Archive for March, 2012

I’ve been doing a lot of list-making and goal-setting lately – I’m thinking about projects I’d like to do around the house, Shane and I are making more long-term plans for our finances, and I’m filling my little black list-book (yes, I have a book of lists…)  with places I want to go, things I want to make, and books I want to read.  I’m a gal with high hopes and lofty aspirations.  The execution?  These days I’m adding a lot more to my lists than I’m actually crossing off…  But in the spirit of follow-through, I’m looking back at my New Year’s Resolutions for a first-quarter evaluation. And…don’t judge.

Read the Bible in its entirety.  I’m a few days behind where I need to be (if I can power through 22 chapters of Deuteronomy and Joshua today, I’m golden!), but I’m hanging in there.  This has been harder than I anticipated.  Carving out 10 or 15 minutes a day is not so bad, but spending all that time with the God of the early Old Testament?  Wowsers.  He was a demanding, angry, vengeful God.  As a child in Sunday school, I heard how nice it was for God to give Noah a heads-up so that he could build his ark and save all those animals – we tend to forget that He sent that flood to wipe out the rest of mankind.  In God’s defense, people been actin’ crazy back then, but still, it’s a stark contrast to the stories of compassion and kindness and sacrifice I’ve come to know so well through Jesus.

Catch up with a friend over coffee every week or two.  Lately we’re spending most of our weekends in the company of friends, with Friday nights full of laughter and good food, but real, deep, life-giving girl talk?  I still want more of that.

Read the Economist leaders each week.  Fail.  Total, utter fail.  I think I struggled through three issues of the Economist before just throwing my hands up in the air and reaching for my laptop to read about the latest in home decor and Spring fashion.  The magazine was just so dang dense. I’d stumble upon something digestible, like a paragraph on New York City’s infestation of bedbugs, but then I’d turn the page to find a dissertation on the state of the economy in China.  And with all the reading I’m doing in the Bible and for book club and to keep up with the Hunger Games craze, spending two hours on a Sunday slogging through the Economist wasn’t working for me.  So I’m on the lookout for a simpler way to stay in the know on current events (does The Daily Show count?).  Stay tuned.

Check out one new (to us) Seattle restaurant each month.  Score!  We’ve got this one down.  Chloe and Locol in February, Skillet and Madison Park Conservatory in March, and plenty of goodness lined up for April and May.  Easy-peasy.

Juice at least once a week.  Semi-score.  We’re juicing most weekends, but I’d really, really like to find a way to work this into my weekday routine.  And I could stand to mix it up a little more – apples, kale, celery, lemon, guzzle and repeat.  Maybe it’s time to venture into the wild world of watercress?

Cheers to steppin’ it up from here on out.

More watercolors.  Liking the dark and muted colors in the second two – feels so…Seattle, no?

painted hills (2012.03.02):

full moon (2012.03.07):

forest through the trees (2012.03.12):

geodesic  (2012.03.17):

constellation (2012.03.22):

It was a jam-packed weekend, full of good times with our closest amigos. After toasting to the sunshine on Friday night, we headed out to the symphony – our buzz was momentarily killed when we realized we’d forgotten our tickets and had to drive back home (therefore missing the first piece), and then weren’t allowed in for the second piece because we had “accidentally” gone to the wrong door in an effort to switch our back row seats for box seats (good idea, Jack…), but we eventually made our way inside and were able to enjoy a solid 20 minutes of music. Sigh. It was fine, though – the pizza we ate afterwards at Bar del Corso was the real show-stopper for me…

Saturday morning was full of to-do’s around the house, but we spiffed ourselves up in the afternoon and drove over to our church for Jon and Adrienne’s wedding. Shane and I have known Jon for several years now, and when he shared the news in 2010 ago that he’d “met a girl”, we thought it sounded kinda serious. And indeed it was! We were thrilled for him, but withheld complete enthusiasm until we’d met Adrienne and determined that yes, she was absolutely good enough for our dear friend. It’s been a joy to watch these two lovebirds fall head over heels for each other and we were so happy to be a part of their incredibly special day.

And P.S.: my man cleans up real nice, doesn’t he?!

