Monday, January 11, 2016

The first married-life, pre-baby, post-weekend brain dump in the history of NatA!

It's embarrassing how the most inconsequential things make me feel like I'm winning at adulthood. Especially when said 'win' was something I've avoided doing for several years, where it's had a permanent place on my To Do list. I'm talking of course, about cleaning out the bathroom cupboards and drawers. Both of them. What a sweet sense of relief to have that terrible job completed.

In addition, we also sorted through the latest tidal wave of stuff deposited in the baby's room/spare room and the gym. Fantastic to be able to see and navigate the floors again; a bit disheartening to know that the contents of both closets have to be completely flipped. And once we're ready to assemble the nursery... yikes. We've got some furniture figuring out to do.

[Sidenote: I'm determined to complete so many house things while I'm feeling good and before the baby comes. Every thing I've read/heard indicates you won't get a thing done during maternity leave, and knowing how lazy I am clearly that sounds like the dream.]

This legitimately might be the most boring blog post of all time. I'm sorry. How about a photo of some of the wonderful wares purchased in Meridian, Idaho of all places? We stopped for the night both to and from Utah for the holidays and found ourselves with several hours to burn (trying to avoid the ghetto-ness of our $60/night rooms). Both trips held the exact same evening itinerary. Texas Roadhouse, Hobby Lobby for nursery prints, Marshalls/TJ Maxx for baby clothes. We hit the jackpot on the way home. These three outfits are Baby Girl's first stylized outfits.

Also this weekend? There were a few Blazers tickets floating around the office late Friday and knowing A) the visiting team (Golden State) is good and B) our time of being free and easy is coming to an end, I scooped them up. Paul came to my end of town where we had a quick happy hour nacho/bean dip deliciousness of a dinner (made even more fantastic by the fact we've been eating crazy healthy since the new year) and then braved the traffic and cold to get to the Moda Center for the Blazers Game.
We had a really great time enjoying the atmosphere, sitting for 99.9% of the game (bless the fact that our seats have no one in front of them and a bar on which to rest your feet), and just talking/laughing together. Oh, and planning out how we'd spend the Powerball lottery winnings should we win them.  It's very important to have this stuff figured out before your life changes forever you see.

And now that we have 9:00 church the wide expanse of Sunday afternoon is this delicious thing that typically includes stretchy pants, naps, TV, food, calling-related tasks, and anything else our little hearts desire. Though I loathe waking up 'early', I won't lie about how nice that afternoon is. This Sunday was made extra special by a [TMI ALERT!] 24-hour urine collection I had to complete for a test because though I'm having the easiest pregnancy of all time there's a random hiccup every now and then that requires some attention. (In this case, protein in my last urine test which may require a kidney specialist OR might mean I simply didn't drink enough water before my last test; which duh, my vote is on the latter.)

Shall we call this a weekend brain dump? Okay!

Friday, January 08, 2016

2015: The Recap (as voted on by the public)

Life continues to move, the days feeling long but the weeks speeding by. 2015 was a roller coaster of a year for me and Paul; there were many days in the first part of the year that required a near-daily reminder that we could do hard things and tomorrow was a new day. The specifics of 2015 are included in the yearly write-up he and I put together (offline for all the good, juicy, private stuff) but the passing of the year bears some sort of acknowledgement and recap.

The picture below is a collage of my nine most 'liked' photos on Instagram. They share themes which doesn't explain the variety of excitement and turmoil achieved in 2015, but it's a start.

