April, 2013

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I thought we were taking a sweet picture

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

I’m only posting this so I can use the Swords tag again.

Shotgun

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Over the weekend, I traded in my dollhouse for a real house: as of Friday, I’m the owner of a shotgun row home. I’ve spent the past few days vacillating between absolute elation and a full-on panic attack – mostly for irrational reasons, like What if it’s built on a sinkhole? and What if I’m murdered?? Because obviously there is a direct correlation between owning a home and being murdered.

Back in February, I was not looking to buy a home. It was not a thought in my mind. You know me – I’m a rolling stone, a vagabond gypsy, a tumbleweed of a girl – and the thought of “settling down” makes me break out in hives. Of all of the feelings, trapped is the worst one I can think of.

But there’s a difference between being trapped and making a decision. When you go to a restaurant, you can’t keep staring at the menu forever just to “keep your options open.” That would be dumb, because LAY OFF ME I’M STARVING. There is goodness to be enjoyed and life to be lived, and sometimes you just have to choose.

Two months ago, Greta was here for a visit and we walked past an open house. I can’t resist an open house, because apart from becoming a lawyer, it’s my only legal-slash-socially acceptable chance to be nosy. I took two steps into the house before I realized I was in love.

Built in 1900, the house is 11 feet wide and 55 feet long, four rooms stacked one right after the other: living room, dining room, bedroom, kitchen. It has hardwood floors, 10 ft. ceilings, 3 skylights, a brick wall, and the tiniest backyard perfect for a 3-legged dog. Two minutes from downtown, the Jefferson Park neighborhood has a history of violence and crime, but it’s in the process of development and change. The area is still gritty, but right now is an exciting time to buy here (even though you know I’m still using the Club on my steering wheel).

It all happened pretty quickly: I got a realtor and a lender, sent off a bunch of paperwork, had an inspection and an appraisal, wrote some checks, and bam, signed on the dotted line. Call me crazy, but I didn’t look at a single other house; I saw this one, loved it, and bought it.

The entire experience has been surreal, and I have a lot of emotions swirling around in regards to buying a house as a single woman, the financial commitment, the fact that this house is in Denver, and the dead mouse decomposing on the cellar floor. I also have emotions about the skylight right above my bed, forcing me to wake up with the sun (I welcome your solutions to this problem).

I’m sure that I’ll write about these things in the future, but for now, I just wanted you to know where I am. Home.

The dollhouse

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

When I was 5 years old, my grandpa built me a dollhouse. Even as a little girl, I remember being amazed at the intricate bricks that formed the two-story-high walls and the individual shingles that topped the roof. The front side had a tiny front door which, if you pulled on the tiny handle, opened on tiny hinges. A staircase with a delicate railing connected the two floors, and each of the 5 rooms was painted a different color. I arranged the house with little furniture handmade by my grandpa, and filled it with anthropomorphic animal figurines called Sylvanian Families.

It’s impossible to count how many hours I spent playing with this dollhouse. It’s one of the main icons of my childhood.

But as the years went on, I became less and less interested in make believe. As is the case with many little girls, my focus turned first to horses, and then to boys – and before I knew it, I was off to college. I always hoped that one day, I would give the dollhouse to my own kids – but until then it sat untouched, usually under a sheet in one basement or another.

In the 13 years since I graduated high school, I’ve moved 18 times. This Saturday, I will move a 19th – this time to a place with very limited storage. This has made me reevaluate just about everything I own, and it’s led to the realization that it doesn’t make sense for me to hold onto the dollhouse. I can’t keep moving it from place to place and finding a spot to keep it, only to let it gather dust – so tonight, I decided to give it to some dear friends who have daughters.

Despite my hope to give it to children of my own one day, it was time to let it go – because it’s okay if there’s a gap between the life you thought you’d be living and the life that you actually have.

And when you find the courage to release your grip on the thing you thought was so important, you might just find that the bitter is overpowered by the sweet.

Hanging

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Not to be dramatic, but my goal of having zero nervous breakdowns in 2013 is hanging in the balance.

Fine, that was dramatic.

