Tuesday, December 28, 2010

a pre-new year's to-do list

now that christmas is over (and it was wonderful, btw: filled with lots of relaxing, cookie-baking, puzzle-doing, laughing with my parents, and generally spending time feeling thankful for the richly provided-for life i lead), i have a week off to enjoy before returning to work. i'm on day 2, and i've done, sadly, nothing yet, except go to the car dealership for two hours this morning so they could replace a blown fuse and check my bluetooth). i'm feeling the need to get productive, though, so that i don't entirely waste this free time....

in no particular order, here are the things i want to accomplish sometime this week:

1. visit with the extended family (this will be accomplished later today)
2. dust and vacuum my entire apartment
3. clean both bathrooms, particularly mine
4. do a pantry 'cleansing' to prepare for #5
5. meal plan and prepare as many meals as possible for the coming weeks
6. grocery shop (see #5)
7. work on a top-secret craft project
8. put away my few christmas decorations: baby tree, snowman chef ornaments, lights (although i might wait until the week after new year's, since i really am enjoying the lights)
9. back up computer files to external hard drive
10. go through some of my bajillion magazines to either give away or recycle
11. make some merry for new year's eve
12. take my laptop to geek squad and figure out if i can afford to have someone fix it!

a dozen seems like a good place to stop. no need to get myself completely overwhelmed. although, while i'm at it, here are some longer range goals for 2011:

1. go through cookbook collection and make some decisions about which ones can go their merry way (sell online or at ukazoo, donate to friends)
2. procure a newer printer/scanner
3. really organize my files by creating digital copies of must-save items (see #2) and purge, purge, purge what i don't have to keep
4. read down the stack of books waiting for my busy eyeballs
5. watch less tv, for crying out loud
6. get back together with the gym
7. get back together with WW
8. buy some new clothes (long overdue)
9. send more snail mail or donate stationery to someone who will use it!
10. pare down unused items (including books)
11. soak in my tub more so i can use my lavendar-chamomile bubble bath
12. fight the winter blahs with more herbal tea and invigorating salt scrubs
13. find some volunteer opportunities (and maybe invite friends to join?)
14. figure out whether to move or stay put
15. plan a trip somewhere fun

hmm....this is a good start. i'm sure that more will come to me as the months wear on. i feel like none of these goals are unreasonable, so i have no reason not to end 2011 feeling accomplished.

i'm trying to set myself up for success in 2011. 2010 brought its highs and lows (probably more highs than lows, if i'm looking at things objectively), but i'm ready for another level of awesomeness. so, welcome, new year. better days are ahead. i just know it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'like the corners of my mind....'

this morning i had to sort through some boxes of cards and photos to locate a baby pic or two to take with me to a shower i'm attending today. and as i was sifting through all these treasures, i found some cards from my grandparents, notes from old friends, and the hundreds of things my best friend has written me over the years. and i couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with the love contained inside those cardboard structures. i was also reminded, unfortunately, of how much i've lost...of how some of those people whose handwriting graces birthday cards or whose faces smile in pictures are no longer in this world. my grandpa al, my grandma jane, my friend polly...i shed tears for them all this morning.

and then there are people with whom i've sort of lost touch. i mean, i know where in the world they are, but our lives have taken different paths. this is the case, really, with a number of friends whose memories line those boxes. and the whole experience had me thinking....can you ever really go back?

i've made efforts over time to keep in touch with various people—and really, facebook has helped me to reconnect with a lot of people from my younger days—but the daily grind kicks back in so quickly and it's really, really hard to sustain those connections beyond something utterly superficial. and in truth, i think we're not really meant to turn around. life is lived in forward motion. if one chooses to interact with people from the past, it has to be about who they are NOW, not who they were then. and what i've learned is that some of us have never really grown up much. i see the faces of people who are still clinging to their teenage selves, still drinking like they're in college, still trying to avoid their own realities. and as much as i get that, on some level, i just can't be there.

