day nap.  I'm grateful that somewhere along the last 8 years, I've learned to consult them, but not to follow them because I'm not sure I'd be sitting where I am otherwise.... and there is nowhere else I'd rather be.  I'm grateful for journals, because multiple times in this relationship, it has been something I wrote months or years before that has spoken directly to me and given me the peace that I am exactly where I ought to be.  I'm grateful for the Word of God, because times alone with my Bible have watered and held me and given me hope... we have so many promises to hold on to!  I'm grateful for my family, because they are honest and loving and allow room for mistakes - because they are still on my side, and because they love my Beau.  I'm grateful for my friends, because they are still there and they are excited for me, and are some of the wisest counselors.  Some of them have seen me through a lot of life - they know my past, they know my dreams, and I trust their sight. And I'm grateful for my Beau, because often times when I say the hardest things, he somehow grows closer. He is honest and kind.  He doesn't act off of his feelings.  He is willing to suffer, perhaps indefinitely. And I don't know that that can be said of many... at all. He seeks truth and he does it while honoring, everyone. He demonstrates a love to others that reminds me of what I've read.  And he's already argued against every one of these things in his own head as he's read through them just now...

I'm grateful. It's the closing of November and while I've missed out on all the "thankful" posts, I've been storing up in my heart all that I have to be thankful for. I ran to the store early last Sunday morning and as I drove the few Ballard blocks home I took a moment to realize: this is my life.  And I am so happy about it!  I was happy to be in my car, driving to my apartment, to enjoy a phone date with my friend who is off living her dreams, and make breakfast for another of my friends, clean my kitchen, and run off to pick up my beau.  I hope all those "mys" don't sound too selfish - they might - but I know that every one of those things have been given to me and I deserve not one of them.  But they are my gifts.  Someone thought to craft and deliver each of them into my life, and almost every one of them came or remarkably grew in the past 7 months!  I'm grateful.  So incredibly grateful.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You know those moments when you remember you are not God?  I had one.  This morning in the shower I think I was holding a bit of court in my head and suddenly I remembered I'm not God. And it felt oh so good, because honestly, there's a lot of crap out there I think I'd need to deal with.  So happy I don't have to.  I got out and got ready for my day feeling quite a bit lighter.  Maybe "lighter" isn't the right word, there was still a lot weighing on me.  A lot has been weighing on me.  And they are good things, but they are heavy.

I found myself with extra time this morning; I poured my coffee, buttered my toast and opened up Streams in the Desert for November 27th.  The message?  Nothing is impossible.  We could pile on every detail and block we see and it wouldn't outweigh His ability.  And with that, I took a deep breath and decided to not give up and to not let go.

Glad I am not God.  Glad He is.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I kid you not.

This little girl stole my heart from the start.  And apparently, she stole my boyfriend's last weekend.  Last night he asked, "Are they like Auri?"  "Not exactly, but they're fun." With a coy smile he added, "I miss Auri."  I wasn't sure if he was just teasing me, so I checked, "Are you being serious right now?"  "Yeah, she is so fun to play with;  I kind of miss her."  He smiled again.  And though it probably comes as a surprise, he isn't exactly a kids sort of fellow. I woke up this morning laughing and called Elise on my walk to the bus to tell her.  Last Saturday as he sat on the floor and she brushed his hair and chatted along, cuddling and playing with her new found friend, he looked at Jeff and Elise with concern, "She is dangerous. She's the kind that makes people want to have kids." : /  Too bad they aren't all like Auri - little mischievous, brilliant, funny and loving three-year-olds.  I can't wait to meet the next Mitchell baby!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Okay, I've been holding back this post for a while, but here it is.  I am freaking crazy about this guy and this is one reason why:  he's like a kid.  In all the best ways.  He loves to laugh and be silly.  He loves games.  He is curious about everything.  I'll tell him something and an hour later when I see him, he'll have already researched it.  He loves walks and discovering.  He loves food.  He loves playing with drinks and flavors. He loves naps and hates to go to sleep at night. (He also hates to wake up before 9.) He loves movies. He loves solving problems.  His hair is typically borderline messy like he just woke up.  He wears black sambas almost every day. He giggles like a little girl if you "tickle" him - aka, even touch his sides. He loves cereal and root beer (not together).  He collects the oddest items (only odd because I don't know what they are) for his dozens of projects in his head.  He believes anything is possible and we are capable of making a difference and fulfilling bigger dreams than we yet dare. He looks at things and says, "I could do that." He really could build a robot. His perfect day includes chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk.  He owns two kites.  He keeps a mountain bike in the kitchen.  He jumps on every hotel bed he can. It's weird for him not to talk to strangers or make a new friend at every party. He loves surprises and getting gifts.  He hates washing dishes, but loves things to be clean. Puddles call to him.  He likes the rain. He dreams in "video games" and wakes up thrilled. He will dance his heart out in the living room for an hour.  He makes it a point to not sing the correct lyrics to any song, but always sings along. Life is an adventure. He also smokes a pipe, sips whiskey, wears a cardigan and boat shoes, grows a beard and works 14 hour days when the need calls. He reads the Economist, makes the best steak, and understands investments. He is kind and thoughtful.  He has been told over and over about his "sad eyes."  And perhaps they are sad eyes.  He knows pain.  But oh when those 'sad eyes' smile.... my heart. My five year-old heart.  It knows it has found its friend. And we're giggling and dancing and trading mischievous glances and adding dozens more to the list of things we are going to do, learn, build, see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For the girl down the hall 

