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Tuesday
Oct282014

thanks, taylor

Last night, after weeks of anticipation, some friends gathered in my living room to listen to--and talk about--Taylor Swift's 1989. We differed on our favorites, but all agreed that it was a hit. It wasn't only the album (or being with friends in general) that made the evening so enjoyable for me, though. It was something I hadn't done in a while--probably not since high school.

Remember how time seemed endless in high school? Aside from those hideous pleated red-and-green plaid skirts we had to wear, I remember a lot of waiting. Laying in the soccer field, sitting on the concrete bleachers facing the field, walking to and from two cafeterias, leaning against the wall where everyone could be found... And to pass the time, there was a lot of talking. Some of the best conversations I ever had were in high school. I mean, we had so much time that things got deep. There were existential topics like whether hell really existed and what it was actually like (I went to a Catholic school), what it really meant to save yourself for marriage and if boys should too (again, Catholic school). And there were very detailed analyses of anything and everything related to pop culture. It was a time when I thought I would always know every single word to every single song of my favorite bands, when my friends and I all watched the same shows and had (what we thought were) brilliant insights about our favorite characters. We watched all of the movies that came out, even the terrible ones---cough, Dungeons and Dragons, cough.

The sixteen-year-old me would have raised an eyebrow and been open-mouthed in disbelief at how little TV I watch these days and my appalling change to approximately two movies a year. But she would have been thrilled (and so approving) of last night. When the most important thing for two hours was a single album. Because she knew, with all her teenage, angsty experience, how music can change your life and how the least it deserves is some of my undivided attention and time.

Tuesday
Oct212014

anniversary weekend

"How did you know?" It's a question I've been asked, both before and after I got married. How did I know it was Michael? I've given both long-winded and concise answers to this question while feeling like the words aren't quite the right ones. Don't get me wrong, I did know. For someone like me, someone who second- and fourth and ninety-eight- guesses everything and who returns something to a store only to buy it back later, to say bye to Michael the day before the wedding and have no nerves, no doubts, no heaviness in the pit of my stomach, just a serene happiness, is virtually miraculous. (It was actually the most amazing feeling ever, this absolute sense of surety.)

I still don't have a perfectly articulated answer, but I will say this: Seven years ago, I met this guy at a party, and we teased each other about looking underage. We moved on to a bar where he proceeded to buy me Surfer(s) on Acid (typing this out is making me embarrassed, but we were in college, okay?), and the rest is history. Several months later, he was driving me back from the library, we were talking about our families, and I found myself thinking, I could marry this person. (And years later, I discovered he thought the same thing then too.)

We decided that, instead of a fancy dinner or going on a mini-trip, we'd throw a bbq (but not tell people why because I thought that would just be weird). We couldn't resist sneaking a few toasts in at Patterson House on Friday night, but the Saturday party prep--working in the kitchen together for hours--was just as fun. And of course, having everyone over, different friends we've made over the three years we've been in Nashville, was even better. I remember just looking at him and thinking, we have a community here, we've made a home.  

Sunday was the perfect winding-down. I stayed in bed reading forever, and then we spent hours catching up on our favorite tv shows. Slow, lazy, nothing special, just right.

Of course, there are days, weekends, the occasional week, where everything goes wrong. When I wonder that maybe I didn't know, that maybe my gut should have said something, darnit. But those moments pass, and all of the memories we make, big and small, continuously form into an ever stronger foundation that I hope will sustain us for the seven, twenty-one, forty-nine years (and beyond) to come.

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Monday
Oct062014

windows open

I am beginning to suspect that I sound like a broken record. "And our windows, they're open!" I exclaim to everyone and their mother. But it just feels so amazing, I can't help it. After a long, languorously hot summer, the cooler breeze lulls me to sleep sans air conditioning, the perfect temperature to cocoon against in a fluffy duvet. And during the day, particularly a rainy one, feeling it filter through my curtain as I work, the pitter patter of rain drops in the background, makes me feel energized and productive.

While winter is not my friend (I am already dreading its onslaught), there is something wonderful about living in a place that has four seasons. There's always something to appreciate and anticipate, an every day reminder to enjoy what you have today because in a day, or a week, something you like can change. And if you're not enjoying today, well, it won't last forever! A silver lining for everyone. Happy Monday.

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Thursday
Aug142014

la vie en rose

It's raining outside. A light, romantic drizzle--the kind that makes a tinkling sound on the roof, that makes the light from streetlamp (the one I can see from my wrought-iron balcony, hazy beyond a sheer curtain in that perfect shade of French blue) look moody and picture-perfect. Down the street is a tempting array of choices--patiserries, a fromagerie, a number of bistros in that iconic red. Perhaps the oyster bar will tempt me to visit for a late night snack. But right now I am full. La vie en rose, Edith Piaf sang, and while she did not mean rose wine, I am taking it as license to enjoy as many glasses as possible. I think my favorite one of the day was shared with my cousin (Francine, your French is marvelous) in an incredibly comfortable, low-slung chair that gave us a beautiful view of the Seine.

