the worst day ever

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The worst day ever begot the best day in response.

So I made notes. To remember this.

August 8th, 2019.

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wine glass emoji, crescent moon emoji

That “I can’t feel my face when I’m with you”?? I never understood it until perhaps this moment, as I sit here with my glass of wine and feeling numb-faced as I often do when I drink after a run.

Is he equating the feeling of being in the presence of a beloved (or your lady of the moment…or whoever) with alcoholic intoxication? Is this a completely obvious connection I’ve just never made because of my lack of experience with said intoxication? Is it referencing a totally different mood-altering substance I’m too straightlaced to get?

These are the thoughts of a contented ladison at the end of a long weekend with family when we’ve driven up and down the usual I-95 madness and spent some quality time eating and drinking and movie-watching andddd video game-watching with some beloved people. And have come home to a sweet, wild kitty who has taken to rage-chewing things in our absence as if he were a pup. And have spent the past hour soaking in someone else’s sadness over losing a baby at 20-something weeks. Back in 2017.

What is all this randomness but the condition of living with a soaky, drippy human heart that attaches itself to a lot of different other humans and their feelings, far away and long ago. At the end of a long (normal) weekend, tired but in a good way.

Good night; *crescent moon emoji*

a few of my favorite things

  • work pings from people I don’t know very well peppered with unabashed “hehe”s
  • our apartment in the morning hours (after I would have left for work but before the sunlight is done with the floorboards)
  • Boo’s masterful lounging on said floorboards, bonus points for frivolous flips
  • the fact that I’ve spent the last sickly, home-bound days with Markling in tow for five out of six
  • the simple chocolate buttercream cake from Alexandria Pastry Shop

It’s been a whirlwind of a LOT of nothing-doing and yet a lot of productivity around here the past week and a half. I’ve run the whole gamut of slight excitement at getting to miss work to angst at missing social functions to full-on cabin fever (I may or may now have yelled at Mark to allow me some wine despite my illness [it didn’t work]) to a lot of sitting still and contemplating about how grateful I am for…just life. Yeah yeah, CHEEZBALLS. Oh yeah, all in the course of a cold that turned into a flu and then gave a cookie to BRONCHITIS. 27 and still livin new life experiences a-plenty.

Yeah it’s been a lot of Netflix over book-reading and ungodly numbers of hours spent on 2048, but I’ve also caught up on all my back issues of the Economist and spent some quality fetch time with the kitten and journaled a bunch…and hey, first blog post since November! That’s certainly something. I’m just about one day away from reaching unnecessary-baking levels of boredom-induced productivity.

Through it all, Mark’s been here to make emergency grocery runs at an average rate of one a day, fetch me important things from the kitchen like cough drops and slices of no-reason cake, and mostly just sit at his desk working from home while I sit a-couch, coughing my heart (and lungs) out and losing my voice. The one day he abandoned me for work, I felt a true loss and slept most of it away.

Despite the illness and the unfortunate grocery/doctor’s visit bills I’ve been racking up, I’m pleased to report that the overall sentiment as this blue period comes to a close is one of gratitude. Gratitude for work that allows me (paid!) time off and waits securely for me to return, gratitude for a mom and a dad who call every day just to check in on the rapidity of my coughs, gratitude for friends who text to ask if they can drop in with anything (and with updates from the outside world…where the people walk and dance and stay in the sunnnn), gratitude for our beautiful lil one-bedroom where I can lounge on many different surfaces and look out its big big windows, gratitude for a lovely, loving cohabitant who deserves so many more back hugs — not just for the recent sacrificial care-taking but in general. It’s been really interesting and really nice spending so much non-quality, just side-by-side time with him. There’s a lot you miss during the day, while you’re both at your respective works:

  • midday meals
  • oh, and speaking of that, BREAKFASTS!
  • complaints about how I never make him coffee
  • yelling about how he never actually wants a whole cup of coffee when I DO offer to make him some
  • learning that all he wants is just a sip or two of my coffee, which I can happily share (except oops, when I have bacterial bronchitis)
  • music habits for when you’re working
  • watching and togetherly appreciating the limber movements of the feline body, as you’re wont to do when you are crazy cat ladies such as we
  • commentary on bowel movements
  • tidbits of whatever you’re reading that you want to share, but normally don’t cause you’re secretly reading from your phone during your commute

So before I run headlong back into productive society (and the commute…) and forget: thank you for the occasional sick days and the reminders they bring of a bunch of my favorite things.