Who I sometimes find wrapped up with a blanket and a circle of empty tea cups. 

John and I went grocery shopping last night and we both bought tea.  I'm not really sure why I bought tea.  More tea.  I've added three tins / boxes in the last month... and there already isn't room in the tea cupboard at 357.  If you know my roomie, you understand.  We are kind of hot-drink-addicts.  And she especially has a thing for tea. 
I updated to google chrome on my work computer, and just picked up my iPhone 5.  I feel like this is a whole new world full of possibility.  I haven't had to restart my computer ONCE today due to a freeze-up.  And I can't even begin to tell you about the change in my mobile device.

I saw this morning that it was in-route for delivery, and I spent the next 5 hours refreshing the page over and over and over and over.  It must have been close to 100 refreshes.  As it approached one, it became almost every minute.  One minute nothing, the next "Status Change: Delivered."  I grabbed my jacket and ran next door to the AT&T store.  They hadn't even unpacked their deliveries yet.  Due to a nasty last couple months of phone issues - half the store recognizes me.  The gentleman who greeted me at the door was almost as excited as I was for me to finally be getting my new iPhone.  We are a very happy little family right now - the AT&T store and me.

Now, feel free to send me pictures, questions, and little smiley faces with hearts for eyes.  Once again, I can get them.  And I can track my calendar on the spot.  In fact, better than ever.  The only thing I have done so far is sync my gmail. Would you like to sync your calendar?  Why yes, iPhone, I would.  Waaaalaaaaaa.  Like a genie.  All my google calendars are right there, and I can turn them on and off with a click.  It is beautiful!

After 2 dark months of old technology - a light has come, a burden has lifted. Let's hope the good news and progressive movements continue!

It's a little after 8am and I'm buying creamer for the office, and Dove dark chocolate for me because I know that I'll be craving it at 2pm.  The woman in front of me just bought a bag of spinach.  Saying I hated her would be really strong language. 

In other news,  we got shortlisted on one of the projects I created a proposal for 2 weeks ago.  And, my new iPhone is somewhere in Seattle.....I keep refreshing the UPS tracking page:

Seattle, WA, United States 11/13/2012 4:30 A.M. Out For Delivery

Seattle, WA, United States 11/12/2012 8:40 P.M. Arrival Scan

11/12/2012 8:25 P.M. Departure Scan

11/12/2012 5:04 P.M. Arrival Scan

Louisville, KY, United States 11/12/2012 3:22 P.M. Departure Scan

Louisville, KY, United States 11/11/2012 9:41 A.M. Arrival Scan

DFW Airport, TX, United States 11/11/2012 7:07 A.M. Departure Scan

DFW Airport, TX, United States 11/09/2012 3:43 P.M. Arrival Scan

Fort Worth, TX, United States 11/09/2012 3:31 P.M. Departure Scan

11/09/2012 2:53 P.M. Origin Scan

United States 11/09/2012 4:42 P.M. Order Processed: Ready for UPS

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Remember how last month, or the month before last, we went to Portland?  
Well, I'm ready to talk about it now. 