"...and life will always be la vie en rose." In Paris, I could almost believe it to be possible.

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Wednesday
Aug132014

(mis)adventures in travel

Menu on plane: Pudding* (Choice of passionfruit cheesecake or cheese and crackers)

Me: Ooh, how to choose between pudding and cheesecake? Hmm... (Stress out for a good minute, trying to determine what would make my stomach happy.)

Menu on plane: *Pudding is what the British call dessert.

--

Shop-that-shall-remain-nameless has great stuff from window. Lots of options, some well-cut coats, a skirt that catches my eye. Looks like a good place to browse! I enter...

(Within five seconds...)

Me: Why does everyone here walk with a stoop and have white hair?

Me: slinks out

--

Husband: ...and an order of the Scottish egg.

Server: Pardon?

Me: (too loudly) SCOTCH egg!

Server thinks I am yelling at her and not my husband, who, clearly, is the target of my exasperation.

Server (not so nice now): Right then.

--

Hobbling out of our very trendy hotel.

Me: Excuse me, do you by any chance have a Band-Aid?

Receptionist: Sorry?

Me: makes ineffectual slapping motions on hand (when did this become charades-speak for Band-Aid?) and contemplates singing the jingle Um...

Husband: For cuts? Sticky thing for cuts?

Receptionist: Oh! A bpblaster!

Me: B-p-laster? (not sure if she meant blaster or plaster so trying to say b and p at the same time in a knowledgeable manner even as I think this is not a smart name for a Band-Aid)

Once we are out of earshot...

Husband: Band-Aid is a brand name, honey.

No duh!

Me: I know. So what do they call them at Walgreens? Hyaluronic something, I think. Hydraluronic... Hyalonic... Blaster/plaster sounds dumb.

(With my fabulous sense of hearing, it was probably neither. But I refuse to cheat and Google it. I will instead learn it from another British human being.)

--

It goes from sprinkling to torrential downpour in less than a minute--but we will not be deterred! We will make it on the train to the Tower of London!

This one isn't funny, just a moral lesson, really. When your husband says he does not need you to pack him an umbrella, pack him one. Otherwise he will insist on "sharing" (ie he magically gets 2/3 of it while you are stuck with a measly 1/5. And yes, I know the math doesn't add up, but that is really how it feels).

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Tuesday
Aug052014

plane (never plain) reading

 

With any trip, one of the questions forefront in my mind is What on earth am I going to read on the plane? This is one of the few times that reading quickly does not work in my favor. And with a loooong flight ahead of me, I am more concerned than usual.

Thankfully, some of my very favorite authors are releasing books this month. Imagine my delight when I discovered that Sherry Thomas has not one but two books out, The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy (released just today--the former is a prequel to the latter) while Courtney Milan has The Suffragette Scandal. Icing on the cake? Susan Elizabeth Phillips has Heroes are My Weakness arriving on August 26th, which will be the perfect thing to unwind to post-trip.

The funny thing is that I don't actually like any of the plots of these books, and I'm not particularly impressed with what I know of the heroines and their leading men. But after long, happy relationships with these writers, I trust that I will fall into the story--and be ridiculously happy doing so--nonetheless.

Now to not touch these books until I actually leave. This is the hardest part!

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Monday
Aug042014

the in between

 

While I recognize that I get more excited about things than the average human being (or at least my husband), I can't be the only one who sometimes feels like they are antsy and ready to jump out of their skin when a trip is looming, can I?

The packing list has been made, everything that there was to plan has been planned, and there is nothing left to do but wait. Just...wait.

(I've never been a particularly patient person. This era of instant gratification works extremely well for me.)

It would be so much easier to just keep on willing the time away, but I find myself not wanting to do that. As a planner, there is always something next for me--an elusive dinner reservation, a trip, an actual life goal (it isn't all food and cocktails although there definitely is a lot of that). And I finally recognize that there is so much time in between one point to the next. I don't want to look back and think of all those moments squandered simply because I could not be bothered to sit and enjoy and feel.

So this week I'm making an effort to savor the time I have at home, wrapping up on work to make things lighter during the trip ahead. Home-cooked meals (last night's, anyway) taste so much better when I know that I won't be having them for a while as does enjoying a wide expanse of workspace that I can stack all my papers and messes on. I'll be working out of a tiny hotel escritoire for a while!

Life is made up of the in betweens. Easier to say than to remember, but at least I can try.

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