books, chronic illness, entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It’s just not possible…

I look outside my large Michigan window and curse life as I know it. The warmth that was Tennessee this time last week, while here, today, it is snow and bitter cold.  Again. So over it…

I am also battling a cold, and intensely sore from wild and crazy things like caving beneath the Smokey Mountains and a new workout routine, back here in the land of frigid. I am achy and congested, frozen-finger typing while I am bundled up in an oversized sweatshirt, scarf and yoga pants. Emma, my seven year old Aussie, is corralled in the bathroom due to some sort of doggy sickness that I honestly feel like I cannot muster the energy for and I am nursing my second Coke zero of the day (yes, I do realize it is only ten in the morning) because my throat is swollen and on fire and it just feels better to drink that over razor sharp water… My box of tissues sits to my left, stack of books to my right. Atop the stack, naturally, is my Let Go journal…

I feel miserable and terrible, and really pretty awful too.

Let it go, Misty

And maybe it is possible. Possible to feel all of the sad, bad, sickly things and still be a ray of shining something inside. Let’s try that, anyway.

Sharing the love, with you-

  • The husband and I went to Tennessee to celebrate twenty-four years since we first said I Do. The trip was wonderful! It was so great to take adventures together, just focus on BE-ing, and make new memories while investing in Us. The only really unplanned inconvenience was the traffic down, where we crawled at a snail’s pace along with EVERY SINGLE PERSON heading to Florida for spring break. Never would’ve thought, but now we know for next time… Among the AMAZING things we did in Tennessee, my favorite things to list (without making this an entire Knoxville area edition of the standard Friday post) would all involve Market Square, in Knoxville. Not only is trendy and yet somehow timeless, but it has an adorable little dog park right in the middle, and we got to meet lots of great little dogs! (It is safe to say that this part is not going to make Chw’s BEST list.) My favorite shop in the Square was the Knoxville Chocolate Company, not for what seems like the obvious reasons, however. The chocolate parts were more  earning of my husband’s adoration. For me, it was the artwork and gifts. They were featuring works from local artist Milk Moon House, and I fell head over heals for several of the pieces displayed!  It was a sad reality that they were pretty far out of my budget, and so with deep sadness I walked away… (also, shout out to the Blue Coast Bar & Grill for miraculously making the best french toast I have ever put in my mouth!)
  • When we first decided on Knoxville being our destination, a friend recommended a visit to McKay’s books. (If you’ve never had the overwhelmingly sensory experience of visiting this entertainment haven, you might want to consider a trip to Knoxville.) Nothing I can say would ever do it justice, and the place itself isn’t my second item here anyway. It is something I discovered while digging through their Vinyl. This album/movie is so fundamental to my childhood. You would have thought I’d dug and found a trove filled with gold and diamonds, for all of the enthusiasm I still have over this record.

The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real
She’ll never know just how I feel
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream
Make me feel crazy, make me feel so mean…

Moving on…

  • Because we love them and it’s what we do- the husband and I caught a movie at the local cineplex our last night in town. Him, (quite eagerly), and me (significantly less so) nestled in with popcorn to see Ready Player One. We had spent a pretty big chunk of the day adventuring through underground caves and I was feeling pretty tired. On occasion my inner grandma has been known to come out and nap through movies, and I was pretty certain this would be one of those naps. It was not. By principal and taste I pride myself on not being much of a Sci-Fi lover, but this movie… So crazy good.
  • I love to read. I don’t always have the time, but I am trying to be more intentional about picking up books. One thing I cannot do is read in the car. I just can’t. And my husband loves to listen to audiobooks, but the one thing he cannot do is read physical books. Something about holding a book just inspires his inner grandpa to pop right out and drift to snoozeland. Neither one of us can justify the regular cost of purchasing Audio books because… well, they are ridiculous. (and yes, he listens through the library, but the wait list is often unbearable.) Enter Otto. Maybe you’ve seen it pop up in various social media ads, promising to be the Netflix of audio books. That’s how I first heard of it, and skeptically, I looked into it. You guys, it IS the Netflix of audiobooks! We listened to a couple of great books, on our trip. Our favorite was The Woman in Cabin 10. (sidenote: I am surprised the consumer reader reviews aren’t stronger because this book HAD IT ALL…) Feeling super crummy this week (as I mentioned), and not playing entirely by-the-book with my Dirty Keto life, I have been self caring by some more reading. (We all need some self nurturing…) Am absolutely loving listening to This Is Me and recommend it to every woman/girl/person.)
  • I don’t usually watch New, midseason TV shows. (They aren’t usually very good and they also stand a greater chance of getting cancelled, so why commit?) I am a major fan of Zach Braff though, and as an Office lover, also adore Jenna Fischer. Their new shows Alex Inc. and Splitting Up Together are actually really good. I don’t know that they will get renewed because these are pretty smart and not the normal trendy types that do well… Fingers crossed! (Plus Emily Kapnek is bringing us Splitting Up Together and she was the brilliance behind Selfie– a show I deeply loved, that was gruesomely cancelled even though the internet went to war to save it! So you could say I’m a little jaded.)