no, see, i'm done pretending the way that 18-year-old me used to feel she had to do in order to get by. i'm done living in a big game of charades and comedy sketches, and 'what would you really think of me if you knew what i was thinking'-type scenarios. i prefer to look you in the eye and just be me, unabashed. and the me that i am now might not be super palatable to some people who've called me 'friend' over the years. i mean, sure, i haven't turned into a jerk or anything, but i've also come to this place where i no longer feel the need to live up to others' expectations. and some of my more zealous ways have been tempered into something a bit more...well....reasonable for me and where i live my life these days.

so while it's lovely and heartwarming (and, at times, sad) to sift through what i was and where i went and who i was with, i want to see what today will bring...what memories there are to be made in THIS space, at THIS time, with the beautiful people around me. and i welcome tomorrow with open arms and the hope that my future 'looking backs' will find much sweetness and very little sorrow. for now, though, head up, eyes open. onward....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

'n-y-c, what is it about you?'

tomorrow morning, i board a bus for the big apple. no, not to go catch my big break...just a weekend away visiting good friends. i must say, i'm a little anxious about it, though. sure, i live in a city, but it's not THE city....the raucous, unforgiving, overblown streets of manhattan that swallow you up and spit you out all at once. baltimore is much more of an underdog's kind of town. and i'm beginning to think that i am the consummate underdog....

anyway, i digress.

i have a couple of goals: have great hang time with my peops, enjoy a couple days out of dodge, see something(s) beautiful, and eat something(s) delish. this shouldn't be too hard, i'm thinking.

the truth is, though, i wish i were brave enough to go to that town and sink or swim for a year or so. but i'm not sure that i am. i'm not sure whether the salient point is that new york is too much for me, or i'm not enough for new york. either way, i'll board the bus and do my thing, and then i'll board it home again.

wish me luck.

Monday, November 08, 2010

the return of fall (and me)

gee, golly, it's been awhile. i'm still here. really, i am. in fact, i've started and abandoned no fewer than five blog posts over the last two months. let's see if this one sticks, shall we?

too much to chronicle of what's been going on, so i'll just pick up from today and head forward. work has been insanely busy. my personal life has been equally so, and i'm trying to mentally prepare for a weekend away in NYC ('what is it about you?' kudos to you if you know where that comes from....). i'm super excited to be staying with two dear friends, but i'm also feeling a little overwhelmed at, well, how big that city is and how much there is to DO. i think what i need to do is take all the pressure off of myself to find 'fun' and just remember that i'm there to enjoy the company. besides, i'm too exhausted to exhaust myself further (and then have to start back up at work on monday morning)....

which leads me to my next thought: all i want is some uninterrupted time alone to sleep and just be. i cannot believe that christmas is a mere six weeks away, and all i find myself asking is where the heck has the fall gone??

with the hectic pace of the day-to-day, there seems to be less and less time for enjoying just being in the city right now. on friday, the simple pleasure of walking home from jury duty astounded me with the awareness that i'm never just out and about in the streets, interacting with the wind and the smells and the sounds of life around me. i need more humanity in my day....in my life....

for now, though, i'll settle for some mindless tv, a glass of icy cold water, and the hope of pleasant dreams to carry me into tuesday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

enter illness, stage left....

weeks of working too hard and too much and not getting enough sleep finally took their toll on me. late last week i woke up with a sore throat and, within 3 days, had a bad chest cold/bronchitis. i've been diligently resting and staying home, doing very little (i spent all of labor day weekend/salimah's birthday in bed, in fact), and i'm finally starting to get some energy back. as i've been doped up on codeine, it seems the world has continued on its merry way, and i gotta say—i'm not enjoying feeling so disconnected from my life and from other people.

but, despite all of this, i'm at home on a friday night doing laundry, working, and trying to rest up as much as possible. one week from tomorrow i leave for the ocean, and it pretty much can't come soon enough. i am LONG overdue for some time out of dodge and i'm hoping the sound of the waves will give me some much-needed perspective.

between now and then, there are miles to go....and with that, the dryer just buzzed. there's my cue!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

1,464

is the number of e-mails i deleted today in honor of september 1, 2005. and boy, let me tell you, did it feel GOOD.

onward!

