Friday, October 31, 2014

Every day I feel my young, cool self dying just a little more.  Most concerts my friends go to, I have to google. I almost always love them.  But I also am months behind the group. That's why I'm gonna indulge myself for one of my last chances to say this:

I liked her before she was cool.  Waaaay before she was cool.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

In 2006 two of my favorite new artists were T. Swift and Miss Miranda. I had pre-ordered the first of one and had a pre-released copy of the other.  I think I called it. 

Now, feel free to send me music recommendations.  Because otherwise, I may just keep listening to my Norah and Avril on repeat. :(  My days of cool are gone - this DJ will happily take requests tonight.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

On Kindness [and Gaining Friends]

We get to visit Portland this weekend!!!  John will be in a good friend's wedding on Saturday and we will be staying at the home of some of John's college friends.  I'm excited about both things.  For one, the couple marrying are incredibly kind, sincere people.  When we first had them over and I was finally able to meet the soon-to-be bride, I was almost annoyed by her incredibly sweet self - beautiful person - and melodic voice.  Come on. The voice too?? And the worst part is, it's all real. She's really just the kindest person.  Not snarky at all, like someone else you might know.  :|   She just loves people and cares for others and gives thoughtful, kind responses and laughs when people make jokes and listens when they tell stories.

They are both great, and their wedding will be incredibly sweet I have no doubt.  I'm excited John will get stand up there beside him.  And having just come out of our own wedding, we're excited to more knowledgeably bless/support them than we might otherwise have done.

And as for the couple we get to stay with - I hardly know them.  I have met them once before, when John and I found ourselves an hour outside of Portland and suddenly with no place to stay.  On a whim, John texted some old friends, and they opened up their home to us.  While they made the drive over for our wedding, I didn't even get to see them on that busy day. I had been so excited when I saw their "yes" arrive in the RSVP!

I'm really looking forward to hopefully sharing a meal with this incredibly kind couple and getting to know them better - I love people who open up their homes, who intentionally create space in their home to be filled by family, friends, and friends of friends. It is kind. As is always their responses when we message and ask to crash on a weekend. They told us we have a 'home in Portland.'  These were not John's best friends mind you.  They were friends.  Maybe even good friends.  A DECADE AGO.  And yet, they tell us we always have a place at their home.  I want to be their friends. And I want to be just like them.

When we stayed there last summer, they left the kitchen door unlocked for us since we'd be in late.  They tried to keep their toddler quiet in the morning so we could sleep.  They had coffee waiting for us and saved us breakfast.  They casually sat with us, but made no demands on our time.  They sent us out with great recommendations for the town.

I love marrying a good man, who is a good friend, who has good friends.

This weekend I will be contemplating the virtue of kindness, and how to be a friend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

There is a number of design principles we take for granted.  I'm not sure they are the laws we all find them to be.  For one: 

Text should be obvious and easy to read. 

Why should I make my point bold.  In one perfect line.  Right in the middle of the page? Why should I give it to you so easy?  Why can't I make you look for it?  Why can't I reward the seeker and not placate the consumer?  Why can't I make you work? Why can't there be competition on my page when there is competition everywhere in the world.  I have a proposition: 

A page should have choices. 
Art should ask something of you.
It should incorporate your values. 

It should respect you enough to allow interpretation.

You can't learn if there wasn't an opportunity to choose other than you did.  You can't learn about yourself.  You can't learn about the art.  You can't learn about the world. 

Is it cruel to create in such a way as to allow fault, error, other than your intention? Or is it love to allow, to free your witness, your spectator, offer them back their agency. 

Last year John and I practiced a little thing called "No-Plans-November."  It felt both painful and amazing.  I don't know why we all feel like we have to say yes to things.  So many things.  But setting an imaginary rule that said we actually had to say "No" to everything was unbelievably freeing.  It was funny how many friends responded "I'm jealous" or "I wish I could do that" when we politely declined their invitations and explained our pact.  My response became, "you can."