In all truthfulness, I'm just finally in possession of my iPhoto again, and a few moments to upload them. 

We took off early from work and caught a train.  My first train.  (One of my 25 Goals for 25 no less.)

Union Station

I am honestly having a difficult time remembering the order of events.  I know we stayed with his friend the first night, Bryan.  I've had the opportunity to meet him before, but we were hoping to get time with his wife and daughter too.  No luck.  They had friends in from out of town.  John & Bryan had recently gone to Sweden together and this provided the first opportunity for us to scan through all of Bryan's photos.  I also believe that Friday night we drove first to a Creole Restraurant famous for it's Mac 'n Cheese.... and we wandered around some.... freeway underpasses?  I wasn't yet impressed by Portland.  (Minus the mac n' cheese.  It was darn good!)

The next morning, after breakfast and and goodbyes, we headed down to the Pearl District.  We sipped some of the best coffee in Portland at Barista, wandered shops and boutiques and then headed off for a hike.

That is water.
John thought it funny to pour water all over himself...
 he's regretted it since he realized he looks like he was drooling in all the photos.  ;) 

Saturday night we got rooms at a cool hotel downtown, where we showered and cleaned up for the rest of our adventure - and the main part of my surprise.  (If you remember - I basically knew nothing about the weekend.)  He'd told me to dress somewhat nice, but comfortable.  I knew we'd be outside for part.

We got ready, and drove to Powells, where he told me to pick out a book.  In the end, we each walked out with a small pile.  
First time to Powells. I get it now. 
 So the surprise.  I'd been trying to figure it out all month.  Whatever it was, it only happened during the month of September.  John had insisted we go in September to see it.  I thought perhaps it was a big play in a park our some kind of show or group experience.

It was in a park.  But even after we'd picked up our bag of picnic goodies and bottle of wine.  I had no ideas.  Even upon strolling up to the elementary school yard and finding the hillside covered with hundreds of people... sitting down on our own blanket and looking around.  I still had no clue what we were all there for.  I let him tell me.  It was for the Swifts.  The tiny little birds you might notice all over in the sky below.  Thousands of them gather around dusk every day in September, swirl around, and eventually after a very impressive show, they all dive into that chimney.... like a giant syphon.

 After the swifts had packed in for the night, we packed up our blanket, cheese, and wine and headed off to the next place.  The nickel arcade - home of John's favorite game ever.  He doesn't even know the name, or any of the directions, because it's all in Japanese... but he knows how to win at it.  I've got to admit, it had a special thrill.  So did running around an arcade with my favorite fellow-sometimes-five-year-old.  We ended the night with more drinks - Spanish Coffees at the oldest restaurant in Portland.  The bartender comes to your table and tosses and drops and throws and lights until a delicious caramelized drink sits before you - no longer in flames, but still warming your throat as it smoothly goes down.

The next day we explored the city in daylight - of course tried some more coffee, took plenty of photos, and wandered the Sunday market.  Before too long, it was time to hop back in the car and drive to our last scene.

You might not know it, but I am dating THE Mr. Corrado.  The very first.  We took a few hours and wandered John's campus (beautiful!), ate at one of his favorite Mexican dives (delicious!), saw his old church... and he even did a little re-enactment of how he became the first ever, Mr. Corrado.  Those hips do not tell lies.

 Lunch at St. John's Bridge (Is that right, Beau?) 
 We finished it all with a train ride home, watching the sun set, sipping hot cocoa and taking turns reading out of our new books.  We couldn't believe how beautiful the timing was -  I must have taken 20 photos.  Don't waste time on the "dinner train" - just catch a train to Portland at dusk.

I'm pretty sure I have the timing all wrong, because I can't imagine how we fit all these things in to one weekend - with a train both ways. :/  There were plenty of other coffee stops and restaurants and little happenings I left out too.   And yet, it felt perfectly relaxing.  With time to wander, breathe, taste and hold hands.  Time to talk and grow past things together.  

I'm so lucky to get these moments, and with a man who is so kind and thoughtful to plan out all the little important parts of a surprise weekend.