What have you been loving lately? PLEASE share- I need all the joy I can get right now!

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adoption, chronic illness, depression, entertainment, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

Think Casey Kasum, in tens…

2017 was a year, I will give it that! A full year in every sense of all the ways… Growing up in the 80’s I grew up with January 1st being the big Casey Kasum rehashing of the year we were still freshly saying goodbye to. There are some things I still, after all of this time, really miss. That would be one of them… So, in trying to reconnect with a few old traditions, these are a few of my favorite things in 2017:

Lost myself listening to…

  • Paramore (All, but specifically their newest album- After Laughter)
  • Dreamcar
  • Portugal, the Man
  • 21 Pilots- Blurry Face album
  • Matt Maeson
  • Phoenix- (newest album- Ti Amo)
  • Weezer- Pacific Daydream album. BRILLIANT!
  • Silversun Pickups acoustic sessions
  • K-pop (Exo, Monsta X, Crush, Dynamic Duo, T-Max, Kae Sun, BlackPink, etc.)
  • Dear Evan Hansen Broadway recording

I was moved by…

  • All of the devastation this year, through storms, fires and ill-intended human beings, and yet the quiet resiliency which would rise up among the bravest, in love.
  • My husband’s rescue of a stranger, and the way he and the other Hero worked side by side, seamless and instinctually.
  • Dylan Farrow’s article, and the reality it subtly insinuates.
  • The continuing search and hope for Danielle Stislicki
  • my husband reaching a goal and completing a half marathon
  • seeing my son as a father, with his daughter
  • This Lifetime commercial.
  • The Glorious video, by Macklemore
  • The adoption journey and completion of my beautiful friend Tia and her son
  • My friend’s motherhood journey, and her beautiful little, perfect family.

I Saw…

  • Goblin (Korean Drama)
  • The Book of Henry (film)
  • Fun Mom Dinner (film)
  • Wonder Woman (film)
  • Hero (video) by Monsta X
  • The Big Sick (film)
  • Lego Batman (awesome)
  • Twin Peaks: The Return (tv)
  • Only The Brave (film)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

The hardest/darkest parts…

  • Knightley. Loving him, knowing him, losing him…
  • When my kids struggle/hurt.
  • watching my mom go through dementia and deteriorate more and more, each day.
  • potty training puppies, on little to no sleep
  • when my husband was in Australia
  • Saying goodbye to my son and his family, multiple times.
  • When my grandmother’s vintage bowl broke
  • Having friends walk through really dark chapters, in their journeys, while I was helpless and too far away to really help.
  • My own chronic illness issues increasing so rapidly.

Adventures & Moments…

  • Meeting, and getting to know, my grand-daughter Victoria.
  • Celebrating my daughter Gennica’s high school graduation.
  • meeting my (first) great-nephew.
  • My sweet grand baby Ethan’s first birthday!
  • Celebrating my mom’s 70th birthday.
  • Traveling to Washington state and Idaho to absorb love and moments with beautiful people.
  • forty-four Mask Mondays
  • celebrating my sister Jennie, and two beautiful friends, in creative ways throughout the year.
  • Switching over from a paper calendar/planner to a digital one
  • The Dear Stranger letter challenge.

Tasted…

  • Devils on Horseback (bacon wrapped Dates) at the Silver Pig
  • Bourgeois fries at Boise Fry Company
  • homemade pop-tarts, with my mixed berry jam. (best tasting summer berry hodgepodge of luck, ever.)
  • Chipotle getting queso. (!!!!)
  • raspberry chocolate torte from Cantoro
  • sweet mini-pepper tacos
  • Burger Fi herb & Aoli fries
  • Korean Tacos at the Yard House
  • Harney & Sons PARIS tea
  • Chocorite, sugar free (and AMAZING) “candy”.

