Thursday, December 20, 2012

thirty

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.

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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.

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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...

...to 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

Halls*

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.)

#OccupyWonka
*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.
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* 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!

brevity is best

I think about wanting to write more all the time.

All.
The.
Time.

And I think about ways to make it happen, the self-discipline I could and should subscribe myself to--to simply typing out whatever comes into my head at any given moment. But I hesitate, instead getting mentally bogged down in all the things I could and should be doing at any given moment. So instead, nothing happens. And I'm alternatingly frustrated and apathetic; the latter worrying me more than the former.

Truth be told, life this year has become fairly predictable. 90% of my life is filled with 90% of the same tasks. I'm sure it's that way for most people but my best writing comes in observing the world around me, and the world around me is contained by about a 2-mile radius. I have things I get passionate about, but of late, that writing has been elsewhere--The Digital Mountains where I write about what and why I believe, a letter written to myself in High School for my friend's Dear Me collection, and a post written about last month's Forbes Magazine cover person Clayton Christensen. You see, I write better when there's something to write about.

Wah wah, I know this isn't very interesting. But I forced myself to open a screen and start writing, and this is what came out. I'd like to be doing more of this in the future; let's just hope it's not always so maudlin, eh?

So you don't feel like reading to the bottom here was an utter waste of time, here's two book recommendations for you, both excellent page turners and opening at a theater near you in the next few months: Water for Elephants and One Day.

Also, Twitter and Facebook statuses are keeping my brain sharp. I think my 2011 slogan to date has been "Brevity is best." I should make a bumper sticker.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I don't have kids

But if I did, I'd be making this for lunch tomorrow:

Can someone please do this and report back?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

saturday is a special (non-committal) day

This is my fifth 55-hour work week in a row. Two more to go and then I think things will calm down. I recognize 55 isn't going to win me head-to-head battles with those true work warriors (I'm looking at you Finance) but still, I'm averaging two extra days of work per week. And agency life is stressful. It's Go! Go! Go! But I'm fairly well suited for it. Minimal breakdowns this week.

So it's been a bit overwhelming of late but I just have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to. Colleen and I gorged ourselves on salty chips, guac, and salsa at lunch today in Harvard Square and the sun was shining, and people were smiling, and there wasn't anything I had to do today. It's been awhile. Now I'm sitting on my bed, no plans for the evening, and giddy at the thought I can choose a book to read or a movie to watch and I don't have to put pants back on.

Before I get to that though, let's do a little bit of brain dumping to get you back up to speed in my life. I'mma going to (try to) keep it short so the inanity importance of the following items aren't lost. Listo? Vamos!
  • I'm going to the Middle East in less than 3 months. (I know, right?) Five days in Jordan, 10 days in Israel, and 3 days in Egypt. I'm going with a Mormon tour group of other young single adults which is awesome for at least two reasons: 1. The sure to be ratio of 9 women to every 1 man ensures the sweat stains I'll be rocking for 2.5 weeks won't keep me from ruining my chance at meeting the love of my life. 2. Young people = good knees, so everything will be a little quicker ifyouknowwhatImean.
  • So now my life is filled with checking every available flight option between Boston, Amman, and Cairo. Should we route through Copenhagen to save a few dollars but spend even longer in the airports? What happens when we get into Jordan at 1:55am and don't meet our group until 3pm? You know, normal stuff.
  • I'm also on the hunt for what I'm incorrectly calling "Safari clothes." I hit up a few sports stores today to check out their goods (in an attempt to avoid the sweat lines above) and try my hardest to avoid looking really rough on the trip. Need clothes that are wrinkle proof, quick dry, can be washed in the sink, etc. And you know, DON'T MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A GOMER. So, I'm working on it.
  • I wore my bangs in a pompadour yesterday and I forgot how much I love it. Welcome back to my life cute bangs-are-growing-out alternative.
  • Wrote an article about the BYU Honor Code, the basketball team, and my opinion on the matter. It got some pretty major play (thanks 400+ readers!) and I think it's worth a look if you're interested in any of the descriptions above -- or want to see what I write with when it's more grammatically correct and less what my friend Sylvia calls, 'gymnastic semantics'.
  • Sitting here on my bed, I face a wall that has artwork of some of my favorite buildings and places I've traveled to (Big Ben, the Salt Lake Temple, the Garden, the Empire State, the Eiffel tower, the skyline in Lisbon and the skyline of Prague). It's one of many many pockets of personality organized in my room.
  • I do wish you all could see my room--it's me to a tee. Perhaps this blog needs a series of photos and explanations. Self indulgent?
Okay! I have more bullet points but I'll save them for a rainy day. Whichhhhh looks like Wednesday. Now it's time to choose a book or movie. The tossup is between reading Jane Eyre or watching Last of the Mohicans on VHS.

Perhaps someone should introduce me to 2011?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

When life becomes a movie

Do you remember when we partied in America's Top Hat for the 4th of July? My darling friend Brooke is a video editor and put together this fun fun amazing lil video of our three day adventure in the great white north. I've always wanted to have a tripvideo of something and Brooke did a fantastic job. And I don't hate the sound of my own voice for a change so double bonus!

4th of July in Canada from expect fairytales.



And now I'm ready to go back. Or for it to be warm. Or to travel. Or to light a sparkler.

Definitely, maybe, probaby related posts:

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