Ch ch ch changes…

eleanor_sqIt has to be a good blog post starting out with a picture that cute, right?  Really, that’s just a gratuitous picture of Ellie, complete with food on her face and all and it has nothing to do with my post content.

Anyway, we moved.  Like 6 months ago.  To the ‘burbs.  And I’m just not writing about it.  I may have mentioned it previously but honestly I’m too lazy to reread the text of the 3 posts that I’ve written in the last 6 months so I’m going to talk about it.

Moving was not something we expected to happen at the time it did, and it was certainly not something I was ready for, especially out of the city and into the suburbs.  About 6 months before we moved, Brandon started getting a little restless with work, and decided to explore his options professionally.  He also saw the writing on the wall that it may not be possible for us to remain in the city if he was going to contemplate a large career leap, and thinking long-term, our 1 bedroom, 525 sq. ft apartment wasn’t going to hold 2 adults, 2 overly active cats and 1 growing toddler comfortably much longer, especially with the possibility of him working from home.  So, Brandon started looking for a new place to live all over the Bay Area.  He would show me places, and no matter where they were, I poo-pooed them.  Too small.  Too dark.  Not close enough to a park.  Not close enough to a downtown.  Too ugly.  Carpet.  First floor.  Just…no.  Bless his heart, he kept trying, but I just wasn’t ready to move! We even thought about other places in SF, but have you seen those prices lately?  Yeah.  No thanks. We were trying to get MORE space and less rent, not less space and more rent.

Around January, we had a chat where we sort of made “the scary leap decision” which basically was this: Brandon was going to put in a proposal for a job, and if he got it, he was quitting.  This, in turn, meant we would need to move.  I put on my big girl pants (reluctantly…dragging my feet the whole time) and on board-ish with the house/apartment-hunting, which really just meant I didn’t veto EVERY place he showed me, and in fact I took the initiative to look on my own occasionally as well.  I still had a totally negative ‘tude–I was feeling kicked out of SF, out of the apartment I loved, out of the lifestyle I loved.  In reality, I wasn’t being forced out–I was making an adult decision based on what was best for my family, I just didn’t want to handle it in an adult way.  I also sort of had it in my head that, while I have much faith and confidence in Brandon’s abilities, no way was he going to land the first job he put in a proposal for.  That just doesn’t happen!

As you can probably guess at this point, he did indeed get the job.  I had a major “oh $h!t” moment, where I was thrilled and excited and proud…and terrified and sad and filled with anxiety.  This all was really happening! The search for a place to live went into overdrive, 2 weeks later we had a lease and 2 weeks after that we were all packed up and moved out of our beloved apartment.  It happened in the blink of an eye–I didn’t even get to fulfill a bucket list of things to do! No last date nights…nothing.  Just like that, we were gone.  My drive out of the city was extremely tear-full, as I said goodbye to the place that I loved–it was our apartment that we moved into when we got married, the place we brought Eleanor home to from the hospital…it is filled with so many memories and so much love, I just wanted to keep it forever (even though we didn’t own it).

And that brings us back to here and now.  Do I miss San Francisco? Terribly, with all my heart.  I even miss my tiny apartment.  I miss so many things about living in the city, but when I get down about it I remind myself how much I get to see Brandon now, and how much he gets to see Ellie.  He works from home,  so we take turns with E and do a lot more as a family.  Whereas in SF he was frequently gone 10-12 hours a day, now he’s around most of the time and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, and I especially wouldn’t take that away from him.  He is so much happier and less stressed now, and that is worth the world.  Also, we have a backyard now.  I have a garden.  We have a stoop.  We live in an adorable early 1900’s house.  We have an awesome office space in the house.  We’re near the water.  I GET SUMMER WEATHER (this has probably been the single fact that helped me most).  We live near my family, including my grandmothers.  When we walk down my grandma’s street, Ellie gets so excited squealing “Gigi! Gigi!” and it’s in those moments, too, that I know we made the right decision.

But I still miss San Francisco (and yes, I still live close to it, but visiting is never the same as living there)…

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A Hint of Nostaglia

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I wore her old gym shorts to work out in today. Back in the locker room, gathering my clothes with my headphones on a friendly girl exclaims “Oh! Did you go to the naval academy? My brother went there!” I explained no, it wasn’t me, but my friend went there, and these are my friend’s shorts.

Our exchange was over and I’m sure she thought nothing more of it but as I walked out, I couldn’t help but feel a little strange. There was no reason for our conversation to continue, but it did in my head. “Why do you have you friend’s shorts? What’s she up to now?”

