visit

Sorry for the delayed post.  I am currently visiting my brother, sister-in-law, niece, and brand-new nephew in Newport Beach, CA. It is 11:25PM local time and originally I was due in to Boston on the red-eye, but with the “Frankenstorm” about to hit the East Coast my flight has been delayed until Tuesday.  Granted an extended vacation, I am happily enjoying my extra long visit with the littles.  Today, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium and Pier and then we headed to Los Angeles for some sightseeing   This visit has also included a halloween parade, a visit to a local organic farm, a trip to Disneyland, and some delightful shopping excursions. Once I settle back home, a solid and detailed update will definitely be forthcoming.  Now, however, it is most important for me to soak up my time with the family.  Thoughts and prayers are going to all my friends and family on the East Coast as they brace for the big storm. And most importantly to David, my love, who is home alone watching the pups, the house, and taking care of himself. I miss you David and eagerly await being home with you again!

 

boomerangs

David had three boxes of “man stuff” when we first moved in together. These cardboard boxes consisted of the most random items: Indian flutes, boomerangs, trumpet horns, cologne, old photos of previous girlfriends, some half filled in journals, pens, markers, sheet music, a lock picking kit, drill bits, tins full of loose coins, rubber bands, tennis balls, etc. Old hobbies were thrown together with office supplies and topped off with random odds and ends whose missing parts left them useless in their original purpose. These boxes laid in wait in our first apartment’s hall closet for one year.  When we moved to our next place, we downgraded on some closet space and David and I  went through each of the three boxes and made arguments for and against the oddities. Forty minutes later, the boxes were now two. In our most recent move to our house, we dusted off the negotiation skills and worked through the two remaining boxes of stuff narrowing it down to one. There were some hard fought battles, but David was convinced that a few of the items were non-negotiable.  These included his set of boomerangs.

It  was epic!  After five years of waiting in the box, we finally took those boomerangs out. We walked to the park across the street and  threw these silly things into the air together. For a moment the wind caught one and we lost it and the sense of dread was real. We had just discovered the joy of these frisbee-esque toys and we could not seriously have lost one after this 5 year build-up!  Luckily it was not too far and we went back to playing like two kids. It was a complete blast and we both agreed that they were non-negotiable and that there were probably some other treasures in David’s box that we need to spend some more time appreciating now…and definitely when the kiddos come along.

zesty quinoa with broccoli and cashews

We do not eat enough quinoa. Tonight we decided to correct this.  Often we are guilty of planning a meal around a particular animal protein putting the veggies and grains on the side.  While we always choose lean proteins (when we are not trying to impress dinner guests), we decided to spend this week putting quinoa and veggies on center stage.  Whenever I am unsure of how to prepare an ingredient my go to online resource is the Whole Foods site.  I stumbled across this recipe: Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews. They are not kidding when they say this meal is “zesty!”  It was quite delicious and we are going to put it into our regular “rotation” for quick and nutritious week night meals.

life lately, according to my iphone

It has been quiet here lately.  Much time as been spent on watching the leaves change in New England though House projects beckon.  Being “first time home owners” has its perks. Yet, while the leaves are beautiful to look at now…one of these days we are going to have an epic raking project on our hands. Perhaps, next weekend… Right now, we have decided to just enjoy the beautiful and fresh Fall Weekend.

semi-homemade berry tart

Whole Foods sells a tart mix that is out of this world.  The maker of this mix is: Amour Creations. Just add butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and a bag of frozen berries to the mixture and bake at 350 for 55 minutes. It is a truly scrumptious treat. The smell of baked goods is so irresistible yet this tart does not have my name on it.  Rather, it is going to a co-worker who covered my chaperoning shift this past Saturday. I know he totally deserves this after chaperoning a high school dance on a Saturday night!! Hopefully this will be enough of a pay back for such a heroic deed.