From top left to right, down a row, from left to right: rinse and repeat:
  1. We're expecting a baby! A few fun facts: I really felt like I was pregnant and took a test one hour before leaving for Hood to Coast. Of course it came back positive and Paul and I had about 45 minutes to celebrate together before I was off for two days in a 200-mile nonstop running relay where I couldn't tell anyone; especially my two sisters who were in my van. Paul and I kept texting each other, marveling in excitement, and the thought of the upcoming baby gave my brain something to work through on my few runs. We waited until 16 weeks to tell the general public, and as I'm still hardly showing at six months it could have been kept even bigger of a secret! Also, probably TMI but no one reads blogs anymore, so here goes! Baby Judd was conceived on the first cycle of trying, in Switzerland of all places. (Not a bad start to life.)
  2. Paul passed the Federal Patent Bar test. Ohhhhhhhhhhh was this a big one. He didn't pass on his first go-round, so the pressure was on, and with a 46% pass rate, the test is no walk in the park. In addition to studying for the test he was also finishing law school and being our home operations manager. We both cried when he passed; sadly, I was stuck at work (on a Friday night) until 8pm working on agency rebrand stuff (see difficult turmoil description above) but I can't describe the relief we both felt his passing. Nearly a year later his test score is still taped to the cabinet in our kitchen.
  3. This photo of my four nephews was our public announcement that we're having a GIRL baby. After a four-boy streak in the Wms sisters (Alaina and Kendall's little guys) we're shocking the world by introducing a baby girl into it. Our ward (which we've grown exceptionally close to this year as well) hasn't had a girl in nearly 2+ years as well, so needless to say everyone is very excited. Also, I can't stop buying clothes.
  4. Paul graduated from Law School! Both our sets of parents came into town on Memorial Day Weekend for the Saturday celebration. We hosted a BBQ at our home with friends and family and took visiting parental sets to hike Wachlela Falls. Neither of Paul's parents are college graduates and he's the first of his siblings to get a graduate degree, so basically he's an all-star. (And now all of the Wms daughters are married to men with graduate degrees. Crazy.)
  5. WE WENT TO NEW YORK CITY AT CHRISTMASTIME, it was divine, and I was pregnant. I needed to travel to Boston for some emergency work meetings and it seemed like a good time to take Paul with me and for us to do a quick weekend in NYC (my favorite city on earth). While there we walked 15 and 9 miles each day and the maternity pants I was wearing were saggy enough that they required me to pull them up basically always. Frustrating, but everything else was DIVINE. One of my long-term bucket list items is to be in the City at Christmastime in love, and boy oh boy this trip satisfied that requirement. Maybe this trip will get a post of its own (unlikely but hope springs eternal!) but it was glorious and one of my favorite things Paul and I have done together.  (Also, Paul beat ridiculous odds to win lottery tickets to see Hamilton, one of the main reasons for the trip, and my every wish came true, we sat dead center front row, and I basically died.
  6. Athens in front of the Parthenon, in 105+ degree heat. To celebrate our survival of the first half of the year (my work, the Patent Bar, Paul taking the Oregon State Bar), we went on a European Extravaganza Adventure. The first week was an Eastern Mediterranean cruise (Venice, Split and Dubrovnik Croatia, Athens, Ephesus Turkey) with my parents and the second week was Paul and I driving through Bavaria--Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland. The fact that more of our incredible trip isn't represented on this grid shows you the kind of BIG news we had this year, huh? 
  7. In November we celebrated two years of marriage. I love this side by side photo of Paul and I. We were happy then, but we're even happier now! 2015 was also the year I finally got my wedding book printed, so that's clearly an accomplishment of its own.
  8. I continue to decorate our house like a crazy person for Christmas. I love it so much and I'm grateful Paul will help me put it up AND take it down. This year some visiting children counted 18 baby Jesus(es?) so my nativity game continues to be strong. We bought new ones in Germany and Austria this year.
  9. Venice! The first stop on our Euro Adventure (from where our cruise ship embarked) and we hadn't really told that many people we were traveling so I think it was a surprise to most. I've been to several Italian cities, but Venice has been my favorite. We rented an AirBnb apartment 100 feet off the Grand Canal and spoke Spanish with our Cuban renter (in Italy of all places). The world is a funny place.
So there you go! The high points of 2015! So much more bears documentation and we've made a concerted effort to write some of it down. In case you're interested in doing it yourself (which I strongly recommend!), here's the format we complete at the end of each year:
  • 10 Highlights
  • 5 Disappointments
  • Game Changers
  • Things You Focused On
  • Places You Visited
As blogs are going the way of the wind, writing something down, even as simple as the above (which usually ends up being about two type-written pages) is helping us document our life together. It's not a shabby one!

Phew! Did you make it through our year? We did. (Just barely.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My husband doesn't like the same TV as me and it's the pits

Cruising through the archives of yore, you might notice (or remember all on your own--welcome back dear readers!) that I talk about TV quite a bit. Frankly, a rather absurd amount but you're not here to judge me (unless this is a hate read of yours and then...well, we all have those we like to follow, so why should I fault you yours?) so the conversation continues!

So one day you find yourself married. And the dude you've hitched your wagon to for the next couple hundred million years doesn't care for manufactured drama. Or TV. (Or movies really.) Total bummer.

But he's still taller than I am so I didn't lose everything on my list.

Paul loves me though, and we've found some middle ground. In good news, he wants to spend time with me, so we've reached some compromises. What follows is a list of Paul's tolerance levels for my shows (also, the compromises I've had to make):

Shows Enjoyed Together (no devices allowed)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Fresh Off the Boat

Shows Enjoyed Together (devices allowed)

Any and all HGTV shows
The Amazing Race (some day I'll post our audition video)
Mindy Project
New Girl
Modern Family
Orphan Black (seasons 1 & 2, then the boy clones got introduced and we haven't watched since)
Daredevil (where everyone has a Christian Bale Batman voice)

He's Hit or Miss, But Mostly Joins

Grey's Anatomy (the show that will never end)
Empire (too absurd to take seriously)
Downton Abbey (is it ever coming back for another season?)

The Show He Refuses to Watch, Abhors Above All Else

Nashville (sorry Connie Britton; I tried)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Guess who's back, back again?

Remember when everyone used to blog? And we had to tell our stories mostly with words? Those were the days. Earlier this week I took a spin through my last few blog posts and I was like, "Nat! You used to be such a good writer!"

Now the bulk of the writing I do is for work emails. #progress

(Also, hashtags. They're a thing now.)

But I'm thinking about bringing blogging back! Because a lot has changed since I gave up documenting my life three years ago--and that's a dark hole my memory will only be able to remember in photo, which is kind of sad, because I'm a words person!

And now I have a husband! And a house! And full fledged adult responsibilities that require a level of adulting I'm sure has been misplaced (managing a team! managing two sets of full-time missionaries with my ward mission leader husbot!), but I'm doing the best I can.

