December 21, 2012
Assuming the world doesn't end today, I'll be taking next week off from blogging to travel back to Oklahoma, visit family and friends, and eat my weight in cookies.
This afternoon I'm finishing up present-wrapping (see my ridiculously limited palette above; the string travels better than bows, and looks all Scandinavian-rustic-chic). Tomorrow, Micah and I are celebrating Christmas with each other - and some sort of magnificent dessert-y Weekend Breakfast, I'm sure. We're opening presents (a few less things to pack!), cracking open one of our (sold-out) bottles of Fullsteam's Fruitcake, toasting to another great year together, and packing for our trip. I'm excited to see my whole family in one place, and to spend some quality time at the Braid office in Oklahoma City.
I hope you all stay warm, have the happiest of holidays, and celebrate the end of 2012 accordingly. See you next year!
December 19, 2012
I forgot! This past weekend was the ten-year anniversary of me first shaving my head!
I was a senior in high school - my yearbook picture (top left) and senior portraits had already been taken, and prints ordered. I remember thinking how hilarious it would be that I wouldn't "match" any of my pictures as I was handing them out and signing yearbooks. I remember having to wait a month or so once I actually made the decision, because I was in a play and had to look like another girl who also had long, curly, blonde hair (I was Gertrude in Hamlet - what up, high school drama nerds!). I remember wanting one of my friends to cut it off, but my mom begged me to go to a hair salon (and I did). I remember the stylist snipping off my ponytail in one sharp, smooth cut, and then letting me hold said ponytail while she cut down the rest of it. I remember the damp, dead weight of it in my hand, and my utter lack of attachment to it.
Ten years and countless mohawks and impulse dye-jobs later, and I obviously still don't have a lot of attachment to my hair. But man, that doesn't mean I don't love it. I do love my hair - I guess I just love cutting it off more.
To the next ten years!, be they long or short.
December 17, 2012
Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Classic breakfast burger with Italian sausage patty, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and a wonderfully messy poached egg. The second shot is from Micah's perspective: I committed to that thing. Forks are for the timid.
Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Yogurt with homemade granola, strawberries, and coconut flakes.
This weekend we started a new holiday tradition: getting together to wrap all of our presents, then getting drunk and ending up giving each other one of our presents ahead of time, just 'cause they were newly wrapped and the Motown Christmas music was going to our Jameson-soaked brains. 'Tis the season! We also drove around all the different neighborhoods in Durham together to get a feel for them -hypothetical house-hunting, if you will. Everything looked especially appealing, all decked out in lights and whatnot.
This week, I'm starting to pack for Oklahoma (mostly - figuring out how I'll get all my presents home), and ready to work my ass off in preparation for next week's festivities (and vacation time).
December 14, 2012
Above: My brother Sam and a family friend taking a sunset swim this past summer.
Around this time of year, I get really itchy for summer. Probably because I'm on the opposite side of the calendar from it - I know I'm six months away from my yearly Michigan vacation, but it's equally jarring (though painfully obvious) to think that it's been six months since I was there. I am utterly pale and my dry winter-skin also, well, itches - for warmer weather and the beach and saunas and daily swims and and and... you get the picture.
Last summer, I took two whole weeks out of my vacation time for Michigan (usually, I'm only able to squeeze in one, but I had just received another week of vacation time at my job, and I had a childhood friend's wedding to rock). And about halfway through, I knew I'd ruined myself for life. Never again would I be able to go back to just one week - I mean, damn, it takes one week just to properly unwind and settle into the vacation, am I right? I thought, with my added vacation time, I'd be able to just barely stretch each Michigan trip to two weeks. And I was super-pumped about that.
FAST FORWARD. I had just accepted a job at Braid, and was excitedly gushing/bragging about the finer points of my awesome new geographically-independent work/life situation to Micah, when I said this as an afterthought; "I mean, I could even work from Michigan if I wanted to! I could go up there for like, a month this summer." And then I froze, and realized it was true.
I've been kicking the idea around ever since - casually mentioning it to my parents to ask for pseudo-permission and make sure it wasn't too crazy, and casually running it by my boss-ladies... to ask for pseudo-permission and make sure it wasn't, you know, too crazy. Everyone gave me their (immediate, enthusiastic) blessing, so now I'm saying it here to make sure it really happens.