Monday, August 30, 2010

'the answer, my friend....'

at the risk of baring my soul here, i have to take a moment and speak 'aloud' (a.k.a. fingers to keyboard) some truths that have been gradually surfacing in my mind and, therefore, my life. see, for a long time now, i was kind of shut down to my own emotions about certain areas of my life, because, quite honestly, it was easier to 'go there' than to feel the disappointment in its place. work has been busy with new challenges and opportunities, and i didn't have to try that hard to dig in and give myself the space to pursue my career, all the while knowing that there were parts of my life that were getting no air time. to be honest, this wasn't ideal for me, but the relative barrenness of my social landscape seemed to create the opportunity for a time of pulling back.

well, i had that time, and i was grateful for it, in a way, because it was very clarifying for me. and as a result, i came to a few conclusions.

first (and foremost), i am ready for a great adventure, whatever that may mean. in a conversation with a friend recently, i was mentioning some aspect of a past relationship that had always frustrated me, and the other person said, quite plainly, 'it doesn't sound like you're past all of that.' this statement caused me to sit back for a second and listen to those words i had just spoken and ask myself how they must have sounded coming out of my mouth. and i realized in that moment that my friend's statement wasn't the truth. the truth was that i hadn't changed the way i was talking about the situation, even though my feelings had changed.

this small kernel of awareness began to enlighten other areas of my thinking and made me realize that, in the area of relationships, i have been feeling more and more ready to be out there, to give and receive the love i've got inside of me, but hadn't yet said it to myself, to God, to the vast unknown.

so last week, i was in my car late in the evening, driving down the dirty, barren streets of my city, and i just began to speak my own truth out loud. i can't say that i was entirely praying, but i can't say that i wasn't. i just knew that everything inside of me - my fears and hopes and intentions - needed to come out and be given the air time they deserved. and the most important outcome of all of this is not so much that my world turned on a dime, but that i began to really open up, more expectant of and ready to receive all the beauty and love and good things that can come my way. (and, by extension, that anything UNhelpful can go....)

this has clearly been a long time coming and it couldn't have happened at a better moment in the grand scheme of things. a couple of weeks ago, i posted as my facebook status that i am 'open to possibility.' well, i just AM, and since cracking open the door to my heart, i am here to say that i have already noticed a shift in the wind....

methinks it's time to let my hair down....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

tap.... tap.... is this thing on?

it is now, officially, safe to assume that no one is reading my blog anymore. it's just as well, though, because i probably have a few things to say that most people don't need to read....then again, that's a topic for another day.

in the meantime, here i am, standing on the cusp of the end of summer...the end of fetid and stifling and all things sweat-inducing. frankly, as hard as this past winter was, i welcome the onslaught of chilly nights and leaves strewn across roadways and all the 'stuff' that fall conjures up.

so with all of the anticipation of good things (including a LONG overdue vacation, less than a month away), i find myself also sitting here with a pile of feelings i don't know what to do with. all i know is that i'm trying to be open to whatever God has for me right now...to whatever life is throwing in my direction...yet at the same time, i find myself wondering just what is it that i'm being open FOR?

the answer will come in due time, i know, but right now there are simply questions.

i will say this, however: i sure would love to have someone to share the glory of fall with me this year. it might make some of the questions a little easier to answer...or maybe not worth answering at all.

we'll see....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

summer treats

after days on end of brutal heat, i am (not that) happy to report that i have neither heat rash nor sunburn. in fact, i've been staying inside as much as possible; the heat is simply too asthma-inducing and, therefore, something i avoid. besides, i hate to sweat.

now then, aside from this brief weather report, i must take a moment and recount the last couple weeks of my life. first, my 35th bday celebration kicked off the day before with an after-work happy hour at diablita with a few girlfriends and some dangerously delish cocktails (caipirinhas and blood orange margaritas) and burritos.

