Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Over the last few days, I've been feeling incredibly - and overwhelmingly - happy. There are lots of big and little reasons for this, but no matter the reason, I think it's so important to take the time to acknowledge your happiness - to yourself and to the universe. It can feel awfully fleeting at times, but that's what makes it so damn special. Sometimes it's just a zebra print Snuggie, a good book and a charming puppy to curl up with. And, sometimes, it's the most exciting, life changing news in the world. Whatever the reason for your happy, I hope you're feeling it today.

The Little Yellow Sweater.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There's a yellow theme going on here...

The other day, I was looking through some of my photos from this last year and noticed there has been an important presence I may have overlooked. Yep, the presence of the little yellow (okay, mustard) sweater. That sweater was with me through a lot. It kept me comfortable on those long (long, long, long) nights working the graveyard shift at the psychiatric hospital. It kept me feeling stylish (when I was really anything but) after my two ankle surgeries. It accompanied me to fantastic dinners (the three photos in this post were all taken at such meals) and made my poor coworkers shake their heads and wonder if I had anything else to wear.

Let's just face it. Like I tend to do with a lot of things, I overdid it. That poor sweater is in dire need of a replacement, but I can hardly stand to part with it. After all, it really has been quite the constant companion. Maybe I'll wear it to Thanksgiving tomorrow before finally releasing it into retirement.

Before then, a thank you to the little yellow sweater who never failed to add a pop of color to my wardrobe and a sprinkle of happiness to my days. You will be missed.

The Big Yellow House.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seven strangers, picked to live in a house...

No, I'm not talking about The Real World. I'm talking about the big yellow house. A big yellow house I called home for years.

There was Monica, Michael, Karen, Pat, Kevin and myself. There was a time my cousin Curtis lived there and also a beautiful, terrible man whose name I can no longer remember (but a man who was so certain of his own beauty that he liked to practice yoga - shirtless, no less - in front of you while continuing to stare back to see if you were watching). Oh, and then there was Marlise who vanished into the night one evening, but left us with the seventh member of our household, Scorch the cat.

For a few years, I used to watch The Real World before realizing I didn't need to. I lived it, people. We had the same drama and the same love, minus the cameras, in an old, beautiful school house that was rumored to once house the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party.

In that house, many bottles of beer were drank. Many laughs were shared and Sex and the City was a Sunday night ritual. Hot tub parties were had and, sometimes, offered up as the after party option during last call on Pine Street. (Okay, that may have just been me, but nobody will ever let me forget it.) There was the fire on the second floor and the one-eyed cat who stole our hearts. Fights were fought, flirtations were born and, somehow, we all remained close. We were with each other through terrible choices in romantic partners, crushing heartbreaks and hideous mustaches. We came together to say goodbye to Scorch, our house mascot, welcome Duey the dog and grieve a man we all loved, my dad. What we were - and are - more than anything else was a family.

The biggest thing any of us ever did in that house was grow up. And in the big yellow house's final chapter, we welcomed a little man named Max. Talk about growing... and growing up.

I still can't drive by the big (no longer yellow) house without feeling nostalgic. Those were some good years and that was a great home.

In Praise of Falling Apart.
{Stomping Your Feet, Crying on the Floor & Having A Miserable Damn Year.}

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If you know me, you know this last year has been rough. The 365 days in between the summers of 2010 and 2011 were chalk full of dead ends, heartbreak and dragons in need of slaying. It was long and it was hard, but it is over.

As I look back on what can only be described as kathleen and the terrible, horrible, no good, rotten, very bad year, I realize how necessary it is to have these dark times. Without them, how would we know just what we are made of? How would we know to relish in the delight of the good times? And, more than that, how would we become the people we are meant to be?

A very wise person said to me earlier this year, "This is the time you'll look back on and think, 'I climbed up from that.' " And, friends, she was right. I did climb up from that.

In this culture, we tell people to get over it. To quit crying and move on. To pull yourself up by your bootstraps. (Or as my mother would say, "Pull your socks up.") Well, guess what? I'm here to tell you not to get over it, but to get under it. Roll around in your sorrow and your hurt and your struggles. It won't last forever, I promise. Cry and stomp your feet and pull the covers up over your head. Give yourself the time and the attention the world tries to refuse you. You're worth it. And, one day, maybe even a year from now, you'll feel better. In fact, you'll be glad you fell apart in order to have the opportunity to build again.

And right now is all about rebuilding. Rebuilding a beautiful life on the rubble of all the inevitable hard times you survived.

"... but damn you smell good, like home."

Monday, November 7, 2011

"It's a big, bad world full of twists and turns and people have a way of blinking and missing the moment. The moment that could have changed everything." - Hank Moody


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Two weeks ago, I flew home to Washington. It had been eight months since I had been home and, even worse than that, since I had seen my mother. EIGHT MONTHS. In my world, this is pretty damn unacceptable. You see, my family is very close and being away from them - especially those sweet little boys I call my nephews - was heartbreaking. So, needless to say, this trip home was much needed and long anticipated.

I was lucky enough to fly in just in time to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday with some of our closest friends. As our girl Karen (accidentally) put it in her celebratory birthday toast, "It's great to see all these old faces!" Sure, she didn't mean it the way it came out, but it had me rolling nonetheless.

(Thanks for the laughs, Karen!)

I got in late Friday night and was GIDDY to see two of my closest girls, Katie and Carina. We stayed up giggling way too late and I woke up (very) early the next morning to coffee, laughs with my family and snuggles with my nephews. It was absolutely perfect. Since my mom's birthday is two days after my sister's, we had a lot of celebrating to do that afternoon. The ladies in the family indulged in crepes and mimosas before treating ourselves to manicures and pedicures. After a much needed nap, we all headed to one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle (or anywhere), Marjorie, for a birthday celebration.

After enjoying a fantastic meal and great conversation with people I hadn't seen in a very long time, came my favorite part of the evening - the dessert train! Marjorie brought out five or six of the most delicious treats and - being the close bunch that we are - we ignored the extra plates, grabbed our spoons and passed the desserts down. It was deliciously amazing.

(Can you see the happiness?)

Our next stop on the birthday train was a few hours of singing and laughter at Rock Box, a Japanese style karaoke club in my favorite neighborhood in Seattle, Capitol Hill. 10 years earlier, we celebrated my sister's 30th at a different karaoke club in town and, let me tell you, the venue options have vastly improved in the last ten years. For three hours, we sang (I rocked "Run to You" by Bryan Adams, thank you very much) and fell over laughing at the enthusiasm of my sister's friend, Rich.

The person who stole the show, however, was my sister, the birthday girl herself. I'm kicking myself for not getting a good photo of her, but - honestly - the whole time she was singing she had me so mesmerized, I forgot everything else. Every number she performed, had the whole crowd cheering. I even think a tear might have rolled down my face during her rendition of Pat Benatar's "We Belong."

(Luckily, I got a good shot of her husband, Michael.)

The rest of the trip included a lovely brunch with my oldest friends, Carina and Danny, more quality time with the family and some special time with just my mama in my little hometown. As much as I loved all of my time in Washington, the time with just my mother and the quiet of my childhood home was needed more than I can say. (And - for the record - I have no idea why I never get a good photo with my mom. I promise to fix this when I'm home for Christmas.)

To my family and friends, thank you. This trip - although too short - was just exactly what I needed. Sometimes the only thing we need is home.

This is Halloween.

Thursday, November 3, 2011