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the people we food with

The February photodump — cam to hard drive — has unearthed a lot of moments of food and people we love. And a glance back through the blog archives reveals that the one post from Feb 2017 is something of a “food and folks” post, too.

Guess February is the month of good food and good company.

We’re in a real groove of normalcy now — there are people we meet up with, month after month. People we make plans with at the end of each meet up, everyone scrounging through our phones for another weekend that’ll work, in a few weeks’ time. We make plans, commit to see each other soon, bring/find food, and eat together for the sake of catching up together.

I’m grateful for these grooves.

I always used to pride myself a lil bit on the fact that my closest friendships were based not on the frequency — or even the overall quantity — of time spent togetherly. “Quality over quantity,” I’d say, my metaphorical nose in the air.

But these days, I’m yearning for the regularity of an oft-seen face. Or two or three or five. Now my calendar is full of people I’ve seen “just a month ago,” which sometimes still doesn’t feel like enough. I want normal-life, humdrum conversations, about work and commutes and recipes we’ve tried — sprinkled in with vast contemplations about life, too, duh.

The important thing — and the thing that makes me a more grown up person now than when I was in college, with my nose in the air — is to recognize these seasons of life as such, and appreciate each for its own reasons.

College was a time of mad dashes through classes and clubs and homework AND friends. I was bombarded by life — in the best way, as college does — and thoughts and conversations and growth and friendships were happening all naturally (and also, somehow, so magically). In the wee hours in a dorm room. At the dining hall over breakfast. During afternoon nap/study sessions in the hush of the library. And those quarterly mad catch-up sessions with the besties were enough, because that’s all my life had room for.

And that was good for then.

But now, days and evenings clock in and out with a cozy regularity that I can sometimes confuse with monotony. And life these days is filled with dinners that need cooking, plants that need watering, sleeps that need getting. I dunno what exactly it is that’s changed, but my heart, it yearns for friends who are close and near. Heart-wise and commute-wise.

How foolish of me to have turned my snooty little nose up at the beauty of relationships built over time and shared everydays.

How grateful I am now, to scroll through photos of familiar faces, month after faithful month — sharing food, sharing our time, sharing stories of the little things that have mattered to us in the past few weeks.

How grateful for these grooves.

(And, ahem, the photos.)

running lightly with just a few cookies

Despite a disappointing show by my own aquafaba cookies, I braved the newly December-cold evening to join the Harvest ladies for a cookie exchange — partly because I wanted to check in with these lovely folks I’d been missing, partly because cookies, partly because a cookie exchange is a whiteppl (orrrr…americanppl?) tradition I’d never ever partaken of before and I was curious.

And the flat, crispy-chewy failure of choc chip meringues (half-batch, no less) felt somehow RIGHT and honest as a representation of my confidence in the kitchen anyhow.

It was FUN. We chit-chatted, oohed and ahhed over the mountains of other, successful batches of cookies, and just caught up on each others’ lives as ladies do. We prayed over Robin as she and Ben are looking toward their move to and new life in Texas.

After it all, we bundled back up and out into the cold(er) night air. I trailed Janelle down the steps and realized that we’d parked in the same row of visitor spots, but didn’t get to walk with her cause she was being carried away on the winds of her excitement to get home / desire to get out of the cold night air into that magic van of hers.

As I watched her skip, jog, run toward that car, I couldn’t help but laugh cause there was something so childlike about her skedaddle. I wanted to skip after her and race to our cars together, but was worried for the too many cookies in my cookie-haul bags. (Cause, what if the force of my gallops crushed the cookies against themselves? and the like.) I watched her dash faster and faster away and suddenly felt so old and weighed down, a bagful of cookies in each hand. Imagined her hands, free of cookie bags — or at least only holding one, lightly filled one, maybe — and grasping instead at the fresh night air.