my birthday proper, july 1, i spent at work, although i confess i wasn't quite as productive as i might normally be (can you blame me? i was giving out birthday tattoos to my coworkers, and it caused quite a stir). my friend k. took me to lunch at lebanese taverna, where i was serenaded over baklava, and gave me a lovely purple aster (which, i am sad to say, celebrated independence day by dying in the sunlight). after work, i ran home to change and pick up salimah, and we made our way up to the city cafe for dinner with friends. there was kazoo playing, drinking of more delish cocktails (something with coconut, a cosmojito, and probably something else i don't remember), and eating of these lovely numbers:

lobster nuggets in a honey-mustard butter sauce







petit filet mignon stack with tomato tart, pesto potato gratin, caramelized onions, and a red wine demi glace
dear heaven, that food was delicious. oh, and did i mention the kazoo playing? oh yes....and michael jackson songs, no less! i won't provide the incriminating evidence (this is the internet, after all), but suffice it to say that two of my friends should go on the road with their 'thriller' dance-kazoo routine!

after dessert (can you say italian lemon cake and heath bar bread pudding??), my bed was singing the siren song, so salimah and i made our way back to my place to get some much-needed shut eye.

friday we found ourselves wandering fells point, where we had lunch at shuckers right on the water.

after lunch was a bit of shopping at the silver shop and williams-sonoma (danger zone!) and then an attempt at free birthday cupcakes at the tremont grand cafe (shot down).

we did, however, get some latte beverages and a moldy truffle or two:
then, saturday night, i had a game night at my place with a few friends. we had fun appetizer-y food and a basket-o-prizes:
we even played pin the tail on the donkey! some people were more random about it, while my friend k. took a more scientific approach:
there was a rousing game of taboo, sarah-related trivia questions, present-opening, and much laughter and making of merry:
all told, it was all the things i love best: good friends, good food, lots of laughter, a bit of madcap adventure, one of the best birthdays i've had in recent years. i'm so thankful for all my friends who came out, sent me messages online or through snail mail, and generally jumped in with both feet to my age-appropriate birthday whimsy. i couldn't think of a better way to kick off my 36th year of life.

so, here i am, more than halfway through july, and my biggest wish for the rest of this summer is that i really seize opportunities to let my hair down, so to speak. life is whizzing by these days, and it's so much richer to careen through it with people you love. that's the greatest gift.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

this just in....

it's gearing up to be a scorcher this weekend; i can feel it. in fact, the forecast for tomorrow is a blazing 97 degrees! how is it possible that my average body temperature (which doesn't feel particularly hot to me), when applied to the outside of my body, makes me feel like i'm going to die? strange....

anyway, i woke up early this morning despite being quite exhausted and am trying to gear up the urge as we speak to finish cleaning my bathroom before my day is fully underway. i also just realized i need to go to the post office to put a large package in the mail (return of some catalog clothes shopping gone awry), so if i'm being particularly productive, perhaps (alliteration!) i will get that done before my saturday brunch date with s & c.

in other news, my 35th birthday is less than two weeks away, and because this is a big one for me, i'm finding myself more reflective than usual. i have some thoughts to share on the matter of celebrating this particular birthday, but they will have to wait until there are no sinks and tubs to scour.

so that's it, i'm afraid. nothing special. nothing of consequence. nothing worthy of the title of this blog post. but at least i'm writing. it's a start.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

bmore. be more.

it's been almost two months since i moved into my new apartment, and i've been trying to give myself the room to bond with my space, my neighborhood, my new understanding of life from the 19th floor. i'll be honest, though—it's been really challenging for me to connect lately. i'm not sure if it's because my mind is awash with projects and deadlines and schedules, or whether this change has shaken me up enough that i simply cannot yet adjust, but i've felt so transient and disconnected over the last 7 weeks. it's enough to drive a girl a little crazy.

