January 29, 2014
Above: Confession! This isn't even my desk / office space. I just felt like making a pretty vignette with my stuff. So I did.
The last six weeks have been strange.
First, I got engaged (read my side of the story here and Micah's side of the story here), which is wonderful! Now we're starting to plan what we want our wedding to look like. Guest lists, venues, money, bridal parties, money, food... it's been fun, and exhausting, trying to figure out what kind of experience we want to (and can) create. I'm starting to think having a wedding is less about the actual celebration, and more about the in-depth premarital communication gauntlet that is wedding planning. Don't get me wrong!: I think Micah and I are rocking it, and our wedding (whenever, and whatever, and wherever it is) will be amazing. But it's a new phase, and like anything new, it takes some time getting used to.
Second, Micah transitioned out of his advertising job in December. Much like when I left advertising, he wasn't unhappy per se – he just knew he could be happier. He's currently looking for something that will allow him to be as professionally invested in Durham, as he is personally. All that said – he's been home for the last month with me, and it's messed up my schedule in the best way. We eat all our meals together, and take walks around our neighborhood in the afternoons. However, I'm also the sole breadwinner right now, which means we've had to be really strict with how we spend our money. Again: we're rocking it, but it's new and different, and we've had to communicate with each other on a whole different level. It's hard, but good-hard. The kind of hard that signifies growth. So I'm grateful.
And finally, Kathleen and Jeremy had their son Fox almost two weeks ago. It hurts my heart to even think about how much I already love this little man, whom I haven't even met yet! I (literally) can't imagine the changes going on in that family, that house, and that woman. I can't wait to finally meet him, and catch up with both parents – but know this time is all about them, and their own good-hard growth. I also know I'm without one of my "safety nets" at work. The timing was actually perfect; Tara and Kathleen have been pushing me to the forefront of Braid over the last few months, and I'm just now feeling like I can really own it (check out the blog post I wrote today!). But still, 1 of 4 Braids out of commission for the next X months means more work for everyone. I'm comforted by the fact that some day they'll all be doing the same thing for me!, and that I have such an amazing opportunity to be super-creative, and super-productive right now. The kind of opportunity that signifies growth. So I'm grateful.
In yoga last week, our instructor was talking about the cyclical concept of expanding and contracting in the universe. Breathing in, and breathing out. Muscles pushing out, and pulling in. The seasons growing lush and fertile, then falling back into dark hibernation. Our lives laying calm and stagnant for a while, then bursting forth in a period of crazy growth. To say the least, I got it. I know it won't always be like this, cloudy and uncertain and too-bright and transitional. I'll look back at this time fondly from the future, when everything has settled down a bit – and maybe even feels stagnant. I'll remember how hard it was, but how productive, and ultimately good. And I'll be grateful.
January 21, 2014
Above: photo from Micah's Instagram account. I was the raker, he was the bagger.
This past weekend (and yesterday) was uncharacteristically sunny and less-cold than it should have been, and Micah and I took full advantage of it. We've completely neglected our yard since we moved in; the timing was ideal to do so, as autumn was just settling in. Everything was falling back for the year, allowing us time to dream and plan for the spring – but also allowing us to not deal with the tons and tons of pine needles and leaves that had accumulated over the last year (or two?). I love living in an East Coast forest area where that's even possible, but the "neglected hobo yard" look was really getting to me. So! This weekend was all about the unglamorous task of yard work. Not the dreamy kind, where you're planting blueberry bushes along the west fence, or snipping off stems of mint for a julep (both of which I've obviously dreamt about) – but the slow, backbreaking kind, where you're wading through monkey grass and constantly entangling yourself in barbed vines.
I'm making it sound bad, but honestly I loved it. There's something very satisfying about work with a visual, tangible result: a sparkling white sink, a fixed appliance, huge piles of leaves. Plus it's the kind of mundane thing I daydreamed about when we were trying to buy a home. So I made the best of it, jamming out to Jay-Z and Kanye, soaking up the sun, and thinking about what an amazing workout my core was getting.
Which is an excellent mindset to have, as we've still got so much work ahead of us. Another third of the yard to rake and bag, then clearing out weeds and perennials we don't want, then transplanting and cutting back the horde of monkey grass, and moving (and rebuilding) the raised beds...
I can't wait 'til next weekend.
January 16, 2014
I took their free preview class two weeks ago, and last night was my second class, but the first "real" class of the series. Since it's January, both classes were packed (with a pleasingly diverse crowd), but everyone was friendly and helpful, and I've come away from both sessions glow-y and stretchy and calm. I like that the instructor introduces some of the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga, but it's not too woo-woo – you really get out of it whatever you put into it.
My hope is to get the most basic of foundations from this class, then explore other types of yoga (especially the classes during the day - man, I love working from home).
January 7, 2014
Above: right before, and right after.
The first full day we were in Michigan, I was dying to take a walk along Lake Superior. I had spent so much time on that beach, but had never seen it look so alien – and I wanted to explore! Micah and I bundled up and headed out.
There was a snowmobile path to the south, which we took as we didn't have the energy (or sure-footedness) to navigate the deep, snow-covered ice ledges that covered the rest of the beach. We waddled slowly for almost a mile, him sometimes wandering off to take a picture, me sometimes stopping to fill him in on local history or geography. On our way back to the cabin, his phone died as we talked about what to do next. It's always a bummer for Micah when his phone dies – dude loves to capture moments (we call it "going sorority-girl" when he starts taking photos of everything, especially if he's also drinky or the stuff he's photographing is an indecipherable inside joke). We decided to get to our cabin, then figure out if it was time to either try the path less-traveled to the north, or head inside for a drink and a long thaw-out in front of the fire. I remember finally working up the courage to venture out onto the ice cliffs at water's edge in front of our cabin. I was taking photos of everything – animal tracks, the snowy dunes, the horizon, Micah pacing around me – even a few obligatory selfies of us, which I never do. I was ready to move on or go in, so I turned to him to make a decision. Like he does several times a day, he told me he loved me, and that I was his favorite. I asked, "What do you want to do now?"
"Spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
while kneeling (rather elegantly, for being in snowpants!), and revealing my grandmother's ring. I had no idea what was happening, and fell to my knees as well, and managed to say yes before I started crying. We helped each other up, and he was wiping the tears from my face when we heard loud knocking from the front windows of the cabin. Turns out, my mother had seen us walking around, ran off to get her camera, and without knowing what was going on, managed to capture us mere seconds after Micah proposed. She missed the actual proposal - so Micah and I will always have that moment just between us (something I've always wanted in a proposal). BUT, between my over-eager "before" photos and Mom's paparazzi "after" shots, we had managed to collectively, unconsciously "go sorority-girl" and capture the moment for Micah. Win-win.
We both gave her huge, deliriously cheesy smiles for one more photo, then started waddling back up towards the cabin to break the good news.
Note: Micah has expressed interest in also writing about his perspective of this outing. I hope he does. I love hearing it! – since he obviously knew what was about to unfold, his side seems much more exciting. If he does, I'll be sure to share it somehow.
UPDATE: Micah's perspective!