Because I'll never, ever, ever get back together with the ins and outs of the last three years, this video of Paul and my first 14 months together will have to try and cover some of the distance. 

Someone else join me in bringing blogging back!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Too bad I quit blogging before I told you about the best London/Paris summer of my life.

I started writing the night before my 30th and lost patience with the inability to express myself.  I don't want to let what I did put together get lost in the shuffle of files on my Desktop, so thanks Blogger (new redesign, what?!) for being the journal I basically quit write in on occasion.  The thoughts of my mind will never truly be finished, so here's the snapshot on the last day of 29.

It’s not often I feel unable to express the thoughts and feelings and connecting threads of my heart and mind and gut. Tonight, the last night of my twenties, I feel inadequate at the task of compiling my feelings and taking a meaningful stab at portraying the goodness and wonder and un-believability of my life on the eve of my dive into the 30+ age bracket.

For as organized as I am, I’ve never been a long-term planner. I never had a life plan with milestones set by age which has probably allowed me to love the life I’ve been given and the route it took me to get here. The life I live is an accumulation of small scale goals, personal challenges, and blessings from above so rich in abundance that I still can’t quite believe this is my life.

Where my last year has been rife with change of the temporal variety, the last decade has been fraught with self-perpetuated personal change. While I’m fundamentally the same flesh and blood, I hardly recognize the girl I was ten years ago. I've worked really, really hard at refining who I am. I joke with my oldest friends, congratulating them on their high return on investment. Theirs was a long-term gamble whose dividends were hardly worth mentioning in those early years. 

My 20's taught me resiliency. Flexibility. Faith. I'm proud of who I've become while recognizing the difficult conversations, the hard inward looks and the patience it took to become a better version of me. The coolest (slash scariest) part is that the process is never really finished. What will I learn in the next ten years?

The first day of my 30th year is welcome; I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I will forever mourn the fact I didn't write a 29th birthday letter. I'll blame the packing my Boston life away for that one, but I regret not writing deeply.
Turning 28
Turning 27

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coastal Memories

Not only is Memorial Day the official summer kickoff, it's also the first paid-vacation-holiday of the year... which means I generally try to get out and about. (See: checking out the Czech Republic, hiking the death march with Katie in Colorado Springs, visiting the Chinese cemetery in Baker City, camping at Acadia National Park in Maine, singing kareoke with sailors during Fleet Week in New York City, commandeering a beach house in Connecticut.) This weekend proved no different as a friend had a hook-up to a beach house at the coast here in Oregon.

Without a doubt, the long weekend proved to be one of the best of the year. It was colder than any of us would have preferred, but it didn't rain, most of us still managed to get into the crashing surf (even if forced because the losing volleyball team had consequences), and the sun managed to come out on Monday. Any trip where you come home with more color than you left must be deemed a success.

How many years of my life have I been the tallest person girl in my group of friends? Newsflash: I'm the shortie around here now. It's an alternate universe, I'll tell you what. These girls are my favorites:There aren't photos that capture what we spent the majority of our time doing, and that's eating. We brought groceries and foodstuffs for 25 15 and only ever had 10 people. Three full meals a day is 1.5 more than I normally eat, plus snacks, and two trips to Mo's and man oh man it's a miracle I didn't come home 10 lbs and/or two sizes larger than I left.
Perhaps my biggest accomplishment of the trip (besides being the first to bed every night... who am I anymore?) was that I got out running two times. Granted, I didn't go very far or very fast, but as someone who's never exercised on vacation, it was a crazy step in the right direction. I'm only sorry I missed the Insanity workout most of the other folks did... I'm running a dumb Half in less than two weeks, and surely you remember that miles are miles and they must be logged.
Though the pictures don't show it, we spent most of our time on the sand playing beach volleyball, inside the house playing games and laughing uproariously, or hip-shaking to the ghetto-thumper playlist we kept cycling through while playing, cleaning, preparing food, etc.

Getting back into the swing of things has been pretty gnarly, I won't lie -- who ever really loves going back to real life? I have a feeling this summer is going to be a good one...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Months and Hometown Glory

The radio silence hasn’t been intentional, not at all. Until last night I thought it rather accidental to be honest.

Back Bay view from Storrow Drive
My grand epiphany came as most are wont to—one thought, then two, then many that appeared from nowhere while walking alone on brick paths reflecting the light of the streetlights, the cobblestones slick with the rain that continued to fall. Have I appropriately painted the picture of Adele’s “Hometown Glory*”? In this case, the description isn’t a cliché—it really happened wandering from work to my hotel; the distance between Seaport and the Back Bay just long enough to make sense of the jumble of thoughts in my mind.

You wouldn’t know because I didn’t announce it very loudly in advance, but I’ve spent the last week in Boston for work. [Enter mixed emotions I’ll try my darndest to explain.]

It’s been five months since I left and I’ve been quieter in the online world. My blog has lain mostly dormant and fewer Facebook photos, updates, comments, etc. have been posted as I’ve spent time bridging the gap between what I affectionately call my Old and New life. My Old life was comfortable and I was doing some incredible things in all areas of my life. I didn’t feel like my soul was in a rut; but the routine of my life most definitely was.