 

knitting

Yesterday I read the following post on The Daily Muse Blog. Her description of the difference between relaxing and being lazy really struck me.  I often find myself in a whirlwind of thought as I struggle to settle down and relax and feel compelled nonetheless to be DOING SOMETHING. My current remedy to this constant push-and-pull within myself has been knitting. When I hold the needles in my hands and concentrate on the pattern of purls and knits, I find myself at ease with relaxation. While this is not a perfect strategy for quieting my thoughts and allowing myself to stop the constant motion, it is a step I found to be helpful.  And as a result, I am making stuff and still technically doing something.  Who wouldn’t like to have a scarf or hat they made with their own hands while reclined on the couch listening to some Mumford and Sons? And, what a cozy hobby for the Fall and Winter months!

best friend

September 2003 I met by best friend “L.” Walking down the hall of my dorm room, I spied into the open door a tall, blond as she shuffled items on her desk into her bag before heading out.  Quickly, I walked by and into the common bathroom thinking all the while how I would love to be her friend. Something about her was so captivating. She seemed effortless and zany, put together and totally comfortable in her own skin.  Perhaps, my desire to be her friend came from my instant envy.  While she was rhythmic, I felt like sharp angles.  For a few days, we passed each other in the dorm and said polite “hellos,” and from time to time even sat at the same lunch table as the whole floor squeezed into a booth in the dining hall. The exact moment eludes me.  I have spent much time reflecting on when exactly we went from casual acquaintances to  friends but I am so happy that we took that step. It was a step that eventually led us to become best friends.

There we were two young girls learning to become women and leaning on each other every step of the way. From our closet to our classes to the boys we flirted with, every aspect of our development and growth reflected in the other. My sharp angles softened in her presence.  L is the epitome of empathy and kindness. She feels her emotions so deeply and in her presence I felt candid and unreserved.  It was the first time that I could be my total self without the haunting shadow of adolescent self-consciousness. One of my favorite memories from our college years  is the following (not because it is the best moment but rather because L demonstrated her fierce loyalty):

We lived across the hall from a group of hockey players. Trying to be cool, I started to “see” one the boys.  We hung out a few times and I enjoyed going over to his dorm from time to time but it was not getting serious even though I desperately wanted it to. This was during a particularly superficial period in my life and I sought attention and approval from what was otherwise I complete stranger. Regardless, L and I had gone to bed along with our other roommate K. Around 3AM, we heard a terrible pounding on the door. Terrified as to who could possibly be banging on our door, we flicked on the lights and bolted nervously to the door.  We took a breathe and all waited for the evitable break-in.  Isn’t this what our parents always warned us about?  The pounding continued.  Finally, L mustered the courage to open the door and found to her utter dismay and relief that it was the hockey boys having had celebrated a little too hard.  They slurred some nonsense and asked where I was. L would have none of this! We were ladies and we would not be beckoned from our bedrooms at this hour of night. L told them off and firmly stated that she would not tolerate this behavior. She slammed the door closed. A little shaken, she gave me a big hug muttering “Stop seeing those guys” into my ear.  She was not judging me, she was not out of line, she was telling me exactly what I needed to hear, that I was worth more than these boys were willing or able to see and that I needed to move on. While this is such a small story in the “story of us,” it is an important one. L would always be my friend, but she desperately wanted to see me take care of myself and acknowledge and seek out what I deserved.  I learned a lot from my friend that evening.

Since then, L and I have continued to grow as friends and individuals. We lived together after college with David and enjoyed a “Three’s Company” type setting. While those stories are for another post, L was so flexible during that period and I was lucky to have a friend who believed in not only our friendship but also in my relationship with David enough for all of us to be roommates. It was in that apartment that we adopted Buster and L became Buster’s aunt.  To this day our dogs have a deep and unique bond with L.  Even our neurotic and worrisome Bella is at ease with my best friend. In that apartment, L met her future husband E and David and I were there for the ride as she dated and waited for “the one” to arrive. When he did, he joined our little trio and turned it into a quartet.

L was my maid of honor and I was her’s. She is my second skin, my confidant, my competitor, my sister, my soulmate, my cheerleader, my life coach, my twin….

(unplanned outfit for our shopping day together!)

As our friendship grows, I know that we will continue to be family to one another.  Without L, I would not be the young adult I am today nor would I feel comfortable with where I am heading.  Her honesty, compassion, and resilience have set a model example and continue to attract me to her just like that first day in 2003.