Creative:

  • Chalkboard doodling
  • Making an interactive trivia game, as a gift
  • essential oil sugar scrubs, sprays and creams.
  • Total Gallery wall
  • Made a photo/journey book, for my family
  • My Twin Peaks 41st birthday
  • the Twelve Days of Christmas for my husband
  • Traveler’s Notebook
  • Bible Illustration & creative journaling
  • Painting a palette sign with other, beautifully creative women

I learned…

  • how to love so deeply, and lose (Knightley), and then make myself ready to love again. (Elenor)
  • how to accept my limits, with grace and self love.
  • as silly as it sounds, I learned a ton about gum/oral health, and WHY certain practices are necessary.
  • that unknowingly, I matured beyond the Oscars and a passion about/for them.
  • How terrible/hard/ugly/difficult that distance between loved ones really is.
  • Tai Chi practice is life changing.
  • that I definitely need regular chiropractic care.
  • that I am an advocate of the legalization of medical marijuana, and why it’s important.

I discovered, and then I obsessed…

  • the ATTN: videos with Nev & Laura. I love them!
  • Blue Babies Pink podcast
  • S*Town podcast
  • Harvest Moon IOS
  • Flow magazine and periodicals
  • Brothers and Sisters reruns, on Hulu
  • Disney Emoji Blitz (because, apparently I am 12…)
  • Puppy collar bow-ties and flowers.
  • the love story between Paul Betany & Jennifer Connolly

The best money I spent…

  • airline tickets
  • FabFitFun
  • Elenor
  • Blowouts
  • Vinyl Record Albums
  • LuLaRoe Madison Skirts
  • yellow box flip flops
  • New suitcase
  • Storyville coffee
  • essential oils and a few EO products
chronic illness, depression, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, travel

It isn’t quite a scrapbook…

My re-entry back from my PNW trip has been tough. Full disclosure? Depression has smacked me really hard, right between the eyes. Before I left, I wondered if it would. When I was with my people I made the conscious effort to absorb as much of their energy as I could, so that I could create a sort of storage for their amazingness. I also came back to Michigan knowing that Thanksgiving was just around the corner, in which I would be with some of the best of my people. I tried to prepare for the possibility, but I was probably several days into it before I really saw it.

I want to whine, and kick my feet and tell the universe that I simply can not live here anymore. Here in the land of cement colored skies and a community culture that, try as I might, I will just never understand. (Also, leaving home is tough because the things you fall behind on, while you’re gone, don’t magically get done. No. You come home to the house you need to clean, the laundry you need to do, the fridge you need to stock. As dumb as it may sound, it was overwhelming…)

That aside, I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you what my adventure contained…

  • Catching up with twenty-plus friends, and realizing again (and again) that I my friends are really beautiful people and I am really, really very lucky to know them
  • Cuddling two brand new baby boys
  • loving on six awesome, joyful dogs
  • hanging out with my amazing sister
  • meeting the beautiful boy who has made me a great-aunt
  • celebrating the birthdays of my two handsome nephews
  • feeling the silky curls which belong to my beautiful grand-daughter, along with drinking in the smell of her baby scented head
  • going to one movie, with my bff
  • filling up my soul with goodness, at my church (which I miss TERRIBLY)
  • dining on familiarly amazing things (an estimated 900 duck fat/truffle salt fries, handmade eclectic ice cream, authentic street tacos, Korean tacos, a decadent wine tasting spread, and so much more…)
  • a strong debate over the ranking qualities of the Nutty Buddy vs. the Ding Dong
  • surviving what very well could have been a haunted halloween
  • one paper crafting project with the bestie, who is a paper crafter extraordinaire
  • a handful of really fun photo shoots (thank you so much, and you’re welcome!)
  • a sleepover complete with rum, conversation, late night scary-ish stuff including a string of truly bizarre you-tube videos and pizza
  •  a bazillion laughs
  • a few tear-filled talks
  • an unnatural amount of calorie filled coffee made in the land where barista-ing is done right
  • a mini road trip, unlike one I’d ever had before, leading the secret place where all of the unique convenience store snacks are hidden
  • adding another phenomenal Chinese massage to my collection of experiences
  • meeting my now-Washington State Safeway boyfriend

It is truth that the home of my past feels best, smells best and tastes best, though I am old enough to realize that the biggest reason because it is more the special occasion place than the every day. (though, don’t get me wrong, many of those things would be great every day to do things…)

entertainment, family, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

This morning I am sipping Holiday Blend coffee from my Seattle cup. Because I really love these Friday posts, Friday mornings tend to be a time of reflection. Even though it is already the 17th, this is my first Friday post of November. We can blame this on many things… There was lots of traveling, lots and lots of quality time with some of my favorite people, more traveling, more quality time, half a dozen long doctors visits, a conference, quality time with the stranger-as-of-late, whom I share a home with- (this would be Chw, of course, though we had barely seen each other since mid-September!) a week-long battle with a seasonal illness all sprinkled with some work stuff and the menial tasks of adulting…

