Monday, January 31, 2011

meine Freundinnen

When I was a senior in high school, my family hosted an exchange student. She came to our area as part of an exchange program between her school in Germany and two area schools here.

We were a very good match (what with her excellent English and my questionable - in spite of four years of study - German), bonding over a shared love of U2 and chocolate. And we, along with one of the other exchange students, became fast friends.

When the time came for my German Friends to go home, we made sure we had each other's addresses and promised to keep in touch.

And we actually did!

We sent letters back and forth on a regular basis (back in the days before email was all the rage...), keeping each other up to date on the important, and not so important, events in our lives. We sent each other Christmas and birthday packages each year. We shared photos and stories and little pieces of life from half a world away.

When I was in college, I packed a bag and my family drove me to the airport and hugged me good-bye at the gate. I got on my first ever airplane to fly (all by myself) across the ocean, where my German Friends were waiting for me at their airport. I spent a month as their "exchange student." (Although I might have gotten the better end of that deal, since I arrived in Germany less than a week before their school vacation began. )

And then I went back home. And we resumed writing letters and exchanging Christmas and birthday gifts and being great friends. Just living on opposite sides of an ocean.

But, life is life. And as we grew and changed, it became more difficult to find the time to write letters to friends across oceans. Even after email became "the in thing," letters became shorter, fewer, farther between, always promising to write more later when we had more time.

But more time is hard to find when you are going to college, establishing careers, falling in love, buying homes, getting married, starting families. And little by little, the letters stopped arriving.

However, the one thing that has remained though it all is the yearly package. For all three of us, it has evolved into a combo Christmas/birthday package. One package a year, filled with pictures and chocolates and cards and letters and gifts and love.

Tradition holds that I send my packages to them a few weeks before Christmas each year, and they send a package to me, um, usually by Easter.

My package from Germany arrived today, and my heart smiled. And I looked at pictures that now include husbands and children alongside my German Friends, and I read letters detailing the year they've had. And I smiled.

And I'm very proud of us for managing to grow and change and evolve, and do it all while keeping a trans-Atlantic friendship in tact. For almost 20 years now.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Running is hard.

For the first time ever, I'm doubting if it's worth it. Doubting if it's worth jumping though all the hoops I jump though to run.

And that is a scary feeling for me.

For awhile, things were going so well. I was feeling good, starting to gain back some form, some "speed."

And then January hit. And like so much else, everything in my running world has just unraveled.

The best I can manage is a slow shuffle. If you can even call it that.

And it hurts. Far more than it should.

And I have to stop, sometimes, and walk. Because the running is just too hard.

And some of that pesky swelling I thought I had gotten rid of is back again.


The big spring race is three months away.

I want to be there.

I guess I'm going back to the drawing board. Again.

(February will be better.)


Stride on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

you capture - happy

This week marked the arrival of the first official "it's now in mass distribution" copy of Hubby's 5th book of poetry.

We were happy. And we had our favorite cafe all to ourselves to celebrate. That made us happy, too.

(But then, when does that place not make us happy? I mean, unicorns guard the pie. You don't get that everywhere.)


see more at Beth's

Monday, January 24, 2011

love. no,wait. it's loathe.

This month? It is doing me in. I can't put my finger on it. But I am struggling to get though.

It's like I've encountered this wall of melancholy. And it's far too high to climb over. And it's far too long to get around.

So, basically, I'm just kind of sitting, leaning against it.

I'm trying so hard to make things work. But it's not working.

Or maybe I'm just too depleted to try very hard at all. And that's why it's not working.

Some things I can't change, or can't figure out how to change. Some things I wish would change, but aren't up to me to change. Some things might change eventually, but not in the near future. Some things I just can't figure out at all.

So I've been doing those things I know won't help (eating and eating and eating...), but seem to make it momentarily better. And even as I'm doing it, I know it won't last for more than that moment. But I do it anyway. And then I feel worse. Blah. Blah. Blah.

And part of me knows that it's temporary. That this, too, shall pass. And that part of me tells myself to hang in there, and ride it out; that it will all work itself out soon enough, and then things will get back to normal.

But that's a pretty small part of me.

Most of me is just filled with a stupid amount of guilt and sadness and self-loathing, a whole mountain's worth, sitting right on my shoulders, hunching me over and weighing me down.


Here I sit. Waiting for something, for me, to change.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

you capture - circles

The night before I got married, my dad walked up to me holding a small, green box.

He handed it to me and said "I know you don't like jewelry."

