Thursday, August 30, 2012

an anniversary

these are the lightning days. the flashes of busyness and hurry that accumulate into storm clouds so full that sometimes they burst, and sometimes they lay heavy across the atmosphere, their weight deep and real.

i apologize for my time away. it is busy season at work and my last semester of graduate school and a million other little things that seem so big in a day that's only a meager twenty-four hours long.

but today is a special day, and so blogging commences again. robert and i are celebrating nine years since our first date, and four since our wedding. though we were both tired to the bone and pablo was restless, we stayed up until midnight to ring in the big day. life's made in those midnight moments, i'm convinced. in those times you stay up even though it's illogical and force your eyes to see happy things even when sometimes they just want to shut the world out for a few hours.

i wrote a post for our anniversary last year. and  because words are failing me this morning and this post remains my favorite one i've ever written, i wanted to share it again. so here you go. happy anniversary, my love.
i knew him before facebook.

before the north american blackout. bush's second term. the last season of friends. love actually.

before janet had a wardrobe malfunction, martha went to prison, and ken won millions on jeopardy.

we sang along to stacy's mom and watched mystic river on the couch with my parents.

eight years have passed since that summer. that late august romance. that last first date. eight years of up-all-nights, throw my phone against the wall because i-miss-you-and-high-school-is-hard-without-you -and-why-do-i-hear-girls-in-the-background-are-there-girls-in-your-dorm? eight years of dates in cafeterias, in dining halls, in our kitchen. of bible reading and home brewing. of early morning greetings and front porch goodbyes.

we've climbed a waterfall together in jamaica, and fallen into bed at nine on a wednesday night. i've seen this man cry and i've seen a laugh rise from his gut so deep it cut off his breath. i've seen him on one knee. in a tux and blue collar.

and eight years ago today, i saw him on my doorstep. with a borrowed car and pressed shirt. and three years ago, i saw him at the alter.

and i declare, for all its hardships and trials, being in love is something more than spectacular. worth saving. keeping. remembering.

and on those nights when it seems like the darkness has won, worth calling him back for.

happy anniversary to the boy who always picked up.

Monday, August 20, 2012

thankful today

i came home yesterday morning at an hour more atuned to morning than night. only two before i usually wake. from a night on the town with my best girlfriends and my new high heels. celebrating the end of her singlehood. there were pink feathered boas, a diamond-encrusted goblet, and a chocolate cake with fondant tassles.

you were asleep, as i imagined. the old blanket curled at your feet. pablo greeted me at the door and fell to his little knees with joy on the hardwoods, stretching out beneath my hands.

i pulled up the blanket around you and left you peaceful on the couch, your arm above your head as i've come to expect. i thought you'd sleep as late as i did, and we would ring in the morning together. it was with a little sink of disappointment that i awoke at ten and remembered your weekend work assignment.

but then i drug my sleepy self into the kitchen and found your surprise. a crock-pot full of fiesta chicken, with the recipe still pulled up on my ipad.

i am thankful for nights out. i am thankful for girlfriends that knew me when i still had the gap between my teeth and my stutter was invariably worse than it is now. for the beauty they bring to my life. the femininity.

and i am thankful, too, for you. for your trust and lack of interrogation. for the evidence that you tried to stay awake for me. and for the humble act of love you left me yesterday.

i'm just very thankful today, for all of it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

scenes from a country cottage: the squirrels find the corn

i was about to go for a walk yesterday, when the late summer sun cut the prettiest glow across the yard and i had to run back inside for my camera. the dog days ended yesterday and there is a new whisper of cool in the air, so faint you have to strain to feel it, but it is certainly ahead. as i walked around, i noticed the corn shavings and peelings and pieces littering the ground. it seems the friendly squirrels who patrol our trees have discovered the glorious, delicious cornfield that flanks our cottage. the other morning, i stood silent in the laundry room and watched as one hopped up on the old well with his treasure, then nibbled and devoured a tiny little ear, leaving just dust and old kernels as he scurried away.

squirrels were the bane of my sweet nanno's dedicated attempts to build a bird feeder on the lamppost by the front of his house. they would climb and swing to get to the top, taunting the babies that lived inside. he built a little silver disc to keep them out, and we never saw them again. but this week, i'm thankful for the little creatures. for bringing me a moment of laughter, a reprieve of silliness. a moment to remind me that this world is really not about me, but about all of us living our day-in, day-out lives, eating, socializing and running. from the biggest to the littlest of us.