After the ceremony, we all headed over to Golden Gardens for the reception – the sun was shining and the water was sparkling as God looked down from heaven and smiled on the brand-new husband and wife.

It felt good to look around the hall and see our Seattle “family” gathered around, knowing that we’ll all watch Jon and Adrienne grow old together. Even little Miss Stella showed up for the big event – one week old and she’s already a party-goer!

We ate, we drank, we raised our glasses to the happy couple, and then we danced. Oh Lordy, how we danced…

It was a perfect night in so many ways. Cheers, Brenners! We love you both. And you throw one hell of a party.

I feel like I could have slept until noon today, but instead I was up early to cheer on Shane, Jack, Jason and Joe in the Mercer Island half-marathon. It was a beautiful day for a run, evidenced by the smiles on these guys’ faces as they lined up at the start to tackle the 13-mile course.

I was perfectly content to sit at a table in Starbucks with Nancy and La Verne while our athletes ran their butts off. We drank our lattes and then walked over to the finish line to watch everyone cruise in.

The gentlemen absolutely rocked it. And they hardly looked worse for the wear – nice work, fellas!

The rest of the day ranked a little low on the fun-o-meter, but pretty high on the productive-meter, so I’m still a happy camper. I made my plumbing debut and fixed our leaky toilet, did some paint touch-ups around the house, finished operation “spotless shower”, squeezed in a little yoga, and…am ready for bed. ‘Night.

The sun is shining, I bought a bright green twirly skirt today, and we have all kinds of fun stuff on the agenda for the weekend – my mood is officially on the mend. Double-T.G.I.F. And T.G.I.Spring! Our euphorbia plant is blooming and threatening to bust through our dining room window – the sight of this made me so happy that I had to crack open a bottle of champagne and toast to the sunshine. Bon weekend, folks!

This past week has been funky.  Not like funky-town funky, but down-in-a-funk funky.  Every single day felt like a bad hair day, I let silly little work stuff bother me way too much, and I generally just felt…gray (blue is too pretty a color with which to paint my mood).  I sat down late last night to do some journaling and spewed all kinds of bitterness over the pages of my Moleskine.  And then I asked God to bring about change in my mind and heart and relationships, to help me let go of the things that keep me up at night, to make me more of a life-giver and less of a life-sucker.  I prayed for a brand new attitude:  I want to be selfless, putting other people’s needs and wants before my own.  I want to be open to God’s plan for my life, letting go of the agenda I’ve so carefully scripted.  I want to see the good in people and lock up that critical little devil that’s constantly perched on my shoulder.  I want to be full of hope and optimism, quick to encourage and inspire.  And while we’re at it, I’d like hair like Victoria Beckham, a renewed sense of creativity, and a pair of jeans that fit perfectly (with a perfect butt to fit in said perfect jeans).

I breathed an initial sigh of relief as I began to proces my feelings and wade through my funk.  And then I realized how far I’ve fallen from the person I want to be, and my mood promptly shifted from light gray to a deep, murky brown.  I work so hard to protect the image I’ve built of a woman that kicks ass at her job, that’s in a marriage filled with bliss and romance, that vacations in Paris and dines with friends and makes a killer loaf of banana bread.  But sometimes cracks start to form in this blessed life I live, over an argument with Shane, a couple of gained pounds, or another month of wondering when our baby hopes will be realized.  The cracks eventually deepen to fissures and before I can stop it, my self esteem starts to fall apart and I’m left with huge chunks of doubt and anxiety piled at my feet.  And that’s where I found myself last night.  With bad hair at a one-woman pity party.  Be glad you weren’t invited.

Thank goodness today is a new day.  Thank goodness the sun finally came out.  And thank goodness I have friends, family, and a Lord that will meet me where I’m at, no matter how high or low that place may be.  Things aren’t perfect right now.  I’m not perfect right now (and I never will be), but today I’m choosing to remember that grace is a beautiful thing.  Amen.