The transition to Portland has been thrilling. I’ve spent my fair share of time feeling anxiously queasy with nerves, attempting to navigate a new social, vocational, and spiritual scene—but I’m learning that those feelings are conquerable with the right attitude and willingness to fake it til you make it. I’ve proved yet again, that people are interested in you if you’re interested in them and that there are incredibly nice, good people everywhere trying to do the right thing. I’ve learned that the presence of hope is a powerful motivator and can be a sustaining force in the face of crippling nostalgia.

In my New life, I wake feeling like anything could happen.

Last night, with the rain and the quiet and the ability to hear my own brain making sense of my week in the City—the City that I still and will always love—I felt the closure I didn’t know I needed on a lengthy chapter of my life I thought I’d already closed. Call it luck or call it Providence, but I was able to spend meaningful time with everyone I wanted to in my brief time (and still manage to squeeze in that pesky thing called work). Relationships with the people I care so very much about were picked right back up and five months of time were erased as soon as hugs and easy-laughs were exchanged. Instead of feeling queasy social unease, I felt like a superstar. I won’t lie… it’s not a bad way to feel. But I’ve been gone five months, and I know how much my life has changed in the last five months and it felt weird that no one knew about it. It was almost too easy, slipping back into the habit and the routine of being here. Those five months could have never happened—but they have, and I like that they have.

I’ve never had doubts about my decision to leave Boston, not once. Outside of my own subjective view, it probably sounds cold—I had a gorgeous life there full of good people who loved and cared about me. (Still do, and are actively vocal about that fact—I’m a lucky girl.) Still, when I received two texts on the same day from two of my new Portland friends asking “When are you coming home?”, the gamut of emotions you guys—I’m incapable of expressing them. My trip to Boston was the round-trip ticket on my decision to leave. I didn’t know I needed to return to come full circle.

Subconsciously, I haven’t felt right talking much about my forward because I hadn’t fully said goodbye to my back. I hope I don’t ruffle any feathers when I say this and you might be shocked if you know how nostalgic of a person I am, but the last week has fully confirmed that there’s nothing left for me in Boston anymore. I will 1,000 percent cherish every memory I have in that place (and keep up the associated relationships that originated in the 617), but the era of my life located there has passed, and my heart no longer resides in Boston. My life is no longer in Boston.

Like I said, the presence of hope is a powerful motivator. And I’m ready to go home.

*Fourteen listens to write this posts.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

thirty-four days

There are evenings every now and again when I feel like it's all coming together. That I'm not on an extended reprieve from the life I'd known for so long and that a future with new plans and people is starting to coalesce. Of course there are also evenings when I feel like I need to take a hard look at the expectations I have for my new circumstances and readjust my thinking to better reflect reality.

In not so many words, things have been good. When I take the pause to count the days I've actually lived in Oregon (34 to be exact) I'm floored by the progress I've made in terms of people I've met (and remembered), social events I've attended, invitations that have been extended, and opportunities I've had to serve. Thirty-four days is a blink of the eye, so taking the time to reflect has been nothing but a good thing.

My writing might not make much sense--no surprise there, it's hard to sift through and categorize it in my mind. Explaining it becomes less important when I tell you that I'm happy, right?

In sad news, in the last 34 days I lost my dream home in a bidding war, housed a raging flu and bronchial cough that'd hurt your lungs to hear, traveled to San Francisco (yay!) while under the weather, worked some stressful weeks, said some things I shouldn't have said, didn't say some things I should have said, and have yet to exercise one time. To be coming out happy on the far side of that should prove to you that things are better than I'm letting on.

I haven't spoken/text/chat/emailed much with my Boston life. It hasn't been a conscious effort to leave it alone, simply a survival technique to focus on the effort required to move ahead. Thirty-four days doesn't accurately reflect the number of days I feel removed from the people and that place. In some regard, there's a chasm in my brain that separates my lives--but that chasm will be so easy bridged as soon as I come face-to-face with someone whom I love or I step foot into that city I adore.

I feel empowered by hope. Thirty-four days here has given me a pretty good (realistic) look at what my life will be like here in Portland. No, it's not what I imagined it would be during my planning--but I've discovered in this not so short and also very long time, that my success here depends solely on me. It's a bit daunting, and on more than one occasion has felt exhaustingly overwhelming, but if there's one person in this world I trust, it's me. Sink or swim, it's in my hands. I'm grateful that my spiritual faith is not only a catalyst for action but also a comfort in those moments when I'm paralyzed by fear. I have both a hope and faith that things will all work out in the end.

"Work out" yet to be determined, but it's going to be great.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

count on facebook... sum it up better than i can:

But really. There are hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands of words that could, should, and really ought to be written about the bi-coastal, life-altering uprooting I just went through, but I'm both at a temporary loss to pen them and still trying to recover from the soul-numbing exhaustion required to manage that kind of herculean effort.

Let's just say it still doesn't feel real.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I kind of always forget that I love Halloween until it's time to come up with costumes. Might I present this year's selection.

Sexy Ghost
(Yup, that's a terrible, awful, no-good snowstorm in Boston in October. Thanks nature.)

*I started calling Halloween "Halls" in 2007 when it seemed like Julie and I discussed the holiday on instant message non stop. Got tired of writing the whole thing and it's kind of stuck. To date, I think she's the only one's familiar with this term. Now you all are too. Spread it like it's true.

