Sunday, January 29, 2012

For better or for worse

Last night as Jason and I were eating dinner, I was chewing a bite of biscuit when I inhaled some crumbs. I immediately coughed up a majority of my biscuit, spewing half-chewed biscuit crumbs everywhere. Jason recoiled in disgust, but as I kept coughing, he recomposed and it occurred to him to ask if I was okay. Yes, I replied, as I picked some biscuit gunk off of his big toe.

When we were laughing about it a few minutes later, Jason started mimicking my choking attack. I had a mouthful of food so I burst out laughing through my nose, and because I'm sick, boogers squirted out faster than I could keep them in.

People. This is why you get married. So that your significant other is stuck with you, no matter how disgusting you are.

In other news, any tips on how to restore femininity? As much as I'm all about being myself in marriage, I think my husband would appreciate it if I could reign myself in every now and then. For both our sakes.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Estate saling

In the last six months, I have discovered a new, beautiful thing: the thrill of estate sales. I love the invitation into a stranger's home to look over their personal life collection. It's such a uniquely vulnerable experience. The family running the sale is softened and sentimental. The pieces are diverse, a mix of new and old, and certain ones may bring a smile to the loved one's face as a memory returns. The hunt is never predictable and I never know quite what I will find.

I think one reason in particular why I'm so drawn to estate sales are the stories. On one hand, I can't imagine how hard it is for the family members to empty their parents' (or sister, brother, aunt, etc) old home to get rid of all of those memories for bargain prices. But at the same time, it's a way for them to share their stories, and to let go of things so that new stories can be made.

This morning, I spoke with one such lady as I was buying a few colored glass bottles. I'm a private person by nature, so I don't usually share much with those I don't know. But because of the circumstance and her own vulnerability at selling her mother's items, I wanted to share. I told her that my grandma had rows and rows of colored glass bottles sitting on shelves in a huge window in her living room. When she passed away, I didn't get any of those bottles, so slowly I've been building my own collection. When I see the bottles throughout my home, it reminds me of her and makes me happy. The lady smiled with an understanding in her eyes. It was a simple but meaningful moment we shared.

I'm learning to not be afraid to share my story and to recognize the value in others' stories. One glass bottle at a time.

Monday, January 16, 2012

hello world

I should be doing homework but I just got my old-school label maker in the mail! It's really truly great. Simple but awesome, just how I like it.

This was unplanned, but you are welcome for two close-up hand shots in a row!

(Pssst - you can get yours here if you're interested. It's super cheap!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Only love is all maroon

Sometimes the simple things are the best things. Like some cheap nail polish and a new ring that was a couple bucks at Forever 21. I feel like I'm engaged all over again with how often I look at it (and yes, my diamond ring is totes jealous so I have to keep them on opposite hands).

PS Just pretend like my finger hair in all its close-up glory isn't vaguely creepy.

Being happy [now]

Forgive me, for I am graduating in a few short months, and this results in a lot of reflection as well as anticipation. For example, sometimes I get anxious. Anxious to be in our next stage of life after graduation. Anxious for pets, a backyard, a house (at least a rental), a bigger closet, an actual income... you get the idea.

But then I have to remind myself of how much I will miss this stage of life. I go to class and I have genuine excitement over seeing my classmates. We weren't together for 3 weeks over the holiday and it was fun catching up with everyone after a break like that. Sometimes I feel like I'm still in high school, because it's not "normal" to be this close with my classmates. But I love them and I get warm fuzzies just being back in a room together. It's soooo cheesy but it's true.

I love it being just Jason and me. I love our couple time, cuddling on the couch and watching 24 when I should be doing homework. I love the freedom we have now to take a spontaneous day trip or go out for a nice dinner without much planning. I love the closeness we feel as we learn how to do this "life" thing together. I don't say this as a negative thing for once we have kids and full-time jobs, because I look certainly forward to that. But for now it's us and I'm content.

I really do like school. Sometimes I forget it, and sometimes I get grumpy when I don't get enough sleep for days in a row. But I love the thrill of learning and I love the uniqueness of my school and its hyper-creative environment. It will never be quite this way again where we are designing because we love it, not because we are getting paid. I love the personal growth I've had in my time in college and I will cherish that forever. I've become more me in this environment that's open to self-exploration. I've learned not just practical skills, but also an openness in how I see and learn in the world. While I appreciate my grounding in Christ to direct my choices and morality, I have also learned to appreciate those who think differently. Most importantly, I have learned to come to my own conclusions rather than letting someone else dictate my opinions.