I walked slowly back to my own car, waving Janelle off awkwardly with the coupla free fingers on my one hand with the smaller bag of cookies and laughing, still, at what a cute, kidlike run hers was. Sad for myself for being so weighed down by cookies, but conflicted about that, cause…like I said, cookies.

Unexpected notes to self re: cookie exchange: Don’t be so greedy with things that they keep you from running in the refreshing night air when you want to. Learn to live with less, to consume less, to enjoy lightness more.

renovation diaries: bathroom edition

“Much to my dismay, married life has NOT been all fun and games.”

^That’s my honest answer to the well-wishing people in my life who ask me how married life is going.

Just tryna be honest, you know? Because sharing about struggles honestly is way more helpful — for me and for others — than pretending like everything is gucci.

Not only have we been wedding planning/condo buying/honeymoon planning/overtime working for the past few months, we decided that wasn’t enough adulting and threw in some home renovations into the mix! We made the plans, packed up our things, and went off on our honeymoon for two weeks.

Then we came back to madness at our condo — truly, who knew renovations for that tiny bathroom would explode construction all over the house? — and housesat at JoQuy’s for a well-timed 10ish days. We thought we’d be done and ready to stop living out of suitcases, ready to move back home home after that. But the saga (and the nightly tears) only continued… Seriously, I stress-cried every night for two weeks, and Mark was REALLY confused about what he had signed up for with this whole marriage thing, waffling back and forth in his emotional welfare with my waffling back and forth between “It’s okay, it’s not that bad… This way, we get to renovate to exactly what we want!” and “EVERYTHING IS TURRIBLE AND COVERED IN DUST AND I JUST WANT TO DIE I HATE RENOVATIONS.” #renovationsPTSD

Five total weeks of living out of suitcases, a million politely worded emails back and forth with the contractors, two million crying llama giphys (and one mom who pitied yet laughed at me also), one bathroom door that wouldn’t close for a while cause the toilet was too big, a missing drill bit and dustpan and lockbox, two complaints from the condo assosh objecting to secret Saturday renovations, two weeks’ extra time, and five rounds of mopping and swiffering the floors later…we’re finally done. And it’s now a whole different season from when we began this whole saga. Yesterday, they wrapped everything up and we cleaned well into the evening, forgetting/forgoing dinner and eating gas range s’mores at 11 pm instead.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster because I hadn’t wanted to renovate in the first place; this was Mark’s idea. And because this was “SO UNFAIR TO ME,” my inner raging baby was out in full force, weeping and complaining about all the inconvenience and sorrow of this whole debacle. We’ve learned a lot about the depth of Mark’s patience and the shallowth of my capacity for discomfort.

I think yesterday’s wrap up was good timing, though, because we sort of fell to a place where I saw through the clear waters the bottom of Mark’s patience well and was afraid that I might actually hit rock bottom. And I shivered. And pulled myself together, thinking of the weaving of all the different threads of experiences that life actually is — the beautiful and the coarse.

And I wish the proportion of crying llama giphys and life lessons here were a little more balanced in this post, but it just…is not. But the thing is, despite the half-jokes about how renovations were tearing our young marriage apart, we’re still together and bonded a little stronger for it all. Truly.

Go here for photos and more angst.

life at sarlington ridge: day 10

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The internet.

We haz it.

At last!

And we eat cake (and beer) — perched atop the new furniture crush, the c table — while planning our honeymoon to faraway lands. Basil plant, courtesy of Mama Lee, peeks out from between the bookshelf and the bike. The convector hums quietly on and off, giving us the gift of in-the-background temperature control, and we sit in the glow of yellow bulbs we haven’t bothered to change from the last residents. The piles of things are shrinking; the space to breathe, growing.

One by one little thing, our [where the heart is] is getting settled into.

And I’m not taking any little thing for granted.

things to be relieved about

  • The smiley face that came in the text reassuring me, “No worries about the bumper” and thanking me for leaving a note in the first place.
  • That SIGH-der of relief and those 10 days of anxiety that preceded. Dear God we r not ready.
  • How we can stay up late talking about insecurities and anxieties and comfort each other like two wee babes in the middle of a dark night. Waking up together to a faithful new morning again and again.

Here, nature mingles with man.