We haven't even talked about repeating it this year.  In fact, I don't think either of us realized that November is this weekend.  But then a friend told me they couldn't make a show because they were going to be practicing "No-Plans-November."  And I got jealous.  

I'm sure you're all sick of hearing me complain about how much there is to do and how overwhelmed I am by this and by that.  You're probably thinking "Just wait until... [insert your life standing right now]..."  But for real folks, we are so done.  So very, very done.  We've been feeling past our limits for so very incredibly long.  And I know that's how we grow.  And I know that's how God stretches us.  And I know that's how He increases our capacity. But we're sooo past our capacity. And I think we're learning we need to say No. 

I like that we say yes.  In fact, it's one of my favorite things about John in particular.  And we have so much fun saying yes. We just are realizing that we have to change somehow, something, for this life to be sustainable.  We need rest. We need time to get to have fun and refuel together.  And we need to be able to feel we have accomplished and completed all that we've committed to - that our home is in order, cared for and being well-utilized; that we are being helpful, healthy employees; that we are stewarding our bodies with less stress and more exercise; that we're enjoying life and not going to look back and wonder what happened to our first couple years of marriage; that we have time for our family and close friends when they need us or just miss us; that we can share a meal and take the time to prepare it, rather than ordering take-out because it's already 9:30 by the time we get to think about dinner; that our time and energy are moving us toward our life-goals, and not just around in busy frantic circles. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

We spent our first official night out in our little home last night.  My mom and I spent most all of Saturday moving John and I into the 450sf space, eventually leveling shelving by candlelight. There is still a good deal to do to be "moved in" and a good deal more to be "moved out" of the big house. But we are so much closer. In fact yesterday was the first day in a long time that I didn't feel like there was an impossible number of things on our to-do list.  There's a final rung on this ladder after all - and the view is growing quite spectacular up here!  That's how I feel.

John woke at 5:30am on Saturday to drive to Portland for a bachelor party.  And I rose with him.  When coffee was finished and my husband drove off - I went to work on all the little things. I found myself on a ladder under the kitchen sunroof. I stopped and stared at the clouds blowing by outside, above, away from my safe cover. It was beautiful. I probably stayed a moment too long.  But I didn't mind the luxury.

I cooked the better part of our dinner in the big house.  Actually, all but the asparagus. But serving up our plates, pouring the wine, and praying over our meal at the table we will dine at again and again over the next few years - it felt sweet.  So very sweet.  And to wake this morning and look around, knowing I will look at this each new morning - it felt kind. And to turn my head and rest it on a strong, gentle chest as it breathed in and so slowly out - it felt good. So very good.

I believe I've mentioned it here in the past month or two, but I think often now of something John told me, something he read. Successful people recognize when things are going their way.  I want to notice - recognize - appreciate the good things. Life requires we recognize sad, dark, painful things every day, lately it feels constant. It's hard to find light.  It's challenging to turn the conversation to happy and meaningful, praiseworthy topics.  But I want to sit and watch as those precious happenings, people and actions float to the surface of my mind and my conversations. I want to contemplate their glow above this gloomy lake.

I woke up this morning, looked around, and felt room. I saw the glow in the dark little space we'll call home.

I'm less than I thought I was, much less. I'm poorer than I knew I was, much poorer. I'm not the wife, host, cook, friend, writer or woman I hoped to be in my 'one day' - but I look around and can't help but notice, things are going my way.  My home and husband, my new life, it is sweet, kind and good. And I get to be a part of that.

I am grateful.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

As you well know, John and I are preparing to move into what we call the "cottage" - a 450 sf converted garage grandfathered in as an ADU many years ago.  It's exciting, refreshing and frightening.  I say we are "preparing" because we currently have the cottage mostly full (about as full as I'd prefer it ever be) while also having the 3 bedroom upstairs apartment also completely full. In fact, too full.  How full?  Three couches and a chair full.  Too full.

