28 January 2013

Happiness


Tonight, happiness is editing pictures from the UAE under an electric blanket with a good cuppa mint tea (also from the UAE) with some Downton Abbey on tv. 

25 January 2013

A Pause

"As long as the wind is fair, 
The sky is always there..."

I'm in need of a pause these days. The go-go-go and the almost non-stop travel of this past fall have finally caught up with me. Joe spent most of the past week sick. I spent most of the past week alternating between nursing him and trying not to get sick myself. We have dinner plans tonight, and then nothing else for the rest of the weekend. 

And truth be told, I'm grateful. 

I'm grateful for the amazing adventures we had. Starting with our trip to Mackinac Island, continuing with trips to New Orleans, Portsmouth, Washington D.C., Dubai, and to see so many loved ones across the Midwestern prairies. So many wonderful adventures and fantastic memories. 

But I'm also grateful for a cozy home that we can curl up in and just unwind. I'm grateful Joe has been so understanding and patient with my almost obsessive need for quiet lately. I've had my hearing aid off a lot more than on in the last week or so, and part of it is because the noise has just been so jarring to my road-weary self. 

So, I'll spend my weekend doing what I've been doing on my off-evenings the last week or so. I'll finish editing the ridiculous number of pictures I took of sand in the deserts of the UAE. I'll finally go back and edit all the pictures I took but ignored this fall. There'll be some more organizing. There may be some baking (although, currently, there's more than a few mini funfetti cupcakes with extra sprinkles on top in our cupboards that are tormenting me). There will be snuggles and tv watching. I will watch all the available episodes of season three of Downton Abbey on On Demand. There will be tea-drinking and reading and just a gentle soothing of the soul.  

And come Monday, I'll be ready to conquer the world again. 

This couple makes me so happy. 
Snark at its finest. 
This house, if it were in Chicago, would be perfect for Joe and I.
Another reason for me to fall in love with Chicago again.

24 January 2013

Cookies

  I just had the following IM conversation with Joe:

    joe:  you're getting more thin mints
    me:  um?
    joe:  I work in an office
        it's cookie season
        every employee here is trying to shake down every other one for sales
        so you're getting more thin mints
 me:  you're going to become the girl scouts' favorite person, aren't you?
 joe:  get used to buying this stuff

23 January 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Grin and Bear It

20 January 2013

Moments

Absolutely captivated tonight by this sunset over the Persian Gulf, and the memories of watching it with two sassy, spunky girls that I'm glad to call my friends. 

Sometimes, the memories tied to the moment in the picture are worth more than the picture itself. 

19 January 2013

An Act of Love

I'm sitting here, sideways. My back jammed against my jacket which is trying, and failing miserably, to ease the ache of the wooden armrest. My feet are rudely, but comfortably, up on the seat next to me.

I sit here waiting. Alternating between being chilled by the room's cool temperatures and waiting. For him.

He's in the other room, wishing he were at home in bed. But he's sitting there, patiently waiting. For me.

I'm here because I'm worried. He's here because I'm worried. It is an act of love from both of us.

I worry because he's sick and I want the doctor to make him feel better. He's not feeling well but for me, he's here because he knows this is the easiest way to ease my worries.

So here we are, on a rare warm Saturday afternoon, sitting and waiting. One in the waiting room, one in the examining room. All because we love each other.

16 January 2013

A Few Things...

This woman is incredible.



Joe sent me these pictures.  This is my favorite one:

And a quick Google search led to the discovery of Amy Mebberson's artwork

15 January 2013

Home

This apartment is home. 

Really, truly. 

One of these days, I'll actually take pictures of the apartment to share. 

But it's little moments like the one that I just witnessed out my windows that really help cement the sense of "this neighborhood is a community."

I just glanced out the window and saw a Dad and a little boy with a bike across the street. Dad stopped and turned the boy's training wheels up. 

In just a few moments, the boy mastered riding the bike without his training wheels. 

As he rode in circles around the neighbor's driveway, his dad stopped him on his bike, leaned down, and gave him a big hug and a kiss. 

The boy rode a few more circles, and they took off down the block. 

Just a moment. 

Just a human moment. 

Just a reminder, this is home.

14 January 2013

My Current Obsessions


- These mountains. Southern Albania. The coldest night of my life. But so many happy memories tied to the sight of these mountains. We recently found a print copy of this image and man, the joy it invokes. It's currently propped up in the office while I determine whether it would transfer nicely to canvas or not. 

