beautiful, chronic illness, confession, depression, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, home, journey, Lately, 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…)

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beautiful, confession, entertainment, family, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting, rant, 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!

creative, depression, family, fibro, food, friendship, gifts, gratitude, holiday, 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.

confession, friendship, infertility, journey, travel

My first time. {A tale of woeful regret and embarrassment}

Chw have had quite a few dreamy conversations about working towards a big backpacking trip. He’s never gone, and we both love the mountains so much. I love sharing adventures with my husband and so, with baby-steps, we work towards the possibility of it someday.

I had the really awesome opportunity of going on a week-long back packing trip deep into an Idaho mountain range, when I was 14. It was hard and I’m sure I complained a lot. As I am old, my 14-year-old self did not have the ability to take incessant selfies and photo document every single moment of the amazing trip, so I am left to rely on my memories. Tucked within those memories are some of the most beautiful things that my eyes have seen. The trail we went on, (there was a group of us. It feels like about 20, but I’d have to ask my dad to be sure.) where the ability to drive stopped. I remember really narrow and terrifying mountain side passes where, one landslide, and we’d have all died. I remember wearing black trash bags because of rain, eating astronaut food (MREs) and countless other amazing things.

It was a trip of firsts. First night in a tent. First hiking. First exploring. First real trip, ever, of any form of self resilience. First real, deep conversation with a peer. First time wearing a tampon…

Yes. You read that right. It might seem like an odd first to remember, but as with most things- there is more to the story.

When you go on backpacking excursions, you are obviously pretty limited on what you can bring. Looking back, I’m thinking we must have camped for a week, and so the hiking in and hiking out may have accumulated an additional week. At any rate, we girls had to be prepared. In my packing list had been tampons, and I’d brought them obediently. I mean, I knew I would not need them… But then I did. And I had no idea what to do, at all. The group home I resided in, (because, if you remember, the dad I refer to was technically my foster/house dad) had a closet full of donated items, and among those items were some outdated, generic tampons. My plastic wrapped items had no instruction. I asked the only other teen girl on our trip and she quickly tutored me through what to do, and off I went, into the woods to do it.

But the translation or something went terribly wrong. Terribly wrong. Walking back to camp took ten times longer and the pain grew more and more excruciating. The tears were not at all exaggerated and I had no idea how to deal with it. Eventually the trauma had me double over, in agony, in the tent I was sharing with my faithful friend and feminine hygiene tutor. We tried problem solving but eventually she either grew frustrated, scared (or most likely a combination of both) and went to seek out our female staff on the trip. Her name is Carol. (I LOVE Carol. It is a small list of truly amazing women I’ve encountered over my life, and Carol is at the top of the list. The important thing to note, at this point in the story, however, is that I had not ever really interacted with Carol before.)

Carol, poor-poor sweet Carol had to dig out the horrible little cotton object, from deep within the depths of my blossoming womanhood. She then had to replace it with another cotton foreign object. She was reassuring, while I was beyond mortified. She was so sweet and exclaimed several times, “I have no idea how this happened. I have never heard of anything like it.”

Several years later, as a 17-year-old and out on my own, I decided buy a box of regular, pink wrapped tampons. While bored, one afternoon, I read the little accompanying pamphlet. In the back of said booklet were a few Q & A’s. Right at about the middle of the list read this:

Can my tampon get lost inside of me? I am living proof that their response was a lie. And I can tell you this resolutely because it happened one other time, with far worse repercussions, but that is best as a story for another time. (and probably NOT on this blog.)

beautiful, books, chronic illness, confession, entertainment, fibro, gratitude, home, journey, list, marriage, self care, travel

hey, hey, it’s the weekend…

The weekend is here, (Hurrah!) and I feel like, as of late, everyone has been heading to the mountains but me. It isn’t that I love the mountains more than anyone else, just that my soul is a little jealous…

Friday came and went, this week. Having Chw out-of-town with a weird schedule, and a couple of fibro flare up days, I found myself a bit behind. Thanks to my beautiful people though, I received half a dozen inquiries asking where my friday five post was. Is that what we’re calling it? ok then… You asked-

1.) I took a Tai Chi class earlier this week. It was amazing on so many levels and helped me address issues in a few key problem areas within my body. (Full discloser, I did follow a yoga class with it, back to back, which likely helped.) I went in a skeptic and with one session it won me over.

2.) A fellow K-drama loving friend (and AWESOME writer) got me turned on the series Goblin. It is unlike any K-drama I’ve watched before. Confusing at first, and now so compelling.

3.) I am reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and loving it. Really great read and I highly recommend it!

4.) Yesterday evening felt like Autumn. I had all of my windows wide open, breeze blowing my curtains. The air felt AMAZING and I just sat there wrapped in a blanket, watching Goblin and waiting for Chw to make it back to town. It was pretty perfect! I do hope, however, that this does NOT mean we are going to have an early/harsher winter.

5.) Day dreaming about vacationing here. Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Chw and I have talked about it more than once, and I’m not kidding when I say it randomly enters my mind at unexpected times throughout the day. We are just under two years away from our 25th anniversary. Maybe this will be our destination getaway? (perhaps once the change jar equals a puppy we can turn it from Project Puppy to Project Mexico???)

So there you have it… What would you like to share about the week behind us?