Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer. Almost.

It's not summer acceding to the calendar yet, but given the long-winded winter that we just finished it took Matt and I all of the few good weeks in late May to make the most of the good weather.

Most of our free time has been spent outside, usually working on the yard and exterior house projects.

We have a deal not to work on interior things again until winter.

Maybe those projects will get us through the dark long nights if the cold sets in again.

We have taken a bit of time for relaxing, some time for playing, a sprinkle of entertaining, and a douse of travel. I even got the banjo back out.

Come July it will be time to take our breaks in the sand at the late. Ukes in tow. Film in the camera. Hats on heads.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A gift

This weekend we celebrated friends of ours getting married. I have been looking forward to this day for years. Though all of my friends seem to be incredibly kind-hearted (it is how I like my people to be) there are a few especially so. Chris is one of those few whose crazy kind-heart was just waiting for the right girl to find it. He's a loyal lot (as any of you who have survived the 'welcome to my friend group who I protect fiercely' interrogation of questions by Christopher can attest) and I can say that I believe his heart will be hers forever. I'm happy about this, they are a perfect match and she is a delight on her own. Just as you'd like one of your favorite people to marry.

There were other fantastic outcomes from this wedding as well. A chance for Matt and I to get away. A reason for loads of dancing. An opportunity to sleep in without house projectssssssssss looming. A reason to order Seabreezes.

But I have to say my favorite thing was getting to see (nearly) all of my favorite college people sitting around one table. It was the best gift, one I haven't had in a good 8 years. We've all had our ups, downs, and busy-ness pull us away. I'm glad to see we can still come together, have fun, and just be. It felt good. It felt right. It felt long-coming. It felt safe. And it made me incredibly happy.

A really old flip-phone selfie (before there were selfies) of some of us on the Fairport bridge.
We sent it to Dave because we missed him, near the time of Chris's epic realization. It occurs to me I took
(or at least still have) very few photos from our RIT days. That makes me sad.

Though I was hopeful, I wasn't always sure we'd get here. I wasn't sure we'd get back somewhere near the point we were at when Dave, Chris and I sat on the sidewalk in Fairport listening to a cover band in the street play End of the World As We Know It and eating premium-gelato when Chris said something like "You know, this is it. This is the moment. This moment now. It will never get any better than this for us."

He wasn't quite right, but he wasn't far from wrong either. That moment, however, has stuck in my head like a pop song refrain. I've been trying to remember its lyrics, the feeling it brought with it: happiness, safeness, and promise, for a long time now. I'm glad it came in a glint of light and hope this weekend. May it continue to grow until we evolve into our next chapter of us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Living a beautiful life

When I was little, I had a bunch of ideas of what I wanted to do when I grew up. In the beginning I wanted to be a comedian. My mother, who was concerned because I was a very un-funny child, thought perhaps that wasn't the best idea. I then had all intentions of marrying John, the older boy next door, whose life ambition was to be a garbage man. Getting married was apparently next on the list of what I wanted to do when I grew up. Nice.

In my 33 years on Earth I have so far wanted to be: a comedian, a wife, a marine biologist, a writer, a biologist, a journalist, a trust-fund baby, a cartoonist, a greeting-card writer, a designer, a boss, a gallery owner, an entrepreneur, an artist, a stay-at-home mom, a world-saver, a shop owner, and a sign-shop painter at Wegmans. Some of those I've added to my resume, and some of them clearly I have not.

I take you through this to see the sea. The swimmy, choppy sea of the place this boat has always been in. Looking at it from above (as I sometimes, in moments of clarity, I am capable of doing), sometimes it is a pond, and sometimes it is an ocean. At the moment it feels immense, vast, empty, with no horizon in sight and the constant rocking of my chipped red-painted rowboat.

The one thing I have always known, deep inside somewhere, is that I want to have a beautiful life. I'm enamored with beautiful things; particularly words, moments, and vignettes of objects. It is the one thing I truly love, something so deeply part of me that when I have too much, or too little of it my reaction is visceral. Usually it comes in the form of tears.

