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Home again, home again

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I know that you’ve all been racked with anxiety since I announced that we might soon be living underneath a bridge. You’ve probably lost sleep, your hair, and your minds from the stress of it all.

But worry no more, good friends and countrymen: we found a house.

A HOUSE.

A stand-alone structure.

Do you realize with this means? We will be living in a place with no shared walls, floors, or ceilings. Early in the morning, we won’t hear thundering footsteps. Late at night, we won’t hear screaming babies (or grown-ass adults). We can have friends over and entertain WITH ABANDON.

This house has a deep front porch and a big backyard and a second-story balcony with no railing (read: no adult beverages allowed on the balcony). There are hardwood floors and a bay window, a big basement for storage, a gas stove, and plenty of charm. We’ll have (almost) enough closet space.

We move in 10 days.

I’m going to be bold and just say it: I feel like this move is a game-changer. We’ve committed to living here in Denver, and are ready to live in a HOME. In the 11 months that I’ve lived on Hooker Street, I can count the number of times I’ve invited a friend over on one hand, mostly due to the fact that it isn’t a pleasant place to be (low ceilings and loud neighbors will do that). But hosting and entertaining is in the fiber of my being, and I’m so excited to be able to welcome people in.

We’ll have space to spread out a little bit, and it won’t feel like we’re tripping over dogs at every turn. We’ll have lawn games. We’ll have wine & cheese on the porch. We’ll have fun, and peace and quiet, and walks to Hash (breakfast, not pot).

And we’ll have you over.

These days

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

On Saturday, my friend Annie Herzig texted to offer me a $20 ticket to “Wicked.”  I know – do $20 tickets to “Wicked” even exist?  Is that even a thing?  When you’re friends with Annie Herzig, yes, it’s a thing.  And you should definitely say yes.

Although I read the book awhile back, I wasn’t at all familiar with the musical.  But oh my word.  Those of you who have seen it know what I’m talking about – this show is so, so good.  It’s funny and poignant and magical, not to mention that those girls can sing like nobody’s business.  I felt embarrassingly lucky to have had the spontaneous chance to see it on the cheap – but apparently not so embarrassed not to tell everyone that I SAW “WICKED” FOR $20.

The food at Bittersweet is overpriced and undersized, but flavorful and worth a Saturday night splurge with girlfriends.

Sunday morning, I went to church and heard a sermon that echoed a lot of my thoughts on why commitment equals freedom.  Saying “yes” to one thing may be saying “no” to a myriad of others – but the longer that we “keep our options open,” the more likely it is that those options pass us by, becoming non-options.  Trust, take a chance, and make a choice – it’s so much more interesting than living passively, waiting for the best case scenario to just show up.

Later on Sunday, I donned my ugliest fleece (it’s gigantic – like, unisex gigantic – and bright orange) and delivered fresh baked goods to a friend.  Nothing was said about the unisex gigantic bright orange fleece.  That’s a good friend, right there.

Last night after dark, I went out and ran 6 miles.  I listened to Sugarland and felt like me.

Allow me to make a declaration: 2012 is so much better than 2011.  Not that it would be at all tough to be better than 2011, but still.  2012 wins.

Lately

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, the world has not opened up and swallowed me whole.  Despite my silence in this space, I’ve been out and about, alive and kicking, moving and shaking, grabbing life by the horns (or whatever).

I’m not so delusional to think that my absence from the internet has ruined anyone’s life.  But my mom said that she misses my blog.  So I’m saying hello.

A few weeks ago, I completely paid off my credit card – and promptly cut it up into little pieces.  For me, a credit card has been a crutch to help me live beyond my means, and I just grew tired of having my money already spoken for whenever I would get a paycheck.  I can’t tell you how freeing it was when I got paid the other day to be able to choose where to put my money – which, for now, means throwing cash at paying off my car.  I’m not completely out of debt yet, but after years of feeling like I just couldn’t make any progress, in the last few months I’ve started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, of course, not having a credit card has some downfalls.  I can’t purchase anything that I don’t have the money for RIGHT NOW.  This means that I’ve had to say no to several travel opportunities, which is tough for me.  For the past two years, I’ve rarely stayed in the same place for more than 10 days at a time, and spent a lot of money flying to see the people who are important to me.  But for now, those days are over – and the only tickets I can buy are more of a “sacrifice” than a “given.”

But as you may recall, commitment means freedom, and in the past few months of generally staying put, I have been growing some friendships here in Denver.  I’ve been social – maybe even too social (for this introvert) – and am learning a new work/life balance.