within the last week, though, things have begun to shift a bit. last weekend, i walked up charles for a mini street fair, and i was loving just being out and about, smelling and seeing and feeling everything around me. and last night, salimah came over and we walked to a local pub up the block, and as i sat there taking in the conversations and smiling giddily at the waiter (i'm sorry, but he was a smidge adorable), i realized something: this is my neighborhood. mine. i LIVE here.

so now it's saturday night, and i've just had a day out gallivanting around the city i call home, eating and drinking (caipirinha, anyone??) and shopping and wandering, and now i'm back in my quiet, cozy apartment, and i just feel grateful. for all of it, really, but mostly for the shift that has occurred in my life to bring me to this place. it has thrust me out of the rut i was in (geographically, anyway) and made me uncomfortable enough that i'm starting to wake up and remember all the things i haven't been doing lately. like feeling anything deeply.

suddenly, i'm experiencing emotions that have been lying dormant—some good and some not so great—and i'm realizing that my life, as cher horowitz would say, is screaming for a makeover. if there's anything living downtown has reminded and inspired me to do, it is to give my love and life away again. every time i've been in a place where my soul seems shallow and stagnant, i need only to look outside myself, to start serving others and giving joy and sustenance to people i may never meet face to face, and suddenly the world around me is vibrant once again.

as someone who believes in God, i cannot live my life stowed away in my 19th floor 'tower,' looking down on all that lies around me and failing to get dirt on my shoes and the smell of the city in my hair. there is so much humanity down on those streets, and i want to be part of it. i'm not quite sure what this means yet, but somehow, i will stretch myself...become uncomfortable so that someone else can have a better life.

i was reminded recently that loving others isn't something you can do with restraint. it's either go big or go home in matters of the heart. i have always known this, but day-to-day life has taught me to hold it back for fear of overwhelming another. to be careful, just in case that love isn't returned. well, you know what? i don't care anymore. if people can't deal with my heart, then so be it.

all i know is that, for the time being, i call this city home. and i love it. i love being here. i love the crazy people who talk to themselves, the ridiculously friendly waiters at my favorite haunts, the snarky older dude i always ride the elevator with, the woman working in my garage who nearly breaks her back every morning just to stick her head out the window and wave at me, the tired-faced people walking home from work just as i'm leaving to go to my job, the traffic, the ball games, the fireworks, the police on their segways, the steam pouring out of the gutters, the church bells pealing, the screech of the lightrail, the sun setting over the abandoned buildings every evening.

this is my underdog city, the place where my heart first opened up and started to really take the world in. and in all of my uncertainty and fears and hopes, my arms—and eyes—are open up here on the 19th floor. my heart is ready to connect again...to do and feel and be more. so get ready, baltimore. i'm really just getting started with you....

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Son.rise.

the sun shining through my window this morning woke me before i could force my eyelids open. it has always seemed fitting that easter morning should burst forth with sunshine. it is all of creation shouting, 'He is risen!'

i've been giving a bit of thought of late to my ongoing church conundrum, and i've decided that once i move to my new apartment, i am going to visit the episcopal church just across the street. i love the thought of being able to walk to church the same way my family did when i was a little girl living in allentown, pa. but even more, in times of frustration and uncertainty about modern evangelicalism (and believe me, there have been many), the traditions of my upbringing have brought me much comfort and a way to experience God in a familiar way but with a heart that understands those prayers and hymns more than i did back then.

as a child, i grew familiar with the tunes, the words, the kneeling and the standing up, and it meant something then. it did. but i was without the experience of a heart converted by the living God. i thought we were all participating in an event. i didn't realize that He was there, rejoicing right along with us. on some level, i believed that the words in the scriptures were true, but i had yet to experience the way that those words breathe life into a soul and etch themselves into your heart. i flitted along, unaware of His plan for my life and the truth that would begin to unfurl in front of my eyes at the age of 18.

so now i find myself, on the verge of 35, wondering where it is in the church-on-earth that i belong. i know that my ultimate home is with God Himself, but i find that so many of my experiences have pushed me farther and farther to the perimeter of most people's understanding of 'modern-day christianity.' and you know, i'm finding myself okay with being there on that fringe, because the last time i checked, there was room at the table for people who don't have it all figured out.