Friday, September 30, 2011

kids! kids! everywhere kids!

In hindsight, I wonder how much of my Gram's passing was the subconscious catalyst to take the plunge and move back closer to home. Being out West to celebrate her life reminded me how much and why I love being with my family.

My sass-a-frass niece Adrie was born four months before I moved to Boston five years ago this month. Most of the weekends before I moved were spent with her and it's actually pretty hard to imagine I've lived East the vast majority of her life. Five years later our family has divided and conquered again and again and I've got these two sweet guys. How can I not want to be closer to these guys?
Henry Rex, Adrie, Elliot

True, they all live in Utah and I'll be in Portland, but one time zone is certainly closer than three. At least the last time I checked. Crazy to think how different they'll be even at Christmas. Hopefully one of them will be mobile enough by then to fetch me a Diet Coke.

Oh also! I haven't plugged my sister Alaina's photography in quite some time but holy freak is she good! If you're in the Utah area, give her a buzz and have her capture your family. She's brilliant and has a million satisfied clients.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

home is wherever you get mail

Holy crap. I just put down an offer on a house. This house. The ski chalet!
Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sittin' pretty

My friend Melissa does a really awesome job of posting quick snapshot blogs. I should do better about that--Mel, you inspire me! So before I make all the best intentions but never get to them, a snapshot blog (with photo!) for your viewing pleasure regarding something that happened just last night. JUST LAST NIGHT!

I have a very short bucket list (of attainable items). I also have a Bucket List Lite(TM) that's full of just super awesome things I'd like to do or places I'd like to see. Major sporting events always, always make the list. (Did I write to tell you I went to the US Open Women's Final last week? Oh that's right, no. I'm a terrible blogger.)

When a good friend from Boston days of yore calls up as he's back in town for the medium-distant future and wants to take you to the Sox game with tickets on the front row next to the Sox dugout, you just change your plans and say yes.
The Sox lost* (sad panda) but the night was that supremely gorgeous temperature where it's crisp but not cold, I ate a deeeeelicious hot dog, and caught up on the last few years of time. Cheers to old friends. AND SHORT BLOGS.
* I will admit to not being too broken up when the Sox lose, my heart's just not in it the way it is when I leave the Garden after a Celtics game. (And I think I'm bad luck for the Sox; they lose almost every time I'm there.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

the september issue

Incredible isn't a strong enough word to describe a situation developing at work. I work in the internet (rah! rah! rah!) but through some wild and crazy connections, we're partnering with a company that's pitching a reality fashion television show that already has the backing of one of the major fashion magazines. (My company would be providing the digital support for the show.) SO. I've been to New York City twice in the last three weeks, meeting with insane companies with insane brands and OHMYGOSH is this really happening? Let's just say that dressing for these meetings has been more than a bit intimidating.

Friday I had a meeting in the Empire State Building. IN. IT. I've love love loved NYC as long as I can remember and to have a meeting in the actual building? Oofta. I still can't really believe it. But it went well. Really well. If all goes as well as planned, filming could begin sooner than you'd think and I gleaned a promise from those that matter that I'd get to be on set. Too, too many of my favorite things colliding. I wish I could take you all with me.

I got home from the City just this afternoon after having spent an extra day hanging out with some girls who were on my Holy Land Adventure this summer. It was so lovely catching up, but I spent a few hours in the City by myself yesterday doing some things I've wanted to do for quite awhile including Mood Fabrics, Ground Zero, Battery Park, Century 21, Times Square and Canal Street.
The impressive (for me) part of the whole day was a) how far I walked (still feeling it!) and b) I didn't have a smartphone at my every whim. My battery dies much too much too fast so I relied on my innate sense of direction (seriously, that might be my most marriable skill) and my own two wandering feet to find what I needed. It also meant I wasn't listening to music or reading/texting on the subway or when I sat alone at dinner; but instead I simply got to listen to the sounds of the City. Oh, how I'll miss New York when I head West. But all good things must come to a end.

Until I have to come back out for another big-timey-what-am-I-adding-to-this-meeting meeting. And then the hunt for fashiony fashion clothing begins again. Because it's stressful, but heLLO, it's also very fun.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

home sweet to be

Coming Soon:

Today is all about the media blitz in sharing my news. I'll hit the five-year mark in Boston and that's when I'll pack it up (pack it in) and head for greener pastures. (ETA: December 25, 2011)

More to come about the move, the decision, and what it all stinking means.

Sidenote: I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor(ious) Weekend

The Motivation Bug(TM) hit me this long weekend which we all know comes around about as often as the Olympics. And in the last three days I have legitimately touched every single thing I own, which is no small feat if you know the stuff sprawl that is my life. For funsies sake, here's a bulleted list!