It was another gray Seattle weekend, but somehow the rain has yet to get me down.  This is usually the time of year that I get antsy and start looking for cheap flights to Hawaii or Florida, but lately I’m pretty content to just pass our weekends at home or in the company of good friends – coffee, chocolate, and long talks over spaghetti or Thai food are working wonders for my spirit.  Cases in point:

We spent Friday night christening Jack and La Verne’s new house with pasta and roasted veggies and goat cheese smeared on toast – it’s so good to see that Jack already feels perfectly at home in his new kitchen.  I’m looking forward to many more meals and glasses wine of and evenings spent laughing around the table at this new place of theirs…

Shane had plans for a snow-shoeing trip and bar crawl on Saturday to celebrate the end of our friend Jon’s bachelorhood, and so I promptly filled my day with plans for lunch with a friend, some fun errand-running, and dinner with the ladies – with plenty of time set aside to settle into the couch and indulge in some quality chick-flicking.  I got an early start on my to-do’s and spent a couple of hours scrubbing our shower with a vengeance  (I forgot to mention scum-free tiles when talking about my dream home), and then headed out to pick up a couple of things for Amanda’s bridal shower invitations.  That trip proved to be unfruitful, as I couldn’t find the paper store, got stuck in the middle of a hoard of screaming teenage girls waving Hunger Games posters outside Crate and Barrel (yeah, weird…), and became so overwhelmed with the people and the traffic in North Seattle that I just turned around and headed home.  I grumbled to myself about the time I had wasted on my perfectly-planned day, but then promptly put my frustrations aside when Jeannie picked me up for our lunch date at our neighborhood Thai place.  We spent a couple of hours catching up over curry and coffee, and I left the restaurant feeling so thankful for the goodness that comes out of an afternoon of girl talk.  I spent the rest of the day on paper quest number two (success!) and doing some stuff around the house before heading back out to pick up La Verne for an evening with Nancy, as our guys were just beginning their epic pub crawl.  The three of us sat at the table over takeout and talked for hours about…everything, really.  Parents, babies, husbands, how to make the perfect cup of hot chocolate – you know, the important stuff.

Saturday had turned out to be so much busier than I’d planned on, but I made up for it today by partaking in some heavy-duty “me-time”.  I set up shop in the living room this afternoon while Shane spent a few hours upstairs recovering from the bachelor party and an early-morning call from work.  I watched movies and painted and drank tea and made myself an over-the-top good salad for lunch.  And when I tired of hanging out on the couch, I headed over to Mioposto to drink coffee and read and watch the sun try to peek through the clouds and shine on Mount Baker Park.  It was just what the doctor ordered (the “doctor” being my introverted conscience…).

I’m ending the weekend with a few boxes unchecked on my to-do list, but I’m alright with that – the past 48 hours will still go down as time well-spent.

Several of our friends have recently moved into beautiful new houses or are looking to buy their very first place of their own. And all this movin’ on up has had me feeling a bit…down. It’s felt like we’re stuck in a rut while everyone around us is swept up in the excitement of change and newness and fresh beginnings. Where I once saw warmth and style and coziness in our little townhome, I started seeing smallness and a lack of closet space and too much dust on the baseboards. I’m so happy for our friends, but I couldn’t stop myself from (sulkily) wondering: when will we get our dream house? I started dwelling on visions of a cozy little reading nook by a window overlooking a lake and an entire wall lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a backyard with a fire pit and then I stopped myself, because I realized my deepest desires are actually so, so much bigger than all of that. My dream house is a place where Shane and I spend evenings cooking and eating together, drinking wine and eating brownies while we lay on the couch and talk. Where I get up in the middle of the night to rock our crying baby back to sleep. Where our little one takes his or her very first steps right before getting knocked over by our adorable-but-rambunctious Wheaten Terrier puppy (I know, I’m reaching here…). It’s where our friends gather on sunny weekends to barbecue and play games and eat ice cream, and where our family gathers at Christmas to open gifts and roast turkey and laugh together.  It’s where Shane teaches our kids to throw a baseball while instilling in them a deep devotion to the San Francisco Giants. It’s where we grow old together, where we weather the sorrows and joys that life surely has in store for us. It may not have a jacuzzi tub or a giant wall of windows (gasp!), but wherever it is (could we be in it already?), it will be shelter for our little family and will be home in every sense of the word. And that is what I’m truly longing for.