if anything, my lack of understanding means that i'm still wanting to know Him. my unwillingness to simply follow the pack and read the books and listen to the music and do what others are doing doesn't mean that i've 'fallen away'; it means that i'm on my journey. and the finish line is God Himself.

this easter brings with it much sweet and very little bitter. i'm not sitting in a pew in a church this morning, but the living God is here with me, rejoicing over me with song (zeph 3:17). and later, i will go spend time with others who also call His name. and we will break bread together and remember  and express our gratitude for the truth that binds us all together. if good friday has taught me anything, it's that it's always darkest just before the dawn.

happy easter.

if easter means anything to modern man, it means that eternal truth is eternal.
you may nail it to the tree, wrap it up in grave clothes, and seal it in a tomb;
but truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.
truth does not perish; it cannot be destroyed.
it may be distorted; it has been silenced temporarily;
it has been compelled to carry its cross to calvary's brow
or to drink the cup of poisoned hemlock in a grecian jail,
but with an inevitable certainty
after every black friday dawns truth's easter morn.
- donald harvey tippet

Saturday, April 03, 2010

at home

upon waking up this morning, the first thought on my mind was wow, this is my last saturday here. last night, salimah and crystal brought some dinner over and as we sat amidst my boxes and feasted on mari luna, salimah remarked that this would likely be the last time she ever stepped foot in this place i've called home for the last six and a half years.

that reality struck me rather hard in that moment. believe me, i'm excited to be moving forward, and i'm super thankful that a number of logistical things have arranged themselves so that i might do just that, but there is always a tinge of sadness in any closed door, no matter how ready you are to close it.

when i think about who i was when i first walked into this apartment in the fall of 2003, i feel astonished at how much has happened since then...and amazed at the faces who have walked in—and out—of my life. the weekend i moved in, i was filled with so much hope for all that lay ahead of me and a sense of accomplishment for all that i had done to get me here. i was in my 20s, for crying out loud!

now, i find myself in that same place—only farther down this road and with my eyes a bit more focused and my heart more open and yet more guarded all at once. in short, i've grown up. living here has given me the space to create a real home. for a long time, i thought maybe i was making that home for another person, but what i've learned is that i needed to find that place inside of me. and i have. i'm much more secure now in who i am, in what i want, in where i'm going. i'm not afraid of being abandoned, of being rejected, of being left behind. i learned that no matter the circumstances, i have a choice in the matter, always. and my choice now is to move on and not look back.

the other night, i dreamed that someone i used to know and love told me something about himself that i had been waiting to hear for years. and when he said it in the dream (though it was not good news, per se, and was said with a kind of hostility), i felt so relieved. so relieved, in fact, that i woke up almost wishing we could have had that conversation years ago.

what that dream said to me, though, more than anything, is that life is too short not to say what you mean...even if what you mean is what no one else wants to hear. there is still a kind of relief in knowing the truth, regardless of how bitter that pill is to swallow.

and my truth is that i have no regrets, about anything. i still believe in God, but i also believe more than ever in what He has placed in me and the mind and heart and will He has given me to make my choices. i am where i am now, and i know that it's time for me to close this door and open the next one. and more than that, i am ready to make new adventures and see new things in my city for as long as i am called to be here. but wherever i am and whoever is with me, i am at home now. i am my home.