Before we get started however, a fun legend to help you understand the massive undertaking that constitutes the contents of my closet.
  1. Closet #1 - Pants, folded shirts, under-wares, socks, sweaters, sweatshirts, bathingsuits
  2. Closet #2 - Hanging shirts, dresses, shoes
  3. Hanging Armoire - Blazers, skirts
  4. Armoire cupboards - Exercise clothes, pajamas
And now! On to the bulleted list!
  • Weed through Closet #1 and make pile of clothes for consignment.
  • Weed through Closet #2 and add to pile of clothes for consignment.
  • Throw away old t-shirts, refold exercise clothes, add to pile of clothes.
  • Sift through the baskets of health/beauty, life stuff. Throw away + organize.
  • Rummage through the (office-based) bins in my room I pulled out of the storage unit last month. Throw away + organize.
  • Clean through the contents in my desk. Throw away + organize.
  • Gather all costumes (whyyyyyyyy do I have so many?) into a single place and put into storage unit. Also in the costume bin, swimsuits and hats. (Unrelated: If our building were burning down, do you think I'd grab this bin?)
  • Organize and condense bins/boxes in the storage unit.
  • Return items to TJ Maxx, Target, Marshall's, Sports Authority. (Newsflash: sometimes I have a problem buying things and sitting on them for awhile to see if I'll actually use/wear. I think this makes me a terrible person.)
  • Two loads laundry.
  • Tackle the front hall closet that hasn't been touched since we moved in several years ago. FOUND: all my handbags, cardmaking supplies, tennis racket. Review the contents of my 72-hour kit and decide it's probably still mostly good.
  • Vacuum bedroom.
And then Saturday ended. I think I rested on Sunday but truth be told I can't even really remember. And now Monday's list...
  • Tackle under the sink in my bathroom. Holy makeup and hair ties. Note to self: never buy hair ties again. In fact, I think I should put some into my 72-hour kit because heaven knows hair ties will be CURRENCY in the Apocalypse because there's nothing worse than hair in your face when you don't want it to be.
  • Clean bathroom.
  • Empty the contents of our front room closet which has been a dumping ground for excess paper goods, kitchen gadgets, home decorations, water bottles and coats for the last three years. Organize + throw away. Decide it's time to put out our Halloween decorations. Summer, be gone!
  • Organize pots & pans cupboard which is a nightmare in 95% of American households, probably yours included.
  • Wipe down stuff on top of fridge, and you guessed it -- organize and throw away.
  • Rinse, repeat with food cupboards.
  • Do dishes in the sink, start dishwasher.
  • Made bean dip, which at first type wrote as 'beandip'. Why isn't this the acceptable spelling? Oh wait, probably because our brains are programmed to read -and- in the middle of any word and process it incorrectly. Are there words with -and- in the middle (meaning multiple letters on both sides) that look correct? Be and ip. Yes! I'll have some!
And well I think that's it. The only thing I promised myself I'd do this weekend was the self-evaluation for my yearly review. 5:55 on the Monday night of a long holiday weekend. Ask me if it's started. Oh right, definitely not. Weekend totally wasted!

Friday, September 02, 2011

These boots are made for walkin'

Every year, no wait, I'll reiterate, every. year. I promise myself I'm going to figure out the Winter shoe situation. Laugh if you want that it's only the first of September (goodbye Summer!) but the start of Winter is just around the corner and despite my every. year. promise, I'm horrible when it comes to shoe selection when it gets nasty outside.

This cold season will be my sixth in Boston. Sixth. S i x t h. So I've been ahead of the curve on quite a few in the future things (see wrapping and distributing my Christmas gifts last month) and have been scouting for boots all over both internet and brick and mortar stores.

And I've done it. Completed my collection of frisky fall and wearable winter boots. For your viewing pleasure...

Only one are in my physical possession, but ask me in 7-10 business days how I'm doing with the browns.

If you've got a favorite pair of boots I should know about, link me in the comments!

Also: I have wrapped and distributed my Christmas gifts already. Do you think there's something wrong with me?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Very little thoughts from PDX

Tonight ends another two-week stay here in Portland. This summer has whisked right by--maybe it wouldn't if I actually spent more than a few weeks in once place, do you think? I'm headed to San Francisco for the week for a work conference, so the delay on returning to my own bed continues. This trip, combined with a week in Cleveland for work and almost 3 weeks in the Holy Land in June means I've spent approximately 4.3 nights in my own bed this summer.

Hey look! I finally after six years of requests took a bike ride in Portland. I get so nervous you know, I've never had a bike of my own, so starting, stopping, weaving, traffic, people, cars, streets, etc. it all makes me a bit nervous. But Mom really wanted us to go, so I got brave and did the 12-mile loop into and around downtown Portland. It was a gorgeous day and ended up being a great ride. If I ever moved here, maybe I'd get brave and try to quit being such a drain on the earth. But we all know I'd make the ride once and that would be the end of that story.
While I miss my home and routine in Boston, I really do love traveling. When I'm away from home I really feel like anything could happen at any time. I'm logical enough to know that's still the case in Boston, but I enjoy this sense of suspended reality when I'm gone. I could move to Portland at any point (and keep my same job), but I just don't think I'm ready to give up the flexibility I have of being hubbed from two coasts. That being said, this trip has definitely given me a lot to think about.

So how's this for an update non-update? I'm healthy, wealthy (enough), and wise (enough). Perhaps that's update enough.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

"Hi Gram, it's Nat."

If you love me at all, you'll understand that a piece of my heart tore while writing this piece: Flash Reaction to Death - 90 Minutes and Counting.