I'm going to spend a whole month in Michigan this summer.
I'll probably work half the time, and then take the other half off as legit vacation time. I haven't figured out the finer points of it yet, but damn if writing this just isn't making me even more excited about the whole prospect! Also - writing this has made me super-aware of how blessed I am. The fact that I have this beautiful place available to me, and that I have always had employers give me ample time off to visit every year, is something I never take for granted. I guess I'm just highlighting, for myself, the additional rewards that have come with deciding to take this big work-leap - how decisions like that not only affect what I do 40ish hours a week, but my quality of life, and my consequential ability to make more life-changing decisions.
A whole month.
December 13, 2012
I've started buying myself flowers on a semi-regular basis. They're one of those nice touches that make a house feel more like a home, which is especially lovely now that I happen to live and work in said home.
I always just go for a relatively inexpensive bouquet of something seasonal, and often supplement it with clippings from the yard to fill it out and make it special. Winter is my favorite time to do this - the evergreens really pop against any color, and add a lot of interesting texture. In this case, I bought a really small bouquet of white spray roses, and added holly, twigs, and cedar boughs. Double bonus!: they make it look like I've decorated for Christmas more than I actually have, and they make my little office-corner smell like a forest.
In the summer, I love adding things like huge, shiny magnolia leaves and tall grasses; here's an example. Obviously, twigs are always in season.
(I think this post sounds really Martha Stewart-y.)
December 10, 2012
Above: Saturday breakfast. Fruit salad pancakes!: banana pancakes topped with caramelized apples and cranberries, with clementine syrup, and clementines on the side.
This weekend we got hit with a rather unfortunate, albeit thankfully short-lived, stomach bug. So the majority of our time was spent on couch and floor palettes, rewatching favorite episodes of Lost and Deadwood, and hydrating. So... yeah.
But this week! This week I'm maintaining a dangerous/super-healthy/hopefully-short-lived 3-5 Cuties per day average, getting the tiniest bit crafty with Christmas decorations, listening to lots of Christmas music while Micah is away at work so he doesn't get too tired of it, and starting to mentally pack for my trip to Oklahoma.
December 6, 2012
When my parents visited over Thanksgiving, my mom brought our family Christmas card photo from 1994. I love the overt color coordination, and that it's obvious Sam and Will (the two on the left) were getting along that day. We were in southern Arkansas, attending private Catholic school, and about to move to England. I had just grown out bangs, and was still trying to brush out my curls.
In 1998, we were just ending another summer in Michigan (behind us is the cabin my parents demolished to build their dream cabin!). We had just moved from one southwestern English town to another, and unbeknownst to us, were about to move back to the States. Joe (on my lap) was clearly a bit crabby that day - and I had totally embraced my curly-girl mane (plus - I'm pretty sure I'm rocking some JNCOs).
In 2010, I had just moved across the country to North Carolina, and have been rocking super-short hair for awhile. My brothers were also starting to spread out across the country - one is in Illinois, one in Michigan, and one in Connecticut. Joe is clearly so over it here, and the rest of us are ubiquitously showboating (or tipsy).
As it should be obvious by now, logistics were always an issue. At least one kid was always in a bad mood, or messing with another kid, or in an awkward life stage (or tipsy). We were always right about to leave the cabin, or in the middle of a move. And these days, we are only ever all together at Christmas, and hopefully during the summer - so timing can be tricky. But it's fun to look back and see how far we've come, yet how much we've all stayed the same.
December 3, 2012
Above: Sunday's breakfast. Breakfast sausage / spinach / mushroom quiche, and a side of grapefruit.
This weekend, I dragged Micah on a walk around my "pretend every house is ours" neighborhood, and we started to talk about how and when we would come by a house that exists in the real world, as opposed to just in my head. I slept in on Sunday and woke up to this breakfast. We enjoyed freakishly warm weather (highs in the high 60s / low 70s) by grilling for the sake of grilling, and I pulled up the last of my annual flowers.
This week I'm potting the rosemary I planted last spring (so I can keep it on my porch this winter, and keep it in my life should we move next spring), buying and/or making Christmas presents, and enjoying mass quantities of Cuties while they're in season.