They say the only constant is change – and I hate them for it – but it’s proven true in my life time and time again. In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced changes at work, changes in relationships, changes in my bank account, changes to my reality. I’m about to be a bridesmaid for the 13th time, our family changing yet again – this time the addition of another brother-in-law. I’m in the process of purging my closet and household items, preparing for yet another move. I’m behind on all forms of personal communication, and the thought of catching up is exhausting. I just got a haircut that surprises me every time I look in the mirror (not in a good way). All the while, I’m working my tail-end off at work, coming home so mentally drained that all I want to do is turn off my phone and lean my forehead to the doorframe.

Life is going fast, and I can’t keep up. I’m trying to do everything well, which leaves me doing nothing well – and man, I love to hit the mark.

All this to say, thank you for being here, no matter how much or how little I have to offer. Right now, it feels like very little. But the opportunity to share a little sliver of my life and have it received for whatever it is (currently Crazy-Town) helps me breathe just a little bit easier.

Hanging in there, cat on a tree branch,
Annie

Hissy-fits and growing up

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

I woke up this morning to freezing temperatures, icy wind, and snow on the ground.

Not cool, April 9th. NOT COOL.

After several days of near-70 degree weather, I was starting to believe that spring was here to stay – but leave it up to April, the hormonal teenage girl of Colorado’s calendar year, to slam the proverbial door on that idea. She’s all “I HATE YOU” and then storms off to her room to hang out on Instagram, all the other months looking on befuddled.

And that’s the way it goes – two steps forward and one hissy-fit back.

Since my 30th birthday last summer, I’ve been making a conscious effort toward health and wholeness. With the realization that no one is going to fix me, I’ve taken personal responsibility seriously, owning up to some shortcomings, working on my (many) faults, and making the hard-fought choice to live and believe differently. For a while there, it was exciting – so much growth, so much change, hopeful rays of sunshine after what had felt like years of winter.

But then one day it snows – and it’s easy to forget how the warmth had felt.

Backsliding into the bleak is discouraging – dis-courage being the opposite of courage. It makes determination and backbone and fortitude and pluck seem futile. If you can’t feel the sun on your face, do you know it’s even there? If a tree falls in the forest, who wants to rub my shoulders?

But the cold can’t last forever. Time moves forward, never backward, and we’re headed for sunny days. Because no matter what April would have you believe, hormonal teenage girls always grow up.

At least, I’m trying.

Into April

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Whoa. I disappeared from the blog for a while there. But now it’s a new week, a new month, and I’m back – at least for today.

Can I be honest? I’m glad to have March behind me. March held some wonderful things, but it was a crazy month in which it felt like every minute was booked with something: work, travel, work travel, meetings, volunteering, visitors, get-togethers, occasions, paperwork, budgeting, blowing the budget, and too few workouts. I’m spent. And I’m looking forward to a small spell of relative quiet before jetting out of town again – when little sister Sarah gets married in Kansas City in less than 3 weeks.

In the spirit of a quick catch-up:

What I’ve been [reading]: East of Eden. All of my hours on airplanes in March allowed me a bit of time to read, and I’m so glad that I’ve chosen to spend my time with Steinbeck. “Do you take pride in your hurt? Does it make you seem large and tragic? …Well, think about it. Maybe you’re playing a part on a great stage with only yourself as audience.”

What I’ve been [watching]: Homeland. It’s addictive and I’m obsessed – but fair warning, it’s graphic (in more ways than one), so if you’re sensitive to language, violence, and nudity, maybe just steer clear.

What I’ve been [loving]: humming and strumming. I’m in a group guitar class at a local music school, just for fun, and it’s my favorite thing I do all week.

What I’ve been [wishing for]: a solid week of silence. That probably won’t happen for a while – but I can still wish for it because I’m an American and I deserve whatever I want.

What I’ve been [looking forward to]: Sarah’s wedding this month, a trip to the Florida Gulf coast with some besties for Memorial Day weekend, using my new backpacking sleeping bag this summer (which, between gift cards, coupons, and my REI dividend, I got for over 50% off).

What I’ve been [listening to]: this new song by David Ramirez. He’s giving it away for free in advance of his new EP “The Rooster,” which is out in early May. If you don’t know about his music, you need to.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make this week productive, which ultimately is going to make it peaceful.