I guess the point of this is that every now and then there are reminders, and it still hurts.

Cute Babies and Adult Problems

First off, I have to share the cutest picture of Conor, taken by my dear sister.  He gets cuter by the day!

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On a more serious note, this has been one of those years where I have gone “man, we are really adults now, aren’t we?” People are having babies, getting laid off, having money troubles, health troubles…all in all, just having “adult” problems. This past month has especially broken my heart. Two friends have recently come to me and confided in me regarding some past and present personal struggles. Their difficulties are different but equally as serious, and I am just left completely heartbroken.

First off, I was thrown off…when did we enter the phase of having these issues? I mean, I know that people battle with these things from a very early age so I don’t want to sound naive…it’s more like, how did we get to this point? Secondly, and most importantly, I feel a sense of neglect–I know I probably couldn’t have changed it, but perhaps I could have been a little more supportive. These are both people I’ve practically known all my life, but sort of had a period where I lost contact with them.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this…I just have a very heavy heart. Thankfully both have gotten/are getting help and I can’t be more thrilled for them. I’m also flattered that they have confided in me and let me know what’s going on. I love both of these ladies to pieces and if I could do anything to take away their pain, I would. At this point, however, the best I can do is support them and stand up for them and let them know they are loved unconditionally.

Alright, I’ll end it there. I just had to say something…these issues are waving heavily in my heart, but not in an “I feel burdened” sort of way, more of a “I hope there’s a way I can be helpful and supportive” way. To all my friends out there, I love you to pieces and please know you can always confide in me.

one of those days…

It’s sort of been one of those days/weeks/months…I feel disengaged, just going through the motions, going through daily life just with the goal of getting through the day. Nothing has been wrong…just off.  Work has been crazy, life has been crazy, the cats have been crazy…Brandon and I have both been working late, which is always draining.  Our eating schedule (and content) gets messed up, and we have less time/energy for each other.

Friends are getting married, friends and family are moving, friends are having babies, life is changing–all for the better, I truly believe, but change nonetheless.  And change is tiring, exhausting even at times. Times of change like this in lives all around me remind me of the changes I wish to make in my own life.

This blog has been a very positive outlet for me to post my comings and goings and share my everyday life with the world, but sometimes I take pause and realize how superficial it can be–superficial in the kind sense of the word.  I don’t mean shallow, just very “surface.”  It’s typically not as much about what is going on inside, but more a log of what I’m doing.  Today I’m taking a moment to pause and just put it out there.  I had a conversation with a friend last week and we had a good conversation about life/work/jobs, etc.  She shared how she’s sort of in the camp of “put it out there, and it will come back to you.”  Good, bad, if you put it out there, it will come back.  Throw your desires to the world, and hopefully good will come of it–after all, how can anyone offer help if they don’t know you are seeking it?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about life/career/what I would be doing in an ideal world.  I have to say, I like my job, I’m happy at my job, but I miss art.  I miss doing, I miss making…while I enjoy the little bit I do for Etsy, I can’t dedicate enough time and resources to truly make it what I would like it to be and what I am capable of.  I guess this is my way of saying something outloud to make it more real:  I want to get serious about my creative outlets.  Take some printing classes (I’ve always had an interest, but I’ve been particularly inspired by my friend Kelly‘s beautiful artwork), and more importantly take some photography classes.  I have some amazing opportunities offered to me, and I am anxious to snatch them up and give them my all.  I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more (although the knowledge I have yet to gain is pretty daunting) about cameras and photography, and I am anxious to improve upon my craft.  I don’t know if anything will come of it, but that’s not the point to me–I just want to get better at doing something that it turns out I absolutely love doing.

On this Bastille Day, which always makes me a little nostaglic, I am throwing the word out there–bring on the creative endeavors!  Here’s to learning and exploring creative outlets.

For anyone still reading, thank you…as always, I appreciate each and every person who stops in on the blog.

I’d hit that

Pardon the semi-risque title, but today on Brandon’s birthday eve I thought it was appropriate to blog about something my friend Jessi showed to me the other day.  Brynñatas!  These are custom piñatas made to look like you…or whoever else you want.  Clever, and the marketing/branding is adorable.  Go on over and check them out!

Happy birthday, Brandon!