When walking outside to my car this morning, it was 55 degrees and smelled like spring.  Supposedly, March is Denver’s snowiest month, so we’re not out of the woods yet, but… I can’t tell you how hopeful that scent of dry dirt was.

Dry dirt = hope.  Someday I will write poetry.

I’ve embraced a “sort of vegan” diet as an experiment for a month.  So far, I feel like hell and would wring a cow’s neck for a slice of cheese.  Initially, I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs, but have reclaimed eggs with a vengeance, so I am definitely not living a full-on vegan lifestyle.  I feel very scatterbrained and willy-nilly about this whole thing, and while I recognize that our food system is scarily screwed up, I think that there are a lot of ways to “vote with your dollar” and make better nutritional choices.  I’m not sure that I’ll stick with the whole “no meat, no dairy” thing – but I’m giving it a few more weeks to see how I feel.

I’m late to the party on this, but Whitney Houston died.  What a tragic, senseless ending to a life of a woman who, at one point, had everything stacked in her favor.  Didn’t we almost have it all, Whitney?  Ugh.  It’s just so cliché, and so sad.  I ran across this isolated track of her vocals on “How Will I Know.”  She was incredible.

If you’re wondering about how Toad is doing, you should know that she fearlessly and ferociously chased a raccoon off our front yard the other night. She is a champion.

For those of you who I’ve been out of touch with, I’m sorry. I probably owe 80% of my friends some kind of personal communication. Life is different these days, and I’m just trying to find my stride. In the meantime, know that I’m thinking of you (even if I’m not buying a plane ticket to see you), and wishing that everyone that I loved could live in the same place.

Why commitment equals freedom

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Something really remarkable has happened: I’ve stopped thinking about moving.

I know that this is probably foreign to some people, but I have entertained the idea of moving – no matter where I’ve lived – for at least the past 5 years.  When I was living in Seattle, I was thinking about moving to Nashville.  When I was living in Nashville, I was thinking about moving back to Seattle.  Then, in December of 2009, family circumstances took me to Denver – and every day, I was thinking about moving back to Nashville, or back to Seattle, or maybe to Portland, or there’s always Boston…

But I have not thought about moving since November.   For over two months, it hasn’t crossed my mind.  I live in Denver, and I’m not looking to leave anytime soon.

My new job commits me to this city.  And for as backward as it sounds, commitment equals freedom.  I am free from the questions, from the what ifs, from the grass-is-greener thoughts that accompanied having options.  Having options creates the illusion that one can do anything – which, while attractive in theory, can be alarmingly paralyzing.

There is something really good about having fewer options.  Having fewer options simplifies my thought life, and allows me to be present exactly where I am.  Having fewer options makes me say “yes” to all that’s right in front of me.  Having fewer options frees up my calendar, my bank account, and my heart.

Having fewer options actually gains us access to a wealth of experiences, relationships, and resources that are far from pipe dreams – no, in fact, they’re close enough to touch.

If you find yourself having your options whittled down, don’t freak out.  It might be the greatest thing that could happen.

Hooker House #2

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Waaaaay back in July, I gave you a glimpse of our home with Hooker House #1.  Then I never showed you anything else.

We have less than three months left in our lease, and due to several less-than-ideal situations, April 30 cannot come soon enough.  We will move to a place with a fenced-in yard, and zero skunk dens, and no one living/stomping/screaming above us.

But just because, here’s one angle of my bedroom.  I opened the curtains for the picture, but you should know that I generally live in darkness – a Fortress of Solitude.

New year, new job, new life

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Do you miss me the way that I miss you?

Because I miss you.

I didn’t mean to stop blogging.  But for me, “stopping blogging” is a lot like “starting eating” – if I don’t pay attention, it just happens.  And then it’s been days, and then weeks, and I’m a wreck, moaning about how my life has no meaning or purpose and I’LL NEVER BE SKINNY AGAIN.

This cannot happen.  I WILL NOT ABIDE BY IT.  I must blog.

So, let’s play catch up.  It will be fun, and you will love it.

The numero uno, top tier piece of information from my life that I have to tell you is that I adore my new job.  I adore it.  It’s busy and dynamic and fun, and incorporates a lot of things that I love (writing, social media, ideas, relationships, to-do lists, generosity, details, travel).  It’s good for me to be out of the house, no longer working from home.  I am consistently wearing outfits – honest-to-goodness outfits – for the first time in over a year.  I am showering on a schedule.  I am talking to other humans in real life.  I am using my brain in fun ways, and getting to know the natural foods industry, and Tebowing on a regular basis out of sheer gratitude for the opportunity.