Over the weeks since my last FIIL post, I have been keeping a list of things to share with you! Full disclosure, however, what tops the list (and is not super sharable via links anyway) is getting to spend time with my son, his wife and their beautiful baby girl. (You guys, she has the best head of silky curls, and so much personality and so many expressions, and she is so smart and funny and amazing…)

This will top all of this lists, all of the time…

Now that I have made my position on the matter pretty clear, here are the things I’m loving this week…

1.) Coffee! This is also a huge relief to me. You see, people in the midwest just don’t get it. They may be trained, and know things to the best of their abilities (generalization… I am sure some people do get it, just not the ones I usually encounter.) The PNW gets it. While they may not have invented coffee or the many delectable drinks one can whip up, with coffee, the PNW really is responsible for this bliss being such a part of American culture. (note: NO, I do not give Starbucks all of the credit. In the midwest, Starbucks is kind of the IT thing. And I get it, I love a good Starbucks drink as much as the next person, BUT there, well- Starbucks isn’t the IT thing. It’s the sheep thing, and for anyone else who just wants an awesome coffee, there are TONS of other options.) Anyway, this is quickly becoming a coffee post and that isn’t my intention. Let’s not squabble over Starbucks, ok?

While I was home I had coffee from all of my favorite Idaho places, and it was heaven. (I was also really, really caffeinated.) Coming home, I shipped some beans from my favorite Boise coffee roaster, (which is tragically lost in the mail forever, I’m afraid, along with about $200 of other things… BOO) When the crushing reality that I was out of my Storyville coffee (favorite coffee EVER) and my Dawson Taylor coffee was lost in the mail (forever), my husband consoled me with the news that Starbucks Holiday Blend was now out! What?!?! This is, in our (And many other people’s) opinion, this is the only really palatable Starbucks coffee. Christmas angels rang out their Hallelujahs and all was right with the world… (Minus the previously mentioned illness, the husband’s back injury, the bitter cold weather, etc…) But, you guys… Then something even more wonderful happened! Storyville sent an email about a free shipping promotion (LoveEverybody is the code, what are you waiting for??? AMAZING Coffee AND it supports a good cause!) Since I hadn’t been able to get in there and stock up, while I was in Washington, this was amazing news! (plus, lets face it, it would just have been lost in the black hole of the US postal service anyway.)

2.) My awesome friend (who I love so dearly and miss already!!! You know who you are… COME TO MICHIGAN!!!) showed me this amazing weather app called What The Forecast?. Here’s the thing, weather typically sucks, right? And we all kinda want to complain about it, and complaining about it only makes us (or me) feel crappier. But what if you had a weather app that complained about the forecast for you, and in such a negatively funny way that you looked at the forecast and then LAUGHED with joy, AND THEN reached out to share that laugh with someone you love, (you may not do that, but I do. All of the time, because it is seriously super funny) pretty genius right? This app is fantastic! (and so accurate re: the forecast AND the sentiment.) (**IF you find yourself offended by things like the general use of profanity than good news! You can have the app edited to state the same funny things, but in a less crude way, profanity free!)

3.) Flying has changed a lot. This was my first time flying in a decade, and to celebrate I decided to fly on five planes over the span of 15 days. (Bold move, I know.) Security is a nightmare (seriously, EVERY TIME… And depending on the airport, such things as Essential Oil cough drops or a cut out in a dress may be seen as contraband and HIGHLY threatening.) After I was in Washington I stumbled upon an article about a Michigan man who had SEVERAL guns and ammo in his carry on. Naturally they found him and naturally he was arrested. Rumor has it, it was a bigger terror plot. Here’s my question though, what the heck size of cajones do you have to think those things will simply slip by? Had he also not flown in a decade? THEY CHECK, SCAN, SWIPE and XRAY EVERYTHING. My bag was hand searched every time. I was put in what is equivalent to an airport time out for COUGH DROPS. Every inch of my body was shown more affection that a stranger has ever had the privilege, in both Detroit and Seattle. (I wanted to find the article and link it for your reading pleasure, but what I found instead were 4 separate instances of other people with impossibly large cajones attempting the same stupid thing- SINCE JULY. I mean, what the? I wouldn’t even attempt fingernail clippers, I was so nervous about it.)