Monday, March 29, 2010

breathe in. breathe out.

it's monday all over again, and this rainy, foggy day has brought with it a true mixture of all things human.

first, a bit of sad news....it's taken me a few days to process this, but eva markvoort, the author of one of the blogs i've read faithfully for some time, passed away this past saturday after a long and inspiring journey with cystic fibrosis.

this girl was just a light to the world; there is no getting around it. she was one of those people God sends to earth to remind the rest of us how much of the good stuff we're missing on a daily basis. her joy was infectious, and i found myself feeling almost jealous of her family and friends for getting to hang out with her. couldn't we all use more than a little 'eva' in our daily lives??

for anyone who needs a reality check, i would encourage you to go back and peruse some of her writings...to think about all this girl went through and how she did it with so much grace and honesty. really, it's staggering.


she hoped for a legacy, and based on the number of people who have been touched by her life and the way she lived and loved and gave of herself, i'd say she more than accomplished that.

aside from the sorrow of eva's passing, i was also given a gift today of getting to spend the early evening with a dear friend and colleague. we share so many commonalities, and she is so nurturing and caring (and just a great, great person), it's a true blessing to get to work with her on a regular basis. over dinner, we had some really nourishing conversation—well beyond the meaningless chit-chat that plagues so many social interactions. i left feeling refreshed and thankful...and hopeful for the next time she's in town so we can visit again!

it seems that so many people i know are making great strides in their lives these days...shifting priorities and taking steps forward. it's inspiring, really, and it sets into sharper relief the unwillingness of others to make a decision to live out their truth—no matter what it is.

life is really such a fleeting thing....

now, i know that one could look at that statement from a 'glass-half-empty' type of perspective, but i choose to see it as a rare and precious opportunity to make different choices. to right the wrongs. to say 'i love you.' to try and fail and try again. to take bigger risks and stretch the boundaries of what makes you comfortable. to jump off that ledge, trusting that the net will be there to catch you.

there are a limited number of breaths left in this life. and some of us, like eva, aren't even given the ability to take those breaths without great effort and sacrifice. for me, there is no excuse not to breathe life in deeply...no excuse to live anything other than my best life...no time to live it without meaning and purpose. and the same holds true for us all.

so, eva, with thanks in my heart for all that you've taught me, this next deep breath is just for you:)....

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'all my bags are packed; i'm ready to go'...well, almost

the day is fast approaching when i will bid farewell to my humble abode and take up residence in a 'dee-luxe apartment in the skyyyyyy' (a.k.a. downtown high-rise). i've scheduled the mover, reserved the loading dock at the new place, signed my lease, and packed up about half my stuff so far, and next weekend, my mom will come to help me mostly finish the job. times, they are a-changin', and despite the risks and unknowns, i feel largely good about it.

i've never handled goodbyes very well, though, i admit. i'm a nostalgic soul, and my heart has always yearned to make and keep connections. even though i'm feeling very ready to move on from this place i've called home for the last 6 1/2 years, there is a part of me that will miss the quirky little things about this place, and i'm sure when i close the front door for the final time, i'll feel that all-too-familiar pull.

when i was a kid, we moved around more than i would have liked, and although my adult mind can understand now why, at times, that was a necessity, my kid brain comprehended it as a complete affront to all that i knew. i remember throwing a veritable temper tantrum when one of our old houses was being shown to a potential buyer (who, i think, wound up taking the place). i remember feeling VERY territorial and downright hostile to the family, because i could not bear the thought of someone else sleeping in. my. room!

and then, when we left another house, as soon as i got my driver's license, i would periodically take drives over there to see what they had done to the place and, again, felt a pang of hurt when i realized that they had taken my blue bedroom and turned it yellow. yellow! because although it wasn't my room anymore, a part of me had laid claim on that place and forevermore, it would somehow belong to me, no matter who owned it.

i realized some years later that that was me trying to establish something for myself...to take some control where i never felt i had any.

as an adult, i've made a lot of decisions—some of them good, some of them bad, ALL of them mine. and at the end of the day, whether my sense of what was right and true led me down a path, or whether fear dictated my steps, the choices were mine alone, and the fact that i made them, over and over, and faced their consequences, began to help me feel like i didn't NEED to control everything.

and this decision to move now is a kind of final step in that process. i am stepping back into the unknown because i need to have things NOT be in control for awhile...not be predictable....but the difference is that it's my choice to walk to the edge and step off, knowing that God has ordered my steps. in the end, i don't have to fear the unknown because He's already in it. what's more, i don't have to make any desperate grasps at holding onto something that doesn't belong to me just so i can feel safe. i choose to hold it all with an open hand and let it be what it will be.