Speaking of Tebow, oh my gracious.  Did anyone else watch the Broncos on Sunday?  I did.  At the next door neighbor’s house – who I don’t even know.  But what can I say?  My decision to become a Broncos fan is bringing me into a new sphere, one with dual flatscreen TVs and crockpots of chili and really nice people and flags on the plays (which I pretend to understand and then get indignant about).  Living three blocks from the stadium, our Sunday evening was loud and giddy.  If you ever want to feel a part of a city, just start rooting for their sports teams.  Take it from me: insta-community-builder.

It’s a snowy, snowy day in Denver today.  But Subaruthless got me up the hill that all of the other cars were stuck on.  And because I don’t own a single pair of leggings, I am wearing my running tights under a long sweater and my black boots.

I’m ready for anything.

Catch-up confessions

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.  It’s been 7 days since my last blog post.

But maybe you’ll have mercy if I tell you that plenty of life has been going down around these parts.

For starters, my friend Carl (SHOUT OUT) came to Colorado to visit, and stayed at the Hooker House for a few nights (sorry Carl, you probably don’t want that sentence written about you on the internet). Carl is one of my favorite people, and we spent a good deal of time a) talking about life, love, and other mysteries (not this), b) sipping quaffable beverages, and c) watching YouTube videos. This cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is my new favorite thing, and has inspired me to learn the song on guitar myself. I’m getting semi-okay at it.

Speaking of “Fast Car,” I got an $80 speeding ticket in the mail. One of those cameras caught me. Rats.

My friend Greg (SHOUT OUT) plays keys for Allen Stone, and they swung through Denver last week for a show. Holy. Cow. Allen Stone is the most ridiculously soulful singer, born to perform, with one of the greatest voices I’ve heard. If you haven’t heard his stuff, check it out – “Sleep” is a favorite.

The Handy Graham (SHOUT OUT) slept on the couch on Saturday night, and yesterday morning, he, Becca, and I drank coffee, ate eggs, and, well, sang “Fast Car.” Just another morning at the Hooker House.

I’ve never been a fan of a sports team – ever. But the Denver Broncos have won me over. I live three blocks from the stadium, so they’ve never been easy to ignore – but their last couple of games have sealed my interest. I’m paying attention. And as foreign as it feels, I think this makes me a “fan” of something – I mean, other than music and books and food – something sporty.

I will finally, finally be getting my Subaru back today. It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve held the precious steering wheel it in my ever-loving clutches. If anyone ever tries to steal my car again, so help me, I will use my Cuisinart blade against them like a Japanese ninja star.

Tomorrow, I’m telling Denver “peace out” for a few weeks, as I’ll be traveling to Nashville for work and then Kansas City for the holidays. This will be my last trip to Nashville for a long time – stay tuned for some ch-ch-ch-changes.

No stranger to this

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I thought that having the Honda stolen twice was more than my fair share, but apparently not.

I WILL say that I’m laughing pretty hard about this, though.  I mean, come on.

I plan on being spontaneous

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Next week, I am taking the entire week off of work. The entire week.

For vacation.

I don’t think I have ever had an entire week of vacation, ever in my life. I’ve taken 7-day stretches off of work, but have used them for crazy travel plans (ping-pong flights, weddings, road-trips, holidays, family events). Never have I ever taken a solid Monday through Friday with weekends on both ends, and decided to stay put.

This is my only plan: do not leave Colorado.

Except, that’s not true. You all know that I’ve planned it a bit more than that. In fact, last week, someone who knows me better than I thought called me out on it: “I don’t believe you. You totally have the week planned out.”

I denied it, because technically, I don’t know what’s going to happen when.

But he was totally right.

Here are some of my hopes for the week:
-Climb 3 mountains
-Snuggle my visiting nephews
-Go to the Denver Zoo
-See the final installment of “Harry Potter”
-Get a massage
-Turn 29-years old
-Go for ice cream

Because as long as I can plan on it, the spontaneous will come easily.

Any other ideas of what I should do with my “unplanned” time off? What would you do?

Damn, girl.

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Before you hear this little story, there are two things you should know.

1) My sister Becca is definitely a looker: funky and darling and adorable.  She has a heart-shaped face and a great figure and awesome hair.  It’s never a surprise when a dude finds her attractive.

2) Sloan’s Lake, our new neighborhood, is… colorful.  Interesting.  Slightly ghetto.

Got those two facts?  Okay.  Here’s what happened on Saturday.

Becca was walking around the lake, and when a certain man passed her, he looked her up and down and said, “Damn, girl – you look beautiful!”

And despite Becca’s aforementioned beauty, when she relayed this story to me, we both laughed until we cried.

Because this is what she was wearing:

Damn, girl, indeed.

(I’m still laughing.)