Inside was a beautiful necklace; a sliver circle with a diamond in the middle. It is maybe the prettiest thing I own.

I very rarely wear it. Not because I don't like jewelry. It's just that I don't know what to do with it. It makes me kind of nervous, and maybe a bit self-conscious.

All of the jewelry I wear on a regular basis is rather plain and unassuming. I have spent the majority of my life trying to blend into my surroundings, to not draw attention to myself.

I guess I feel like jewelry is just... Something. I don't really know what. Not meant for me? I don't know.

But sometimes, I put on my necklace that my dad chose for me, and I go look in the mirror. And I remind myself that, once, someone thought I should have something that beautiful.

And then I take it off and put it safely away again.

see more at Beth's

Sunday, January 16, 2011

into a home

When we moved into the house, I brought a collection of furniture and pots and pans and dishes and random household items that had pretty much all belonged to someone else in my family.

When we moved into the house, he brought along a collection of furniture and pots and pans and dishes and random household items that had been scavenged from his failed marriage and given by his parents.

Slowly, over the past few years, we have weeded out. We have sold off. We have given away. We have thrown away.

And, slowly, we are building a space of our own. Filled with things that represent him. And me. And us.

When we moved in, it felt like a house. But now, finally, it's turning in to something more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

you capture - doorways

Home sweet home......

But in another life.....


See more at Beth's

little things

The telephone rang this morning, signaling what might be the latest ever snow day call. I didn't think about the fact that we are now out of built-in snow days; any more will be added on to the end of the year. I didn't get upset that I was already up and dressed and ready for the work day.

Instead, I said a little thank you to the snow day gods and opened a piece of chocolate. (Yep, early in the morning. I know!) And inside the wrapper it said "Happiness is celebrating the little things."

So I changed into sweatpants, made a mug of tea, took another (handful of) chocolate, and curled up on the sofa with my book. To celebrate.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

this is why bears hibernate

It happens every year. I should expect it, but it always blindsides me.

It's cold. Bitterly, stupidly, frostbite inducingly cold.

And it's gray. (And white.)

And it's all that I can do to pull myself through the days.

Because all I really want to do it stay in my pajamas, crawl in to bed under a mountain of covers, and sleep and sleep and sleep.

Because I am tired. So, so tired. And I am cold. All. The. Time.

And I just can't find the energy (ambition?) to do much besides sleep.

Don't get me wrong. I'm going to go, right now, and make some tea and start the day, and I have a big old list sitting on the kitchen counter of things that will get done, because they have to get done.

But all the while, I'm just trying to get it all done as quickly as possible so that I can put my pajamas on again and get back in bed.

It's just so January, isn't it?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

you capture - year's best

You know, it's funny.

When I started looking for my "best" pictures of the past year,

it wasn't about any technical aspects of any of the photos.

It was about why the picture was taken,

what was happening when the the picture was taken,

who was there when the picture was taken.

It was about the reasons for the photos.

It was about the memories contained in the photos.

And it made it so, so, so hard to narrow the list down.

Because 2010?

It was a really great year.


see more at Beth's.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

right now....

listening..... to total silence, very rare, and soon to be interrupted by the laundry machine

eating..... double dipped dark chocolate covered peanuts (kind of a lot of them)

drinking.... good old water (to wash down the peppermint hot cocoa I had earlier)

wishing.... for just one more day of vacation; or seven, whatever

wearing.... warm, comfy, cozy, chunky black turtleneck sweater

enjoying.... a little alone time, a very rare thing for me

feeling.... all muddle-headed; sometimes there's just too much to think about (okay, so maybe it's just that I think too much)

missing.... my grandma, always; I wonder what advice she'd give me today

thankful... for today's run; it wasn't long, but it was good

weather..... cold, good and cold

planning..... to stop eating so much junk, now that Christmas vacation is over (we'll see how that works out)

praying.... for strength, and guidance, and grace; I could really use some right now

making.... new art for my bedroom

wanting.... to figure out how to attach the hanger thingy to the back of my new art for my bedroom

needing.... sleep!

thinking.... that I need to wear fewer turtlenecks and work in more of my other clothing, but I'm always freezing, so I have to figure out how to layer properly without looking like Nanook of the North

dreaming..... of a good, long, cold weather hike; maybe next weekend (sigh)

loving.... that I actually managed to watch Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse before I had to go back to work (because I refused to watch Eclipse, even though I bought it the day it came out, until I could watch all three in a row... I heart vampires.... And wolves)