so, in three weeks, i will close one door and walk through the open one in front of me. i don't know what the next year of my life will bring, or what adventures i'll have, but that's okay. and although this goodbye may be bittersweet, i won't resist its coming. in fact, i think i'm ready for it.

actually, i know i am....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

moving on?

this has been a brutal winter, filled with much frozen precip, leaking windows, scratched-up paint and flat tires, and failed efforts to get to the gym. and now, as winter's end seems more and more likely each day, that also means that i've lived in my current apartment for the last six and a half years—longer, in fact, than i've ever lived anywhere in my whole life. methinks it's time for a change.

bottom line: since the last snowstorm, i've been apartment shopping online, and yesterday i went to see a place downtown. i'm not gonna lie: it would be a bit of a stretch financially, but this place is SUPER convenient to work and fun city attractions, and, what's more, it has one location of the gym i belong to RIGHT INSIDE the building! needless to say, i was ridiculously happy when i discovered this. plus, it would cut my commute in about a third, and i would save mucho bucks on gas not sitting in traffic and not having to drive to and from the gym after or before work and on weekends. i'm waiting for a couple of things to be confirmed this week, and if all goes well, i'm going for it.

i admit i'm a little uneasy about giving up a month-to-month lease and having to pack ALL my stuff up again and pay someone to transport it to the new location (i am too old and too without young male friends to try and move myself), but the thought of being back downtown in a charming neighborhood, close to so many shops, restaurants, and the place where i spend at least 40 hours per week makes me more than a little happy.

here's to new (and hopefully better) things ahead.

Monday, February 15, 2010

FYI

hi internets,

i'm not dead or buried under a 6-foot snowdrift. i just haven't written here in awhile (this is not a shocker to most of you). but i have some news...just a little bit: i started another blog (that, again, not shockingly, i do not update super often) that chronicles my food journey and recipes i've concocted to prevent myself from going completely batty.

so, if you're interested, here's the link: http://heres-the-skinny.blogspot.com/

in other news, it's done nothing but snow for the last week, and i've been trapped in the house since thursday, february 4. wow, i can't believe i just typed that, since today is the 15th!! in truth, i got my car out this weekend, but i haven't been out again since saturday because i've been dealing with a persistent leak in my living room (all that snow has to go somewhere, i guess) for which i FINALLY got some attention from my rental office today. anyway, here's bella, stuck under a HUGE pile of the white stuff last week:


and here's the huge snowdrift that was up to my waist when i stepped into it:


at least i got major cardio from shoveling, shoveling, and more shoveling!!

when's spring coming, again??

Friday, January 01, 2010

bienvenue à 2010 et bon appétit!

as this first day of a new year and new decade has worn on, i feel somehow more and more hopeful for this next chapter in my life. i'm not sure why, really, because i've gotten nothing done today, per se, but i've been thinking about all there IS to do...all i COULD be doing...and that has me feeling excited. plus, i'm drinking a chai latte from my keurig, and can i just say? hot bevs in an instant just thrill me!

in all seriousness, i've been spending the better part of the last hour perusing all my new cookbooks (between christmas and some serious discount shopping, i've scored a total of 10, i think!), most of which have a focus on healthful living and eating—from the simplest of preparations to the somewhat more gourmet.

i've never really used a lot of recipes (except for baking, when one must be precise), with the majority of my cooking being a fusion of stuff i've read, seen on tv, and thought about while staring blankly into my kitchen cabinets. but what i do love are COOKBOOKS and all the inspiration they bring to my culinary adventures. and i'm thinking strongly about switching things up a little—about actually using some of these volumes to help plan my meals for the year ahead.

and speaking of meal planning, i need to go strategize for a brunch i'm throwing tomorrow morning and tidy up my apartment, which looks like some sort of tornado has blown through it. here's to a year of eating well and being prepared for whatever adventure (culinary or otherwise) comes my way!