Monday, December 31, 2012

still in love with that place

i kept turning to robert and saying, "they're never going to believe this. these pictures just don't capture it. they have to come here." our entire trip out west felt like a giant, slow motion movie set in the prehistoric era. it was just surreal. the land before time. before high rises and strip malls took over the terrain and and it was just rock as far as the road could stretch.

the food was decadent and rich and spicy and full-bodied. the people were kind and held the land sacred. and the mountains were staggering enough that, on a random tuesday in december, dozens of strangers gathered at an overlook to take in the sunset.

i'll never forget it (and neither will our facebook friends! shout-out to robert's 300 posted pictures! sorry to bomb your newsfeed...) if i could, i would live in a tiny house on a tiny plot of land with a tiny little family and use all our resources to travel. of course, the trip home, to familiar sheets and floorboards and kitchen counters is the best of all.

(and yes that is me in caesar's palace re-creating the elevator scene from the hangover. when you gamble $5.00 and win ten cents you know it's time to move on to new vegas activities.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

upon waking

there are a million ways to be happy. for me today it was the fire in the living room. before the sun rose and colored this earth. sitting on the couch with my coffee looking out at the black road. before the gray of the gravel and the yellow of the stripes came into view. that breath-catch of a time before dawn. with you sleeping in the room down the hall and the lamps turned off.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

christmas at home

like any other christmas since i can remember, we spent yesterday at nanno's house. except this time, it was our house. and like always, there was food. there was laughter. there was the 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. stretch of lounging on couches, floors and beds. and we missed him like crazy, his absence weighing heavy in every crevice of that old ranch house. but it's been a beautiful process, this reconstructing of a home. a changing of hands. robert and i have the immense privilege of living here now, a stone's throw away from our beloved cottage.

and the rose bush is still where he left it, creeping along the porch rail. there are notes and names written in pencil on the stairwell to the bedroom that tell stories from my mom and my aunt when they were teenagers. on thanksgiving eve, we stood on those same steps and wrote our names beside theirs. a new generation generating. and his recliner is in his bedroom, along with the blanket i gave him two christmases ago. except now, it's on a new bed. with a new rug and the same old trunk against the wall.

this first holiday of hosting, of rising early and getting the french toast in the oven, sweeping, vacuuming, setting the table, and filling the dishwasher as the last of the relatives drives away, was a gorgeous one. and the first of many. i can't wait to work in the yard, to build another garden, to pick leaves from the old, towering magnolia, and string lights on the shed out back for summer suppers.

it was so hard to leave the cottage. no one asked me to, but the morning of our first day here, i went back there. and i deep cleaned it. i got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the linoleum i used to dance on, the hardwoods pablo used to slide on, and the shower that cleaned our muddy bodies after we got soaked in the downpour last july while working in the tomato plants. and after i threw the last rag away, i hopped up onto the counter and cried (in hindsight, playing "winter song" by the head and the heart may not have been a good idea.) i said goodbye to that place and drove away on the gravel.

but there are new hardwoods now. and new memories to be made. and new traditions to make and old ones to keep. and yesterday was the start. and like nanno would say, "it looks beautiful."

Monday, December 3, 2012

out of hiding: a request for out west

hi friends! these last few weeks (um...months...) of the year have been quite the doozy, but with graduation just around the corner, i can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! i've come out from blogging hibernation to request a slight favor. remember last year, when we headed up the new england coast? remember how you gave me awesome tips and ideas? if it weren't for lovely readers, we wouldn't have known about the rutger's university grease trucks, or cook's lobster house, or a myriad of other little adventures we found ourselves enjoying.

in a little bit, we're headed out west. for a little end-of-the-year-let's-celebrate-no-more-school-EVER-or-at-least-for-now-and-hey!-it's-almost-christmas road trip.

we'll be in phoenix, scottsdale, sedona, the grand canyon, monument valley, zion national park, and las vegas. any tips, ideas or fun little side stops, please comment below! of course, i've made a travel  binder complete with sheet protectors for each activity i've planned so far, but there's always room for a little more fun:)

thank you! and see you in 2013. i promise to be more consistent...i hope.

in the meantime, we are slowly settling into our new digs. pablo has quickly found his resting spot:)