My grandmother was one of my best friends and absolutely my favorite person on earth. Now she'll have to be my favorite person in Heaven.

I was able to say some final words to her today on the phone (which is one of the biggest miracles of my life). Fun fact: I told her to find and send me someone good. She laughed.

Those are the exchanges that I'll miss.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

i'd pin that

I'm back from the Middle East. And clearly struggling with what to say about the 3 weeks I spent in the Holy Land. I finally posted the last of my photos (Jordan, Israel, Egypt) and that was overwhelming enough. But I want to share, so hold tight.

In the meantime, check out the things I think are beautiful, thoughtful, or projects/foodstuffs I want to give a try. The groupings below (click the image to link through) are boards I'm cultivating with stuff I love. Enjoy yourself, and lemme know if you want an invite.

I think I'm going to try painting a wall in my bedroom like this, found through the gorgeousness found above.

Lastly, in case you were on pins and needles wondering what I think about Google+, don't be. I don't think much of it. The end.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

If I die young, bury me in satin

Tonight, I wrote the "if I unexpectedly and tragically die in the Middle East, here's where my usernames and passwords are" email to my parents tonight. You see, my trip to THE HOLY LAND(TM) begins late Friday night and I'm scurrying to get my affairs in order before I leave.

And of course, my car decides to up and quit on me Monday night. It's cool, just kind of hard to run errands and get everything all situated when you're somewhat housebound. But I've been half packing my bag for 2 months now (seriously, my clothing collection is color and theme coordinated for maximum mix-and-match-ability and wash-in-the-sink-ness).

But this post isn't about the future, it's an homage to the last six weeks of my life that have been full but woefully underrepresented in this fine establishment. When I come back it'll be all about camels and me looking like a hot and sweaty mess for 17 days. (SEVENTEEN DAYS.) [Side story: I walked to a client meeting today {see broken car above} and nearly died outside. Temperature only read 82. It's 104 in Cairo next week. I'll be there in +2 weeks. YIKES.)

So Spring 2011! You were good to me. Some highlights:

The Great Urban Race - my friend Meridith asked me if I wanted to compete with her in an Amazing Race-style scavenger hunt in and around town one flash-storm Saturday. We raced all over Cambridge and Boston, I felt very out of shape, fell down and bled, got rained on, took the bus (3 times), the T, ran and ran and answered clues, passed obstacles, and finished 23rd out of 400+ teams! We qualified for Nationals in New Orleans, but I guess we'll pass since neither of us have been there.

Family on the East Coast SON! If you haven't heard, Kendall, Josh and lil baby Henry are in Brooklyn for the summer and came up to Boston for three amazing days and nights. We ate, laughed, walked on the Charles, went to the Old North Bridge, checked out my office building and accidentally managed to match every single day. (Blue at the Old North Bridge, Red in Cambridge.) It's rather uncanny. I left to camp for Memorial Day (see below) and Kendall and Josh scrubbed my bathroom, did my laundry, organized my kitchen cupboards and left frozen cookie-dough balls in the freezer. Naturally, I'm itching for them to return.

Camping in Acadia National Park - I've wanted to do this since I moved to Boston and wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, someone else put the trip together. I rekindled my love of hot dogs over an open campfire and was somewhat floored how hard it was for everyone to put their phones away. (YouTube videos around a campfire? You're FIRED.) The weather was brisk but unfortunately pretty overcast and foggy. We hiked to the top of a small mountain but couldn't see one thing. With a little luck, it cleared on our last day and we drove to the top of a peak, caught some great views, ate a lobster, and headed back to Boston.

I also went to Houston to visit Julie. We don't take photos of ourselves anymore.

In between all of the above, I managed to win not one, but two Biggest Loser competitions. Neither were all that competitive, but it feels nice to be feeling better about fitting my clothes better. Here's hoping I drop another few while traveling where the food might be questionable, none of my favorite candies to purchase, and a metric ton of sweat to be shed from my body every day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

To more photos! warmer weather! and homemade rolls!

Once upon a December a time, nary a post would pass that didn't feature some photos. Now it's all chitty chat chat all the time. I shall blame it upon the dreary months known as January, February, March, and (if you're in New England and the winter stretches especially long {which it does nearly ever year [and I should know since it's my 5th]}) April.

Can we pause for a moment of silence for that incredible display of parenthetical bracketing that just took place?

Slim to nothing happens in Q1. The sky is dreary, the skin is pale, and the winter hibernation has added a few bonus pounds to a troublespot or two. Nothing a titch of warmer weather or a holiday can't fix!!

It never ceases to amaze me that despite the weather predictions, Easter morning dawns sunny, warm and bright. (Side note: wrote another spiritual piece titled Travel dreams and 365-days of Easter that I'd love for you to check out.)

So, it was on this sunny, warm, bright, holi-day, that I decided the Winter of our DisconNotTakingPhotos would end. After church, decked in our unexpectedly new Easter dresses, Colleen and I headed down to the river to take in some sun and take a photo or two.

Par for my photo-taking course, most of my photos ended up like this:
While most of Colleen's ended up looking like this:
It's fine. She's the more photogenic of the two of us, but I'm the taller.