Monday, August 13, 2012

for your monday: stress relief

because it's monday, and mondays are synonymous with the stress and avalanche of weekly to-dos, i thought i'd offer up this timely article. i read this last night as the sun was sinking behind the oaks and cutting a pretty stream of light through the porch. and it made sense, and seemed do-able.

this is woman's day's 75 best stress relief tips of all time. a collection of their hints and tricks from as far  back as the fifties. they are all applicable, wonderful and spot-on. my personal favorite is #64:

whatever you enjoy doing, give it a regular place in your life. everyone needs an outlet. (may 1955).
today, #64 means a minute spent with my head lifted toward the sun, the heat and the light hiting me behind the eyes. and tonight, it will mean watching bacheor pad. oh yes. everyone needs an outlet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

give us this day

there are some days when my coffee turning cold too quickly is all it takes to undo me.

yesterday it was a long line at taco bell. monday it was traffic. not stalled, angry traffic, but just the mundane hum of the highway and a gloomy sky.

it's always the litte things. because we know, don't we, that they're never really that little. especially not when they conglomerate and stick to each other and turn into a giant thing. lately, i've become so "of" this world that it's hard to remember i'm really just "in" it.

beacuse this is all so much to take in. the super sized combo for seventy five cents more. the buy one get one free. the movies and the music and the restaurants that cost more than they did five years ago. and i'm a visual learner. the same girl who could stare at a whiteboard for hours and have a ball with an overhead projector screen (the thing i miss most about elementary school), is the same one who now sits on her kitchen window to watch the sunrise. i put hymns in my earbuds and sat out on the side porch this weekend as a storm blew furiously around the yard, twisting the oak  branches around and stirring up mud.

because i'm still learning, you know. and i'm taking this world in, one deep, gulping day at a time.

it hit me while getting ready this morning. while putting on the makeup and the dress and the heels. while chopping the garlic for tonight's chicken and twisting my hair into a side bun.

God gives us our daily bread.

not our daily foie gras or free range chicken. not our daily extra large milkshake or target shopping spree. not our giant movie screen or popcorn with extra butter. we are not entitled to such luxuries. they are there for us, yes, and they can be so beautifully fun.

but when it comes down to it, the bread is all we really need. such simplicity in a world obsessed with anything but is a hard concept to swallow. but i'm convinced nothing goes down easier.

there's a reason restaurants serve bread at the beginning of a meal. it's a little taste of what's to come. an appetizer for the main course.

and such it is in life, too, i suppose.

Friday, August 3, 2012

on blogging/ the things they don't show you.

some days, most days, i see the beauty in this pretty little world. i get home at just the right time to see the sun cut across the old oaks and the walk to the mailbox is my favorite two seconds of the day. there are times when my little town, the hay fields, and robert in his old blue collar are truly as magnificant and pastoral as i can write them out to  be.

but then there are days like sunday. when i set forth to make an apple cake in the cast iron skillet, recipe courtesy of the pioneer woman.

because i had a hankering for it. and we just got a skillet a while ago and it needs to be seasoned. and ok, because it would make for a pretty fun blog post the next day. watch me in my apron stir these apples with the sugar! see how pretty the crust rose! you can do this too, here's the steps!

but then i opened the oven door to check on the little pie's progress.

and i saw the flames.

you know what? you find out things about yourself during times of emergency. fight or flight?

i flighted. i grabbed the pie and placed it safely on the counter (priorities, people). then i ran.

right into the living room. frantically. calling robert. fanning my arms. feeling my chest grow tight and my face flushed. THE OVEN IS ON FIRE! i shouted. THE OVEN IS ON FIRE.

and robert, being the deep well of calm that he is, went to the laundry room, grabbed the fire extinguisher, opened the oven door and shot a blast of white powder directly on the flame.

and just like that, it was over. crisis averted.

later that night, robert saved my life again when we went walking and a fercoious dog started approaching us. he stomped his feet and clapped his hands and the dog ran away with his tail between his legs.

so yes, we all have those moments. when the stars align and the world tilts just right on its axis and blogging moments abound. but sometimes they don't. and that's OK too.

because maybe those moments aren't meant to be captured. maybe they're meant to be savored, wholly and personally, between you and the person you love. the person you can sit with, at the end of the day, and savor a slice of apple pie on the front porch swing. the secret trial just between you.