- Apple wraps for a snack. A fresh tortilla smeared with honey goat cheese, topped with thinly sliced apples and just a little drizzle of honey. And now I want another one.

- The jazz station on Pandora. I've gotten back into having music on often throughout the day, but the jazz station is quickly becoming my absolute favorite - great when I need to concentrate on my work and great when I want to unwind while reading at the end of the day. Anyone have any great recommendations I should check out?

- The electric blanket. Dude, Chicago just got its first real cold snap of the winter - the windchill was 2* this morning, and since we're paying for heat ourselves this year, the electric blanket it is for this perpetually chilly girl.

- Yoga. It's not pretty or particularly dignified, but Joe and I have started doing yoga together in the living room. It'll take me ages to look anywhere near awesome while doing it, but I'm already feeling small improvements since we've started. It's rapidly becoming my favorite part of the day (even when I'm hating it).

- Cleaning, organizing, purging. Standard desire for clean and order in the beginning of the year. The nice thing is, this year is much easier than in years past. Joe has been extremely helpful, we've been diligent in purging year-round this past year, and we've picked up a few clean routines that make things a little easier - such as the person not cooking dinner does a quick pre-dinner pick-up.

- Trying new recipes. I've averaged at least three new recipes a week so far this year. Yes, the year is still young, but this isn't a new habit.

- Reading. I cannot stop lately. In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Snow Child, and Perla are all recent reads that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.  Highly recommend all three. And desperately looking for more truly great recommendations. 


10 January 2013

This I Know Today

All images from last summer, because I need a splash of sunshine and color in these grey January days.

- The color schemes I like may change from year to year, but yellow, the color of sunshine and happiness, will always, always be my favorite. Always.

- I am so lucky. I have many more friends than I realize. Even strangers whom I never dreamed would become friends have been fiercely loyal and protective friends. I have a tribe who has my back, even if they are spread across the globe.

- Sometimes the answer is to crank the music and just dance with abandon.


- I am, at the deepest core of me, a simple soul. It truly is the simplest things that make me happiest. Some people see that as a weakness, but I know that it's a treasured strength. The ability to enjoy the simple joys and pleasures mean I will always have an easier passage through difficult times and a deeper appreciation for the ordinary and extraordinary times.

- I am always going to feel better with a colorful manicure.

- I am an optimistic realist. I strive to see, and really do believe, in the best. But I am pragmatic and realistic. I know it can't always be sunshine and roses - there are tough times. There are the days you want to walk away or call it quit, but I know, through the lessons life has taught me time and time again, those are the times you get through with as much grace and humility as you can muster, and it always, always gets better.


- I am not perfect. Nor do I ever have any intention of ever being perfect. The day I let go of that illusion was the day I was finally was able to walk tall and proud. There are and will be days I struggle with not picking up that illusion again, but they are few and far in between, thankfully. And when those days come, I'm well-equipped with the tools to keep me standing tall and proud.

- Every woman needs: one set of underwear that makes you smile to wear, a purse that you can carry with pride, killer shoes you love, an innate sense of who you are, something that makes you smile, something that brings you comfort, self confidence, and mostly, love  - be it self-love, family love, platonic love, or romantic love.

- I am a grown woman. My life is mine. I have full control of my destiny. My life is, and will be, wonderful and deeply lived. Because that's the life I dream of.


- I am not obligated. I choose who and what I say yes to. I choose my employer, my lover, my family, my friends, my commitments, my passions, my health, myself. And if I say no, that's my choice. And I will be at peace when I say no.

- My happiness can be as simple as a sunny day or a great kiss. Or as wild as a great travel adventure or some new challenge.

- You can't lose what you don't have. You might lose the hopeful illusion you had, but you can't lose that relationship or that dream if you didn't have it in the first place.


- Sometimes, it hurts at the moment, but in the end, it's always worth it if it brings more peace and contentment to your life. Be it letting go, saying yes to the workout instead of the couch, or stressing over learning a new task.

- I am an unrepentant day dreamer, wildly emphatic, genuinely curious, and a terrible dancer. I wholeheartedly embrace all these traits.

- I am quietly social. I need, crave, desire quiet alone time, but I also need, crave, desire social interactions too. I am at my best when I have a happy balance between the two.


- There's comfort in the ritual of a cuppa tea.

- I don't have all the answers, but this is a damn good start!