I'm not sure I can say that I love being poor, haha, but nonetheless, it builds character. I have to make decisions on what is most important, and I also appreciate things more when I wait and save up to buy them. My camera was about 3 years coming, and even then I bought the cheapest model, two years-old from Craigslist. But I really adore it and appreciate it. Sure, I would loooove to buy some nicer lenses, but again, I'm learning patience. All good things come in time and I've learned to love second-hand items in ways I never have before.

Simply put, I don't want to forget this stage. I'm choosing to remember, to enjoy, to appreciate, to be happy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An End Is In Sight (Christmas Part 5!)

Finally my friends, this is the last Christmas blog post. I apologize for the flood of pictures, but at least I know my parents read these (hi Mom, hi Dad!) and that's all that really matters.

After driving through Elsah, we drove to the National Great Rivers Museum, where there is a couple locks. This was what my dad had been looking forward to all week.

I saw this in the museum and liked it.

I saw this outside, and liked it too (after a semi-embarrassing slip where I called the birds owls, oops).

We got at the museum at 12:05. The lady at the front desk told us the next tour of the locks was at 1pm, and we were disappointed because we didn't have time to wait an hour for a tour. If we had gotten there 10 minutes earlier, we probably could have made it for the tour.

As we were wondering around, we tried to go up in the elevator to the top of the docks, but you had to have card clearance to enter. That line my dad is pointing to was the highest level of the river during a big flood.

This man came up to us and started talking about the big flood and what it was like to run the docks.

My dad likes to talking to people, but I was bored so I started taking pictures of my husband

And then of our feet

And then I had a bold, great idea. Since this man obviously worked here, I spoke up and asked him if he could take us up. He paused for a moment and then said, sure! There may have been some batting of lashes on my part before he answered. We went up the elevator and found ourselves standing on top of the locks.

It's serious business up there, and it was cold.

Our tour guide's name was Dennis and he had been working on these locks since 1989. He was hilarious. We seriously felt like we hit the jackpot because he gave us the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes tour, salted with funny and personal stories.

Some Dennis-isms:
"Those seagulls, I call them painters. Paint all them walls white."
"Sometimes for a pleasure boat you have all dollars and no 'cents.'"
When I asked him how long he had worked there, he pulled off his hat to show his bald head and said, "Since I had hair."
"My commute to work is 9.9 miles. I refuse to go 10."
When we shook his hand at the end to thank him, he said about my hand, "Those hands are like icebergs!"

He definitely made our visit memorable, probably more than he will ever know.

In case anyone is interested, here is a video Jason recorded of Dennis:

After the tour, Jason drove a barge into another barge. Better luck next time, my friend.

The next morning, we woke up to a delightful thing. Snow! It wasn't even in the forecast so it was a nice surprise. It was our second to last day there, so it felt fitting.

The snow makes everything cuter.

I was so excited when I woke up, I pulled my boots on over my pajamas, threw on a coat, and grabbed my camera. I image I practically screamed tourist to all my grandparents' neighbors.

Later that morning, we got cultured! We went to the art museum first. So did everyone else in town.

This is when we got to the abstract art. Jason's least favorite, which is why he looks so thrilled.

Jason and my brother hated this painting, but it was my absolute favorite! The colors and shapes were beautiful and my photo really doesn't do it justice.

A pretty ceiling

This was Jason's favorite. The way the artist painted the sun really was astounding.

This sculpture of St. Louis guards the entrance to the museum.

The snow brought a nasty wind. It was much less pleasant outside that day.

For lunch, my family trekked out to Blues City Deli, a restaurant I read about online. Thank you guys, for putting up with my particular ways!

The drive was worth it because the food was delicious!

The deli was in a, ahem, less-nice part of town, and this car certainly proved it in case we doubted.

We then headed to the History Museum and met my uncle Brian there. I was getting drowsy by this time, but still enjoyed the museum. And the clouds decided to cooperate beautifully for my pictures. The rest of the trip, the sky had been very gray so it was nice to see some blue.

I didn't take many pictures, but I liked the typography in this.

That night, our last night, we took a picture with our amazing hosts: my grandparents (and their cat, Toby).

It was such a wonderful, wonderful trip. I'm endlessly grateful we were able to go this year!