That rant aside, Flying has changed a lot. I was able to track my flight on the tv screen in front of me. My bag texted me when it was safely on the plane, when it securely made my connection and when it was safely off the plan. After the luggage nightmare I had in 2006 in LA, this is the most geniusly wonderful thing in the history of travel- EVER. You get real snacks (Kind bar please, no nuts for me), have the option to purchase meals AND free wifi to Imessage (or FB message) til your hearts content. All in all, well worth the molestation and need to re-pack (over and over again) when awesome people are waiting for you on the other side.

4.) Catstudio is SUPER fun! Specifically THESE. (I want so, so badly, to have four of them.) I’ve seen them in person, and they are amazing!

5.) Christmas movies! (I know that was the topic of my last post, but seriously… It’s Christmas time!) The movies I’m referring to are the two Christmas movies currently in the theater. (Both parentally themed, oddly enough.) The first one being Daddy’s Home 2. I loved Daddy’s Home and was super cautious of this one because, well, it’s a sequel AND Mel Gibson is in it. (I found myself screaming, why??? Why???? when I first saw the announcement.) I had minimal expectations (which might be the best way to go in to any movie) and I absolutely loved it. I mean, LOVED IT! We laughed so hard, and the funny thing about Mel Gibson’s character (in the movie) is that he just sucks and everyone accepts it. (#typecast ???) It was endearing and funny (SO FUNNY) and we had a great time! The second one is Bad Mom’s Christmas. (I am going to stop right here and say that I realize I have some readers who fall on the more conservative spectrum of things and that is totally ok. TOTALLY. I absolutely respect that conviction. So, those of you who are there- this movie isn’t for you.) I saw it in Boise with my bestie and, honestly, I was really disappointed. It had some funny parts, but the one thing I CANNOT stand being used in entertainment is little kids using BIG profanity. I just can’t… And since this happened at the very start of the movie, I think I was just irritated for the rest of it. Once I was back home and settled, I kept seeing trailers for it and remembering not only the really funny stuff but also the pretty deep point of the gigantically emphasized caricatures of the storyline too. Chw had really liked the first one and had really wanted to see the second one, (I would have known this had we not been separated by thousands of miles of ocean and land for two months) and so after a really stress filled day of hospitals and annoying doctors, (so many doctors) we went to see it. Knowing the big evil was there, (you know, the kid/profanity bit) I was able to really enjoy the movie and it was still so very, very funny.

So, I guess it isn’t super terrible that it’s a lengthier post, since it’s representing an entire month, right? But now what should you do, after investing the time in this novella? You should go buy some Storyville coffee (you will not be sorry!) and then enter my Christmas giveaway!

depression, family, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

Octobers are my favorite…

I love the beautiful simplicity of this photo. It isn’t mine, it isn’t us. There is something so beautiful about clasped hands, held together, skin-tight, love all that will fit in the between. After yesterday’s post, I wanted to take a little time before posted something far less significant. At the same time, however, looking over my list really allowed me the opportunity to be intentional about the 30 days still to loom ahead, within the month…

Home:

  • decorate for Autumn
  • more candlelit evenings
  • donate 31 things to charity
  • make candied apples
  • make my Grandmother’s apple butter

Create:

  • paper crafting projects
  • pull out the knitting needles
  • experiment more with essential oils and ways to help others with them

Relate:

  • spend time with my BFF, for the almost-week she’s visiting
  • apple picking and making memories
  • welcome my husband home and connect with him in all of the ways, before life takes us on legs of our own journeys again
  • speaking of journeys- fly to Seattle to spend time loving on my beautiful little granddaughter
  • dates with my mom
  • actively displaying gratitude and support to the staff in the nursing home
  • reaching out to connect with other women in life affirming ways

Personal:

  • (finally) meet with personal trainer
  • stick to a schedule for writing, and progress.
  • continued work with my chiropractor and kinesiology
  • hot baths, yoga and self-care

Read/Watch:

  • American Made. (dying to see this movie, even though I know it was technically as September release.)
  • The Mountain Between Us
  • Goodbye Christopher Robin 
  • Reread Alice in Wonderland
  • Braving the Wilderness 

 

What about you? What are you looking forward to, in these growing and cooling evenings? What things do you look forward to the most? Life is hard and heavy, but we still have the responsibility to love the lives we’re living and try to breathe life and beautiful in the brutal… Some days that may be all we’ve got.