Also, I can’t let the day go by without mentioning today’s significance in it’s own right. Today is the 5th anniversary of my friend Stacy passing. It’s hard to believe five years have gone by. She is still loved, missed, and lives strong in our memories…

soul-speak (via little black journal)

My good friend from college (author of little black journal) did a blog post on things that speak to her soul, and so I decided to follow suit. I’ll preface this by saying this “soul-speaking” is going to be in regards to TV and Music, following Kelly’s precedent. Okay, onto my answers:

TV: This one was more difficult than I thought it would be, but I think I narrowed it down to a good few.
1. Sex and the City: yes, probably along with many girls around my age, but there is something to be said about that. The ups and downs of love, the strong bond of friendship, the trials and tribulations of life all on an amazing NYC backdrop. What more could you ask for? Although the show is very “Hollywood-ized” in many ways, it speaks to my very girly heart.

2. The Wire: pretty much the exact opposite of the previous choice. Brandon and I recently watched all five seasons, and while this didn’t speak to my soul in a tear-jerking way, it is a brilliantly written show that made me think. I wanted to discuss it, talk about the larger real-life issues it brought up. I couldn’t wait for my good friends and parents to watch so we could debrief. This show challenged my perceptions, opened my eyes, and really made me think about my involvement (or lack thereof) in the greater community.

3. So You Think You Can Dance: it helps that dance in general really gets to me–probably more quickly than all other art forms. Dance has the ability to immediately sweep me away, give me goosebumps, and really just pluck at my soul. While it’s definitely not every episode, there have been a few routines that really got to me. I can watch them over and over, reduced to tears every time. Cheesy as it may sound, with these few routines I feel like I witnessed something much bigger than just a performance on a reality dance show.

Music: While I could name bands and songs/lyrics till the cows come home, I’ll try and keep it to 3, relating to different phases of my life.
1. Dave Matthews Band: in high school and into college, I would put on Dave and regardless of my mood I could find a song that spoke to me at that very moment. Whether I was happy, sad, lonely, full of love, Dave was always there, able to sing exactly what I felt.

2. Coldplay: Coldplay swept me through many college days, particularly riding the metro in Paris. Their album “A Rush of Blood to the Head” has sort of a movie soundtrack-like quality to it. I always sort of felt like I was detached from the world when I would throw on my headphones and wander around Paris with Coldplay being piped into my ears. It was the perfect melancholy for my mood on those beautiful and slightly sad grey European days. Listen to the song “Amsterdam” if you’ve ever been to the city–somehow you can feel Amsterdam, even though they never once refer to the city or anything about it (the song was named because they wrote the song there, not because it’s about Amsterdam).

3. Bright Eyes: Ooh Conor Oberst, how you speak to my sad-loving side. For some reason with music I tend to really love the gut-wrenching, self-loathing, heart-broken songs. My friend Sara even suggested a t-shirt she found that says “Sad Songs Make Me Happy” because of this strange characteristic. His early albums totally portray the dark, broken boy that a girl like me would want to fix. My favorite album has to be “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning” with every song pretty much getting me in some way or another. Brandon and I even had one of his songs sung at our wedding (First Day of My Life).  Just look up the lyrics (or listen to) a few songs like Lua and Land-Locked Blues and you’ll perhaps see what I mean.

Thanks to Kelly for this idea!  Who wants to go next?

Claire

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The previous post would have gotten WAY too long had I included my pictures of Claire, so I decided to dedicate one to her alone.

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Claire is growing up so quickly and becoming quite the little talker. Mixed in with a lot of general “babytalk” (i.e. noises and sounds that aren’t yet words), Claire has mastered quite a few words and animal noises. Thanks to a few of her books, she knows what sounds ducks, dogs, cats, elephants, lions, monkeys, and chickens make, along with a few others. It’s quite adorable to hear her answer when you ask her what a kitty says (“meooooow”).

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She also enjoys saying “hiiiiiiiiii” to everyone, as well as “snow? snow!” when she looked outside, as well as when she saw someone gearing up to go outside. She’d also say “side?” when she wanted to go out. She’s long mastered “up!” but will occasionally even add a “peease (please)”. While the process of gearing up wasn’t fun, the moment she got in the snow all her cares were forgotten. She also had a permagrin while on the sled–she would have been happy getting pulled around all day.

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Claire loves singing, and getting others to sing. Sometimes she’ll start a song, prompting you to join in with her. She also liked to come over and play with my phone, pushing buttons and looking at pictures. She’d walk over and meow, indicating she wanted to see pictures of Ben and Stuart. How cute is that?

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It has been such a joy to see this little girl grow and change, and I’m looking forward to meeting Jen’s next baby and seeing him/her grow and change and interact with Claire. How could I not be a proud aunt of this little face?

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