And then! For only the second time in my Boston history, I took part in an Easter potluck dinner with my Boston family. Our dinner had a roast beef and a leg of lamb and salads, and green beans, and potatoes, and a host of other goodies. And hold on to your hats when I tell you I made, from scratch and three frantic phone calls to my mom those dinner rolls you see below. I'm ready to take this show on the road now.
So there you have it. All kinds of things I don't often do. Photo well or bake. Here's to all of the thing listed in exclamation points above!

Monday, April 18, 2011

miraculous love advice

Boy oh boy do I have smart readers. Who either told me what I wanted to hear or we're all on the same page when it comes to finding the right one. (Since I know so many amazing women, I'll assume it's the latter.)

The responses were awesome. So awesome in fact, that I wanted to create an image of the words most frequently used. (You should read them all. Again, here's the link. It'll just pop-right up. Do it.)
Well well well, look at that biggest, boldest word there is... TIME. Well guess who's got it?

Also, probably my second favorite word that was mentioned enough times to gain pixel size is the word "become". Because we all (marrieds! singles!) can be doing that, regardless of life stage.

Anything stick out to you? Or follow-up comments anyone wants to share? I feel like being interactive. BECAUSE I'M PUTTING MYSELF OUT THERE YOU KNOW.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Blame Game and why I don't play

Alternate title: The one where Nat finally talks about Dating

For the most part, other than a few exceptions here and there (that I'll have to mentally catalog at some point in the not too distant future), I don't play the Blame Game. I can take ownership for how I'm feeling, how I'm behaving, and I can admit that I'm wrong. Or that I'm unreasonable. (Or that I don't stand too close to black lights because my front teeth are capped and it's mortifying to have them glow in the dark brighter than the others.)

I've noticed an alarming trend in both real and fake Facebook life. It seems that everyone is blaming everyone for everything. E v e r y t h i n g. I don't even have to give you outlandish examples because chances are good you've seen them on your own. Have you noticed it? Are you as bothered about it as I am? Or am I noticing all the red cars on the road after I too purchase a red car?

In the last few weeks, there's been an inordinate amount of dating and relationship blame game happening on Facebook; some of it no-doubt prompted by some of the talks given at a General Conference my church has twice a year. What a disaster. Rarely, if ever (and if by ever do I really mean never) do I discuss dating here. Well surprise! I'm 9 days from my 5-year blogavversary and I finally have something to say. Raise your hand if you agree with me. Or leaving me a scathing comment if you don't. But I can't handle it one second longer.

Love is a miracle. The hows, whys, and whens about two people loving each other the same unconditional amount to settle down and commit to each other for eternity--well boy howdy, I don't think that's something you can manufacture. (Ignore the nuances between can and should for the sake of my argument.) I'm over the hump of feeling sad I'm not married and so grateful that some of my closest friends, and sisters, and parents, and people I use to go to church with, and classmates, and swing bandmates (another story for another day), and host of ex-roommates, and sister-cousins, and Boston friends, and Arizona, Utah, and Oregon friends and my friends' parents... how grateful I am that they've all experienced a miracle! BECAUSE OH MY GOSH IT WILL BE A MIRACLE WHEN IT HAPPENS FOR ME TOO.

You see, I'm what I like to consider a niche person. If the population of people represent a bell curve, I'd most definitely lie closer to an outlier position. (+4 standard deviations! and there ends my statistics knowledge.) It doesn't mean there aren't other people like me in the world, it just means there are less of me. And here's a fun fact into a world I never crack open on this blog--when it comes to men, I either immediately connect and we hit the ground running and we never stop talking and ohmygosh the banter goes back and forth and we're basically living the version of what would happen if Aaron Sorkin ever decided to write a Romantic Comedy. Or we don't hit it off and Welcome to Friend Zone and I'm not too broken up over it.

These revelations shouldn't completely surprise you as I've nattered on for five years about next to nothing--and it's either your type of writing or it's not. (Congratulations readers, if any of you were dudes, we mighta almost had it all. And married dude readers, you missed this catch but CONGRATS ON YOUR MIRACLE.) So, in a very long-winded round-about multi-hyphenated way, I'm saying I don't blame anyone for me not being married yet. I don't blame the men of the Church, the men of the world, and I definitely don't blame myself. So I've had it with the Blame Game. Can't we all just accept that you/I/insertSingleAnyoneHere haven't met the right one yet?

I, like many of my readers, and friends, know the state of the single state. It's not much different here in Boston than in California, or Utah, or anywhere else as an active Mormon. There's no silver bullet destination for optimal miracle cultivation. You just wait, and live your life, and love who you are and do fun stuff. I mean, that doesn't sound so bad, right? You enjoy your job, and you watch some TV and read some books, and stamp your passport, and work on ironing out the kinks in you for awhile. You make, cultivate and curate meaningful relationships. You wait, hope for, and continue to believe in miracles.

Am I being naive about this? Married ladies, let's hear it. How much about your marriage had to do with what you were doing to lure him in? How much was it that you just ::cliche alert!:: clicked? Singles, I'm hosting a Royal Brunch for the Royal Wedding in two weeks. Consider joining me, because I do nichey things when left to my own devices. Believe in miracles!

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

If NatA! posted a photo with this blog, here it is!