With the help of a friend, we've made our tiny future home a little dream in many ways.  We selected our own colors, floor, counter and fixtures.  We're picking out our cabinet knobs and our fans.  We'll hang our wedding photos on the walls. And... we purchased our first couch.  Our first real, we are adults and sometimes buy things from department stores instead of Craigslist couch!! We can't wait to move in and be all settled. But between that happy ever after and now, is a lot of stuff.

I've been getting rid of boxes for the past year now, and it seems to never end.  And that is just my things, not even his half.  We will not fit.  Not as we are.  That somehow seems poetic, a tell-tale truth about our lives right now and this marriage we've just set out on. And I like that.  It only adds momentum.

My goal for 2015, and for the months that remain in 2014, is to live a simpler life. Our wedding, and so far marriage has been an incredibly humbling process.  I feel like perhaps I'm not as talented or skilled as I had thought myself.  And while it really hurt at first to discover, I'm accepting that maybe I don't need to be.  I know the coming year will be a constant learning process for me and will likely hold a few identity shifts (if not crises).  My goal is to just handle them as gracefully as I possibly can - and accept that I don't need what I once felt accustomed to have and/or be. That being said - I deleted my to-do list yesterday.  It was challenging, as I wanted very badly to keep it and prove myself by it, or at the very least judge myself by it. But instead I made myself clear that space in order to create room for a fresh start and a bit more play.

I hope to create space. 

That is my personal mission statement for 2015 and perhaps beyond.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's a three blog day!!!  Can you recall the last time that happened? Because I can't. It's enough to make me cry.  Because I haven't had an inspiring thought in so long - something inspiring enough to make me come back here a second and a third time.  But this past week, I keep having little lines show up and stand beneath the window of my mind, shouting their playful refrains from somewhere sunny and cool and crisp.  I feel like writing.  I feel like flirting. I feel like leaving work and going home and playing tennis with my husband.  Baking a pie.

Three weeks away from this place has had a good affect on me.

I feel like heading to the ocean.  I understand why in years past, society spent time 'by the sea' when  ailed.  To be away - outside - apart.  These past two weeks, we spent so much time in a car, driving.  You begin to feel tired and cramped from sitting. Constrained.  But after it is all said and done - I feel I've drunk half of the hills of Washington. I drained a drop from the Boise river. And I rolled up the edge of Oregon, cut off a corner no one would notice, and brought it home in my sack.
What I want to do this fall:  In October (what remains), I want to watch Doctor Who episodes, eat popcorn, drink lots of chai, and read books. I want to watch movies. In November, I want to write thank you cards and drink spiked eggnog while we hide inside our fort we call a house. December, I know fall is over, and I want to try to enjoy time as it goes, try to soak in each moment and make my feet and clothes so heavy with memories that the holidays won't be able to rush as they always do. I want to take time to celebrate our birthdays in January. Plan surprises. Put paper and bows on boxes and write each other birthday cards. And after that, I'll start to get antsy.  I'll start watching for green peaking up from the ground.  I'll monitor temperatures and note every decimal as it goes up.  I'll wear warm cozy socks, hate leaving for work, and return while it's dark again.  I'll still be finishing up my 'Goals list' for the year. And while we hide inside in our warm, safe place, observing and collecting data, we'll be plotting our escape - our next escapade - another adventure - another spring.

That is what I want to do this fall.

I'm married!!

It has been wonderful.  A lot of changes, a lot of adjustments, a whole lot of emotions and a little bit of journaling even.  A lot of wonderful times with my love and now, husband.  A lot of tissue paper and presents.  A lot of laughing.  A lot of sunshine.  A lot of driving.  And now, I find myself back in the office, wiping away a lot of dust that has settled on my keyboard (literally).

Becoming someone else - losing my name - it has been frightening to me at most of the moments.  But right now it feels like a blessing, an opportunity to shed and transform yet again. I hope to make the most of this opportunity to become someone new, even as I carry about my marriage license, proving to office and bureau and agency that I am now someone new. I hope to prove it to myself too - walk into this empty new room and feel peace at all the opportunity.