Maybe it was traveling. Maybe it was being with the people I love. Maybe it is the changing of spring to summer (finally!). Maybe it is nothing, maybe it is just the way it is when you love something as nebulous as beauty, when it's the constant thing you're searching for to make you fufilled.

Whatever it is has made me unstable; created a rocky boat and an endless ocean. And I'm bouncing, floating, searching for something beautiful.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Trains, Tacos, and Talking

I'm in Chicago visiting Linzer. Picked up Grace along the way on the midnight train, took a Tylenol PM, and woke up somewhere in Ohio. The overnight train is good like that, making Pennsylvania a distant memory.

Now we're in a gorgeous hotel with an amazing view. A day into an adventure that read something like the following ramble.

If you're in Chicago with an hour to kill and a belly grumbling after the overnight train, go to Flaco's Tacos. Order three of the special (Pork Siracha pictured here) and a sangria. (Or margarita, but note that they only do frozen. If that's you're thing.) Here's the thing about the tacos - they're dry, flavorful explosion in a double (because it's the ONLY way to go) soft corn taco. The dry part seems weird, and it is at first if you're used to picking up a taco only to have it drip down your fingers as you eat it as fast as possible so it doesn't. fall. apart.

But Flaco's? None of this happens. Instead, you can take your time enjoying each bite. Talk with folks. End up without a belly ache. And drip, drip, drip, from the two magic bottles of amazingly tasty sauce on the table into your taco, bite by bite. It's inexpensive, festive, and delicious. Go.

Then to meet up with Lindzer for shopping at the most magical grocery I have ever visited. Mariano's, you take the cake. It's everything you remember Wegman's being back in the day, but with the friendliest staff you'll ever meet and libations. Yes, that's right, you can walk around this store with a glass of vino or a beer and actually relax and enjoy shopping. There are tastings of food everywhere, but they aren't IN THE WAY which made me totally break my "no eating food from a hotplate in a grocery store" rule. I think doing it while holding a glass of pink sparkly helped. Anyway, I have to admit I started to cry. It really was like my personal heaven and if having one of your best friends live in Chicago isn't enough of a reason to live there, I think Mariano's would be.

The highlight, however, came at about 10pm that night as I sat around a large table with 7 of the most lovely women I have ever met. After the salmon was cooked, cocktails poured, and brie devoured we settled in. Swapped stories. Shared moments and lessons. And laughed. A lot.

My only regret is that I did not get up the courage to ask these wonderful women to pose for a group picture.

It's been a long time since I've not been in mixed company (Okay, the boys were there for one signature cocktail before they magically disappeared. Honestly, where did they go?), and a girls night out beyond Linzer, Grace, and Jillybean has never been my bag. But this was different. I wanted to swim in the sea of these smart, funny, honest, and non-agenda women forever. It was a gift. A gift from the gods and one I feel incredibly blessed to be given at the very right time.

The Signature Cocktail

This is what we drank at lady's dinner. It's what kind of happens when you've been drinking in a grocery, are making a herb encrusted salmon, and are faced with a cabinet of ball jars. I'd call it the Gracie, as all I did really was add the parsley and make sure everyone had one in hand - but this was what it was referred to for hours by the magical Linzer. So this is how it stays.

Also, a side note on blush wine. It's Spring, it's back, and it's not the boxed wine by the pool from your childhood. Add it back in your wine rotation. You can thank me later.

  • 1 bottle of chilled blush sparkling wine (We used J Brute Blush)
  • 1 bottle of Chamborde
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh curly leaf parsley
  • Half-pint mason jars
Pour 1.5oz of Chamborde in the mason glass. Fill with champagne (pour slowly down the side of the glass so as not to fizz all over your purple sweater. Ahem.) Plop in an ice cube and add a sprig of curly parsley. Sip while discussing the process for shocking fish, the first year of marriage, or how to expose your children to religion. Your choice.